Temple Times Online Edition
    JANUARY 20, 2005
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Trustee Joseph W. Chip Marshall III


Joseph W. Chip Marshall III believes there are very few bad decisions, only decisions implemented badly.

“I say that because too often I see people wrestling with actually making a decision and not putting effort into making their decision succeed,” he said. “In my mind, most decisions can be made successful.”

Nearly four years ago, Marshall, who refers to himself as a “recovering lawyer,” left his Philadelphia-based law firm Goldman & Marshall, P.C., to pursue another area of public service: health care.

Now the chairman and CEO of Temple University Health System, Marshall credits his nearly 15 years of experience on the Board of Trustees with broadening his horizons.

“When I first joined the board in 1990, my initial instinct was to sit back, keep my mouth shut and learn as much as I could — I didn’t want to break anything,” he joked.

Today, Marshall’s approach is dramatically different.

“Now, I volunteer for anything I can get involved in. It’s been exciting having a hand in the dramatic growth that has taken place at Temple in the past decade.”

It’s through these experiences that Marshall says he has learned some of his most valuable lessons.

“The University is a wonderfully complex organization that links business and academia. Maintaining an even keel between the two areas, however, teaches you a lot about balancing relationships.”

It also teaches the value of working with a good team — a lesson that Marshall has taken with him to the Health System.

“Through the board, I’ve met men and women whom I now consider my mentors and friends,” he said. “These individuals have provided me with more wisdom than any of my textbooks ever did.”

Marshall kept their lessons in mind when establishing his executive management team at the Health System. “I wanted to surround myself with good people — people who have sound ideas to make things happen. I’m convinced that I have.”

Marshall, who as CEO of the Health System oversees five hospitals, a physician practice and more than 8,000 employees, has roots at Temple that run decades deep.

“My family has been affiliated with Temple in some fashion for more than 50 years,” Marshall said. “When it came time for college, Temple was a great fit for me.”

The University has changed significantly since the early ’70s, when he was pursuing his bachelor’s and law degrees. “In the past 30 years, Temple has taken what you would call a quantum leap,” Marshall said.

“It used to be viewed as just a commuter school. Now there are 8,000 residential students. The international campuses were a vision when I started. Now, Temple is one of the largest American universities in Europe and Asia. And in the ’70s, the Health System didn’t even exist.

Today, it’s one of the largest and most profitable healthcare organizations in the state. Temple’s maturation has been really powerful to watch.”

Marshall believes that the University is at its zenith.

“It’s never been better,” he said. “The proof is in the pudding — just pick up the paper or watch the television — Temple is everywhere. This has had a tremendous positive impact on the overall student experience.

“Today’s student is experiencing Temple in a way that I could have never imagined,” he said. “It’s really thrilling to watch.”

- By Gwendolyn Coverdale