Temple University Beasley School of Law Remembers JoAnne A. Epps

President, Provost, Dean, Professor,
friend, colleague, and mentor

The Temple Law community joins the family and friends of beloved President JoAnne A. Epps in mourning her unexpected passing on September 19, 2023.

President JoAnne A. Epps was unforgettable for many reasons. As we prepare to celebrate her life and legacy, Temple Law School invites you to share your favorite memory or a message of support for her loved ones by submitting a comment below.

Information about services celebrating President Epps’s life and opportunities to honor her legacy can be found on the University website. A recording of the Celebration of Life service is available below.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to Temple Law School in honor of the memory and legacy of JoAnne A. Epps here.

Thank you for being part of the Temple Law community and for helping to carry President Epps’s vision and work forward.

In remembrance,

Rachel Rebouché
Dean and James E. Beasley Professor of Law
Temple University, Beasley School of Law

President Epps and Dean Rebouché – June 20, 2023

In June 2023 Dean Rebouche invited President Epps to her office for a conversation about leadership, student success, and their shared love for Temple University and Temple Law School. In that conversation, JoAnne was candid and reflective about how Temple has been a transformative influence in her life. She was, of course, transformative as well – not just for Temple, but for Philadelphia, the legal profession, and generations of Temple Law graduates around the world. We hope that hearing about the joy she took in serving our students and communities is an inspiration to carry on her work and commitment to Temple Law.

Photography from the reception

Celebration of life

Memories and Messages of Gratitude

Please feel free to share a favorite memory or leave a comment for President Epps’s family, colleagues and friends using the form below for it to appear below.

Message From Dov Goldschmidt
Dean Epps was a source of wisdom, leadership and pride for all of us at the Law School. I will never forget her moving remarks at the graduation celebration in 2016. There was greatness in her. I was happy to hear when she was chosen to lead Temple as its President and was sure she would help guide the University successfully into the future. Her passing is a true loss to Temple and the greater Philadelphia community.
Message From Liz Green Schultz
Dean Epps was the reason I chose Temple Law, like so many of my classmates and mentors. I remember her warmth during our conversation at Admitted Students Day, after which I called my husband and told him: Babe, we’re moving to Philly! Even then, she made me feel like I was the only person in the room. She was a deeply impressive educator; she loved to teach Litigation Basics, and we loved having her to hold our terrified 1L hands through the transition into law school—and just about every transition well into our careers. My best friend from law school and I only realized AFTER her untimely passing that she still quietly mentored each of us regularly, until the end of her time here with us! And always as “JoAnne” — a friend. We all stand on her shoulders, and will continue to fight to make her proud, “because the world won’t change itself.”
Message From Theodore “Ted” Simon
I don’t know what to say—shocked and saddened beyond words. JoAnne was a delight of a person. There are so many wonderful things she exemplified and transmitted. Kind, generous, thoughtful, dignified, bright, beaming, and beautiful throughout, Supportive, inspiring, warm, and welcoming. Just compile all of the best characteristics and adjectives one could think of – and you would have defined, in part, President JoAnne Epps. I am so thankful for our long history and friendship. Each interaction and communication was supportive and uplifting. And then those handwritten notes … She will be sorely missed, and we all will be less without her.
Message From Judge Ronee Korbin Steiner
Joanne Epps is part of the reason I was appointed to the bench in Arizona. While she supported me to the governor, she inspired me as a law student to be the best lawyer I could be. I will never forget her passion for criminal procedure and her support of me as young lawyer. I will always use her spiritual guidance when I am in my courtroom. She will be missed.
Message From Andrea Foulkes
It was an honor to know Joanne Epps. Our paths didn’t cross often, but when we saw each other she always made me feel like a long-standing friend. She gave you the sole focus of her attention in a conversation. She never presented herself as someone more important than a colleague and friend. Yet she was indeed a person of incalculable importance to us all. I last saw Joanne at a party for former AUSAs just after her appointment as Temple’s president. She had intended to retire, was looking forward to it. I joked with her about the “tsunami” that just fell on her head, but she reassured me it was only for a year. She never complained about the detour in her plans. Joanne always took on vast responsibility brilliantly, without fanfare. She inspired us to be kinder, better, more accessible, more committed. In the end, for all her vast accomplishments, I will miss Joanne Epps most dearly for how she made us feel. May we live up to her example. May her memory be a blessing.
Message From John
President Epps carried the torch for Temple with an irreplaceable humility. While Dean at Temple Law School, her leadership empowered everyone by including a personal touch that is easily regarded as rare indeed.
Message From Theresa Hoover
President JoAnn Epps was an amazing woman. I met her when she was the Dean of the Law School. She was kind, welcoming and accessible to the students and alumni. She made you feel special and was always encouraging. She will be greatly missed and my prayers are with her family and the Temple University community. RIP 🌹
Message From Suzanne Garber, DSc
What a blessing JoAnne has been to me. When I was General Manager (ACOM) for the 2020 Census for Philadelphia and needed a place to recruit, hire and train 2000 enumerators, I turned to JoAnne for her wisdom and guidance. Without hesitation, knowing the importance of an accurate count for the city, she offered up the Liacouras Center. Her wisdom, grace, and compassion for not just me but also the residents of North Philly, the Temple community, and the city as a whole were unparalleled.
Message From Anne Lazarus, Judge of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania
Dean Epps was that rare person who could be the consummate professional and also make you feel that you were the only person in the room. Her zeal in promoting those who were affiliated with Temple University was unbounded. I cannot recount how many times she called me to suggest that I hire a former student; very often, someone who may have not excelled academically but who demonstrated to Joanne that he or she was special and deserving of a chance or second or even third chance. I don’t think that she was ever wrong. I never heard her offer an unkind word or engage in senseless gossip. Her enthusiasm for life, in general, and associated with Temple was joyous. The void that she left is unfillable. Her infectious spirit, will undoubtedly, haunt the halls of Temple University, particularly the law school in a very good way for years to come. If so, we will be fortunate. My heart goes out to her husband and family who I am sure are even more saddened by her loss. May her name be for a blessing.
Message From Sally Stetson
JoAnne had a gift of making everyone feel as if they were the most special person in the room. I looked up to her, admired her and will miss her. I send my sincerest condolences and prayers to her husband and family.