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Temple University interim president dead after collapsing on stage during memorial event

The interim president of Temple University in Philadelphia died suddenly Tuesday after falling ill and collapsing on stage at a campus event, the school said.

JoAnne A. Epps, 72, was attending a memorial service for Charles L. Blockson, curator of the Blockson Collection, when she became ill. She was taken to Temple University Hospital where she was pronounced dead, the school said.

“There are no words to describe the severity and sadness of this loss,” a university statement said. “President Epps was a devoted servant and friend who represented the best aspects of Temple. She spent nearly 40 years of her life serving this university, and it goes without saying that her loss will reverberate through the community for years to come.


Temple University interim president JoAnne Epps, 72, died Tuesday after falling ill while attending a memorial service, university officials said. (Temple University)

The cause of death was not shared by university officials. Temple University Provost Gregory Mandel choked up while describing Epps.

“We are all in deep grief and at a loss for words. To know Joanne is to be her friend,” Mandel said at the news conference. “She was one of the most remarkably compassionate and caring people I have ever known.”

Epps was the former dean of the law school and provost of the university. She was named interim president in April following the resignation of Jason Wingard, Temple’s first black president, Fox Philadelphia reported.

“I never imagined becoming a professor at Temple, let alone taking this position,” Epps recently told the outlet.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro described Epps as a “powerful force and constant ambassador for Temple University for nearly four decades.”

Gray Temple University building exterior with rows of large windows and the university flag hanging above an arched doorway

Sullivan Memorial Library at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 27, 2016. (Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)


“Losing her is heartbreaking for Philadelphia. Lori and I hold JoAnne’s loved ones in our hearts at this time. May her memory be a blessing,” he posted on X, formerly known as Twitter .

As interim president, Epps focused on enrollment and escalating crime levels near the university’s campus.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Fox Gt

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