Trustee Edward Kassab
Edward Kassab recalls his high school years in Chester as a “less-than-stellar academic experience.”
“When you finished high school on June 6, 1944, you knew where you were going,” he explained.
When World War II ended, Kassab became the typical Temple student of his time, a person from a middle-class background who took buses and the subway to campus, attended classes, and then went home or to work. He graduated in 1949 with a degree in marketing.
Several years later, finding himself back in the military and stationed at the Quartermaster Depot in South Philly — bored silly and with little to do in the evenings — he took the subway to night classes in the Law School. Sitting next to Kassab in his first law class was another military man, James Beasley, for whom the Law School is now named. Kassab earned his juris doctorate in 1956.
In subsequent years, Kassab’s successful law career in estate planning and commercial and corporate law also included stints as the chairman of a 1970 state effort to overhaul the municipal planning code and 20 years of service on the board of overseers at the Widener University School of Law. He is now senior partner at Kassab Archbold & O’Brien of Media, Pa.
Throughout those years — again typical of the Temple alumni of his time — he fell out of touch with the University. But over time he became more and more impressed with the quality of Temple’s Law School and its graduates, many of whom were being hired by his firm and by colleagues he respected.
That sparked a renewed interest in his alma mater, and in 1996 he was named to the Board of Trustees by the speaker of the state House.
“The years that I’ve been active with the board have been years of great transition,” Kassab said. “The faculty is nationally acclaimed, and the better the school gets, more qualified candidates begin to apply. That sometimes locks out those to whom we otherwise might have been directing our attention. It’s a hard balance. We have a very fine line to walk so that we don’t get too far away from ‘acres of diamonds.’”
Self-critical of his own years of disconnect from Temple, he remarked that “our graduates owe Temple a great deal. Alumni need to recognize that this is a two-way relationship. Temple makes available an affordable education that provides its students with extraordinary knowledge and the opportunity to succeed. When they do succeed — and many of them succeed beyond their wildest dreams — they should give back.”
- By Mark Eyerly