In 1969, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, and Dr. Daniel Burcham was hired by Ferris as an English professor.
In the years that followed, NASA has continued its conquest of the last frontier, and Burcham served as vice president of student affairs. After a 43-year career, Burcham announed his retirement effective March 31, 2013.
During his time at Ferris, Burcham served in a variety of positions including developmental education department head, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, dean of enrollment services and acting provost.
Burcham said the students have been the best part of the job.
“I’ve gotten to know a lot of them while being here, both student workers and in the classroom,” he said. “Students are probably the reason I went into higher education. My mother always tells me that I went into higher education and never left.”
With March just a few months away, Burcham already has plans for retired life.
“I live on a farm, I was raised on a farm. I’m also a frustrated mechanic and would like to spend time there,” he said. “I’d like to spend time with family out in Texas.”
During his time at Ferris, Burcham has seen many things change.
“Most of the changes have been in the physical facilities,” Burcham said. “There are more convenient services for students; buildings like FLITE and the Rec Center didn’t used to be here.”
However, more than just the physical buildings on campus have changed over the years.
“There is tremendously more accountability to government, both state and federal,” Burcham said. “There’s been a concerted effort to develop students’ soft skills, to help make them better citizens. The Big Event would be a good example of this.”
Dr. Burcham viewed his greatest accomplishment not as an individual achievement but more as his ability to work with a team of people.
“I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to work for a university which shares my ethical values,” he said.
Following Burcham’s retirement, Don Flickinger will serve as interim vice president for student affairs.