In Memoriam: JoAnne A. Epps

In Memoriam: JoAnne A. Epps

JoAnne A. Epps of Temple University has died at age 72. A member of ALI for more than 25 years, Epps served on the Member Consultative Group for the Model Penal Code: Sentencing and Restatement of the Law Third, The Law Governing Lawyers projects.

Epps joined the Temple University Beasley School of Law faculty in 1985, teaching courses on criminal procedure, evidence, and trial advocacy. She served as dean of the law school from 2008 to 2016. From 2016 to 2021, Epps worked as Temple University’s executive vice president and provost. She was appointed acting president of Temple University in April of this year. Following her death, the board of trustees voted to recognize Epps as the 13th president of Temple University.

Below is an excerpt from The New York Times obituary (subscription may be required).

“There are no words that can describe the gravity and sadness of this loss,” the university said in a letter that was signed by the chair of the board of trustees, the chief operating officer and the provost. “President Epps was a devoted servant and friend who represented the best parts of Temple.”

The university did not share the cause of death.

Ms. Epps was attending a memorial service on Tuesday for Charles L. Blockson, a historian, author and curator of the Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple, which houses more than 500,000 artifacts relating to the global Black experience. Mr. Blockson died in June at 89.

Footage from a live feed of the memorial service that was later removed from Temple’s website showed a choir singing behind a row of chairs that had been set up on the stage. Ms. Epps appeared to slump in her chair as papers she was holding in her lap fell to the floor. People seated next to her noticed that she was in distress, and someone stepped to the lectern and asked for a doctor to come and help. The live feed then cut out for several minutes before the memorial service resumed.

Gov. Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania said on X, formerly Twitter, that Ms. Epps was “a powerful force and constant ambassador for Temple University” and that “losing her is heartbreaking for Philadelphia.”

Please visit the Temple University page honoring President Epps."