Jason Wingard named first African-American president of Temple University

By: - June 9, 2021 11:17 am

Temple University President Jason Wingard (Philadelphia Tribune photo)

By Ayana Jones

PHILADELPHIA — Jason Wingard has been named the first African American president in Temple University’s 137-year history.

Wingard, who holds a doctorate in education leadership, previously served as dean emeritus and professor of Human Capital Management at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies.

“I certainly recognize the significance of this moment and I am very proud of it,” Wingard said when he was asked about being the first African American president in Temple’s 137-year history.

“This is a great time. We have proceeded to a time in our country’s history and this school’s history when I can stand before you as a qualified African American male to lead this institution and I’m excited about it.”

Mitchell L. Morgan, chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees said Wingard’s selection marks a new chapter in Temple’s proud history.

“While it is a historic appointment, his outstanding leadership skills and expertise are the most compelling. His knowledge of organizational strategies, leadership development and the future of work will help guide our graduates as they compete in the working world to succeed in their working careers.”

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He has a long history with Temple that began more than 40 years ago while his father Levi Wingard was a graduate student. Wingard spent a significant amount of time on campus where he interacted with faculty, students, security guards and played ball with the neighborhood kids.

Wingard said he was drawn to Temple because of its level of excellence, its focus on equity and access and its innovation in learning.

Wingard plans to focus on three things when he begins his tenure at Temple on July 1.

“Number one, I’ll particularly focus on being a chief ambassador where there is a level of excellence that Temple demonstrates through health care, through research and teaching and learning, through athletics and student services,” he said.

“I want to bring a level of prioritization to telling the story about how good Temple has been doing and the wonderful successes that we have.”

Wingard also seeks to address the crisis facing the future of work.

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“Pre-pandemic we were already starting to see how the workforce was being disrupted,” said the 49-year West Chester native.

“Now post pandemic it’s significantly unstable and so we don’t know as higher education institutions what the workforce will look like.”

“Since we don’t know, we don’t have a clear sense of how we are going to be training our students to be prepared for it,” Wingard continued.”

So we’re going to have to be adaptable to that. We have to be innovative in how we structure our curriculum so they can be ready for it.”

One of his core areas is focusing on Temple engaging with the surrounding North Philadelphia community.

“We want to engage authentically with the community that surrounds us,” Wingard said.

“There are benefits to the community and there are benefits to the university through that relationship. I want to focus on that and then extend it more broadly to government, to industry and to other areas of our local and regional environment.”

Wingard will succeed President Richard M. Englert, who is retiring after a 45-year with Temple. Englert led the institution nationally recognized as a center of excellence in teaching, research and excellence with more than 17 schools across eight campus, 37,000 students and 8,700 faculty and staff.

“My years at Temple have taught me that this university is constantly evolving, while remaining true to its mission,” Englert said.

“I have every reason to believe that Dr. Wingard will find the faculty, staff and students excited for the future and ready to move the university forward. I wish him well and look forward to working together to ensure a seamless transition.”

Wingard was selected following a 10-month nationwide search led by an 18-member Presidential Search Committee appointed by the university’s Board of Trustees. Temple was assisted in the process by Storbeck Search, a member of the Diversified Search Group.

“Dr. Wingard is a wonderful and natural reflection of the best of what Temple is and the best of what Temple aspires to be,” said Valerie Harrison, senior advisor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and member of the Presidential Search Committee.

“He has a vision for community involvement. He is deeply committed to community and to values. He is very student focused but he’s also a champion of innovation and so these things excited the search committee from the beginning to we are just excited today to welcome him to the Temple family.”

Wingard’s academic career includes teaching and senior leadership posts at Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. He has served as chief learning officer of Goldman Sachs and as founder and chairman of The Education Board, Inc.

He previously served as vice dean of the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, where he led the Division of Executive Education. Wingard also served as senior vice president of ePals, Inc. and president & CEO of the ePals Foundation.

He is founder and chairman of The Education Board, Inc., a boutique management consulting firm specializing in executive coaching and corporate training.

Wingard serves on the board of directors of Kroll, a multinational financial consultancy firm and is a strategic advisor for PepsiCo.

Wingard holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology (organizational behavior and social psychology), with honors, from Stanford University where he was a member of the varsity football and track teams. He also holds a master’s degree in education (professional development) from Emory University, a master’s in technology in education from Harvard University, and a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.

Wingard has lectured and written extensively on the topic of strategy, learning and leadership. He and his wife, Gingi live in Chestnut Hill with their children.

Ayana Jones is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared

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