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President Danko's Biography

President Danko

Since becoming the 21st President of Butler University in 2011, James Danko has devoted himself to the development and realization of the University's new strategic plan, Butler 2020. This ambitious plan guides Butler toward national recognition as a thought-leader in transformative, student-centered higher education by 2020.

An innovator at heart and in experience, President Danko was a successful entrepreneur in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, for nearly two decades before beginning his academic career. He leads with a mindset of stewardship, collaboration, creativity, and believes that a liberal-arts foundation, coupled with strong professional education and experiential learning, fosters student success after graduation. In 2012, he established the Butler Innovation Fund, an unprecedented source of seed money that allows the University to invest in visionary approaches to teaching, research, and service created by faculty, staff, and students.

Butler 2020 was designed to support and strengthen the University's academic mission and rich tradition of engaged education. To that end, President Danko has championed upgrades to the University's learning and living facilities. Over the past three years, Butler has undertaken major renovations to Clowes Memorial Hall and Hinkle Fieldhouse; completed the new Howard L. Schrott Center for the Arts; received a $10 million grant from the Fairbanks Foundation to support the renovation and construction of science facilities at the University; and partnered with the City of Indianapolis to transform its main thoroughfare, Sunset Avenue, with landscaped medians, bicycle lanes, new street lighting, and green infrastructure. In 2015, construction will begin on two projects that will change the face of Butler: a world-class, 600-bed student-housing facility and a 1,038-space, multi-use parking structure. In addition, President Danko has signed American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment, which pledges Butler to achieve net climate neutrality.

Further advancing Butler's goals, President Danko collaborated with the President of Christian Theological Seminary to launch the Desmond Tutu Center in 2013. The Center, opened with the personal participation of Archbishop Tutu, focuses on leadership development in social justice and reconciliation and reflects Butler's commitment to global citizenship.

President Danko also oversaw Butler's move to the new BIG EAST Conference in 2013. This partnership, which matches Butler with other high-quality academic institutions, provides unprecedented opportunities for Butler's student-athletes and raises the University's national profile. President Danko also serves on the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Presidential Advisory Group.

President Danko is deeply committed to Butler's service as an "anchor institution" within the city of Indianapolis and the state of Indiana, viewing this role as fundamental to Butler's founding mission and academic objectives. As such an anchor, Butler acts as a premier resource not only for its own students, but for current and future generations of Hoosiers.

Before coming to Butler, President Danko served as Dean of the Villanova School of Business and as Associate Dean at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. President Danko also taught entrepreneurship and served in leadership roles at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Babson College, and the University of Michigan.

President Danko received his bachelor's degree in religious studies from John Carroll University and his master of business administration from the University of Michigan. He is married to Bethanie Danko and has two daughters, Melanie and Meredith. President and Mrs. Danko live on the Butler campus in the historic Carter House and frequently open their home to students and community guests for dinners and casual conversation.