Temple University's history begins in 1884, when a young working man asked Russell Conwell if he could tutor him at night. A well-known Philadelphia minister, Conwell quickly said yes. It wasn't long before he was teaching several dozen students—working people who could only attend class at night but had a strong desire to make something of themselves.

Conwell recruited volunteer faculty to participate in the burgeoning night school, and in 1888 he received a charter of incorporation for “The Temple College.” His founding vision for the school was to provide superior educational opportunities for academically talented and highly motivated students, regardless of their backgrounds or means.

The fledgling college continued to grow, adding programs and students throughout the following decades. Today, Temple's more than 35,000 students continue to follow the university's official motto—Perseverantia Vincit, or “Perseverance Conquers”—with their supreme dedication to excellence in academics, research, athletics, the arts and more.

Russell H. Conwell

Inspired by the legend of a prosperous farmer, Ali Hafed, Conwell sowed the seeds of service during his lifetime as lawyer, minister and educator. Learn more about Russell H. Conwell.

Temple Traditions

The Temple "T." The Owl. The Cherry and White. Learn more about Temple University's traditions.

Acres of Diamonds

"Acres of Diamonds" is Russell Conwell's best-known speech, and the inspiration behind the Temple University mission. Learn more about "Acres of Diamonds."


Though Commencement is an annual event, we know it marks a major milestone in the lives of our graduates. With each year comes a new crop of talented and driven alumni, ready to effect change in all they do! Learn more about Commencement.

Honorary Degrees

Temple University has a rich tradition of awarding honorary degrees to outstanding leaders, artists, scientists, journalists and professionals from all walks of life whose values and achievements exemplify the mission and ideals of the university. Learn more about Honorary Degrees.