Cornelius M. Kerwin

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Cornelius M. Kerwin
14th President of
American University
In office
August 24, 2005 – November 11, 2005 (acting)
November 11, 2005 – September 1, 2007 (interim)
September 1, 2007 – May 31, 2017
Preceded by Benjamin Ladner
Succeeded by Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Personal details
Born (1949-04-10) April 10, 1949 (age 68)
Waterbury, Connecticut
Alma mater American University
University of Rhode Island
Johns Hopkins University
Profession Professor
Salary $7,060,774 in 2009-2010[1]
Website Office of the President

Cornelius Martin "Neil" Kerwin (born April 10, 1949)[2] is an American academic in public administration and former president of American University.

A 1971 undergraduate alumnus of American University, Kerwin continued his education with a Master of Arts degree in political science from the University of Rhode Island in 1973. In 1975, Kerwin returned to his alma mater and joined the faculty of the American University School of Public Affairs, then the School of Government and Public Administration. Kerwin completed his doctorate in political science from Johns Hopkins University in 1978 and continued to teach until 1989, when he became the dean of the school.

He continued in that post until 1997, when he was named American University's provost. During his tenure as provost, Kerwin oversaw a number of major changes including the tightening of graduate and doctoral programs, the foundation of the University College Program, and comprehensive reviews and overhauls of the General Education Program, University Honors Program and academic advising. Kerwin put his understanding of policy implementation to use in executing segments of then-University President Benjamin Ladner's 15-Point Plan, including the establishment of a new faculty senate.

Following the American University Board of Trustees' decision to suspend Ladner on August 25, 2005, Kerwin was named Acting President. He held that post through the Board's investigation and subsequent removal of Ladner. He was named to permanently replace Ladner on July 20, 2007.[3] Kerwin is the first American University alumnus to serve as its University President.

Kerwin's academic work focuses on public policy, administrative and regulatory processes and implementation and American government. He is the author of Rulemaking: How Government Agencies Write Law and Make Policy and coauthor of How Washington Works: The Executive's Guide to Government.

In the Chronicle of Higher Education survey of college presidents' salaries for 2007-08, he was fifth in the nation with a compensation of $1.4 million as a result of his 20-year signing bonus.[4]

AU President Neil Kerwin said on March 28, 2016, that he would step down as president when his contract expired in May 2017.[5]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ date & year of birth according to LCNAF CIP data
  3. ^
  4. ^ De Vise, Daniel (November 2, 2009). "Ex-president of GWU lead in pay survey". Washington Post. p. B1. 
  5. ^ Reed, Tina (March 28, 2016). "American University President Neil Kerwin to step down". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved March 28, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Educational offices
Preceded by
Benjamin Ladner
President, American University
2005 – 2017
Succeeded by
Sylvia Burwell