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A Chinese Connection

To found the University of Dayton China Institute in Suzhou Industrial Park, Dr. Curran utilized relationships, expertise and deep knowledge acquired during more than 30 years of research and building partnerships.

A sociologist by training, Daniel Curran began exploring and researching China and Chinese culture as historic reforms opened up the country to the West and started China's remarkable economic transformation. Invited to deliver presentations in cities throughout China in the 1980s and 1990s, Curran had a front-row seat on the waves of change affecting the country, developing deep and long-lasting friendships.

While Curran has developed relationships and partnerships around the world, he has a special interest in China. As president emeritus he will serve the University as executive-in-residence for Asian affairs, and he will be based in the University's China Institute in Suzhou Industrial Park, one of the world’s fastest growing economic regions. Nearly two-dozen universities from all over the globe have committed to establishing a presence in SIP, but the University of Dayton is the first American one.

He has spent years establishing partnerships with top Chinese universities including China Jiliang University, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing University, Nanjing University of the Arts, Nanjing University of Finance and Economics, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, Shandong University, Shanghai Normal University, Soochow University and Zhejiang University.

Those partnerships are creating rich opportunities for U.S. students and faculty as well as Chinese students and faculty, providing U.D. students with international opportunities few campuses can offer.

The crown jewel of Curran's Chinese endeavors is the China Institute, which he says is about extending international opportunities to University of Dayton students few campuses can offer. The institute offers year-round programming with programs in the fall, spring and summer. Each semester, a number of courses are offered in business, engineering, and the arts and sciences.

Curran's emphasis on the importance of global education has resulted in a serious commitment: every University of Dayton student can study for a semester at the China Institute for the same cost as student on campus.

The China Institute is not just a center for academics. With its location in the Suzhou Industrial Park, which is home to a third of the world’s Fortune 500 companies and the University’s partnerships with many companies, students are able to take advantage of internships and participate in innovative research and development projects.

Through a growing partnership with the Fuyao Glass Group and a $7 million gift from Fuyao Glass America, the University will purchase the building housing the China Institute, enabling the institute to continue to expand our academic, research and development, and innovation programs.

Curran welcomed U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus to the China Institute to dedicate the new American Cultural Center, one of only 20 such centers funded by the U.S. State Department in China and the only one outside of a Chinese university.

Programs at UDCI's American Cultural Center include: learning projects by University of Dayton and Chinese students; a cultural immersion program for Chinese students; presentations on American culture and society; support for American students teaching English in Chinese schools; and training programs for Chinese companies on corporate social responsibility, energy efficient manufacturing, and environmental design. 

A growing number our domestic students are completing study abroad programs in China. Faculty teach at the Institute in our academic programs and serve as visiting scholars at our partner institutions. In 2012, a group of faculty spent a year studying Chinese culture, politics and business through the University’s Faculty Global and Intercultural Study/Travel Program.

Curran’s emphasis on global education and Chinese connections has drawn hundreds of Chinese students to the Dayton campus as graduate and undergraduate students. An intensive English program helps students improve language skills and introduces them to American-style education, helping them transition into degree programs.

In the past dozen years, enrollment of Chinese students has increased dramatically from a bare handful to an estimated 750, more than from any other country outside the United States.