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After Successful 15-year Tenure, Nazareth College President to Retire in June 2020

Published April 11, 2019

Nazareth College President Daan Braveman announced his plan to retire in 2020 in an address to faculty and staff today. He is the ninth president in the College’s 95-year history. When Braveman completes his 15-year tenure in June 2020, he will be Nazareth College’s longest serving president.

“This was an extraordinarily difficult decision for me as I have tremendous love for this school. I firmly believe that Nazareth has precisely the values and mission that are needed in higher education,” said President Braveman. “Yet, a change in leadership is beneficial for an institution. It creates opportunities for fresh ideas, for new energy, and for heightened levels of excitement. So too, I believe that change is good for individuals, making room for renewal, new experiences, and personal growth.”

President Braveman was inaugurated as president of Nazareth College in 2005, and has been an unwavering leader. Braveman’s leadership helped successfully create and execute the 2020 Strategic Plan, which set an eight-year course for the College that enabled Nazareth to grow and change, while being fiscally responsible by continually re-investing back into the institution with a focus on student-centered initiatives and outcomes. The success, he is quick to point out, is a College-wide effort. “No one person or small group can change a place, said Braveman. “It required the dedicated work of faculty staff, students, trustees, alumni and donors.” Under Braveman’s tenure, Nazareth built or renovated eight buildings to support the College’s more than 60 undergraduate academic programs and 25 graduate programs and to improve the student experience.

“The successes Nazareth College has reached over the last 15 years are a direct correlation of the leadership style and qualities of Daan Braveman,” said Nazareth College Board of Trustees Chairman Sergio Esteban, CEO of LaBella Associates. “Daan has an innate ability in developing a vision and focusing on its execution by humbly seeking ideas and achieving support from his senior team and the entire Nazareth Community.”

The achievements of Nazareth students, along with the commitment of the College’s dedicated faculty and staff, is what President Braveman says he is most proud of. Nazareth students are now some of the most academically prepared in the College’s history, and they are beating the national outcome rates for graduates — with 98% of the Class of 2017 employed or in grad school within 12 months of graduation, compared to 84% nationally. Under Braveman, Nazareth created the nationally-recognized Center for Life’s Work in 2016, which integrates career development into a student’s entire college experience from day one, when each freshman gets a career coach. He also brought together the resources to develop the highly-successful $1,500 SPARK grant, available to each freshman and sophomore to fund study abroad, research, or unpaid internships.

“Under President Braveman’s leadership, Nazareth’s unwavering focus and investment in academic programs and student success has paid dividends,” said Nazareth College Board of Trustees Vice Chairman Timothy Fournier, chairman and CEO of Conifer Realty, LLC. “Because of the strategic focus on fulfilling our responsibilities to students and creating a culture of success, we now find ourselves in an enviable position quite rare among private institutions in New York State. Over the last 15 years we have seen increased retention, academic reputation, and a growth in endowment and enrollment. Daan’s tenure has brought growth, stability, and forward momentum for the College.”

Braveman has kept a continual eye on how Nazareth can partner with, and add to, the Rochester community. From renovating the Nazareth College Arts Center in 2010 to make it Rochester’s premier mid-size theatre, to the Golisano Training Center opening in fall 2019 that will showcase a unique partnership with Special Olympics to create a new model of inclusion, fitness, and wellness for athletes with intellectual disabilities.
“Daan’s deeply held belief that there can and should be alignment between college and community has resulted in transformational change for Nazareth and the greater Rochester community,” said Sandy Parker, retired president and CEO of Rochester Business Alliance. “He has been a leader working to move our community forward through his work with organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative. He has also brought the community to Nazareth by creating unique partnerships with organization such as Special Olympics, the Veterans’ Outreach Center, and the Rochester City School District that ultimately benefit the lives of students and of individuals in our local communities.”

“President Braveman’s legacy is a stronger Nazareth, ready to meet the coming challenges and embrace change,” said Kelly Gagan, vice president of institutional advancement. “The foundation for continued success has been laid.”

“He has served in the most professional way possible: by giving all of himself to this position throughout each hour of his entire tenure,” said Nazareth Trustee Jim Constanza. “Daan has been ever-vigilant and protective of the institution, as well as incessant in his desire to move it forward. There is no higher measure or standard.  All this has resulted in enviable successes and deserved accolades.”

Nazareth’s Board of Trustees and senior staff will use the coming year to launch a national search for the College’s next president, who would be expected to start July 1, 2020.

Braveman’s previous career was in civil rights law, prompted by his learning about exclusionary housing practices against underrepresented people in his community when he was a teenager. He graduated from the University of Rochester in 1969 and obtained his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972. He served as law clerk to Justice Samuel J. Roberts of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and then worked as an attorney for the Greater Upstate Law Project located in Rochester. While at the Project he was engaged in civil rights litigation throughout New York State. Braveman joined the faculty at Syracuse University College of Law in 1977 and served as Dean from 1994–2002.

During his presidency, Braveman created and implemented many new initiatives. Highlights include:

  • Significant institutional growth in academic reputation, enrollment, academic programs, campus size, and endowment

  • A record $49 million capital campaign and record annual giving

  • The new and creative core curriculum that includes required experiential learning

  • Over 30 new academic programs

  • The creation of the Center for Life’s Work (CFLW) — a unique and effective career development program

  • The SPARK grant program, which supports early experiential learning opportunities — internships, research and study abroad

  • (CARS) Creative Activity Research and Scholarship showcase of student work

  • The new Enrollment and Student Experience Division integrates the student experience

  • Expanded international education programs

  • Multiple national awards for civic engagement

  • A renewed commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive campus  — adding a new vice president and division of Community and Belonging; expanded work of Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies; announced Konar Center for Tolerance and Jewish Studies
  • Adoption of a sustainable financial model with the Affordability and Access plan that has produced a very strong financial condition

  • New residence hall: Clock Tower Commons

New and enhanced buildings in support of Nazareth’s academic goals

  • Renovation of Golisano Academic Center
  • Arts Center complex renovation to support programs in performing and visual arts

  • New math and science facility: Peckham Hall
  • New health and wellness building: York Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute for Nazareth’s health sciences programs, including clinical space where student in the allied health fields provide inter-professional clinical services to underserved individuals

  • Glazer Music Performance Center: state-of-the-art acoustics in new concert hall that supports Nazareth’s music programs

  • Golisano Training Center (2019): one-of-a-kind partnership with Special Olympics to create a new model of inclusion, fitness, and wellness for athletes with intellectual disabilities, and great athletics facilities and opportunities for athletes and other students, including students pursuing health and human service degrees
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Nazareth College’s academic strengths cross an unusually broad spectrum of 60 majors, including education, health and human services, management, the fine arts, music, theater, math and science, foreign languages, and the liberal arts. The coeducational, religiously independent, classic campus in a charming suburb of Rochester, N.Y., challenges and supports 2,300 undergrads and 700 graduate students. Nazareth is recognized nationally for its Fulbright global student scholars and commitment to civic engagement. Rigorous programs, an uncommon arts and sciences core, experiential learning, career skills, and a global focus prepare graduates for not just one job, but for their life’s work.

Nazareth President Daan Braveman plans to retire in June 2020. After 15 years, he will be the College's longest serving president.