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Temple University acting president JoAnne A. Epps dies onstage during memorial service


Temple University acting president JoAnne A. Epps dies onstage during memorial service

JoAnne A. Epps, the acting president of Temple University in Philadelphia, whose tenure coincided with a turbulent period for the school, tragically passed away on Tuesday.

She fell ill onstage during a memorial service and was subsequently rushed to the hospital. Regrettably, she was pronounced dead at around 3:15 p.m., as confirmed by the university. Ms. Epps was 72 years old.

In a heartfelt letter signed by the chair of the board of trustees, the chief operating officer, and the provost, the university expressed the profound sorrow over her loss.

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They described President Epps as a dedicated servant and friend who embodied the finest qualities of Temple.

The exact cause of her death has not been disclosed by the university.

The unfortunate incident occurred during a memorial service for Charles L. Blockson, a renowned historian, author, and curator of the Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple.

This collection houses over 500,000 artifacts related to the global Black experience. Mr. Blockson had passed away in June at the age of 89.

During a live broadcast of the memorial service, which was later removed from Temple’s website, a choir was seen performing behind a row of chairs set up on the stage.

Ms. Epps appeared to slump in her chair, and the papers she held in her lap fell to the floor. Observers seated nearby noticed her distress, and someone stepped forward to request medical assistance. The live feed was briefly interrupted before the memorial service resumed.

Governor Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania expressed his condolences on social media, calling Ms. Epps “a powerful force and a constant ambassador for Temple University.” He added that her loss was truly heartbreaking for Philadelphia.

Credit: NYT

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