James G. DeJong '73
2019 Recipient of the P.E. MacAllister Distinguished Alumnus Award for Service to Carroll
The leadership and counsel of Jim DeJong '73 have contributed significantly to Carroll’s growth and vibrancy. Most notable are his roles leading Carroll’s Board of Trustees and serving as co-chair of the institution’s fundraising initiative, Campaign Carroll: The Common Thread, which raised nearly $53 million. A key component of that campaign was the Michael and Mary Jaharis Laboratories, the first new (and first all-gift/grant) academic building built on campus in the past 50 years.
DeJong received his bachelor’s degree in history from Carroll in 1973. Following graduation and prior to attending Marquette University Law School, he returned to his hometown of Fond du Lac for two years to work in banking. During his second year of law school, he was hired as a law clerk at what was then a small Milwaukee law firm. Today, that firm, now known as O’Neil, Cannon, Hollman, DeJong & Laing, is one of the 10 largest law firms in the greater Milwaukee area. Jim served as the law firm’s president and managing shareholder for more than 25 years and is now chairman of the firm. In his practice, Jim works with business clients in a wide variety of industries and service sectors, providing them with counsel and strategic help. In particular, he has extensive experience representing buyers and sellers of businesses.
As an alumnus, Jim has served his alma mater in a variety of leadership capacities. He began his nine year tenure on Carroll’s Board of Trustees in 2008 and served as Board Chair for three years of his tenure. He was also a member of the President’s Advisory Council, Chair of the Board’s Institutional Advancement Committee, and Co-Chair of Campaign Carroll: The Common Thread. Over the years, both Jim and his wife, Patty, have volunteered and appeared at multiple alumni and campus events, including regional gatherings throughout the U.S. Jim has graciously served on several of his reunion committees throughout the years. He delivered the commencement keynote address to Carroll’s Class of 2017.
Understanding that strong intercollegiate athletic programs enhance Carroll’s ability to attract and retain talented student-athletes, Jim has generously devoted time and resources to advancing Carroll athletics. Jim and Patty have been active participants in the annual Pioneer Golf Classic. He was involved in the planning and guidance that made possible the renovations of the Van Male Field House.
In 2014, Jim was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi honorary society in recognition of his commitment to academic excellence and his legacy of service in support of higher education. Jim continued his leadership and service as Chair of the Presidential search to identify Carroll’s 15th President. The clear vision of that committee led to the selection of Dr. Cindy Gnadinger. Jim is now involved in helping to create strategies to involve former trustees in the life of Carroll. He understands the importance of retaining the influence and knowledge of these individuals for the continued success of Carroll.
The extended DeJong family has many special connections to this campus. Jim and Patty, have two children, Juliana '10 and Ben '11, both of whom are Carroll graduates. Ben also received a master’s degree from Carroll in 2017. Jim’s father, Rev. Lloyd DeJong, served on the Carroll Board of Trustees from 1958-1962. Jim’s ongoing encouragement of alumni and friends to start and/or continue their engagement with Carroll is very beneficial and helps keep Carroll a very special place.