University Acting President Dies After Collapsing on Stage at Memorial
Temple University Acting President JoAnne A. Epps, 72, died after reportedly collapsing on stage during a memorial.
Epps was “attending a memorial service at the university for Charles L. Blockson, a curator of a collection of African American artifacts,” the Associated Press reports.
A doctor at the event reportedly said she suffered a “sudden episode.”
“It is with deep heartbreak that we write to inform you that Temple University Acting President JoAnne A. Epps suddenly passed away this afternoon,” Temple University stated.
“There are no words that can describe the gravity and sadness of this loss. President Epps was a devoted servant and friend who represented the best parts of Temple.”
There are no words that can describe the gravity and sadness of this loss. President Epps was a devoted servant and friend who represented the best parts of Temple. https://t.co/uH7AB8vUku
— Temple University (@TempleUniv) September 19, 2023
From Temple University:
While attending a memorial service at Temple for Charles L. Blockson, curator of the Blockson Collection, President Epps became ill. She was transported to Temple University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead around 3:15 p.m.
There are no words that can describe the gravity and sadness of this loss. President Epps was a devoted servant and friend who represented the best parts of Temple. She spent nearly 40 years of her life serving this university, and it goes without saying her loss will reverberate through the community for years to come.
Our thoughts are with President Epps’ family, and with all members of the Temple community in this moment.
The days ahead will be difficult, but we will lean on one another as President Epps would want us to.
BREAKING: Temple University says President JoAnne A. Epps has died after collapsing on stage during a memorial service. https://t.co/Emwlcu7m5D
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 19, 2023
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Epps, who was scheduled to speak at the service, slumped in her chair shortly after the event began and was carried out in the arms of a uniformed officer after the announcer asked if there was a doctor in the house.
Epps was taken to Temple University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead around 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, the university said. She was 72.
Ken Kaiser, senior vice president and chief operating officer at Temple, declined to speculate about Epps’ health prior to her collapse, but he called her death a “gut punch for all of us right now.”
“We are not aware that President Epps had any health issues,” Kaiser said at the news conference.
Kaiser told The Associated Press that he had known Epps for three decades.
“JoAnne was full of life, somebody who was super compassionate and truly cared about other people and had a wonderful way of pulling them all together and getting people excited about even a daunting task, making things fun,” he said.