Former Temple University president dies
Former Temple University president Peter Liacouras passed away on Thursday, after a long illness, according to a statement released by Temple. He was 85.
“He was a visionary, really what I would call a master strategist,” said Richard Englert, former interim president of Temple and friend of Liacouras. “He was the kind of person who didn’t just read the future, but he actually knew he could shape the future.”
Liacouras served as the seventh president of the North Philadelphia institution from 1982 until 2000. It’s hard to tour the university and not see dedications to the late president's memory, such as Liacouras Walk or the Liacouras Center.
Before serving as university president, Liacouras was the dean of Beasley School of Law for 10 years and a law professor. He was later appointed a university chancellor.
“Peter was a man of vision and determination,” President Neil Theobald, Temple’s tenth president, said in a press release. “He loved Temple and would do anything he could for the university’s greater good, whether that was before, during or after his term as president.”
His influence can be observed in the student body, which grew larger, more diverse and more international under Liacouras’ watch, Theobald added.
One of Liacouras’ signature achievements was the dramatic development of Main Campus. More than $900 million was spent on capital projects. Construction included the Liacouras Center, the Tuttleman Learning Center, Shusterman Hall and several student residence halls.
"He spent his entire adult life working at Temple, hoping to help make it a better a place," Greg Liacouras, the late president's son, told Philly.com.
Before Liacouras arrived at Temple, people only knew about Temple from the suburbs, Englert said. Only by traveling up and down Broad Street.
“His great vision was to bring people to campus,” Englert said. “Once they get on campus, they’ll linger. They’ll see just how excellent Temple University is and how excellent the academics are.”
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, May 20, at the Temple Performing Arts Center.