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  • Writer's picturePatricia Salkin

Jim Cawley, Latest Lawyer with Higher Ed Fundraising Experience Appointed to a Campus Presidency

When Rosemont College announced that lawyer Jim Cawley was named the College’s 15th president on October 28, 2022 following his appointment in June 2022 as interim president, he joined a discrete list of lawyer presidents who had prior higher education fundraising experience. For example, among the dozens of lawyer president who fit into this category, in 2020 Mount Aloysius College appointed lawyer John N. McKeegan as their 15th president and his previous service was as Vice President for Institutional Advancement (and General Counsel) at Linfield University, and when Transylvania University appointed lawyer Brien Lewis as its 27th President in 2020, they too hired someone who had been Vice President for University Development and Alumni Relations (at Winthrop University).

Seasoned fundraisers are needed now more than ever in higher education, as there is a great need for external revenue resources to fill the widening gap between tuition revenue and growing expenses. With pressure today in higher education to keep tuition low, as many consumers continue to the question the cost-benefit analysis of higher education and for so many the cost to access higher education is unattainable without financial support, a president who can effectively fundraise can be game-changer for their campus.

Based on data collected and analyzed in May it Please the Campus: Lawyers Leading Higher Education, lawyer presidents with prior experience as campus fundraisers emerged as candidates of interest in the 1960s and by the 2010s twenty-six sitting lawyer presidents shared this background. Interestingly, the greatest increase in appointments of lawyers with higher education fundraising experience is seen in the religiously affiliated institutions where from the 2000s to the 2010s the number tripled from five appointments to sixteen. This is not surprising as many religiously affiliated schools choose to forgo federal funding to enable them to follow religious tenants that may violate certain federal laws that would otherwise apply to the campus.

Between 2017 and 2021 Cawley served as Temple University’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement, where among other things, he lad efforts that raised over $360 million in four fiscal years, overseeing a staff of 140 people across 18 different units within Temple. He had previously served a President and CEO of Unites Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.

Cawley also brings another important skillset to the Presidency, which is the topic for another post – he has nearly two decades of government experience at both the state and local levels, where among other posts, he served as Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania from 2011-2015. For some, government experience also comes with fundraising savvy since in the case of Cawley, fundraising is a part of the process for campaigning for public office.

Cawley earned his JD from Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.

For more data on lawyer presidents, visit


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