Morristown, N.J. (August 4, 2015) – Gailon McGowen of Skillman, NJ, accepted the invitation to join the College of Saint Elizabeth Board of Trustees. Both a businessman and an attorney, McGowen formally became a trustee on July 1, 2015, and will serve a three-year term.
McGowen is the owner of BMW of Bridgewater in Bridgewater, New Jersey. When he purchased his dealership in 1999, McGowen became the first African-American BMW franchise owner in the country.
Prior to joining BMW, McGowen was a lawyer in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and in the Voting Rights Project of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. As a voting rights attorney, McGowen served as a trial and appellate litigator on major voting rights cases around the country that opened up the political process to minority voters.
McGowen also served as the legal counsel to former United States Senator Bill Bradley in Washington, D.C. As Senator Bradley's lawyer in the United States Senate, McGowen was responsible for advising the Senator on all legal issues pertaining to legislation and the legislative process. During his tenure in the Senate, McGowen scored impressive victories in shepherding the judicial nominations of Judge Lee Serakin and Judge Joseph Greenaway through the Senate confirmation process.
McGowen is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Houston. He received his juris doctorate from Columbia Law School. At Columbia, McGowen was a Paul Roberson scholar and was the first African-American to lead a Columbia law journal when he was named the editor-in-chief of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review. Following law school, McGowen served as a law clerk to the Honorable Damon J. Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
In addition to his new trusteeship at the College, McGowen is on the board of directors of Legal Outreach, Inc. He is also a member of the New Jersey Coalition of Automobile Dealers; the American, National and Washington State Bar Associations; the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers; the American International Automobile Dealers Association; and the National Automobile Dealers Association.
President Helen J. Streubert noted of McGowen's position of the board, "The Board and I are looking forward to working with Mr. McGowen. His significant experience in law, business and diversity make him a very important addition to the College's Board. We all look forward to his contributions."
Sister Rosemary Moynihan, chair of the board of trustees, commented, "We heartily welcome Mr. McGowen to the board. He is an excellent choice and will bring another perspective to our continuing mission."