Butler University President Jim Danko is ready to get started with a full year under his belt, after getting to know recognized personalities and becoming familiar with the Butler community.
While his first year on campus was used as a time to reflect and find his spot and mission as president, he’s settled in and moving forward with his plans for the university.
His job is “intense and relentless.” He and his wife, Bethanie, were hosts to events every day last week. The end of the year is always more fast-paced, but it’s just part of the job.
He’ll have Board of Trustees meetings, graduation and dinners by the time May 11 rolls around.
At the beginning of the year, Danko spoke to the university’s staff and faculty members with his State of the University address.
He talked about progress.
“How can Butler be at the forefront of academics?” he asked.
And now, eight months later, he’s seen the progress he asked for.
Faculty members have gathered in committees to find ways to bring Butler’s classrooms up to par with those of other “rising private institutions.”
Danko has made some big moves at the university this year, including Butler’s move to the Big East and bringing two recent sizable donations to the university.
Danko said he has learned more about the community and has valued the chance to learn the different personalities of some of Butler’s faculty and staff members.
“In your second year, you learn who to trust and who has their own biases and missions,” Danko said. “The first year, there’s no reason to not trust people, but as people start talking, you learn more about everyone.”
He’s also had time to connect with Butler alumni and students as he made his way around the country this year, traveling with the basketball team to Maui and Lexington and making trips to visit alumni chapters.
In December, the Dankos invited dancers’ parents to a Nutcracker performance and to dinner at his home.
“You don’t get many opportunities to connect with parents,” Danko said.
The highlights of his second year have centered around connecting with students.
“Butler is full of intelligent and dynamic students who come from different backgrounds, and they all have accomplishments to their names,” Danko said. “It’s an enjoyable part of my job, and it’s an incredible aspect of the university.”
Moving forward, Danko said he wants to continue making Butler’s name more recognizable on the national stage.
This year, he said, was a sort of planning stage. Next year will feature implementation and bringing those ideas to life.