Trustee Michael J. Stack III
Photo courtesy Michael J. Stack III
State Sen. Michael J. Stack III isn’t a Temple graduate, but he thinks of Temple as the home team.
And it’s not just because he’s a Temple trustee.
After all, Stack represents Pennsylvania’s 5th Senate District, an area covering much of Northeast Philadelphia, Bridesburg, Kensington and Port Richmond. The 5th District is home to more than 6,500 Temple alumni and many faculty and staff; its southern tip is only 2 1/2 miles from Main Campus.
The way Stack sees it, Temple’s fortunes serve as a barometer for his district and the greater Philadelphia region. And given the University’s recent successes, the forecast for the city is sunny.
“As an urban school, Temple has faced unique challenges,” Stack said. “Kids around the state and around the nation used to have an apprehension about an inner-city educational experience. But now, Temple’s academic standards are going up, and Temple’s urban setting is perceived as a positive. That bodes well for Temple’s future, and for all of us in the city and the state.”
Stack, a Democrat who began his second four-year term last month, comes from a family committed to public service. His grandfather was a hard-working immigrant who became a U.S. representative. His mother is a municipal court judge in Philadelphia. His father is a Philadelphia ward leader.
At 24, only a year after earning a bachelor’s degree from La Salle University in 1987, Stack become the youngest person ever to run for the Pennsylvania state Senate. After getting his law degree from Villanova University Law School in 1992, he went on to become executive deputy director of the Pennsylvania Catastrophic Loss Fund under Gov. Robert P. Casey.
Stack was elected to his first term as a state senator in 2000. Last month, he was named Democratic chairman of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee. He also serves on the state Senate’s Appropriations, Aging and Youth, Judiciary, Law and Justice, Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness committees.
He was appointed to the Board of Trustees by the state Senate in 2001.
As a Philadelphian and an advocate of issues involving education and economic growth, Stack has been monitoring and working to slow “brain drain” — the departure of educated and talented future professionals from the region.
Stack believes Temple’s ascent is playing a role in reversing the trend.
“When I walk on Temple’s campus, I don’t see brain drain,” he said. “I see the opposite: I notice more and more smart kids being attracted to the University and to the city. I’m convinced we’re going to keep more of those kids and win the brain drain battle, and that’s good for Philadelphia.”
According to Stack, the key to attracting people to Temple — and then keeping them in the region — is getting them here to see the University for themselves.
“Everybody knows Temple from driving down Broad Street and seeing the flags,” Stack said. “But you have no idea how beautiful this place is until you walk through campus. Not only does it look great, you feel the energy from the students and the faculty.”
Stack is doing his part in the recruitment drive.
“Wherever I go, I tell young people how great Philadelphia is, and that they should take a strong look at Temple,” he said. “I’m a Temple cheerleader now.”
- By Hillel J. Hoffmann