CGU welcomes interim president Tim Kirley

Claremont Graduate University Interim President Tim Kirley. Photo/courtesy of CGU

Claremont Graduate University recently welcomed Tim Kirley as its interim president. Kirley served as chair of the CGU’s Board of Trustees for the previous six years and succeeds Len Jessup, who announced his resignation in March after six years at the helm.

Kirley’s first day on the job was June 2, three weeks after CGU’s 97th commencement, and followed a vote of confidence from the board of trustees in May.

Though his path to the presidency was unconventional, “it is steeped in both a significant understanding of the university and a career of leadership and strategic decision-making in the private sector,” according to his bio on CGU’s website.

Kirley spent 35 years in corporate management at the financial services firm Edward Jones. He was introduced to the writings of Peter Drucker early in his career. Drucker, the namesake of CGU’s Drucker School of Management, worked closely with the firm to shape its cultural and business practices.

“My first priority will be to hear the perspectives of many in our community who believe in the important role that CGU plays in higher education and beyond,” Kirley said in a recent article published by CGU. “During my time on the board, I came to appreciate the passion that so many people have for this place.”

Despite the ‘interim’ title, Kirley said he’ll be thinking of CGU’s future.

“I look forward to working with the university community as we prepare for CGU’s next 100 years,” he told CGU. “The university’s tuition-dependent model is not sustainable, especially during a time of such major disruption throughout higher education. We need to be nimble for the inevitable changes, and the time to start addressing them is now.

“I’m confident we will forge a successful path, but it will require significant collaboration. I’m eager to meet with a broad spectrum of our university community over the summer and fall to hear perspectives, ideas, and concerns. As we approach our centennial in 2025, this is a great opportunity to position CGU to meet challenges and embrace opportunities.”

Kirley was the first in his family to earn a graduate degree — a master’s in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis in 1997. Previously he earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics at Southern Illinois University.

He has worked with CGU’s Investments Committee, Business and Finance Committee, and its Strategic Planning and Presidential Search committees. In addition to his duties at CGU, Kirley serves on the board of directors for Water1st, a nonprofit that brings water and sanitary hygiene to rural areas of Africa, South Asia, South America, and India.

Kirley has been married to his wife Megan for 27 years and the couple have three children.

More information is at


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