Oct. 10, 2012

Shaping Lives of Purpose: Passing on opportunities that can change lives

dan ward

Dan Ward '87, center, senior vice president of Bank of America, was recently on campus to present a workshop for Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development. Ward returns every year to mentor students, and is a longtime supporter of his alma mater in many ways. Geneseo prepared him for life and his career, he says. /PHOTO BY KRIS DREESSEN



During his senior year, Dan Ward '87 served as chairman of the Activities Commission, planning events for thousands of his fellow students. Already involved in Inter-Greek Council and the commission, Ward took the plunge into advanced leadership at the urging of Associate Dean of Leadership and Service Tom Matthews.

Such experiences outside of the classroom at Geneseo "prepared me well for transition from academics to professional life, and taught me a lot about working with people and relationships," says Ward, senior vice president of Bank of America.

Ward developed a close relationship with Matthews, who became a "life coach" of sorts, and whom Ward admires for his efforts to create opportunities for students to develop skills, their passion and tools to succeed.

"Geneseo is where I learned about life and opportunities," says Ward.

Ward also met his wife, Deborah Majewski '87, his senior year.

Ward has long provided opportunities for current students in several ways. As a member of the Geneseo Foundation Board of Directors, Ward helps shape the college's future and serves on the finance and campaign committee. He is also a volunteer on the National Alumni Council. He also created the Ward Leadership Annual Scholarship, which assists a student who demonstrates service to the college or larger community and completes the bronze certificate in the Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development program (GOLD). Shaping Lives of Purpose: The Campaign for Geneseo seeks to raise $22 million to provide outstanding opportunities for students now and in the future. The campaign focuses on academic innovation and support, student scholarships, global education, The Fund for Geneseo and athletics.

For 10 years, Ward has returned to campus to present a GOLD workshop on "Merger Integration and Business Transformation: Leadership Practices for Process Improvement— Using Six Sigma and Kanri Principles." The principles are core to Ward's strategies for customer satisfaction, as well as boosting production and reducing cost. His participation inspired Matthews to create the "Pearls of Wisdom" workshop series, which brings alumni and others back to campus to share insight.

Matthews says students gain a lot from Ward's discussion, whatever their major. Joe Chappell '16 recently wrote in a reflection journal that Ward's ideas will help him examine his own experience and apply strategies to get better grades and waste less time. The lessons, Chappell said, are for everyone.

Ward says he sees the value of Geneseo even more now through his experience on campus as a student and his involvement as an alumnus. It's why he's committed to providing the same inspiration for the next generation of the Geneseo family.

"When I was at Geneseo I realized what I liked to do and how I could reach my potential," says Ward. " ... I'm paying it forward."