Cavanaugh came to Duke in February 2009 from the University of Florida, where he started in 2005 as vice president for human resources and, in 2007, was promoted to senior vice president for administration, overseeing a range of business, financial and operational activities.
Prior to joining the University of Florida in 2005, Cavanaugh was associate vice president for human resource services for five years at The University of Texas at Austin, where he led all HR activities and had oversight of the campus police, environmental health and safety, and parking and transportation services.
Previously, he was the chief human resources officer at Rice University and held senior HR positions at Vanderbilt University. Before entering the higher education field, he led health promotion and occupational health services during five years with AT&T.
Cavanaugh has served as a consultant on HR and other issues for numerous universities and organizations across the U.S. and Canada. He has held a faculty position for the past sixteen years with the National Association of College and University Business Officers, College Business Managers Institute. Cavanaugh has held adjunct positions and presented extensively on various higher education business topics.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Cavanaugh holds three master's degrees -- in business administration from Belmont, in health promotion and exercise science from Vanderbilt and in special education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. He received his bachelor's degree in special, elementary and early childhood education from Tusculum College in Greeneville, Tenn.