The 20 years following World War II witnessed the transformation of Temple into a modern university, but the university remained committed to its mission of service and diversity. Above, students leave the subway in front of South Hall, circa 1970.

Temple University, now the 28th largest university in the nation and the fifth largest provider of professional education in the U.S., started in 1884 as a neighborhood school of higher education housed in a Baptist temple on North Broad Street.

Temple’s  growth and role in the evolution of higher education and Philadelphia is chronicled by Temple history professor James Hilty in his new book, Temple University: 125 Years of Service to Philadelphia, the Nation and the World (Temple University Press, 2010).

“As I was doing my research for the book, I was looking for themes, and it goes back to Temple’s founder and to the democratization of higher education and the accessibility that Temple offers—those are Temple’s major contributions, not only to Philadelphia, but really to the world at large,” Hilty said.

To read more:

History book chronicles Temple’s unconventional journey to major university

–Kim Fischer

Programming in the 36,000-square-foot performance venue will begin on April 17 with a performance by Broadway actress and singer Patti LuPone.

Credit: Elizabeth Manning/Temple University

Baptist Temple, originally built in 1891 for Temple University founder Russell Conwell’s congregation, and the source of the university’s name, is set to re-open on April 14 after standing dormant for 30 years. The 36,000-square-foot facility has undergone a $30 million renovation that preserved much of the building’s original character while transforming it into a state-of-the-art performance and event space.

“We are thrilled to breathe new life into The Baptist Temple, converting it to a fully equipped, state-of-the-art technical facility,” said Charles Bethea, the venue’s executive director. “The Temple serves as a monument to the growing vitality of our community, offering the university and our neighbors opportunities for deeper engagement with an exciting new mix of arts and ideas.”

Programming will commence on April 17 with a performance by Broadway actress and singer Patti LuPone. A full season of concerts, theatre and dance productions will follow, including bookings by Philadelphia Dance Company and Live Nation. Building managers also hope to attract special events such as film screenings, graduations, weddings and other occasions.

The Baptist Temple’s primary performance space is Lew Klein Hall, a 1,200-seat theater that features a large, protruding stage, superior acoustics, vaulted ceilings and much of the building’s restored original features. Among the unique attributes are custom wood and iron working, 140 stained-glass windows and the Temple’s hallmark Rose Window overlooking Broad Street.

– Kyle Bagenstose

For more of this story visit the Temple University Newsroom