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JoAnne A. Epps, acting president of Temple University, has died after falling ill on stage Tuesday afternoon during a university event,

The news was delivered from Mitchell L. Morgan, chair of the board of trustees, that Epps, long-time employee, had succumbed to her injuries of the fall.

“I am devastated by this loss,” Morgan said. “She was our light at the end of the tunnel. Temple University will survive it. I’m not sure I will emotionally survive it.”

JoAnne A. Epps, 72, became Temple’s leader earlier this year after the resignation of Jason Wingard. Epps was scheduled to speak at an event honoring the life and legacy of historian and author Charles L. Blockson.

Moments after the event began, Epps was seen slumped in her chair and was carried out in the arms of a uniformed officer. Her cause of death was not immediately known.

Epps was a former Temple law school dean and provost. She had spent over three decades at Temple before being designated to step in and lead the university in April, as the university was in the midst of chaos from the resignation of a president, a six-week-graduate student worker strike and the shooting death of an on-duty Temple police officer.

Acting President JoAnne Epps dedicated decades of her professional life to the Temple University community — championing women and people of color in the legal profession and inspiring a generation of leaders,” said Speaker of the Pennsylvania House Joanna McClinton. “Today’s news is a tragedy. She will be truly missed by the Temple community and beyond.”


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Temple’s Acting President, JoAnne A. Epps, Has Died at age 72  was originally published on