Posted December 20, 2023

A look back at 2023

Proud moments of the year include introducing a new Owl mark, climbing up the national college rankings and welcoming the most diverse class in Temple’s history, among other highlights.

Charles Library at night
Photography By: 
Joseph V. Labolito

In the midst of change and challenges, Temple displayed its perseverance and resilience in 2023. We continued our mission of accessibility, opportunity, community-building and discovery as new initiatives and faces moved us forward.

Here’s a look back at highlights from this past year.

Temple reached its highest-ever placement at No. 89 in the latest “Best Colleges” U.S. News and World Report ranking. The latest rankings also place the university at No. 45 in Top Public Schools and No. 70 in Best Value.

We elevated our world-class academic reputation again as the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs recognized Temple as a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Top Producing Institution with 16 recipients, tying a university record.

Additionally, Temple won the prestigious Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. It was just one of two schools in Philadelphia and one of 109 U.S. colleges and universities to receive this honor.

We also welcomed the Class of 2027, the most diverse group in Temple’s history, while we bid farewell to our Class of 2023 graduates. At Temple’s 136th Commencement, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro addressed the class with words of encouragement and admiration.

Temple ushered in a new era when it launched the Owl mark, created by students from the Tyler School of Art and Architecture. When creating the mark, they drew inspiration from the past while looking ahead to the future. 

We continued our groundbreaking research, which included a $20 million grant from the LEGO Foundation for Stanley and Deborah Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow of Psychology Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and her team to follow children from pre-K through fourth grade as they engage in a socially interactive and joyful learning model. The National Science Foundation also awarded Temple and other institutions $19.5 million for artificial intelligence research in education.

The College of Education and Human Development received a $1.4 million grant from Pennsylvania’s Department of Education to recruit and retain teachers of color across the commonwealth as well. And the National Institutes of Health awarded professor of public health in social and behavioral sciences and Director of the Risk Communication Laboratory Sarah Bauerle Bass a $754,000 grant for her team to develop a web-based app improving HIV prevention and substance use treatment access for incarcerated women in Philadelphia. 

Temple received a landmark gift of $10.9 million to establish the Jeanne Zweig Endowment, named for the alum who lived with cerebral palsy and founded a successful accounting firm. This endowed fund—one of the largest awarded to a university in support of students with disabilities—will help those with physical disabilities pursue an education and earn a degree.

Our innovative Fly in 4 program celebrated its 10th year. The initiative, which more than 40,000 students have enrolled in since its inception, helps ensure that students will graduate in four years if they follow all program requirements.

Donations to the university also exceeded $100 million for the fourth consecutive year. The total marked a $13 million increase from the previous year. It was the most gifts ever raised by Temple during a single fiscal year.

President Richard M. Englert took the helm again as chief executive as the university continues its search for its 14th president.  

Earlier in the fall, Temple added four new members to the Board of Trustees while reintroducing two returning ones to elevate its expertise and diversity. In December, we gained two more highly accomplished members.

We welcomed several new deans as well, including Larry “Chip” Hunter for the Fox School of Business and School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management; Monika Williams Shealey for the College of Education and Human Development; Jennifer Ibrahim for the College of Public Health and School of Social Work; and Miguel Mostafá for the College of Science and Technology.

Key administrators have also been appointed, including Jose Aviles, vice provost for enrollment management; Larry Brandolph, vice president for information technology; Josh Gladden, vice president for research; Susan B. Smith, chief compliance officer; Emilia Zankina, vice provost for global engagement; Jennifer Wood, vice provost for faculty affairs; Angela Polec, vice president for strategic marketing and communications; Elizabeth Taylor, faculty athletics representative; and Jodi Bailey, vice president for student affairs.

We implemented public safety initiatives and enhancements like TUSafe, a one-stop personal safety app, directly connecting users to the Department of Public Safety. Additionally, the department introduced Park and Walks, a new initiative to increase Temple police officers’ foot patrols within the university’s patrol zone, and Temple received a $30 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to improve the streets and walkways around Main Campus.

We continued our community engagement by establishing the Temple Community Gateway, a one-stop shop connecting North Philadelphia community members to various resources across the city and at the university. Temple’s Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry opened a new dental clinic at the William D. Kelley School near Main Campus. The university’s Digital Equity Center gifted laptops to North Philadelphia students in partnership with Comcast. Temple showcased key places in North Philadelphia’s history in storefront panels at the intersection of Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue. Our Food Insecurity Task Force distributed hundreds of pounds of free food on Main Campus for students at a World Food Day event. Temple again hosted its annual Neighborhood Job Fair and Resource Village, and more than 1,000 job-seekers were in attendance.

Across Main Campus, Temple established the Health and Well-being Division to cultivate a campus culture of physical, mental and social wellness. We opened a new Off-campus Living Office to help students navigate off-campus living within Temple’s patrol map. Student-athletes achieved a 94% graduation success rate, tying for 20th among NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision schools. We honored our 2023 30 Under 30 recipients; this program recognizes trailblazing young alumni challenging the status quo to make a difference in their career fields and communities.

At Ambler, we hosted the Great American Campout event in person for the first time since COVID-19.

We celebrated the life and legacy of President Joanne A. Epps as the Temple community gathered at Liacouras Center in remembrance. Temple also honored Sergeant Christopher Fitzgerald, a Temple police officer who lost his life in the line of duty, with a street renaming ceremony. The 1700 block on West Montgomery Avenue was officially renamed “Christopher Fitzgerald Way.” Additionally, we remembered the lives of Charles Blockson, the curator emeritus of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University; Theresa Powell, Temple’s vice president for student affairs; and Eileen Bradley, a retired captain with the Temple University Police Department.

Video Production: Wesley Haag and Joe Schreiber