Adam Interviews Daan Braveman

Local News
6.5 years.
That’s the average tenure of a college president.
Daan Braveman has been president of Nazareth College now for around 15 years, but next year he’ll be stepping side.
Before Nazareth, Braveman was the dean at Syracuse University’s College of Law.
In fact, his legal background almost took him well off campus, which he talked about with Adam…
Adam: So at one point you could have been a judge from what I understand, but ended up here. Do you think you ended up on the right path?
Braveman: For sure. I was on the short list for the NY Court of Appeals, I didn’t get the position, but I had clerked for a judge on an appellate court and it’s interesting, appellate courts, it’s a very isolating life for a judge, the people you talk to are basically your law clerks occasionally you talk to the other judges whereas a job as a college president you’re engaged with so many different communities of people and I guess it fits my personality better.
Adam: And you’ve been able to maintain your position here for a long time, which is not all that common for college leaders, how is that possible?
Braveman: Luck. I use to do a lot of running. I was a road racer and one of the things I learned early on is that the person setting the pace is not necessarily up front, but the one pushing from behind and so I think part of what I tried to do here is become an advocate for the college. Someone said the living logo for the college, but when it comes to implementing things, let others do what they can do to really reach the vision and  we have a wonderful staff and faculty and the success over the years have really been because of them.
Adam: You found success in a time when we’re talking about college debt, there’s a lot of concern about private institutions, where have you found the key?
Braveman: At the end of the day students want to come and get a degree and get a job so we’ve really focused on academic programs that include a lot of experiential learning, a lot of internships, many opportunities for students to see what they’re doing in the classroom, how it applies in the real world.
Adam: Do you think college is to expensive?
Braveman: No. I once took a look at the last 30 years of private higher education across the country and what I found was while the average increase in tuition and sticker price situation was 3.5%, the average increase in net tuition in what you actually pay was only 1% a year.
Adam: You’ve said when it comes to free speech, you’ve gone back and forth on it.
Braveman: Hate speech is one thing. If people are putting up threatening things on the walls, that’s one thing, but if someone comes in and says something that I don’t agree with it seems to me the appropriate role especially on a college campus is to address that with more speech, expose why it’s not acceptable.
Adam: Do you think the transition out of this office will be difficult for you?
Braveman: It’ll be very difficult. I’m going to miss the students, faculty and staff and I’ll really miss the people I work with on a daily basis…

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