John W. Rawlins III ’06

John W. Rawlins, III

Cornell degree: BS ’06 (HumEc)


Read John’s interview.

“Amid culture shifts in higher education, the board must address how the university will continue to recruit, attract, and retain one of our greatest assets: our faculty and staff. Their work actualizes our mission, and we must make sure their experience is as world-class as our beloved alma mater.”

Professional experience:

  • University of California San Diego, Campus Diversity Officer and Director, Black Resource Center, 2022–present
  • California State University San Marcos, Director, Black Student Center, 2019–2022; Special Assistant to the Chief Diversity Officer, 2020–2022; Interim Director, Gender Equity Center, 2019–2020
  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Corporate Headquarters, Director for Leadership Development and Training, 2017–2019
  • Johns Hopkins University, Assistant Director, Leadership Development/Multicultural Affairs, 2016–2017; Special Assistant to the Dean of Student Life, 2014–2016
  • Ithaca College, Assistant Director for Multicultural Affairs, 2006–2014

Alumni service:

  • Cornell University Council, member at large, 2022–present, 2016–2020
  • College of Human Ecology Advisory Council, member, 2021–present
  • Cornell Mosaic, member at large, 2021–present
  • Fresh from the Hill, podcast host, 2020–2021
  • Facilitator, Communicating Across Differences, Cornell Alumni Leadership Conference, 2020
  • Cornell Black Alumni Association, President, 2021¬¬–present, 2018–2021; Vice President of Programming, 2016–2018; Reunion chair, 2017–2018; Reunion committee member, 2014–2015; member, 2011–present
  • Class of 2006, Affinity chair, 2016–present
  • Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network, member, 2013–2014

Community/public service/ philanthropic priorities:

  • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., life member
  • Bayview Church of San Diego
  • Bryant Educational Leadership Group Advisory Board
  • NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education

Other education:

  • Master of Arts in Communications, Johns Hopkins University, 2018

Student involvements/activities:

  • Association for Students of Color, Human Ecology
  • Black Student Union, co-chair
  • Campus Life Student Advisory Committee
  • Chosen Generation Gospel Choir, co-founder
  • Cornell Tradition Fellowships
  • How Excellent Gospel Choir
  • Men of Color Council, co-founder
  • Quill and Dagger Senior Honor Society
  • Pamoja-Ni Gospel Choir
  • Resident Advisor, Ujamaa Residential College

Additional information:

I am a diversity, equity, and inclusion/student affairs practitioner and leader with 16 years of experience as an administrator and advocate for all students, faculty, and staff. I have expertise working with those from marginalized backgrounds; I believe that institutions must be able to hold space for the voice and visibility of all experiences in the community. I am a D.C.-area native currently residing in Southern California. I am also a gospel recording artist and vocalist who has performed on national and international stages with artists such as jazz icon Wynton Marsalis and gospel legend Kirk Franklin.