Trustee James F. Cawley
When James Cawley came to Temple, he was interested in journalism and golf. Along the way, the Bishop Egan High School graduate lost his taste for journalism, but gained an appreciation for government service, starting with Temple’s student government.
It was a preview of a passion that would eventually lead him to several roles in state and local government and to become the newest county commissioner in growing Bucks County.
Cawley came to Temple thinking he would prepare for a career in broadcast journalism. It certainly seemed the right place to get a start, considering the success Temple alumni have in the local and national broadcast media.
“As I progressed through Temple, I became very involved in campus life, even though I was a commuter student,” said the Bucks County native. He served on the student general assembly, including terms as its speaker and parliamentarian.
With his growing interest in student government, it only makes sense that he found himself switching from journalism to political science, and as graduation approached, he made plans for law school.
“I was planning to go to Penn,” he said with a chuckle, but recalls that he was convinced to give Temple's law school a chance. “I figured if I got in, it was meant to be. I got in.”
The three years in law school brought with it continued interest in government. After graduation, Cawley worked on Mark Schweiker’s campaign for lieutenant governor, but quickly realized a life in Harrisburg was not for him.
“I’m very much a homebody. Bucks County was calling me,” Cawley said.
For 10 years, beginning in 1994, he was chief of staff with state Sen. Robert Tomlinson, working to meet the needs of the senator’s constituents, focusing on Bucks County issues, such as economic development. For the last three of those years, Cawley was also a partner in the law firm Rudolph, Pizzo and Clarke.
When he was asked to fill an unexpired term on the Bucks County board, he jumped at the chance. He was sworn in Jan. 18, and has been having a great time serving the people in his home community.
It was Schweiker who selected him for the Temple trustees appointment, and he has found some unexpected pleasures in the role.
“I did not know the strong international reputation of Temple University. Japan has just recognized us as the first foreign university branch to be designated as a ‘foreign university.’ That speaks very well of Temple,” he said.
The growth of Temple’s Main Campus population is also surprising. Cawley was a commuter, so for him to see that 8,000 students are living on or near campus is a major change.
“The Student Center is busy night and day. That’s amazing,” he said. “There is clearly a strong commitment to being a residential campus here.”
That sense of change and momentum is obvious all around campus, as the enhancements to the physical plant bring Temple up to a higher standard.
“I’m very proud of Temple and the strides we’ve made,” Cawley said. “This is a great time to be here.”
By Ray Betzner