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RCBC alumnus is a veteran, lawyer, councilman, and award-winning comic book writer

Brian Donnelly

Veteran, lawyer, councilman, and award-winning comic book writer? RCBC alumnus Brian Donnelly is all that and more.

The Moorestown resident, who was recently elected to the Moorestown Town Council, has set grand, yet achievable goals since graduating from Rowan College at Burlington County in 1997 with an associate degree in criminal justice.

“I wanted to pursue a path where I could be in control of my future and be my own boss,” he said as he explained why he achieved a Juris Doctor from Rutgers School of Law and a Master of Laws, Taxation from Temple University after earning his bachelor's degree in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland, College Park.

While achieving his bachelor’s and doctorate, Donnelly served as a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. Today, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve and serves in the Judge Advocate General's Corps as a Judge Advocate. In December 2008, he was mobilized for one year at the Pentagon working under the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Army, International and Operations Law Division, prosecuting terrorists under Iraqi law and supporting the Rule of Law in Iraq.

His success in life was not without its set of challenges. He lost his father when he was 19 years old in a steel mill explosion. Earlier that same year, he survived a serious car crash involving a drunk driver. Almost 20 years later, when his wife was a few weeks pregnant, he learned he had a brain tumor, epilepsy and autoimmune encephalitis, an extremely rare condition where the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy brain cells. He underwent brain surgery when his wife was five months pregnant with their first daughter and seven months of immuno-infusion therapy.

It was during his recovery that he decided to pursue a passion he had since the 80s. He formed a comic book publishing company, Mythographer’s Workshop.

His graphic novel, “Tir Na Fuil Volume 1: A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” won a bronze medal in the 2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards alongside fellow award winners and pop culture icons Stan Lee and William Shatner. Donnelly describes it as dark historical fantasy set during the Irish War for Independence from Great Britain. His next graphic novel will be another historical fantasy that will cast King Arthur returning as a young girl for the Battle of Britain during World War II. 

Donnelly is a lifelong resident of Burlington County who lives in Moorestown with his wife and 4-year-old daughter. He is currently a managing member of Donnelly LLC, a law firm in Mount Laurel. He is listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Attorneys, a distinction claimed by less than 5 percent of U.S.  attorneys. He was named a Burlington County Times "40 under 40" and has been quoted in U.S. News and World Report and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
 

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In honor of Rowan College at Burlington County’s 50th anniversary, the college is publishing 50 stories for 50 years. RCBC will be highlighting those who have a connection to the college, including current and past students, faculty and administrators, and others. Interested alumni who wish to be profiled should contact rcbcnews@rcbc.edu. To follow along on social media, use #RCBC50Stories. For more on RCBC's 50th anniversary, visit rcbc.edu/50th