PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Temple University has a new president and it’s a historic selection. Dr. Jason Wingard’s resume is impressive.
A new era of leadership and a historical milestone for Temple University as the institution welcomes its first African American president.READ MORE: Ericka Brair Killed In 'Crime Of Passion' Day Before She Was Due To Testify In Court
Dr. Wingard’s academic career includes teaching and senior leadership posts at Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University.
But he has deep roots in the Philadelphia area. A native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, he proudly steps into his new role and the gravity of his presence.
“I feel proud. I recognize the significance of me being an African American president of a university that’s 136 years old in a city like Philadelphia,” he said.
Eyewitness News got the chance to speak with Dr. Wingard one-on-one about issues he’ll face when he starts on July 1. He’s focused on being committed to service as Temple’s chief ambassador.
“In order to be an ambassador, I have to listen, I have to experience, I have to make sure that I prioritize understanding all the pockets of success that the university has to offer,” Wingard said.READ MORE: Ocean County Couple Among Those Missing In Building Collapse Near Miami
Community involvement is also a main priority for a school that sits in the heart of North Philadelphia.
“Authentic engagement means you really immerse yourself in those communities at every level to better understand what their stories are, what their needs are, what their concerns are, what their experience has been with the institution,” Wingard said.
Temple, like other universities around the country, will grapple with transitioning into a post-pandemic setting as they prepare to welcome students back in the fall.
“As we return to campus in the fall, we’re gonna have to be very clear about what the new standards of learning are going to be,” Wingard said.
Dr. Wingard accepted his new position flanked by his wife and five children, all beaming with pride as he takes the helm of this storied institution.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Board Of Education To Officially Rename Andrew Jackson Elementary School
“So excited. We know so many Temple alums and students and students that are coming in, matter of fact this year. So excited to become part of the Temple family,” Gingi Wingard, Dr. Jason Wingard’s wife, said.