Ann Weaver Hart was inaugurated as the ninth president of Temple University
PHILADELPHIA, March 22, 2007 – Ann Weaver Hart was formally installed as the ninth president of Temple University during a two-day inauguration, titled “Conversation and Celebration,” on March 22 and 23.
Temple’s first female president was invested during a March 22 ceremony featuring traditional rituals that accompany such an event, including a procession of presidents and delegates from other colleges and universities wearing colorful academic regalia, musical performances, a poetry reading and the new president’s inaugural address, in which she set out her priorities for the nation’s 27th-largest university. The investiture began at 3 p.m. on March 22 in the Liacouras Center.
A daylong conference on the theme “Great Universities, Great Cities” – featuring a keynote address by National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial, panel sessions on Temple research and other events – was held March 23, primarily in the Howard Gittis Student Center.
“This inauguration marks more than the beginning of a new presidency,” said Board of Trustees Chairman Daniel H. Polett. “We are celebrating Temple’s long-standing leadership among higher education institutions, and we are exploring how Temple’s research, teaching and service address urban challenges and strengthen the quality of life in Greater Philadelphia and beyond.
“It is a tribute to Temple and to President Hart’s leadership that this inauguration will celebrate our accomplishments and feature conversations and challenges about what we can become,” added Polett, who led the 17-member search committee that unanimously recommended Hart as Temple’s next president.
Hart was elected president by the trustees on May 4, 2006, and assumed the presidency July 1. At that time, Polett described her as “an experienced educator and visionary leader who will continue to advance Temple’s standing in higher education nationally and around the world.”
In her inaugural address, Hart called on Temple to continue providing access to high-quality education, bolster its strong presence in North Philadelphia and around the world, and enhance its efforts in entrepreneurship and environmentally sustainable campus development. Since assuming Temple’s presidency, Hart has emphasized the importance of Temple’s providing access to excellence, playing a leadership role in international education, and enhancing its strong relationships with the city and region, among other efforts.
“My life was transformed by having access to a first-rate education at a great urban public university,” Hart has said. “Temple has that very same transformative power, and I embrace it. Temple is an institution of profound accomplishment, relevance and promise, epitomizing what it means to be an urban public research university: creating knowledge, improving lives and serving the community.”
The March 22 investiture ceremony included greetings from Temple’s programs in Rome, Tokyo and London; remarks from speakers representing undergraduate students, graduate and professional students, faculty, staff and alumni; a poetry reading by professor emeritus Sonia Sanchez; and performances by the Temple University Symphony Orchestra and the Temple University Concert Choir.
The March 23 conference included the invitation-only luncheon address by Morial of the National Urban League as well as open, concurrent morning and afternoon presentations on “Great Universities, Great Cities”: the intersection of universities’ research, teaching and service with the communities in which those institutions are located.
Morning sessions explored neighborhood renewal and building community; public-health issues, such as obesity and violence; advancing literacy; and using arts and culture to encourage connections among students, scholars and the community.
The afternoon featured work by engineering, architecture and communications students; an online media literacy program for adolescent girls created by Temple Professor Renee Hobbs; a trolley tour of Philadelphia murals and community gardens; a talk by Temple Professor Bryant Simon on the cultural impact of Starbucks; conversation and poetry with Professor Rachel Blau DuPlessis; and a book signing and reading by Tommie Smith from his autobiography, “Silent Gesture.” Smith, along with John Carlos, is remembered for raising his right hand in the name of human rights on the medal stand at the 1968 Olympic Games.
Hart, 58, had been president of the University of New Hampshire since 2002. She previously served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Claremont Graduate University and as professor of educational leadership, dean of the Graduate School and special assistant to the president at the University of Utah.
At Temple, Hart leads a university that is in the midst of recruiting more than 300 tenured and tenure-track scholars to its faculty from the world’s leading institutions and is conducting a $500 million construction program that includes a new School of Medicine, a new Tyler School of Art, and an expansion of the Fox School of Business and Management.
Temple is a comprehensive public research university that enrolls more than 34,000 students and is one of the nation’s leading centers of professional education. Its student body has been ranked among the most diverse in the United States, and about 10,000 students now live on or around Temple’s increasingly vibrant and residential main campus, which also boasts the largest college computer center in the country.
Hart received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history and a Ph.D. in educational administration, all from the University of Utah. Her research interests include leadership succession and development, work redesign and organizational behavior in educational organizations, and academic freedom and freedom of speech in higher education.
She has been recognized for her achievements and service by many organizations, including the Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, the University Council for Educational Administration, and the Utah Women’s Forum, and has been honored as a Distinguished Alumna of the College of Humanities of the University of Utah.
Hart and her husband, Randy, have four daughters and six grandchildren.
— Mark Eyerly