Dr. John C. Cavanaugh

Ph.D., President and CEO, Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area

Dr. John C. Cavanaugh is President and CEO of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. Previously, he was chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, effective July 1, 2008.  He serves as the chief executive officer of PASSHE, which operates 14 comprehensive universities with a combined enrollment of nearly 117,000 students. The chancellor works with the Board of Governors to recommend and develop overall policies for the State System.

From 2002 to 2008, Dr. Cavanaugh served as president of the 10,500-student University of West Florida in Pensacola. Among his accomplishments were creating the Academic Technology Center and being one of the original proponents of the Vince Whibbs Community Maritime Park (the largest public-private partnership in Pensacola history). He served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington from 1999 to 2002. He also held various positions at the University of Delaware, including vice provost for academic programs and planning and associate provost for graduate studies.

Dr. Cavanaugh attended St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia before earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology with high honors from the University of Delaware in 1975. He also holds both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Notre Dame, and served as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Research in Human Learning and the Institute of Child Development. He served as an American Council on Education Fellow in 1994-1995 and is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Divisions 1, 2, 3, and 20), a Charter Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America.

He serves as Chair of the Federal Relations Committee of the State Higher Education Executive Officers and as Vice Chair of the Policies and Purposes Committee of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. He is Vice Chair of the Middle States Association Board of Trustees and a commissioner for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Dr. Cavanaugh is a member of the Marygrove College Board of Trustees and previously served on several national advisory boards, including the Chronicle of Higher Education and New York Times Higher Education Cabinet; the National Flight Academy, which he chaired from 2004-2008; and the Walt Disney College and International Program.