Updated 12:40 p.m.
The first Republican witness party members called to testify publicly in the impeachment proceedings of President Donald Trump is a former Philly guy.
Kurt Volker, formerly Trump’s special representative for Ukraine negotiations, came under fire Tuesday afternoon for drastically changing the tone of his testimony regarding the president’s international communications.
But long before that, in a much simpler era — for Volker, at least, if not for all of us — the retired ambassador attended Temple University. Volker was class of 1985, and what a time it was to be alive.
He was at Temple during the 100th anniversary of the school’s founding, and the entire academic community was in celebration mode. At the corner of Broad and Norris, Pi Lamba Phi threw college parties so often that pics wound up in the yearbook. Festivals regularly took over the lawn at 13th and Berks, now built over by the brand new Charles Library.
A native of Hatboro, Pa., Volker arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed to Temple just as the neon-filled ’80s kicked off. He took up international affairs as his major. Good call, Kurt.
Now 54, back then Volker was one active dude. By his senior year, he had been appointed press secretary for the Temple Student Government, and helped oversee in the first-ever election for government officers.
Plus, he sang in the concert choir.
Engaged as he was in the Temple community, Volker must have had some trouble meeting deadlines.
His headshot is missing from the 1985 yearbook, and per the current faculty advisor, that’s a sign the soon-to-become CIA analyst probably forgot to submit one on time. Volker himself reached out to Billy Penn and confirmed that when he graduated, it was “probably without the knowledge of people asking for photos for the yearbook.”
Otherwise, the former ambassador said he was “very proud of [his] time at Temple!”
What kind of student was Volker outside of extracurriculars? Hard to answer, since all faculty he interacted with are likely retired, university spokesperson Ray Betzner confirmed to Billy Penn.
“If you were 45 or 50 [years old] 30 years ago, you’re now 75, and most of those folks are retired,” Betzner said. “There just doesn’t seem to be a big pool of people left from that arena.”
We can still uncover details of what school was like when Volker was attending classes in North Philly.
Using excerpts from the Templar yearbook, plus clips from daily issues of The Temple News, here’s a snapshot of the university in 1984:
College students had to register for class in person.
But the computer! Can you believe?
Cyndi Lauper came to Temple.
So did the B52s.
Philly elected its first African American mayor, Wilson Goode.
Then-Councilman John Street wasn’t paying off his $2,000 in student loans.
Students were still reeling from the Vietnam War.
MTV was… starting to seem kinda capitalist?
Temple’s enrollment was dropping.
And the university prez hoped some day that the school would become its own city (?).
In his testimony in front of the U.S. House on Tuesday, Volker said he believed U.S. presidents should not ask foreign leaders to interfere with domestic elections. If only the college choir star knew this is how he’d get prime time at the mic.