Chancellor, Temple University, 2000-present

President, Temple University, 1982-2000
Dean, Temple University School of Law, 1972-1982

University Professor of Law Emeritus, 2006-present
University Professor of Law, 2000-2006

Professor of Law, 1967-2000
Associate Professor of Law, 1965-1967

Assistant Professor of Law, 1963-1965

Peter Liacouras’ career has been characterized as pan, metron, ariston (universality, moderation, excellence). A human rights activist throughout his career, he has maintained an unshakeable commitment to human dignity, equality of opportunity, individual responsibility and integrity. He has long been recognized for fair and effective efforts to open up the professions to African-Americans, women and others who were historically excluded from fair opportunities to realize the American Dream.Born in Philadelphia and raised in nearby Yeadon, Pennsylvania, he is the fourth and youngest child of James Peter Liacouras and Stella Lagakos Liacouras. His parents were born in Messinia and Laconia, Greece, respectively, and immigrated to the United States as youngsters during the first decade of the last century. Like so many of their generation, they worked hard and devoted themselves to the advancement of their children. In their honor, the Liacouras family has established scholarships and gardens at Temple University.

Mr. Liacouras was educated in the public schools of Philadelphia and Yeadon, and at Drexel University, College of William & Mary, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Harvard Law School, and Yale LawSchool where he was a Sterling Fellow. He served as American Specialist for the Department of State in India, a public defender, and Special Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia.

In 1963, he joined the Temple Law faculty. He has lectured throughout the United States, India, China, Japan, Greece, Italy, Israel and Ghana.

In 1972, Peter Liacouras was named Dean of the School of Law of Temple University, helping lead the Law School to national and international prominence. During his decade as dean, the Law School was transformed into a Law Center: clinical and pre-clinical programs were initiated, the innovative Sp.A.C.E. Program and the Temple L.E.A.P. Program for secondary school students, were begun, and international programs for students and faculty were launched in Israel, Italy, Ghana, and Greece.

On July 1, 1982, Mr. Liacouras took office as the seventh President of Temple University. By the time he retired as President on June 30, 2000, the University had been transformed from a good, predominantly local commuter institution into a robust and residential public research university of national and international stature.

As Temple’s transformational president for nearly two decades, his leadership led to the increase of diversity in persons, ideas and programs that had effects throughout the region and the nation, and he was recognized as one of America’s most respected and innovative educational leaders. His contributions to Temple have been characterized as second in importance only to Founder Reverend Russell Conwell in the 125 year history of University.

In “Commentaries with Chancellor Liacouras,” the Temple web-site offers a comparative factual analysis of “The Liacouras Years” between 1982 and 2000. When, in December 1999, Mr. Liacouras announced his plan to retire as President on June 30, 2000, the Board of Trustees of Temple University named him the first “University Professor of Law” as well as Chancellor of Temple University. Additionally, the University’s massive six-building complex (“The Liacouras Center”) was named in his honor as was the major street in the spine of the Main Campus (“Liacouras Walk”).

By the time he retired, Temple’s annual consolidated operating budget was $1.3 billion, with more than 10,000 employees, 210,000 alumni, 29,000 students from 110 nations, and record-breaking support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the private sector. Temple became a Carnegie Research I University during his presidency while increasing the historic diversity, including particularly among African-Americans, flourishing within the institution.

His legacy also includes:

–         a burgeoning “Temple Town” and transformation of the Main Campus into a full residential campus;

–         the largest development program in the university’s history;

–         five other campuses and sites in Pennsylvania;

–         campuses or sites in London, Paris, Rome, Athens, Tel Aviv, Ghana, Tokyo,Seoul and Beijing;

–         evolving on-line educational ventures;

–         a fiercely independent administration beholden to no political or government operatives in day-to-day operations.

Temple University in 2000 included 17 schools and colleges; the nation’s largest professional student body (Law, Medicine, Dentistry, Podiatry) in a public university; the nation’s most comprehensive Arts programs with national rankings (Tyler Art, Boyer Music, Theater, Dance); nationally-ranked intercollegiate athletic programs competing at the highest level together with an unblemished record of compliance in the NCAA and Conferences; and the world-class Temple University Health System, Inc.

During his years as President, Mr. Liacouras taught a seminar on jurisprudence in twelve of those years, and an undergraduate course.

As University Professor of Law, Mr. Liacouras has offered a graduate seminar on “Administration of Higher Education” in the College of Education; a required undergraduate course in “Intellectual Heritage”; seminars on “Jurisprudence” and “Selective Problems in International Law” at the Beasley School of Law, and he has also taught in nearby inner-city schools.

In May 2003, he was elected as a Member of the Academy of Athens, the successor to Plato’s Academy and the highest honorary scientific association inGreece, where he is an abroad-residing member. His book, “Toward Universal Access to Higher Education-The American Experience,” was published in early 2004 by the Academy. An electronic copy can be viewed on Professor Liacouras’ website:

Chancellor Liacouras’ office is in Barrack Hall, Suite 300.

Phone: (215) 204-0007
Fax: (215) 204-0005
e-mail: or

Ms. Jean Berry is the Executive Assistant to the Chancellor.

Selected Publications

Publications and Media Appearances