Marguerite Lenfest has been appointed to Temple University’s Board of Trustees. She is carrying on the legacy begun by her late husband, H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, who served as a trustee until his death in August 2018.
Over the years, the Lenfests have made significant contributions to the Philadelphia region and to Temple University.
“Marguerite Lenfest is highly respected for her commitment to our city, our university and to North Philadelphia,” said Board of Trustees Chair Patrick J. O’Connor. “She shares the passion Gerry had for improving the well-being of others especially through jobs initiatives. She is a strong addition to Temple’s board and we are delighted to welcome her.”
In 2014, the Lenfests donated $3 million to help renovate the East Park Canoe House, home to Temple’s rowing and crew teams. Their support also made possible the Joe First Media Center in Temple’s Klein College of Media and Communication, named in honor of Gerry’s mentor, Joseph First; and the renovation of Lew Klein Hall in the Temple Performing Arts Center, named in honor of Lenfest family friend Lew Klein.
In 2017, the pair made a seven-figure contribution along with Lew and Janet Klein and Trustee Steve Charles, KLN ’80, to name the Lew Klein College of Media and Communication in honor of the broadcasting pioneer.
That same year Lenfest Circle at the base of Temple’s iconic Bell Tower was dedicated to Gerry and Marguerite. At the time, President Englert praised the Lenfests’ commitment to education and creating job opportunities so that everyone could have lives of dignity.
Most recently, thanks to grant support from the Lenfest Foundation, Temple launched the first phase of the Lenfest North Philadelphia Workforce Initiative to help local residents secure jobs that pay family-sustaining wages.
Marguerite Brooks was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and grew up in the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia, graduating from Girls High School and earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
She met her future husband, Gerry, in Ocean City, New Jersey, through a mutual friend, and they were married while he was serving in the Navy after graduating from Washington and Lee University.
After Gerry completed law school at Columbia University, the Lenfests lived in New York City where Marguerite worked for six years as an elementary school teacher.
Then, she says, “We had children and I became a Little League mom.” Their three children and four grandchildren all live in the Philadelphia area.
In 1974, Gerry Lenfest started Lenfest Communications by purchasing two cable television companies from Walter Annenberg. Twenty-six years later, the Lenfest family sold the highly successful company to the Comcast Corp. In addition to caring for the couple’s children, Marguerite worked for Suburban Cable, one of the television companies, from 1975 until the sale in 2000.
Motherhood led Marguerite to serve on the board of directors for the Jenkintown Day Nursery. That proved to be the beginning of extensive board involvement that has spread to museums and other cultural organizations throughout the Philadelphia area.