Welcome to Temple, Neil Theobald

The Board of Trustees of Temple University met Tuesday and voted unanimously to approve Neil Theobald as the 10th president of Temple University, effective January 1, 2013. The vote came at a public meeting of the board that topped off Theobald’s two-day visit to the main campus, during which he met staff, students and faculty in a series of open meet-and-greets.

Theobald’s experience as CFO and senior vice president at Indiana University — his current position — will benefit Temple, which faces significant challenges in this era of state budget cuts. In Indiana, he supervises a budget of $3.1 billion (Temple’s projected budget for fiscal year 2013 is $1.153 billion) at a university with 110,000 students (Temple has 39,000). The school’s budget was cut by $38.4 million (7.8 percent), but Theobald not only avoided layoffs but provided small increases in faculty and staff salaries.

He emphasized his desire to not only meet but talk with everyone affected by Temple, from students to people in the surrounding neighborhoods. “We need to be responsive to their needs, and to let them know what we’re planning.”

Theobald was the sole finalist of a search process that involved hundreds of applicants and dozens of interviews, according to board president Patrick O’Connor, who also chaired the search committee.

“This is absolutely a dream job.”

Proud to be at Temple

“My main priority will be to continue to provide an affordable college education for students in the city, the region, and beyond.” Theobald — who, like his wife, Sheona, was the first in his family to attend college — understands the important role of public universities.

He is excited about being part of the Big East, not just for Temple’s sports teams, but as a marketing opportunity. “This is a way to reach prospective students in New York, Chicago, Louisville.”

The predecessor

Temple’s previous president, Ann Weaver Hart, unexpectedly announced her resignation in September 2011, effective June 30 of this year. Hart, who held the office for only six years, said at the time that she wanted to be more available to her aging parents in Utah; she subsequently accepted the presidency at the University of Arizona.

Richard Englert will serve as interim president until Theobald takes office on Jan. 1, 2013. Englert, who has been at Temple since 1976, was provost and interim senior vice president for academic affairs immediately prior to assuming the presidency on July 1.

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