Biography

Lawrence M. Schall, J.D., Ed.D. was elected the 16th president of Oglethorpe University in March 2005 and assumed office on June 23, 2005. He is the currently the longest serving sitting university president in Georgia. In April 2019, Schall announced he will step down in June 2020, following 15 years of service.

Under Schall’s leadership, Oglethorpe has entered an era of growth and innovation. The university has nearly tripled net assets while reducing total debt by more than half; nearly doubled annual revenues; increased the endowment by 159%; grown enrollment by 65%; established strategic entrepreneurial partnerships; and, experienced historic levels of philanthropic giving, with more than $150 million in total raised since Schall took office.

Oglethorpe completed the largest fundraising campaign in its history in 2015, raising $50.2 million and surpassing its goal two years ahead of schedule. It was followed soon after by a successfully completed $21.6 million campaign for the I.W. “Ike” Cousins Center for Science and Innovation, which opened in 2019 and was completed in just eleven months—ahead of schedule and under budget. In 2017, Oglethorpe received a $50 million gift commitment from alumnus Bill Hammack, retired CEO of CW Matthews, to establish the Q. William Hammack, Jr. School of Business—the largest gift in the university’s history and the largest to a liberal arts school to establish a school of business, which opened in fall 2019.

Just since 2013, Oglethorpe also has seen the addition of a new residential complex with 6,000 square feet of state-of-the-art classrooms; the expansion of its arts and athletics facilities; the launch of global campuses in Barcelona, Paris and Rome; and, the opening of the award-winning Turner Lynch Campus Center, home to the Atlanta Laboratory for Learning (A_LAB). An incubator for experiential learning, the A_LAB helps students to map their journey of real-world experiences combining internships, study abroad, civic engagement, and undergraduate research—on campus, in Atlanta, and around the globe.

Schall has written for The Huffington Post, as well as his personal blog, and has been featured in The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and on NPR, CNN, and Bloomberg News. He has received national attention for his leadership on issues affecting the lives of college students, perhaps most notably co-founding College Presidents for Gun Safety. Schall has also been a staunch advocate for DACA students, or “Dreamers”. In February 2019, Oglethorpe became the first college or university in Georgia to partner with TheDream.US to offer scholarships to qualified immigrant students.

Born in Manhattan, Schall grew up in Wilmington, Del. He graduated with honors from Swarthmore College in 1975 and went on to earn his Juris Doctor degree in 1978 from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Schall practiced law in Philadelphia as a trial attorney, specializing in civil rights litigation. In 1990, he returned to his alma mater, Swarthmore College, and served for 15 years, leaving as Vice President for Administration.
While at Swarthmore, Schall was awarded a doctorate in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania, and served as Director of the Executive Doctorate Program in Higher Education as well as an adjunct faculty member of Penn’s Graduate School of Education.

Schall serves on the board of the East Lake Foundation, following six years as Chair, and on the executive committees of the Georgia Independent College Association, Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education, and Council on International Educational Exchange. He also is currently working pro bono for the Georgia Justice Project. Previously, he served as Chair of the DeKalb Ethics Board, Board Chair of Project GRAD, and on the board of the Lovett School.

Schall was named to Atlanta Business Chronicles’ list of Most Admired CEOs of 2019 and Most Influential Atlantans of 2017 and 2018.

He and his wife, Betty Londergan, have four children.

Updated: November 2019