Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Temple names 26-story tower for landlord Mitch Morgan

And his wife Hilarie

Temple names 26-story tower for landlord Mitch Morgan

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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.  

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About this blog

PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com, distefano251@gmail.com, 215.854.5194 or 302.652.2004.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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