As classes were winding down and the weather warming up, Temple President Neil Theobald broke out the grill and gave students a taste of summer.
The president demonstrated masterful grill work, flipping hamburgers and turning sausages at a barbecue he hosted on April 25 in the Founder’s Garden, on Main Campus. He conceived the event as an informal opportunity to talk with Temple students.
“A university is all about the students, so the more chances you get to find out what’s important to them — why did they come here, what can we do better, how well are we meeting their expectations — the better. And this is a good chance to get to meet a lot of them,” he said.
The informal gatherings were among several events Theobald has attended with students since becoming Temple’s president on January 1. He also has presented at Temple Student Government meetings, shared meals with small groups in the Louis Esposito Dining Center and talked informally with individuals in the Howard Gittis Student Center atrium.
“I think it says that he actually cares about the Temple community, he cares about the students and wants to pick our brain and give us the opportunity to get to know him,” said Fox School of Business student Tirzah Bartley. “I think that’s really important as president of the school.”
Theobald was in familiar territory behind the grill, a charcoal unit transported from his previous home in Bloomfield, Ind., where he had served as senior vice president and chief financial officer at Indiana University.
“I live in a condominium,” he said. “We had this sitting in the living room for about two weeks, and for some reason my wife didn’t think it made a very nice living room decoration. So, we’ve had it in storage ever since. It’s great to get out and get a chance to use it.”
“Food brings people together of all cultures,” the president added. “You don’t have to be young to enjoy it. It’s something that gives people something to do and brings them together.”
Judging by the hundreds in attendance, Temple students would seem to agree.
“College students love free food, so when you say free, college students come running,” said Bartley. “So I guess that’s a way to get us all out here.”