Dear Temple community,
As a member of the Temple family, I want to keep you informed of all the university is doing as we mourn the devastating loss of one of our own. Officer Christopher Fitzgerald died Saturday in the line of duty while protecting our community.
I've met Officer Fitzgerald's family, and his wife and parents shared with me, separately, how much Chris loved working at Temple, saying, "It was his joy." It's unfathomable how his joy has led to so much pain for all who knew and loved him.
We are working with Officer Fitzgerald's family to plan events and memorials that honor him and respect his family's wishes. In addition, the university is doing everything possible to provide support throughout this week, and beyond, and to surround the Fitzgerald family with the same dedication, care, and concern Chris brought to his job.
The Bell Tower is illuminated with blue lights thanks to our students and city officials are lighting up the Philadelphia skyline in blue as a visible reminder of Officer Fitzgerald's ultimate sacrifice.
The family also asked us to share funeral arrangements for Officer Fitzgerald, who will be interred with full honors. Viewings will be held 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday at John F. Givnish Funeral Home, 10975 Academy Road, and 8 to 11:30 a.m. Friday at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and 18th Street. A service will follow at the Cathedral.
Community members planning to attend the service at the Cathedral Basilica are encouraged to take the Broad Street Line to the Race/Vine station. SEPTA will have extra officers stationed at those locations, and students, faculty, and staff should bring their Temple ID.
Our Board of Trustees have committed to establishing a fund for the Fitzgerald family. You may already be aware of the GoFundMe campaign that, to date, has already collected a significant sum.
To ease the burden on the family, the university will pay for Officer Fitzgerald's funeral and provide tuition remission for his children should they attend Temple.
While this week's primary focus is honoring the life and service of Officer Fitzgerald, we are mindful of the fear, anger, and outrage felt by our students, their families, and many of you. Words of assurance and promises of change are only meaningful with action.
We have received an outpouring of support and assistance from state and local leaders, and we fully intend to accept the partnership offers. However, gun violence is a public health crisis that requires the resources, attention, and action of everyone right now. We cannot wait.
We know there is a lot of misinformation circulating via social media. We are committed to communicating with the Temple community and will regularly share verified accurate information. We will also be regularly sharing this information with the news media.
There is no joy in the work ahead, but there is love and commitment to take action. Officer Fitzgerald took action on Saturday night to keep our community safe and gave the ultimate sacrifice. The best way to honor him is for us to take action, and that's what I will do.
Dr. Jason Wingard
President, Temple University