Butler University announced today that James M. Danko will become the institution’s 21st president on Aug. 1. Danko is The Helen and William O’Toole Dean of Villanova School of Business (VSB), part of Villanova University in suburban Philadelphia.
Craig Fenneman, vice chair of the Butler Board of Trustees, introduced Danko to the campus and community this afternoon.
“Butler’s Presidential Search Committee asked our students, faculty, staff, alumni and other constituents what they wanted in our next president,” Fenneman said. “Jim Danko has a highly successful track record in areas important to the Butler community – recruitment and retention of excellent faculty, service to students, strategic planning, fundraising, consensus-building and curricular innovation.”
Danko joined Villanova in 2005, after serving at top national institutions including Dartmouth College and the University of Michigan. Under his leadership, VSB has gone from being unranked to being consistently ranked among the top 20 undergraduate business programs in the nation. Financial giving to the business school has more than quadrupled during Danko’s tenure.
Working closely with alumni, Danko led development of a “one-stop-shop” undergraduate program services center, which serves hundreds of students each week. He championed other VSB advancements, including faculty growth, creation of new research centers, transformation of undergraduate and graduate curricula, and establishment of new endowed chairs and additional teaching and research awards.
“Villanova President Fr. Peter Donohue has called Jim ‘a steadfast advocate of liberal arts education for business students,’ ” said Fenneman. “We are pleased to welcome him to Butler, where the liberal arts are the grounding force for all majors and professional programs.”
Danko earned his bachelor’s degree in religious studies at John Carroll University, and his MBA at the University of Michigan.
Prior to his academic career, he spent nearly 20 years as an entrepreneur. In 1973, at age 19, he set up his first business, a surgical supply company called Exercare Corporation, in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. His business expanded to include corporate and home fitness equipment, exercise rehabilitation and orthopedic products. In 1990, he sold the parent company and divested himself of all affiliated companies.
He serves on the international board of the Graduate Management Admissions Council, a nonprofit organization of graduate business schools worldwide.
Danko has two college-age daughters, Melanie and Meredith. He and his wife, Bethanie, will move to the Butler campus this summer.
Danko succeeds Butler President Bobby Fong, who will leave Butler May 31 after 10 years to become the president of Ursinus College in Pennsylvania.
James Danko — Curriculum Vitae