Vice President of Alumni Relations leaves Temple for political role

Ken Lawrence will become Montgomery County’s first African-American commissioner.

Senior Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs Ken Lawrence uses the computer in his office. | Alex Beaufort TTN
Ken Lawrence will become Montgomery County's first African-American commissioner. | Alex Beaufort TTN FILE PHOTO

Ken Lawrence will leave his position at Temple in March to work as a Montgomery County commissioner.

Lawrence, whose last day will be March 15, has served as the university’s vice president of alumni relations since May 2015. He started at Temple in 2008, working for the offices of Government Relations and Community Relations as senior vice president for government, community and public affairs.

The Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas unanimously appointed Lawrence, a resident of Plymouth Meeting, last week to fill the spot of a seat on the Montgomery County commissioner’s three-member board that was left vacant when Josh Shapiro was elected as Attorney General of Pennsylvania. Lawrence, a 1995 political science alumnus, will serve in this position through 2019. Montgomery County Democrats endorsed him for the position.

He is the county’s first African-American commissioner.

Lawrence, who could not be reached for comment, announced his resignation through a Facebook post.

“It will be very hard not coming to campus every day,” Lawrence wrote. “I will miss my coffee from Saxbys and my breakfast … lunch …and dinner from Richie’s. But I know to get the opportunity to be here as a student and an employee is a rare gift and I’ve enjoyed every single moment.”

Before he worked at Temple, Lawrence founded his own business, Public Affairs Strategies, a public relations counselor that has served nonprofit and corporate organizations. Lawrence also worked as the public policy representative for the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and was a founding board member of Temple’s Young Alumni Association.

Steven Burda, a 2003 economics and finance alumnus, was also in the running for Montgomery County commissioner.

Commissioners work as the legislative and executive branch of Montgomery County. In this position, Lawrence will work with chairperson Valerie Arkoosh and commissioner Joseph Gale. The commissioners appoint all county employees and their salaries, manage all county properties and its financials, pass a budget annually and set property taxes for the county.

Gillian McGoldrick can be reached at or on Twitter @gill_mcgoldrick.

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