Georgian Court University mourns the loss of Robert “Bob” Mulcahy III, chair of the University Board of Trustees and a steadfast champion of the GCU mission. Mr. Mulcahy, 85, died February 8.
“For nearly 10 years, Bob gave us his absolute best. This is a tremendous loss to the university and to all who were touched by his life of service,” said GCU President Joseph R. Marbach.
“He used his leadership savvy and commitment to the Catholic faith to move our university forward in so many ways,” said Dr. Marbach, “from financial and operational strategy to his passion for the Sisters of Mercy, student-athletes, and social justice.”
Putting His Vast Experience to Work for Georgian Court
The former Rutgers University athletics director joined the GCU trustee board in 2012 as higher education was grappling with recession-era challenges. Trustees regularly tapped his deep knowledge of revenue generation, marketing, and business development to make difficult decisions.
He brought with him an incredible record of service and experience. In 1976, Governor Brendan Byrne named him New Jersey’s first corrections commissioner, and within days of taking the job, Mr. Mulcahy helped diffuse a volatile hostage situation at the former Rahway State Prison.
For nearly 20 years, Mr. Mulcahy was president and CEO of the New Jersey Sports and Public Exposition Authority, operating the Meadowlands Sports Complex and building the $275 million Atlantic City Convention Center and Adventure Aquarium in Camden. Most recently he served as a chairman for the New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
The Villanova University graduate, who got his start in public service in 1970 as mayor of Mendham, also served as an officer in the U.S. Navy. He was also an author, having published his memoir, An Athletic Director’s Story and the Future of College Sports in America (Rutgers University Press, 2020).
Bob Mulcahy—Passionate About Making a Difference
“Bob’s circle of influence was legendary, and he never hesitated to connect Georgian Court to anyone—or any organization—that could be of help to the university or even individual students,” said Julia Upton, RSM, Ph.D., a Sister of Mercy who served with him on the GCU Board of Trustees.
“He eagerly volunteered his resources, his home, and his contacts. Plus, he refused to take ‘no’ for an answer, which was always to our benefit as we recruited board members, attracted new donors, and forged new relationships in the community. He never wanted Georgian Court to be a best-kept secret.”
For the father of seven (and grandfather of 15), supporting GCU was a family affair. His daughter, Megan E. Mulcahy Romano, joined the GCU trustee board in 2015, and his late wife of 61 years, Teri, was especially drawn to the university’s core values. After her death in 2021, the family requested donations to the GCU Angel Fund in her name.
Focused Catholic Causes, Mission and Mercy
Mr. Mulcahy, who enjoyed attending Mass on campus before board meetings, will also be remembered for his love of the church and his penchant for helping people.
“Bob started every business meeting with a Mercy moment—time to reflect on our mission and how it makes a difference in students’ lives,” said S. Julia. “I will always treasure his generous, faith-filled spirit. It was an honor to know and serve with him.“
In late 2020, private donations established the Mulcahy Institute for Social Justice which will be formally launched in 2022. The Institute’s intellectual focus will be peace and nonviolence and will offer programs to students and other members of the community.
“As a lifelong community servant and civic leader, social justice was important to him,” Dr. Marbach said. “The Georgian Court family will benefit for years to come because he was so invested in our mission, our students, and Catholic higher education.”