Crowley Supports a Legacy of Scholarship and Giving


Philip P. Crowley ’71 has spent his life making a difference. Even now after leaving Johnson & Johnson, he continues to help. With his solo law practice, he represents growing technology firms as “they make ideas happen.” Crowley opened the firm because he hadn’t finished “singing his song.” If it actually was a song, surely it’s a concert, because he has accomplished so much. He holds three degrees, a B.S. in physics from Stevens, an M.S. in applied physics from Harvard University, and a J.D. from Columbia University Law School. His education is certainly impressive, but more so is his commitment. Few have focused so succinctly on using those combined skills to help others. For 32 years, Crowley flourished at Johnson & Johnson as assistant general counsel, working for a company that “had a focus on ethics” and was dedicated to products that “saved lives, reduced suffering and improved people’s quality of life.”

He has spent his life advocating for others, so it is no surprise he made time for Stevens as a former president of the Stevens Alumni Association and former chairman of the Edwin A. Stevens Society. This is a man who is a champion of causes, who strives to do good work. Yet he doesn’t do so for the accolades, but rather because it is the right thing to do. He has come up with a methodology for success. He calls them “the five Crowley principles,” smiling when he says this.

“The first one is to find something that you love to do that helps other people. Because if you love to do it, you will have an inexhaustible supply of energy. If it helps other people there will always be a demand for what you do,” he said. “The second thing is to pursue it with passion and integrity. People like to deal with those who have passion. And if you do it with integrity you will attract other people with integrity. And even more importantly, you will repel people without integrity.”

He uses these guideposts in his own life. Initially, Crowley pursued a career in physics, but realized something was missing. Rather than working for decades in a lab before “figuring out what [his] corpus of work meant,” he switched to corporate law focusing on mergers and acquisitions.

He credits Stevens for giving him the ability to think, analyze and understand problems – those same skills that he’s applied to law. He also believes Stevens graduates are worthy of self-confidence. This is the third Crowley principle, to set high goals and have confidence. “No one can give you self-confidence. You have to decide that you are worthy of it. People who set high goals and strive to reach them achieve so much more in life,” he said.

He is a thoughtful speaker. It is easy to see his principles as a keynote speech and more so – good advice for those inspired to use it. When answering a question, he never loses sight of the query. A skill honed from his years practicing law. This is a man who is an attentive listener. While these skills are excellent, they are only tools he uses to adhere to his principles. His fifth rule is “be grateful.” He explains, “Appreciate the help of your family, your friends, your university that have contributed to your success and give back to those people and to your community. You receive far more from your contribution of time and talent than it costs you and you’ll be able to pay it forward.”

This gratitude extends to all facets of his life and is why he and his wife Diane established the Crowley Family Scholarship, which honors his dad, his mom and his grandmother. “All of them were instrumental in my attending Stevens,” he said. The admiration Crowley has for his father is clear. His father, who grew up during the Great Depression, made many sacrifices to help him get an education and understand its importance.

Coming from an economically lower middle class background, Crowley admits he has a hard time maintaining his fourth principle, which is to enjoy things along the way. “I was always concerned about succeeding financially,” he said. His work ethic has made him very successful, but the trick is to have balance. He focuses now on dedicating time to his family. “My wife, Diane, is an inspiration for me in the life sciences. She serves as the Chief Medical Officer of a biotech company after many years in clinical research in oncology. I have great relationships with my two children and my two step-children. I have a 35 year-old son, an executive with a regional healthcare company, who has a wonderful wife and a beautiful three-year-old daughter. My daughter Jen is 27 and developing her career as an executive recruiter. Over the years, I’ve focused on helping both of my children grow and develop and it’s fun to see and interact with them as adults.”

“And seeing Diane’s children grow and develop has been enjoyable as well.” Her 26-year-old son is a biomedical consultant and her 28-year-old daughter works with Syrian refugees in Iraq. Phil has spent his life giving back, not surprisingly, his family found ways to help others too.

He insists that anyone can give back. It is not the domain of the wealthy. “The ability to work with the Alumni Association and to speak with possible applicants is something they can do. Anyone can help,” he said.

Optimistic by nature, he has a positive vision for the future. His hope for Stevens is that it will continue to rise in the rankings and public recognition. “Then to continue to energize the people who make tremendous contributions to their communities or to society,” he said. “Because that will be the legacy of Stevens – all of the collective contributions that our graduates make. That is the legacy in which all of us who contribute time, talent and resources hope to share.”


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