(WHTM) – JoAnne Epps, the Acting President at Temple University, has died, according to the university. She was 72.

At 3:10 p.m. the university announced that Epps “became ill” during the Charles L. Blockson Memorial Service and that she was taken to Temple University Hospital.

Almost an hour later at 4:09 p.m., the university confirmed “with deep heartbreak” that Epps suddenly passed away.

“There are no words that can describe the gravity and sadness of this loss,” Mitchell L. Morgan
Chair of the University Board of Trustees said in a statement. “President Epps was a devoted servant and friend who represented the best parts of Temple.”

Epps “spent nearly 40 years of her life” serving Temple University, according to Morgan.

Epps, the university’s former law school dean and provost, was named to the post in April following the resignation of Jason Wingard, Temple’s first Black president. Wingard resigned in March after leading the 33,600-student university since July 2021.

Governor Josh Shapiro described Epps as a “powerful force and constant ambassador for Temple University.”

“Lori and I are holding JoAnne’s loved ones in our hearts right now. May her memory be a blessing.”

State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) said he met Epps when he was a 17-year-old freshman at Temple.

“Though our titles have changed over the years one thing never did, and that was she was always a friend and a mentor. I am devastated for her husband and her family and the entire Temple community. The world is a missing one of its bright lights with the loss of JoAnne. I will miss her always.”

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