Cavanaugh has led PASSHE since 2008. Prior to that he served as president of the University of West Florida in Pensacola from 2002 to 2008, and he and was provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington from 1999 to 2002.
Guido M. Pichini, chairman of PASSHE's board of governors, said the board is sorry to see Cavanaugh leave and that the system has benefitted "from his efforts to bring new ideas and high standards to all we do."
"The Board, Office of the Chancellor staff and our university presidents remain committed to our major initiatives, none more important than completing our final collective bargaining agreement with our faculty, preparing for the upcoming legislative session and our appropriations hearings in March and ensuring our students have every opportunity for success in their academic work and their careers," Pichini said.
Under the board's succession plan, PASSHE executive vice chancellor Peter H. Garland will serve as acting chancellor upon Cavanaugh's departure.
Garland has held several senior-level leadership positions with PASSHE since first being appointed executive associate to the chancellor in January 2002. He was named to his current position, in which he serves as PASSHE's chief operating officer, in 2006.
Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area has 12 universities and two colleges and serves 155,000 students.