This past week, I wrote a feature story on the 10th anniversary of Daniel Curran’s arrival as University of Dayton president. While working on the story, I had the rare opportunity to sit down in Curran’s office for 45 minutes to ask him dozens of questions about how he arrived at UD, what he likes best about campus now and the school’s future.
As the final part of a three-part outtakes series of extended quotes from my interview, this post covers Curran’s thoughts on the future of the university and his legacy at the school.
Flyer News: What’s next for UD? People are seeing, like you said, the buildings on Brown Street, the new cafeterias and all the other things over the past five to 10 years.
Daniel Curran: “I think what’s new for UD, at the undergraduate level, is we have the right size community at UD, we do not need to grow even though the demand is great. It would be easy for UD to go up to 10,000 [undergraduate] students, but that’s not in the plans, that’s not in the cards because you don’t want to jeopardize what’s the foundation of the UD experience and that’s community. So I think what I reflect on where we need to go with undergraduate [experience] a lot of it comes down to improving programs for the students. Looking, making sure – we had a great success rate in placing students last year – that students get out and have the opportunity to interview or get the internships or get the co-ops while they’re here, that’s where we got to go. …
“And again it’s just continuing to improve what we’re doing, opportunities for students, and then the other thing is build reputation. And we’ve done a lot, I mean, people we’ll be like, ‘What’s important about this GE complex for the average student?’ First, there’s going to be a lot of job opportunities, internships, co-ops, GE picked that location over about eight others because they wanted to be near the University of Dayton. And they wanted the student, they wanted the intellectual talent. …”
FN: What do you want your legacy to be here at Dayton?
DC: “So 10 years, when I think back about when I came in, Brother Ray [Fitz] had just really created a wonderful platform for Dan Curran or whoever to be successful, and it paid off for the students. And I think that’s the key as I look forward to what I have to do sometime in the future is I know we’ve acquired all this property and that’s one of the foundations for presidents in the future. … So for me, I would be happy that they say Curran did a lot of things to create the platform for success and that he’s made sure that UD stayed in connection with the Dayton community. …”
FN: So 10 more years?
DC: “Oh I don’t think I could do 10 more years. Listen, if I’m healthy, and we’re being successful, I’ll go as long, I don’t want to match Brother Ray. Just say I have no ambitions to exceed Brother Ray’s record [23 years]. It really comes down to again health, and right now I have tons of energy and I just want to finish the fundraising campaign and look forward to the future. It really keeps you young, interacting with students. …”