Rowan University appoints higher ed innovator as executive VP

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Rowan University has appointed long-time higher education administrator and innovator Carl “Tobey” Oxholm III as executive vice president for Administration and Strategic Advancement.

Rowan University has appointed long-time higher education administrator and innovator Carl “Tobey” Oxholm III as executive vice president for Administration and Strategic Advancement.

In that role, Oxholm will assume a broad array of responsibilities as the University continues to expand its roles as a center of innovation and entrepreneurial activity and as a major economic driver in New Jersey. Among other duties, Oxholm will participate in the University’s strategic planning initiatives, work with Rowan’s corporate and community partners and oversee a number of University-wide projects to improve operations and services and to enhance the University’s standing and positioning among peer institutions. As a senior counselor to Rowan President Dr. Ali Houshmand, Oxholm will oversee the departments/divisions of Audit, Compliance, Equity and Diversity, Human Resources, Labor Relations, Strategic Enrollment Management, University Advancement and University Relations.

“Rowan is fortunate to have Tobey Oxholm join its administrative team,” Houshmand said. “He has demonstrated great success in leading teams on cutting-edge projects in higher education, and he will be an exceptional asset for us at a time when we anticipate continued programmatic growth and expanded partnerships and we need to be creative and entrepreneurial in order to ensure access and affordability to the excellence in higher education that Rowan provides.” 

Oxholm has been an entrepreneurial leader in higher education and the nonprofit sector for more than three decades, receiving local and national recognition for his work.

Most recently, he was president of Arcadia University, Glenside, Pa., from 2011 to 2013. There, he significantly improved the institution’s academic, social and athletic facilities; increased need-based financial aid; expanded and deepened its connections with the neighboring community, high schools and community colleges; and helped to re-energize and refocus the alumni association, to lead the recruitment of the largest first-year class and to produce the highest annual giving in that university’s history.

Prior to assuming that role, he spent 10 years at Drexel University, where he rose to executive vice president and chief of staff. He was a key player in the many initiatives that catapulted Drexel to national prominence, including the merger with a medical school, the creation of a new law school and a medical malpractice insurance company, and the opening of a successful graduate campus in Sacramento, Calif.  He also was founding dean of Drexel’s Center for Graduate Studies, senior vice president for the Drexel Law Center, general counsel and secretary to the Board of Trustees, among other roles.

He was an attorney in the private and public sectors for more than 20 years before joining higher education, including five years in the Philadelphia Law Department, where he was chief deputy city solicitor.

Oxholm, of Philadelphia, received a juris doctor from Harvard Law School cum laude, a master’s in public policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude from Amherst College.

He has earned many accolades, including Founders Award, Philadelphia Diversity Law Group; Drum Major For Justice, Pennsylvania Legal Services; Most Innovative General Counsel, Corporate Counsel magazine; Distinguished Service Award, Amherst College; and Pro Bono Publico Award, American Bar Association. His published works span many subjects, including legal issues for nurses, online education, Sarbanes-Oxley in higher education and the mediation of medical malpractice claims. 

“People in higher education in this region — and many people far removed from this region — are aware of the major strides Rowan University has made in the last few years and of its goals and ambitions for the future,” Oxholm said. “It’s exciting to become part of an institution that is so well respected by students, business leaders and elected officials and one that does not just have great ambitions to improve higher education but also has concrete plans underway to make those goals a reality.”

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