Temple University has tapped current provost and long-time administrator Richard M. Englert to serve as acting president while the search for a permanent successor continues.

Englert, also senior vice president for academic affairs, becomes acting president on July 1 upon the exit of current president Ann Weaver Hart, Temple Board President Patrick O'Connor said Wednesday morning.

The university is in the middle of a national search to replace Hart, who has served as president for six years and will become president of the University of Arizona. Officials had hoped to have a new president in place by the time of Hart's departure. Hart announced last September that she was stepping down.

But the search is continuing.

"We're confident we're going to have a great president to announce," said O'Connor, also head of the 12-member presidential search committee.

More than 50 candidates have expressed interest and the committee has looked at two sitting presidents for the job as recently as last week, O'Connor said.

In the meantime, Englert "will keep the ball moving in the right direction until we find a worthy successor to Ann Hart," said O'Connor, also vice chairman of the law firm Cozen O'Connor.

Englert does not want to be permanent president and is not a candidate for the job, O'Connor said.

Englert has a bachelor's degree in philosophy from St. John's College in California, a master's in elementary education from Pepperdine University and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of California at Los Angeles.

A former elementary and special education teacher early on in his career, he has held several administrative positions at Temple over the last few decades, from heading the education department, to director of intercollegiate athletics and acting chief administrative officer of the School of Podiatric Medicine. He has worked at Temple since 1976.

Englert recently headed an in-depth look at the university's academic set-up and released a "white paper" which calls for consolidating or merging several schools or departments on campus. The recommendations stirred controversy within the academic community.

With more than 39,000 students on its campuses, including its main base in the heart of North Philadelphia, Temple is one of the region's largest universities.

Operating on a $2.2 billion budget, Temple includes 17 schools and colleges and a comprehensive health system.