In a sorrowful announcement, Temple University disclosed the sudden passing of its acting president, JoAnne Epps. While attending a memorial for renowned historian and author Charles L. Blockson, Ms. Epps unexpectedly became unwell. The school’s representative stated that she was promptly taken to Temple University Hospital but was sadly declared deceased by 3:15 p.m. The cause of her death remains undisclosed.
Mourning her demise, Mitchell L. Morgan, the Chair of Temple University’s Board of Trustees, conveyed, “The weight of this tragedy is indescribable. President Epps, embodying the essence of Temple, was a beacon of service and friendship. Having dedicated close to four decades to the institution, her absence will echo in our corridors for the foreseeable future.”
JoAnne Epps assumed the acting presidential role at Temple in April. Her distinguished tenure at the university spanned over 30 years, during which she held prominent positions, including the Dean of Temple Law School and later, the Executive Vice President and Provost. Beyond the university walls, her notable service record extended to roles as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia and Deputy City Attorney in Los Angeles.
Epps, a Cheltenham, Pennsylvania native, was no stranger to accolades. Some of her significant awards include the 2015 Spirit of Excellence Award by the American Bar Association and the 2014 Justice Sonia Sotomayor Diversity Award by the Philadelphia Bar Association. She completed her academic journey at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
The university’s leadership transition saw Epps step into the acting presidential role following the resignation of Jason Wingard earlier this year.
As the community grapples with this immense loss, a vigil in Epps’ honor is scheduled at Temple University’s bell tower at noon on Wednesday. The upcoming steps regarding her successor remain to be determined, with the Board of Trustees assembling Wednesday to deliberate the future course.