President's Biography

Since assuming the presidency of Radford University in July 2022, President Bret Danilowicz is ensuring that the transformative benefits of higher education are readily accessible to the diverse populations served by Radford University.

Danilowicz outlined his key priorities in Radford University's Two-Year Strategic Plan (2024-25), designed to position Radford University as one of the most distinctive public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Marking a significant step towards this goal, the university introduced a new brand in 2023, inviting students to embark on their journey at Radford while underscoring a steadfast commitment to the shared success of both individuals and communities associated with the institution.

In his efforts to open doors for the commonwealth's students and their families, Danilowicz announced two pivotal enrollment initiatives in fall 2023: Direct Admission and the Radford Tuition Promise. Direct Admission simplifies admission requirements to attract freshmen and transfer students who can be successful at the university. Simultaneously, the Radford Tuition Promise garnered widespread attention for its commitment to affordability by covering tuition costs for Virginia residents with an Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of $100,000 or less, which applies to nearly half of the university’s students.

Danilowicz is leading the ambitious $100 million fundraising effort TOGETHER – The Campaign for Radford University, which is focused entirely on student success and affordability. TOGETHER is expected to exceed its goals when the campaign concludes in 2024.

Danilowicz envisions mutual success for the university and the region it serves. The opening of The HUB at Radford in fall 2023 exemplifies this vision. The HUB serves as a nexus connecting the talents and knowledge of Radford University's students and faculty with businesses, nonprofits and local governments. This collaboration develops work-based learning opportunities and strengthens economic outcomes for the surrounding region and the commonwealth. The Vinod Chachra IMPACT Lab, housed within The HUB, provides competency-based education (CBE) to adult learners and includes the innovative Provisional to Professional Pathway project, which was launched in December 2023 to address teacher shortages in Virginia’s K-12 school districts.

Acknowledging Radford University's culture of care as a cornerstone, Danilowicz focuses on improving healthcare outcomes in Southwest Virginia. He oversees the development of Radford University Carilion in Roanoke, which enhances the region's healthcare workforce with competitive bachelor's, master's and doctoral programs. Radford’s nursing programs, frequently recognized as the best in Virginia, were elevated in January 2024 when the School of Nursing became the College of Nursing. Radford University is the only four-year public institution in the commonwealth to have a stand-alone college dedicated to this critical profession.

Danilowicz and his wife, First Lady Kay Danilowicz, actively promote the well-being of Radford University's students. Kay, an experienced pediatric speech language pathologist, spearheaded the Tartan Tails dog therapy program in 2023 to address the mental health needs of Radford students. Bainne, one of the family's pets and a trained therapy dog, has become a beloved presence in the Radford University community.

Fostering transparency and a welcoming atmosphere at Radford University, Danilowicz upholds a commitment to free speech and academic freedom. Initiating a university task force on Civil Discourse and Freedom of Expression in 2023, he implemented recommendations that earned Radford a rare "green light" distinction from the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE). Radford became one of only 63 universities nationwide to receive such recognition at the time.

Prior to his tenure at Radford, Danilowicz served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Florida Atlantic University, where he achieved notable milestones in retention, graduation rate improvement and civil discourse initiatives. In various roles as dean or associate dean at Oklahoma State University, Georgia Southern University and University College in Dublin, Ireland, he demonstrated a consistent commitment to student success, shared governance and strategic planning.

Danilowicz earned his B.S. in biology from Utica College of Syracuse University, a Ph.D. in zoology from Duke University, an M.A. in education (leadership and management) from The Open University (England) and an MBA from Georgia Southern University.

Beyond his professional accomplishments, Danilowicz and Kay are the proud parents of four children and actively engage in the communities where they live. Outside of their commitments to work and community service, they enjoy exploring the outdoors, appreciating the arts, riding horses, and cherishing the company of their dogs, Bainne and Koda.