The tragic news that Temple University’s acting president had passed away while attending a memorial service for a school benefactor and historical collector was revealed by the university. JoAnne A. Epps, 72, was meant to be one of the presenters at the event linked to schools, but she passed out and collapsed in her chair while she was up there. She was confirmed dead when she arrived at Temple University Hospital that afternoon.
On Tuesday, September 19, acting university authorities released a press release indicating that Epps had attended a memorial service for the late curator of the Blockson Collection, Charles L. Blockson. The acting president was praised as a valuable resource who had contributed to the university for nearly 40 years. The officials expressed sympathy to the bereaved and said that it will take some time for the community to recover.
No one knows what exactly killed Epps. Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Ken Kaiser claimed the university was unaware of any health problems the student had in the past.
According to ABC7 News, Epps got her start at Temple working in the university bookshop, but she always had her sights set on helping the university thrive. The alumnus of Yale Law School also served as an educator, holding posts such as dean of the Beasley School of Law, chief academic officer, and senior advisor to the president. After Jason Wingard stepped down as president in April, she agreed to serve in an interim capacity.
According to the US Sun, Epps broke barriers by becoming the first black woman to lead Temple University. Her illustrious resume includes stints as president or vice president of organizations like the American Bar Association and the National Association of Women Lawyers, where she reportedly earned a number of accolades for her leadership. The Sun reports that the deceased’s husband, Jay Epps, is the sole known relative.