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Braveman retires from Nazareth College, vows to continue community service

Former Nazareth College President Daan Braveman retired Tuesday.
Former Nazareth College President Daan Braveman retired Tuesday.

After 15 years, Nazareth College President Daan Braveman officially stepped down Tuesday. The Rochester native announced his retirement last year.

Braveman said inclusion, and community service have been central to his life and career, even back to 10th grade when he joined a group known as CORE or Congress on Racial Equality. 

“In the summer of 63, they mentioned that there was going to be a March on Washington, D.C.,” said Braveman. “So I asked my parents if I could go,and they said yes. So I got on a bus at midnight and drove all the way to Washington. And, I actually stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when King gave his famous speech.”

Braveman said experiences like that inspired him to become a civil rights attorney. Some of the cases he’s most proud of include fighting for low- and middle-income housing in Penfield and suing the Rochester Police Department to hire more Black officers in the 1970s. 

He took that focus of inclusion and community service to higher education, first at Syracuse University for nearly three decades, and then at Nazareth College for the last 15 years. 

“I think it's our obligation in higher education to help students see that all this difference and diversity should not be a source of division, but a source of strength,” said Braveman

He said one of his crowning achievements at Nazareth centers on the creation of a school that promotes equity and social justice to students.

“For a lot of our students, the only contact that they’ve ever had with issues of race or issues of poverty(is) maybe when they go out and do their community service,” said Braveman.

Fourteen years after the program started, Braveman said Nazareth students commit hundreds of thousands of hours in community service every year in Greater Rochester and worldwide.

The 72-year-old said he has no hobbies,so he’ll spend more time with his young grandkids. He will alsocontinue serving the community, in part by working with the Rochester Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative and the education advocacy group Roc The Future. 

Elizabeth Paul officially takes over the college Wednesday. Her last role was president of Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.
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