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Jim Danko

Butler University

James M. Danko, President, Butler University

James Danko is the 21st president of Butler University. An innovator at heart and in experience, Danko was a successful entrepreneur in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, for nearly two decades before beginning his academic career. He served in business-school leadership roles at institutions including the University of Michigan, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dartmouth College, and Villanova University before assuming the Butler presidency in 2011.

Danko has focused on the establishment and implementation of Butler 2020, the University’s strategic plan, which charts a course for advancing Butler as a world-class institution, building upon its foundation of undergraduate residential education while pursuing creative new programs and approaches. Danko is also driving the transformation of Butler’s campus to enrich the student experience and strengthen national recognition for the University—including upgrades to academic, research, residential, performance, and athletic spaces. Interest in Butler has reached a record high: the University received 15,000 applications in 2016, an increase of 50 percent over the previous two years.

In 2013, Danko successfully advocated for Butler’s membership in the BIG EAST Athletic Conference, positioning the University in the company of outstanding peers both in the classroom and in athletic competition. Since joining the BIG EAST, Butler has brought home four team championships: Softball, Women’s Soccer, Men’s Soccer, and Men’s Tennis. Danko currently serves on the NCAA Division I Presidential Forum and is Vice-Chair of the BIG EAST Board of Directors.

Located in the heart of the Hoosier State—where basketball is as close to religion as a sport can get—Butler University is home to Hinkle Fieldhouse, one of the most celebrated hoops venues in the world. Despite being a small college with a small endowment, Butler has successfully pursued a basketball strategy, ultimately appearing in two successive NCAA championship games. Danko credits this strategy, along with the talent of Vice President and Director of Athletics Barry Collier and a culture driven by The Butler Way—which demands commitment, denies selfishness, accepts reality; yet seeks constant improvement while putting the team above self—with the ability of Butler Athletics to consistently thrive, both internally and on the national stage.

Danko is an alumnus of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland and John Carroll University, where he earned a degree in Religious Studies. He earned his MBA from the University of Michigan. He holds a deep commitment to the Jesuit ideals of intellectual growth, social justice, and servant leadership.

Danko is the father of two grown daughters, both of whom reside and work in Indianapolis. He and his wife, Bethanie, live on Butler’s campus and frequently host events. He is also a loyal Cleveland sports fan who will never lose the faith.