PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Temple University President Dr. Jason Wingard is planning to move a block from campus in an effort to further engage with students and families in surrounding neighborhoods.
Wingard started the position in July 2021 and currently lives in Chestnut Hill.
He will now move into a three-story rowhouse on North Carlisle Street, a block off campus.
"We are just a family who's moving to Carlisle Street in North Philadelphia. We want to engage with our neighbors and be able to invite them over," Wingard said.
It's just off Broad Street, between Norris and Diamond streets, and still within the Temple University police patrol zone.
The university bought the home and several properties in 2010 and has been using them as offices. The home will now be renovated for residential living.
Wingard will be the first Temple University president to live this close to campus in decades, according to university officials.
His wife and 13-year-old son will join him. The couple's other four children are away at school.
"I believe that as matter of doing this job well, and my wife agrees with me, that in order to be a college university president you need to be fully accessible, you need to be able to engage with students, faculty, with the community," said Wingard.
Wingard's Violence Reduction Task Force released safety recommendations last month stating the university must play a key role to help reduce high crime rates in the surrounding North Philadelphia neighborhoods.
There have been recent shootings off-campus within three to four blocks of Wingard's future home. And within the last month, Temple students have been robbed in their off-campus homes on at least two occasions, along with two recent armed robberies of students who were walking.
"Am I concerned about violence happening in this country? Yes. Am I concerned about the increase in violence in Philadelphia? Yes. Am I concerned for our students here at Temple? Absolutely. This is our family. We want to make sure our students are safe," Wingard said.
Current students were shocked when they heard the news since a president hasn't lived on campus since the founder.
"A lot of people, key decision makers, leave campus during the weekend and don't see what's going on so I think that'll give him a new perspective," said senior Sophie Hochfeld.
Wingard is the university's first Black president and has celebrated a university milestone of welcoming the most diverse freshman class, with more than 51% being students of color, according to university officials.
Wingard hopes to move in this spring once the house is renovated.