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Hail to the Chief: Meet Temple’s New President

Neil D. Theobald is Temple’s 10th president. He began his tenure at Temple on January 1, 2013.

In naming Theobald to this role, Temple Board of Trustees Chairman Patrick J. O’Connor cited his extensive record of accomplishment as a university administrator and faculty member: "Dr. Theobald is a gifted teacher and dedicated researcher. In addition, he has a deep and practical understanding of the changing dynamics of higher education. He wants to ensure that students have access to an education that is first-class and affordable. At Indiana University, he made the tough decisions demanded by our times, while creating greater opportunities for student scholarship. I can't think of a better set of values to bring to the Temple presidency."

Theobald was named Indiana University’s senior vice president in 2007. Previously, he had served as the senior vice provost at the University’s flagship campus in Bloomington and as special assistant to IU’s president. Major accomplishments during more than a decade as a senior administrator at Indiana University include increasing the mean SAT score of the incoming class at IU Bloomington from 1096 to 1203, directing a $1.1 billion capital campaign, and boosting IU’s credit ranking to Moody’s highest level (Aaa).

In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Theobald holds a professorship in education finance. His research interests in the appropriate role of decentralization in educational financing and in modeling educational labor markets are reflected in more than $1.5 million in funded research, numerous books and book chapters, dozens of articles published in professional journals, and nearly 50 policy reports for state governments across the United States. At Indiana University, Dr. Theobald directed a research center that assisted state governments in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, and Washington in devising education funding processes that equitably facilitated academic excellence. In addition, Theobald was a three-time winner of IU's Teaching Excellence Recognition Award.

Theobald is a past-president of the American Education Finance Association, winning the association's Jean Flanigan Award for the outstanding dissertation in the study of educational finance in 1990. In 1995, the University Council for Educational Administration presented Theobald with the Jack A. Culbertson Award as the professor who, in the first seven years of his or her career, made the most outstanding contribution to the profession. In 2003, Theobald was presented the Distinguished Graduate Award by the College of Education at the University of Washington.

A native of Peoria, Illinois, Theobald had planned to enter an electrician’s apprenticeship after high school. However, donors to Trinity College in Connecticut made it possible for him to attend college and Theobald earned a bachelor’s degree in 1978. After a short stint in the corporate world, Theobald began his education career as a secondary school mathematics teacher in the State of Washington, where he also coached baseball. He subsequently served as both an assistant professor and an associate professor at the University of Washington, where he earned a doctoral degree in educational finance in 1988.

Dr. Theobald and his wife, Sheona Mackenzie, have three children. Their son, Roddy, is a graduate student in statistics at the University of Washington; their elder daughter, Kinnear, is completing a medical residency at the University of Colorado; and their younger daughter, Mattie, is a junior at Hamilton College in New York.