It’s common to ask college presidents, especially upon the occasion of their formal Inauguration, “What is your vision for the future?” By that question, one usually means, Where do you intend to take the college? In what ways will the college be different five years from now—different from how it is today?
Any meaningful vision for an institution’s future will grow organically from both its present and its past. Daemen has a long and distinguished history of academic excellence, rooted in a centuries-old tradition of rigorous Franciscan pedagogy, and nurtured in the rich soil of personal attention to each and every student by a succession of talented and dedicated faculties.
From the days of intimate classes in Rosary Hall to today in our state-of-the-art “information commons” or in our 3D computer classroom, our college has valued and championed a level of academic rigor and close attention to students not found in many, if not most, colleges. It is precisely this extraordinary personal attention to students that sets us apart.
If by vision we mean the future you see for an institution—(how you imagine, in your mind’s eye, how it might evolve)—then my vision entails expanding our collective sense of ourselves beyond the artificial boundaries of Western New York to a national and even international scope.
While it is appropriate to compare our programs and performance to those of nearby colleges, it is even more appropriate to compare ourselves to institutions nationwide. We already compete favorably on a national level.
Our nursing, physician-assistant, and physical therapy graduates have pass-rates on their certifying exams that far exceed the average pass-rates in these disciplines nationally. Our innovative general education program is second to none—a progressive program found not at Harvard, not at Yale, not at Stanford and not at Berkeley.
Our groundbreaking visual effects program with its partnerships with the film industry is clearly a model for the nation, demonstrating how a small college like Daemen can be at the forefront of an effort to train a whole generation of professionals to help create the films, television programs, video games, and commercial advertisements of today and of tomorrow.
Our graduate program in Brooklyn serving the Hassidic Jewish population is also a model for the nation—a model of an innovative way to provide a college education to groups with specific cultural needs.
Our Master’s program in Cytotechnology, where students work side-by-side with leading pathologists and highly trained cytotechnologists at the nationally acclaimed Roswell Park Cancer Institute, is a one-of-a-kind program nationally and will likely be the model for similar programs across the country.
And the creative works of our art faculty have been exhibited not only nationally —in Arizona and Pennsylvania, and New Jersey—but internationally, in China and England and Germany.
There are many other ways that we are distinguished nationally. For the past six consecutive years, we have been named to the U.S. President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. We have been awarded the Presidential Points of Light National Service Award for our students’ volunteer work.
Our athletes have won 14 Conference Championships in the last decade. For four consecutive years, Daemen has been designated a Military Friendly School, meaning that we are in the top 15% of the nation’s colleges and universities that do the most to welcome military veterans and enhance their experience as students.
And just this summer, Daemen was named a “College of Distinction, 2013–14” by a national organization devoted to rating colleges and universities nationwide in order to help students, parents, and counselors make informed decisions about college.
These are only a few of the many ways that Daemen College competes on a national level and has demonstrated quite clearly that its quality and reputation far exceed the boundaries of its geography.
Let there be no doubt about it: we are already a college of national distinction.
Gary A. Olson, President