Education administrator Ronald J. Temple was born on September 10, 1940 in Chicago, Illinois. A graduate of Marshall High School in Chicago, Illinois he received his B.A. degree in 1964 from Eureka College, in Eureka, Illinois, and his M.A. degree in 1965, and later his Ph.D. degree in 1985, both from the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio.
In 1965, he began his career teaching at Lyons Township High School and Junior College in La Grange, Illinois. Temple was hired by the University of Cincinnati as assistant dean of student groups, becoming the university’s first black senior-level administrator in 1967. In 1969, he founded and served as the first president of the United Black Faculty Association as well as the University of Cincinnati’s first American urban history instructor. In 1971, Temple was promoted to serve as special assistant to University of Cincinnati president Warren Bennis where he campaigned for increased state support for the university. That same year, he was appointed to the Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education where he served for four years until 1975. Temple was then promoted to dean of the university and served in this role for ten years from 1975 to 1985.
Then in 1985, Temple became president of Wayne County Community College in Detroit, Michigan and over a five year period worked to reduce the college’s $2 million deficit. He was then hired as the third president of the Community College of Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania where he served from 1990 to 1993, focusing on improving the college’s vocational training programs and partnerships with area businesses. Temple served as chancellor of Chicago City Colleges from 1993 to 1999 before becoming chancellor of Peralta Community College District in Oakland, California where he served from 1999 to 2003 before retiring.
Temple was appointed to serve on the National BSA Executive Board in 1994 and on the Program Group Committee. He later served on the Chicago Area Council Executive Board. Temple was also a recipient of the Silver Beaver and Silver Buffalo Awards in 1998.
Ronald J. Temple was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 12, 2018.