Dr. Cornelius M. Kerwin served as American University’s 14th president from September 2007 to May 2017. The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to appoint him president emeritus, effective June 1, 2017. After a sabbatical, he will return to the School of Public Affairs faculty, where he holds an appointment in the Department of Public Administration and Policy.
As president, he led an institution of about 13,000 students, 1,300 teaching and administrative faculty, and 2,500 staff in the nation’s capital; oversaw a $700 million operating budget and a nearly $600 million endowment.
Dr. Kerwin joined AU in 1975. He was dean of the School of Public Affairs from 1988 to 1997; provost from 1997 to 2005; and acting—then interim—president of American University from 2005 to 2007.
A nationally recognized specialist in public policy and the regulatory process, Dr. Kerwin is actively engaged in research and periodically teaches courses in administrative process, policy implementation, and American government. He founded AU’s Center for the Study of Rulemaking and is the author of Rulemaking: How Government Agencies Write Law and Make Policy. The fifth edition of Rulemaking is under revision. Dr. Kerwin is also the author of numerous scholarly articles and professional publications.
Dr. Kerwin is a fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration; a former president of the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration; and founding chair of the Section on Public Law and Administration of the American Society for Public Administration. He received degrees from American University (BA), the University of Rhode Island (MA, political science), and Johns Hopkins University (PhD, political science).
Dr. Kerwin served as a member of the board of directors of the American Council on Education (ACE) from 2012 to 2015 and on the board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) from 2012 to 2014. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Greater Washington Board of Trade; he is also a member of the DC Chamber of Commerce and the DC Government’s Economic Strategy Advisory Committee. From 2013 to 2015, Dr. Kerwin chaired the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area Board of Trustees and the Patriot League Council of Presidents. He is currently a senior fellow with the Institutional Resources program of the Association of Governing Boards.
Before retiring in 2007, Dr. Kerwin’s wife, Ann, was the director of Human Resources at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The Kerwins have two grown sons and several grandchildren.