Temple University is Philadelphia
's "commonwealth university
" - what residents of most U.S. states would call a state school
. It's a pretty big (33,000 people), diverse (20% black, 8% Asian, 3% international) and reasonably-priced ($8,000/year for PA residents, $15,000 for aliens) university by American standards.
Temple's main campus is located around Broad Street in northern Philadelphia, with train stations on the Broad Street subway line and the SEPTA regional rail loop. In addition to its main campus, Temple also maintains campuses in Center City, Ambler, and Harrisburg, as well as the only full-fledged American university in Tokyo, Temple University Japan, smaller facilities in London and Rome, and a law school in China run in cooperation with Tsinghua University.
Among Temple's many academic programs, its most noteworthy nationally are its graduate programs:
- Business - Temple's executive MBA was ranked #14 in the U.S. by the Financial Times, and its international MBA (which combines courses in Philadelphia, France, India, and Japan) was ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News.
- Law - Temple's law school is well-reputed, particularly for its trial advocacy program (the school's trial team almost always ends up in the national championship: in fact, a few years ago, the national championship consisted of the Temple A-team and the Temple B-team). Uniquely among American law schools, it also has campuses in Tokyo and Beijing that award LLM degrees in American law.
- Podiatry - Temple maintains the only podiatry school in the northeastern U.S. If you have a podiatrist and you live within a reasonable distance of the East Coast, there's a good chance that your podiatrist went to Temple.
Temple's undergraduate programs are, for the most part, good but not particularly great. The average incoming freshman has a B average and an SAT score around 1080. About a quarter of the student body is from out of state: many, if not most, of these students are more interested in the big-city lifestyle than any particular course of study.
Many people wonder how Temple got its name. The answer is pretty simple: it started around the Baptist Temple on Broad Street. "Since when do Baptists build temples?" you ask. Well, as with most of the oddities in life, there's a story behind it. Before the temple was built, there was a very overcrowded church on Berks and Mervine. A young girl, Hattie May Wiatt, found out that the church's pastor was having trouble raising the money for a new building, and so she took up her own collection. Soon, she fell ill and died, leaving all of fifty-seven cents to the church. The congregation retold the story of Hattie May Wiatt countless times, and soon raised enough money to buy the property for their new church, as well as a house nearby. One gentleman offered to donate $10,000 for the church's construction, with only one catch: they would have to come up with a name grander than "church." So it was called a "temple" instead.
The house was the beginning of Temple University. The church's pastor, Russell H. Conwell, began tutoring a few locals for missionary work in 1884. His school exploded in enrollment, and was chartered as The Temple College in 1888 (it remained private until 1965). Under Conwell, Temple adopted the owl as its mascot because of its student body, mostly consisting of working-class people who attended classes at night. Conwell also adopted Temple's school colors, cherry and white.
The Baptist Temple still stands on Broad Street, although it has been owned by the university since 1974. It is currently being renovated.