The Indiana University East community is remembering a visionary community leader and close friend, Donald C. “Danny” Danielson. Danielson’s family announced May 7 that he passed away at his home in New Castle, Ind., following a brief illness.
Chancellor Kathryn Cruz-Uribe said Danielson was a loyal supporter of Indiana University and Indiana University East. She remembered Danielson as a compassionate family man with the best interests of the community at heart.
“There are few who match Danny Danielson’s vision and drive to see their community succeed. The fervor with which Danny championed Henry County and the central Indiana region is unparalleled,” Cruz-Uribe said. “Because he was extremely loyal to his community and to Indiana University, he was driven to see each succeed, whether through his leadership and expertise or through his philanthropy. He was a strong supporter of higher education, and linked his passions for IU and with the community.”
Danielson had a longstanding history with Indiana University. The first in his family to attend college, Danielson attended IU on a baseball scholarship and earned his Bachelor of Science in Education degree in 1942. Danielson and his wife, Patty, volunteered their time for over 50 years for university endeavors, initiatives and leadership roles. Patty Danielson passed away in December 2013.
Danielson was a member of the IU East Board of Advisors and he is the longest serving member of the IU Board of Trustees (1959-1980). He also served on the IU Foundation Board of Directors.
Through his strong support of higher education for the residents of Henry County and the central Indiana region, Danielson was instrumental in the establishment of IU East’s Danielson Learning Center in New Castle, Ind. Danny and Patty Danielson challenged the community to raise money to build the center and the campaign raised $1 million for construction of the center. The first courses were held in fall 1999. The IU East Danielson Learning Center celebrated its 15th anniversary in August 2014.
Danielson received several university honors and awards, including the Distinguished Alumni Service Award, the President’s Medal of Excellence, the University Medal and the Chancellor’s Medallion. Danielson received an honorary doctor of laws degree from IU in 1994. In October 2007, Danielson received the Herman B Wells Visionaries Award. Named after Indiana University’s late president, the award was created to honor individuals with a lifetime commitment to Indiana University, revealing a deep understanding of the power of philanthropy to shape the future of the institution and the determination to see that future realized.
His philanthropy and leadership extended beyond IU and IU East including support to the Henry County YMCA, Basketball Hall of Fame, and the Henry County Foundation. In 2009 Danielson received the Sachem Award, the highest honor the State of Indiana can bestow on one of its citizens. In 2010, Danielson was inducted to the Junior Achievement of Central Indiana Business Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame honors prestigious business leaders who have made a lasting impression in their corporations and community.