Today, President Daniel Curran announced his plan to step down in May 2016 after serving as president of the University of Dayton for 14 years.
In an exclusive interview with Flyer News, Curran said he has been debating this move for several months. He decided to make the announcement while students were still on campus, also wanting to leave ample time for the decision process.
“I think it’s the right time,” Curran said. “All the indicators are strong, academically and financially, and you do like to leave when things are in good shape.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR DR. CURRAN
When he steps down in June 2016, Curran plans to join UD’s faculty as a professor, teaching at the main campus while also teaching and conducting research at the University of Dayton China Institute in Suzhou, China.
“I did some teaching in China last summer, and part of why I got into higher education was to teach,” Curran said. “I thought it would be nice to go back, teach and interact with students.”
At 64 years old, Curran, a sociologist, would like to teach classes involving economic transformation in China or social problems.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR UD
Curran will not participate in selecting the next president. The search committee consists of trustees, faculty members, a student and administrators. Right now they are selecting the firm that will assist them in the search.
“It’s also important going out to recruit the next president when the institution is in strong standing, because that’ll attract the best people to apply for the position,” he said.
“He was trying to be considerate of timing for finding next university president, conscious of giving enough notice,” said Steve Cobb, 1986 alumnus and chair of the University’s board of trustees. “18 months for a presidential search process is perfect for us to have the thoughtful process that goes into finding the next leader.”
Cobb and Curran both agreed that had the selection process started now, many choice candidates would not be able to apply due to the timing of academic calendars, and candidates would not be able to give ample time to their respective institutions.
Curran named some of the most important qualities for the next president’s success, including being able to interact with the students and understanding the community, being entrepreneurial and financially wise.
CURRAN’S LEGACY AT UD
When Curran was offered the position of university President 14 years ago, the Board of Trustrees told him: “We brought you here to be bold.” Curran said he had great support from the Marianist brothers and students when making such moves.
“The students were always ready to go,” he said.
Despite any major changes the university has undergone during Curran’s time as president, he said he’s most proud of the cumulative accomplishments of the students and faculty.
“I’m humbled by what they do,” he said.
WHAT HE’LL MISS MOST
Although looking forward to getting back in the classroom, Curran said he will miss his interactions with students most.
“When I walk down the street it takes me an extra 15 minutes to cross campus, because I’m talking to students all of the time,” he said. “I never thought I’d take so many selfies in my life,” Curran said.
He’s preparing for that relationship to shift, but is excited to interact more closely with the students in his classes on a weekly basis.
“It’s not like I’m walking away,” Curran said. Despite plans to do some teaching and research in China, he said he’d love to teach a sociology course at UD.
“Dayton will always be my home.”