Lewis Katz, a member of the Temple University Board of Trustees who recently made the largest-ever donation to his alma mater, died Saturday night in the crash of a private plane north of Boston, Massachusetts.
Katz was 72 years old.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Katz was one of seven people on the plane when it crashed and burst into flames at about 9:40 pm Saturday. The plane was headed for Atlantic City International Airport. Katz and the others aboard had flown to Concord for an education fundraiser at the home of historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Katz and H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest had just been awarded ownership of the company that owns the Inquirer last week.
Temple announced last month that the School of Medicine would be renamed the Lewis Katz School of Medicine in recognition of the 25-million dollar pledge Katz made last fall. It was the largest single pledge in the history of the university.
Katz graduated from Temple in 1963, and had been a member of the Board of Trustees since 1998.
Katz was the featured speaker at last month’s commencement, where he received an honorary degree. He joked on stage with old friend Bill Cosby, and talked about his humble beginnings and his years at Temple. Katz described how a scholarship made it possible for him to attend the university, and he urged the new graduates to make the most of their Temple diplomas and to hold on to the relationships they had made during their years at the school.
Temple President Neil Theobald called Katz’s death “an incalculable loss” for the university and for Philadelphia. President Theobald extended condolences to Katz’s family on behalf of the Temple community, and he said Katz’s impact on the university “will be felt by Temple students for decades to come.”
Click here to see more reaction from the Temple community and from around the nation.
Click here to see Lewis Katz’s remarks during Temple’s commencement on May 15th.