Temple University celebrates its 125th anniversary and launches the ‘Access to Excellence’ fundraising campaign

January 19, 2009

In 2009, Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is celebrating its 125th anniversary. From its humble beginnings as a night school with only seven students, it has grown to be one of the leading universities in the United States with a worldwide reputation for excellence, international campuses in Rome and Tokyo, and study abroad programs around the world.

Laying the foundations for a world-renown university

Temple was founded in 1884 by Russell Conwell, a prominent Philadelphia lawyer, writer and minister, who began teaching mathematics, public speaking and other subjects after work in the evenings to young men who didn’t have the opportunity to get a decent education. In just a few short years the number of students grew, and the first women were admitted in 1888. In the same year, the trustees applied for a state charter of incorporation as Temple College, and Temple University was created in 1907 with the merger of Temple College with the Philadelphia Dental College. The name “Temple” simply comes from the original venue for the school, which was a Baptist temple. From the beginning, the school was completely nonsectarian and included students, faculty and administrators of many denominations.

Today, Temple University has more than 37,000 students and 17 schools and colleges, making it the 28th largest among the over 4000 universities in the United States. It is the third biggest employer in Philadelphia and its direct expenditures generate more than US$3 billion per year for Pennsylvania’s economy.

More details are available at a new web site dedicated to Temple’s yearlong celebration: http://www.temple125years.com/

125th anniversary ‘Access to Excellence’ campaign looks to the future

Among the events to commemorate the 125th anniversary, in the fall of 2007 Temple launched a large-scale fundraising campaign with the theme ‘Access to Excellence’. With the key aims of building a base for supporting faculty, students, facilities, research and community to secure the long-term future of the university and its drive for excellence for all , the campaign set a goal of raising $US350 million, of which US$322 million has been raised to date.

Among the many individuals who made personal contributions were an anonymous US$4 million donation to be used for scholarships and US$1 million donation to be used at the university’s discretion; and a US$3.7 million gift by Philadelphia realtor Mr. J. Wolgin to the Tyler School of Art, to endow an annual art competition. One of the top priorities of the fundraising is to provide a financial support system to help students with loans, as the average Temple undergraduate students leaves the University more than $27,300 in debt. Another important anniversary initiative is the renovation of the historical Baptist Temple which was used for classrooms in the early days, to restore it to its role at the heart of the university. More information on the ‘Access to Excellence’ fundraising campaign is available on the dedicated website at http://www.accesstoexcellenceattemple.com/

More than a century after its doors first opened in 1891, the Baptist Temple is poised to reclaim its historic role as the heart of Temple University.

An international commitment to excellence in education

Temple’s international growth began with the opening of the Rome Campus in 1966, followed by the Japan Campus in 1982. A Masters of Law Program was established in Beijing in 1999. Study Abroad programs are also growing fast, with international programs activities now available in more than 35 countries around the world.

Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ) was established in 1982 in Tokyo with an English Language Program and Master of Education in TESOL Program, and the Undergraduate Program was launched in the following year. In the 1990s, TUJ inaugurated the Master of Law Program (93), Continuing Education Program (93) and MBA Program (96). With track records of 15 and 12 years of respectively, these programs have made a significant contribution to educating working professionals in Japan, and the Japan Campus is well placed to further contribute to the diversification of tertiary education in contemporary Japan.