For the first time in Temple University’s 137-year history, the school has chosen its first Black president.
Dr. Jason Wingard was announced as the university’s next president at a press conference by Board of Trustees chairman Mitchell Morgan, The Temple News reports. Wingard will succeed Richard Englert, who has served as the school’s president since 2016.
According to Morgan, Wingard — who has held previous administrative positions at the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University — was just the man for the job after Englert announced his decision to retire at the end of the 2020-21 academic year.
“He had every specification, every qualification that we were looking for in the next president,” Morgan said. “He’s a visionary, he’s a great leader and we are really excited about him.”
According to The Temple News, Wingard grew up attending the late Temple basketball coach John Chaney’s camps in Philadelphia and Ambler. He’s also lived in Philadelphia for the past 23 years and started paying visits to Temple’s campus four years ago while his father attended graduate school there.
“I am honored by the Board’s selection and excited to lead one of the nation’s premier urban research universities,” Wingard said in the press conference. “Temple University is the educational heartbeat of this city and this region. [My father and I] have been proudly supporting and following Temple University for all these 23 years.”
Outside of being the school’s new president, Wingard also serves as the founder and chairman of The Education Board, Inc. — a consulting firm for non-profit organizations, K-12 schools, colleges, universities and other special-interest organizations. He’s even held positions at business firms like Goldman Sachs.
During his presidency, Wingard hopes to help champion Temple’s accomplishments both locally and globally as he believes this will help boost the university’s fundraising initiatives.
“People will love hearing about how successful we are in all aspects of university life, and they will want to know how we can get to the next level,” he continued in his statement. “Then we will be able to tell them how we can build upon the excellent success that we have, and what we need to be able to get there.”
Additionally, Wingard is eager to ensure Temple’s curriculum reflects all employers’ needs and strengthens the university’s relationship with its local and global community. According to him, he plans to make this happen by increasing the amount of time he and his staff will spend listening to community stakeholders.
“The key is making it more of a priority, spending more resources and spending more time,” he concluded. “The community is more than willing to listen, to hear us, but we have to spend the time to do it.”
Temple’s decision to appoint Wingard comes after a year of uprisings that called for more diversity across every industry and sector. Now educational institutions are finally starting to take some initiative in bolstering their administrative staffs, starting with hiring more Black and brown folks.
Wingard is set to begin his presidency on July 1.