James Crawford III was named the sixth president of Felician University in Rutherford, the university announced June 28.
Crawford has served as interim president since September.
He is a retired admiral and the 43rd judge advocate general of the United States Navy.
“Many we spoke to during this process described him as inspirational, a servant leader and someone who truly lives our Felician core values,” Chris Swenson, chair of the university’s board of trustees, describing the review process preceding Crawford’s selection. “His hands-on experience in steering the university during one of the most challenging periods in its history enables him to step into the role of president fully prepared to take us to new heights.”
According to the university, Crawford’s vision for Felician University “reflects a profound respect and responsibility to each member of the Felician community, beginning with its students.”
“His commitment to expand the boundaries of academic programs, cultivate immersive learning environments, and enhance the Felician-Franciscan experience will further his goal to elevate the arc of every student and the lives they touch now and in the future,” the statement said.
Crawford spent 30-plus years in the Navy and served under six presidents. He was lead counsel for the principal military advisor to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama; and he worked with the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and Secretaries of Defense Robert Gates and Leon Panetta.
Crawford graduated from Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C. and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of North Carolina. He holds a master of law degree in ocean and coastal law from the University of Miami, and a master of arts in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College. He was named an MIT Seminar XXI Fellow.