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James Lyons

Vice President for University Relations

Since 2013, James Lyons has served as vice president for University Relations at Santa Clara University. In that capacity, he leads the University departments of Development; Corporate and Foundation Relations; Alumni Relations; University Marketing and Communications, and the Office of Protocol and Events. He reports directly to President Kevin O’Brien, S.J. and serves on the President’s Cabinet.

During his years at SCU, Lyons has worked to creatively and strategically build institutional awareness and engagement with key constituents. He has increased philanthropic support to advance the goals of the University, especially through its current $1B comprehensive campaign, “Innovating with a Mission.” Lyons has helped position Santa Clara as a university on the move, driving toward inspirational and aspirational goals for the future.

Lyons came to SCU from the University of Portland, where he was vice president for University Relations and led the largest fundraising effort in the university’s history, the $200 million RISE Campaign. Previously, he served as the University of Portland’s dean of admissions, director of enrollment services at Sonoma State University, and interim dean of admissions at Seattle University. He has dedicated over 33 years of his professional life to the field of higher education.

Additionally, he holds leadership positions in several professional and community organizations, including the boards of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County and the SVO Foundation of the Silicon Valley Organization; Global ADE; and Bellarmine College Preparatory’s development committee, which he chairs. He is a member of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Rotary Club of San Jose.

A native of Seattle, Lyons received a bachelor’s degree in political science and public administration and a master’s degree in public administration from Seattle University. He attended the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education.

Lyons and his wife Connie have four sons, ranging in age from 29 to 16.