Semester Wrap Up with the Red Diamond Battalion

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Cadets from the Red Diamond Battalion woke up early Wednesday morning for a breakfast of push-ups, sit-ups, and a two mile run.

The record Army physical fitness test marks the beginning of the end for a long and productive semester for the battalion. It is one of the many culminating events that measures how far the cadets have progressed since the beginning of the semester.

The cadets have accomplished a lot over the past few months. In October, the senior class successfully planned and executed a three day field training event designed to test the freshmen, sophomore, and junior cadets’ ability to operate in adverse conditions.

The good news continued for the battalion when the Temple University Ranger Challenge team took first in the second “Freedom” Brigade’s Ranger Challenge competition. This was a momentous occasion and marks a first in Temple University history.

It secured the team one of eight spots to represent ROTC and the United States Army in the International Sandhurst Military Skills competition being held at the United States Military Academy in April.

In addition, in just two weeks the battalion was able to raise over 1,500 pounds of food for the Preston and Steve Show’s Campout for Hunger food drive. Last Wednesday the cadets loaded the food into their trucks and marched it down all six miles to the stadium complex.

To kickoff the last week of the semester, Temple faced down Drexel ROTC in the annual Frosty Bowl flag football game. Although it came down to a tie, the team showcased the competitive spirit expected of an Army leader.

Cadet Katherine Berry, the outgoing battalion commander, shared what she thought led to this semester’s success.

“So we’re focused more on bringing our cadets up and focusing on helping them develop themselves, as opposed to maybe the past where the military was focused more on smoking and bringing people down,” said Berry.

On Thursday, the Red Diamond Battalion and Temple University University President Richard Englert will recognize the hard work the cadets put into this semester with the annual end of year awards ceremony.

Temple Update Exclusive: Remembering Michael Paytas

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On Wednesday morning, Temple Update broke the news of a student passing that occurred just two days prior.

Wednesday afternoon, President Englert sent out an email to the Temple community confirming the death of Michael Paytas.

Michael Paytas was a 24-year-old Business and Management student, set to graduate in only 3 weeks.

In an exclusive interview with Temple Update, Michael’s mother, Melinda Lilley, spoke with us about the sudden, heartbreaking death of her son Michael.


Michael and his mother, Melinda Lilley.


“Michael, since the day he was born, has always had a massive heart,” she began. “He always had a huge amount of friends.”

“Michael was loyal, loving, and kindhearted, and would do anything for anybody.”




Along with loving his friends, Michael was also very close with his family.

Michael and his brother’s dog “Mercedez” that he loved


“He loved his family. Our favorite memories were probably down the shore. We vacationed in Ocean City, New Jersey. We would go there every year when he was younger. He loved the shore.”


Melinda and Michael shared a special love of one Philadelphia sports team.


“Michael and I LOVED the Eagles! Tried to watch every game together!”


Melinda also spoke Michael’s passion for music.

“He was so gifted. He picked up the guitar in two seconds. He also picked up the drums in two seconds. He was so talented. He did teach himself, he picked it up on his own. He was probably around 18-19 when he first started.”

“He loved rap [music] cause of his age. He liked Rock and Roll too though, he was very diversified. He was such a good boy. One of the last songs we listened to was ‘California Dreaming ‘by the The Mamas and Papas.’ I mean he liked all kind of genres. He was such a good boy.”

Melinda took a moment to compose herself.

A photo Melinda took of Michael driving her


“We would drive to and from Temple almost everyday. His sense of humor was profound, and his laughter always made the days so much easier!”

Melinda then continued on to explain the special connection Michael held with Temple.


“He always did well in school and he cared about his grades.”



Michael Paytas died with only 3 weeks left until graduation


“He was so looking forward to graduating. It was his proudest moment. My mother paid for his college at Temple, and she’s 89 years old. The only thing he wanted to happen was that if I have to go up to Lancaster to pick you up and bring you back here to see me graduate I will do it. That’s what kind of kid he was.”

“My dad, his grandfather, George Lilley, graduated from Temple. He passed away in 2007, but my dad was hysterical! He had the same sense of humor as Michael! Both graduating from Fox- another reason he (Michael) was so proud.”


Michael and his brother, David (29).


“After graduation, he wanted to start a breakfast/lunch business with his brother, David.”


After all his family has been through over the past week, Michael’s mother, Melinda, just wants him to be remembered for the loving person he was.

“Everybody that knew him was fortunate. He just had a heart of gold. He was so grateful for everything. He had such a big heart.”



Services for Michael will be held as follows:

December 9th at 11AM

Red Clay Creek Church

500 McKennans Church Rd

Wilmington, DE 19808



UPDATE: Temple Student Found Dead in Off-Campus Apartment, Determined a Drug-Overdose

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Updated: 12/4/17 3:00 PM

The Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed that the recent deaths of both Temple students, James Orlando and Michael Paytas, were due to drug overdoses.

Philadelphia Police has provided a statement about the incident.

“On 12/2/17 at 6:50 AM the girlfriend of a 20-year-old deceased male reported that she woke up as the deceased was having labored breathing,” it reads. “Medics were called, the male was then unresponsive and pronounced on scene; the Medical Examiner’s office notified cause of death unknown at this time.”

According to police, foul play is not suspected. The Medical Examiner’s Office is not releasing information about the type of drugs involved in each case.

Dr. M. Moshe Porat, Dean of the Fox School of Business stated, “Our Fox School community is deeply saddened by the passing of James Orlando, the second loss we have suffered in recent days. Our thoughts and prayers are with James’ family and friends, to whom we send our heartfelt condolences.”


Original post: 12/3/17

 Temple University has experienced its second student death in one week.

James Orlando (Credit: GoFundMe)

James Orlando was pronounced dead in his apartment on the 1800 block of Berks Street after police responded to a 911 call at the off-campus residence on Saturday, December 2.

Orlando, 20, was discovered by medical officials who were unable to revive the third-year Fox School of Business student.

Orlando’s death comes less than seven days after Michael Paytas, another Fox School student, was discovered unconscious in Paley Library. Paytas was later pronounced dead at Hahnemann University Hospital.

This also comes just days after the preliminary hearing for Joshua Hupperterz, the man charged with the murder of 22-year-old Temple University student, Jenna Burleigh, in late-August.

“We are extremely saddened by the passing of James Orlando, a third-year business student from Reading, Pennsylvania,” said a spokesperson for Temple University.

A GoFundMe page has been created in James Orlando’s honor.


Temple Weighs in on the Relief Effort in Puerto Rico

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A month and a half after hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, the damage is still being felt by native Puerto Ricans on Temple’s campus.

“I lived through hurricanes when I lived in Puerto Rico, and I was expecting it be like how it was in the past,” said Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs, Sandra Suarez. “I didn’t expect the devastation to be at the level it is now.”

While relief efforts have been in place for just over a month, Suarez has spoken to family back home on the island and noted that even the people who do have power, are only getting a 50% output.

Suarez knows of the struggles in metropolitan areas and can only speculate as to the hardships that still face more rural parts of the territory.

Hiram Aldarondo, Ph.D., is the chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and not only has family in Puerto Rico, but has been to the island since the storm.

“After I was able to contact my family, they were the ones that told me how things were going. One thing is to hear from them, but it’s another to see it for yourself,” said Aldarondo.

After returning home and assessing the damage and relief efforts, be it too late or too little, Aldarondo is adamant that he does not want the country to forget that there are Americans in Puerto Rico that should not be forgotten and still need help.

Meet Temple’s First Rhodes Scholar

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When 23 year old Hazim Hardeman was growing up, attending Temple University seemed like an unattainable dream.

“I’ve always described it [Temple University] as a different world for us,” Hardeman said.

Fast forward and the 2015 Temple graduate was recently informed that he is one of 32 recipients of the distinguished Rhodes Scholarship.

Hardeman grew up on 23rd and Diamond Streets, just nine blocks away from Temple’s main campus in North Philadelphia. When he was growing up, Hardeman and his friends would ride bikes through campus, trying to get into a world he thought of as distant from his neighborhood.

From the time he was a young boy, Hardeman’s mother always placed an emphasis on the importance of education. When she had to live away from Hardeman for a while to handle family issues, his grades slipped. When she returned and saw how poorly he was doing in school, Hardeman was able to turn it around so he wouldn’t disappoint her.

“Circumstances in my life took me away from my main focus, which was school,” Hardeman said. “When my mother came back in our lives I got back on track and became the student I knew I could be.”

After graduating from high school, Hardeman attended the Community College of Philadelphia. He said his time at community college helped him become a better student.

“I don’t think I would be here if it wasn’t for community college,” Hardeman said. “There are certain skills you need to have, like building relationships with your professor, that I was able to work out at CCP so when I got to Temple I was able to hit the ground running.”

When Hardeman got to Temple, he studied Strategic Communication in the Klein College of Media and Communication. He participated in the Inside Out prison exchange class. It was there that a professor approached him about the prospect of applying for the Rhodes Scholarship. From there, Hardeman received an institutional endorsement from Temple and completed his application, which included a personal essay. He submitted the application materials in the end of October. He was then selected as a regional finalist and had an interview. After that, he was notified that he was selected to be Rhodes Scholar.

Hardeman will attend England’s Oxford University and plans to earn a masters in political theory and another in sociology. It will be his first time traveling outside of the United States and he is looking forward to a new chapter in his life.

“I’m a scholar at heart,” Hardeman said, “Being at Oxford and being able to not only learn from the wonderful professors there but also from my peers is the most exciting part.”

Temple Student Found Unconscious in Paley Library, Dies at Hospital

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Updated: 11/30/17

Students are shocked to find out about another death of a fellow Owl.

Temple Update broke the story on Wednesday that 24-year-old Michael Paytas of Holmes, PA was found unconscious on an upper floor of Samuel L. Paley Library, Monday, before being taken to Hahnemann University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Michael Paytas, 2017 (via Facebook).

Paytas was a senior Business and Management student in the Fox School of Business. He transferred to Temple in 2014 after attending Delaware County Community College. He was set to graduate in 3 weeks.

Senior Kinesiology major, Riley Conahan, says she recalls seeing some of the series of events that took place on Monday.

“So on Monday a friend and I were walking to class past Richies and we look over and we saw an ambulance. [And] I didn’t really think anything of it until I saw them pull out a stretcher and take it to the library.”

Although Conahan took notice of the medics responding, she, like many other Temple students, had no idea of the severity of the situation.

Despite this tragic event happening on Monday, students of the university were not notified until Wednesday. Students in classes with Paytas were first notified by their professors upon arriving to classes Wednesday, noticing the empty seat where Paytas sat just 2 days before. His 10AM class “Introduction to Digital Design Tools for Advertising,” was the last class he attended, before being found unconscious one hour later. The university sent out an email to the entire Temple community later Wednesday afternoon to let them know about the passing of Michael Paytas.

Jillian Moyer, a senior Chemistry major, says she has concerns when it comes to the delay in notifications being sent out to the university. Jill tells Temple Update “As a Temple student, we wanna know when things are happening. Like, kind of soon to when they occur just so that we can be aware of what’s happening.”

University officials have not yet announced the cause of Paytas’ death. One source tells Temple Update a student worker found Michael unconscious in the second floor bathroom of Paley Library.

Students in need of support during this time are encouraged to visit Tuttleman Counseling Services.

Original Story: 11/29/17

24-year-old Michael Paytas was found unconscious on an upper floor of Samuel L. Paley Library, Monday, before being taken to Hahnemann University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Paytas, a senior marketing major from Holmes, Pennsylvania transferred to Temple in 2014 after attending Delaware County Community College.

University officials have not yet announced the cause of Paytas’ death.

Students in need of support during this time are encouraged to visit Tuttleman Counseling Services.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Students Discuss Upcoming Finals Week

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“I am very, very nervous about my final exam,” says student Nina Sjostrom, a Management Information System major.

For most college students, finals week is the busiest week of the semester. All kinds of exams and papers pour in. Some students feel busy and nervous, while some students feel relaxed.

Temple student Tricia Cappelli says that she usually chooses to review at home, because other places make her feel more pressure.

“[I’m] like a little nervous, but I try not to stress too much. ‘Cause I know if I stress a lot, then I will do worse,” student Tricia Cappelli says.

“It is a quite regular feel of our dally life, so I do not feel very special for the coming final assignment,” says engineering student Jun Chen.

During finals week, the library and TECH Center tend to be places of great demand.

Junying Lu says that she usually studies at either of these locations. There are places called “quiet zones,” which are helpful for her.

Nina Sjostrom gives insight into her study plans, saying, “I will get a breakout room in the library with other students in my class who have the final exam, or I will study at home by myself.”

When asked if they had something to help review for finals, almost everyone said they will drink coffee.

“I definitely drink lots of coffee when I’m cramming. ‘Cause it helps me focus more and stay up later,” Cappelli says.

“I definitely do drink a lot of coffee,” expressed Sjostrom. “During finals week I probably drink four cups a day. But I am coffee addict so that’s not normal.”

Finals week runs December 14th through December 20th.


Tech Center hours during final week:

Wednesday, December 6th – Tuesday, December 19th: Open 24 hours daily, including weekends
Wednesday, December 20th: 9:30 PM closing


Library hours during final week:

Thursday, December 14th December 19th: Open 24 hours

Wednesday, December 20th: 8:00 PM closing

Manhattan Sports Business Academy at STHM Annual Career Fair

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On Wednesday, November 15th, the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management held their 26th annual career fair at Mitten Hall.

The fair included industry partners such as Comcast Spectator, Tiffany & Co, Aramark, and many more. One of the programs truly set the tone for opportunity in networking for students.

This program is the Manhattan Sports Business Academy – a summer immersion program designed for college students to take the next steps in their career in the sports industry. The program gives students the opportunity to take on internships, attend development workshops, take office field trips, and make connections.

A participant of this program, Temple senior Will Bubenik – a sports recreation and management major – wanted more for himself in the field of sports.

He says, “So when I was a freshman, I had a few experiences, I had worked for the Sixers, and a nonprofit in sports, but I really wanted to take my career to the next level. So, what I ended up doing, was literally type into Google ‘how to break into the business of sports,’ and an article popped up in Forbes about the Manhattan Business Academy.”

Ryan Schlaepfer, another Temple participant says, “the program exposed me to the different sides of the industry that I wouldn’t normally think of.”

Both Will and Ryan participated in the program their junior year and hope to continue the “pipeline” of Temple students participating in this program.

Phone Scammers Target Temple Students

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FBI Philadelphia has received reports of phone scammers targeting former and current Temple students.

According to this tweet, the caller claims to be an FBI agent from the State College office. The office’s real information – like the caller ID and phone number – is displayed.

The FBI warns people to be aware of this scam and others of the same nature.

Posing as an FBI agent, the caller may claim there is a warrant for the victim’s arrest, which can be thrown out in exchange for payment. Other scenarios where the caller is demanding money have also been reported.

The caller usually knows personal information about the victim, such as their name, background, and personal cell phone number.

The FBI does not call people asking for money or threatening arrest.

More information can be found on the FBI’s website.