James W. Crawford III Named as Next President of Texas Southern University

Posted on Thursday, May 16, 2024

President James W. Crawford III

The Texas Southern University (TSU) Board of Regents on Thursday unanimously approved James W. Crawford III as the University’s 14th president. Crawford will begin his appointment on June 1, 2024, succeeding interim president Dr. Mary Evans Sias. This appointment comes after he was chosen as the sole finalist for the position by the TSU Board of Regents on April 25, 2024.

“James Crawford comes to Texas Southern University with a breadth of leadership experience not often seen in a university president,” said TSU Board of Regents Chairman Brandon L. Simmons. “He has served students as both a university president and trustee. He has served in global leadership roles under six U.S. Presidents in peacetime and wartime. He is a husband, a father of twin sons, and a former college basketball player who was drawn to Texas Southern by our students because they remind him of a younger version of himself. Our board concludes the presidential search as we began it: united in serving our extraordinary Texas Southern students.”

Crawford, who previously served as president of Felician University in New Jersey, was selected after a national search led by James Benham, Board of Regents Vice Chair, two distinguished alumni, Dr. Edieth Wu, Thurgood Marshall School of Law professor, Michael Strahan, Host of Good Morning America and NFL Hall of Famer, and a 15-member committee.

Crawford’s instrumental leadership at Felician University was marked by numerous contributions including overseeing the completion of the Wellness and Recreation Center and other infrastructure projects, including the creation of the STEM Center in Kirby Hall on the Lodi campus, to expand learning delivery and the learning environment of the University. Crawford also serves on the Board of Trustees of his alma mater, Belmont Abbey College.

An experienced leader, Crawford served in the United States Navy for more than 30 years, retiring as a Vice Admiral and its 43rd Judge Advocate General (JAG). He has served as the head of the Naval Legal Service Command, legal counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and commander of NATO Rule of Law Field Support, Afghanistan. Crawford served under six Presidents and was Lead Counsel for the principal military advisor to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He was a trusted voice for the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and Secretaries of Defense Robert M. Gates and Leon Panetta. As the Judge Advocate General of the Navy, Crawford led nearly 2,400 judge advocates, enlisted employees, and civilian employees of the Navy’s global legal organization. He is the recipient of numerous military awards, including two Distinguished Service Medals.

“It is an honor and privilege to serve as Texas Southern University’s 14th president, and I thank the Board of Regents for entrusting me with this momentous responsibility,” said Crawford. “As I step into this role, I am eager to further the University’s mission of ensuring our students are prepared for their next chapters as lifelong learners, engaged citizens and creative leaders in their communities. TSU has all the tools necessary to be a powerful force in Texas higher education and beyond, and I look forward to leading the charge toward the University’s next chapter.”

Crawford holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of North Carolina, a Master of Laws degree in ocean and coastal law from the University of Miami, a Master of Arts in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College, and a bachelor’s degree from Belmont Abbey College. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have 16-year-old twin sons.

For more information on President-Designate Crawford and the transition plan, click here

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Last updated: 05/16/2024