Tireless friend of those in need, you lead by example. Your personal involvement with organizations like the Ministry of Caring in Wilmington, St. Benedict's Prep in inner-city Newark, New Jersey, and the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center at Christiana Hospital encouraged MBNA people to follow suit. During your time leading the company, the people of MBNA devoted over 600,000 hours each year in volunteer service to those less fortunate in their communities.
You found meaningful jobs within MBNA for more than 300 people with cognitive disabilities, and their solid work ethic, productivity, and dependability--along with the dignity and joy they feel at having meaningful work to do--convincingly demonstrates that all people can make a contribution if just given a chance. That program has taken root here at the University of Delaware and it is one that deserves to be emulated by every business and institution in America.
Steadfast champion of the University, you served the University for 12 years as Trustee, giving wise counsel on all matters that came before the Board. It was because of you that we now have the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics--dedicated to honor the memory of your good friend and business partner Al Lerner--and because of your belief in the quality of the University of Delaware diploma, thousands of U of D graduates found their first job at an MBNA office or call center. And through the MBNA Foundation, over $100 million was awarded in scholarships to talented young people to attend college.
Caring philanthropist, you have said that writing a check is the “easy part” of philanthropy, and you have written plenty to help organizations as diverse as Meals on Wheels, the Grand Opera House, the Delaware Symphony, and the Camden (Maine) Public Library. But as you and your wife Julie have demonstrated time and again, true giving is in the doing. Your personal commitment of time, guidance and enthusiasm to those organizations and many, many others is unswerving, and has made life better for thousands of your fellow citizens. You stand behind the organizations you believe in, bestowing on them the unassailable advantage of your own courage, optimism and strength.
Thomas Jefferson said, “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” Charles Cawley, you are a man of steadfast principle; a devoted husband, father and grandfather; a true friend; a mentor to countless young people; and a fine example to all.
May 31, 2008