Temple University's 26-story tower, rooftop conference center-theater, and surrounding 1,200-bed dorm complex, dining hall, kitchens and retail complex now rising under construction cranes at North Broad St. between Oxford and Cecil B. Moore Aves. on the Center City-facing south side of the North Philly campus will be named for King of Prussia-based apartment mogul and national Republican fundraiser Mitchell L. Morgan and his wife, Hilarie.
The move honors Temple undergraduate accounting and law-school grad Morgan's eight years (so far) heading his alma mater's facilities committee after he was drafted by the late Howard Gittis to help finance the school's Temple 20/20 expansion program.
Why Temple? "My parents never went to college. I worked my way through what's now the Fox business school, studying accounting, through selling shoes at Broad and Lehigh," Morgan recounted. "Then (Temple) law school at night. I hadn't gone back to campus from 1980" until the early 2000s.
The school he remembered as a commuter-driven "community college" had by then become a place thousands of students lived. "This facility will promote that concept of residential living at Temple. We'll get the kids out of the neighborhoods where they've been coming home at 3 in the morning" and bothering residents, "and down toward Center City." Morgan Hall will serve as Temple's southern gateway. "It's a beautiful building. I like that when I visit offices in Center City, my lawyers and others, I can see the building rise."
The naming "recognizes the Morgans' lifetime of support for the university, including a recent $5 million commitment," Temple said in a statement. The total price tag, $216 million, is mostly financed by tax-exempt bonded debt. Morgan's "infectious enthusiasm" for Temple expansion has convinced others to donate, said board chairman Patrick O'Connor in a statement.
Morgan pronounced himself "thrilled" by the board's decision to use his name. The university also announced it's raising money to fund 250 $5,000 (corrected) scholarships to North Philadelphia students over the next 10 years.