Joseph Daniels was profiled in the Feb. 6 issue of the Catholic Herald as our “Body of Christ” feature.
He was hit by a vehicle and killed the night of Feb. 11.
What follows is a letter sent out the morning Feb. 12 by Marquette University President Dr. Michael Lovell and his entire, uncut “Body of Christ” interview.
Dear Marquette community,
I’m writing this morning with incredibly difficult news. Today I ask you all to mourn the tragic loss of Dr. Joe Daniels, Keyes Dean of Business Administration, who was fatally struck by a vehicle on campus last night.
On behalf of the entire Marquette community, please join me in praying for the Daniels family and friends and our colleagues in the College of Business Administration.
Joe was a campus fixture for more than 30 years, and I was honored to call him my friend. He inspired students his entire career as a mentor and educator and made an indelible impact on the field of economics as a master scholar. Ultimately, Joe helped take Marquette Business to new heights. He was instrumental in inspiring a new vision for the college, which we will carry forward in his memory.
As a Marquette community, we struggle for comfort as we each feel the impact of this loss in different ways. We are a family and need to support each other the most during times of immense sorrow.
All College of Business Administration classes will be cancelled today and this evening.
A campus-wide prayer service will be held in the Chapel of the Holy Family in the AMU at 2 p.m. so that campus can come together to remember Joe and to pray for his family and friends.
Support and resources are available for the campus community through Campus Ministry, the Faber Center, the Counseling Center and the Employee Assistance Program. Special support is being provided to the College of Business Administration. Campus Ministry and the Faber Center will be in rooms 265 and 253 in Straz Hall all day today to provide spiritual support to anyone in need.
We will share funeral arrangements in Marquette Today when we have that information.
Please pray for Joe’s family and friends as they grieve an immeasurable loss.
Dr. Michael R. Lovell
Joseph Daniels, Church of the Gesu, Milwaukee
Joseph Daniels was named dean of the College of Business Administration at Marquette University in January after serving as interim dean for eight months. He’s been a professor of economics at the college since 1990, and attends Church of the Gesu on campus with his wife, Lora.
Born and raised in Indiana, Daniels received his undergraduate degree from Ball State University in 1981.
- He went on to earn his graduate degree (1987) and PHD (1990) from Indiana University.
- He converted to Catholicism in 1984.
- Joseph and Lora have been married for 39 years and have three children, Bill and Angela (Schrubbe), Leigh and Michael (Tiberi), and Wesley.
SPECIAL TO THE CATHOLIC HERALD
As a child, you explored your faith and ended up joining your local Baptist church; what inspired that decision?
My parents didn’t really have a faith life, but I was very close to my grandparents, who belonged to the Church of Christ, a very conservative and evangelical church. I was lucky to be able to make my own choices about my faith then, but we were from a small town and there wasn’t a lot to pick from. I ended up going to church with my neighbors a lot and they were Baptists.
What drew you to Catholicism?
Shortly after I graduated from college, I was living and working in indianapolis and I had a colleague who was older than me. I think he thought I was languishing and he invited me over to his house. After dinner, we had a conversation and he said, “What is it that you want? What do you want in your life? What do you want to see in your future?” and I told him that I really wanted the life that he had and he said, “Then you really need to go to Mass with me in the morning.” He took me to church and I went with them for a while and eventually enrolled in RCIA, and he was my sponsor. I have an older sister and she converted prior to being married. So, I was familiar and comfortable with the Catholic church. Again, I appreciated that I was able to choose my own religious home.
What was the first thing that piqued your interest in the Catholic Church?
It was definitely the community. The pastor, the associate, everyone was so welcoming. I was in a very diverse RCIA class in terms of age, which really helped. Being in my 20s and living away from family, I appreciated the conversations and support of my older classmates. Eventually, I went to graduate school. My wife fell in love with St. Paul’s Parish in Bloomington, Indiana, and made her decision to enroll in RCIA and join the Church. Because of my own experience, I left it to her to make her own decision on her own time.
What’s kept you at Marquette for almost 30 years?
That it’s Catholic and Jesuit is what attracted us in the first place. Marquette gave us an opportunity to send our children to a Catholic school, and in terms of higher education at a Jesuit school, that was very important to us. Like any place you work, there are ups and downs, but by far it’s my colleagues and students that have made it such a great experience and have been the reason I’ve stayed.
What draws you to the Jesuit tradition?
Initially, what I knew of Jesuit universities was that they were the top brand globally, recognized as high-quality education. When I got to Marquette, I got a quick indoctrination but after being at Marquette I have a real respect for Ignatian Pedagogy and Ignatian principles.
Do you try to apply those principles to your daily life?
Definitely the daily examen.
What are some of the steps you’ve taken to make the business program at Marquette stand out as one of the best in the country?
To be more multidisciplinary is very key and I believe that’s going to be required moving forward in higher education. In addition to working across colleges, we have an initiative that myself and the dean of engineering are working on to engage more of our business partners in the educational process.
What would you say has been the greatest accomplishment of your career so far?
For me, it’s absolutely the connection I’ve made with my students. I’m at the point now where I’m calling on former students that have been out 10 or 15 years, and reconnecting with them and seeing their success, which is very rewarding. I can’t imagine anything I’d do professionally that would be more rewarding than that.
Have you had a mentor that you’ve been able to look to for inspiration throughout your career?
Yes. There’s someone here at Marquette that I’ve looked up to as being my role model as a faculty member, and that’s always been Rich Friman in the political science department. He’s very rigorous, and deeply cares about his students, and there’s a way that he carries himself that’s impressive to faculty and students alike. He’s tough but his students flock to him. I look at him as being a great guidepost.
If you ran into your students at a dinner party years after they graduated, what’s something you hope they remember about your class?
I just hope that they wouldn’t say “Ugh, I hated economics,” because usually now when I’m at a dinner party talking to people and tell them what I do, they immediately say that they hated that class in college.
What’s something about you that would surprise people?
I think that people are often surprised that my sister and I were the first in the Daniels family to attend college. Because of that, I am very committed to Marquette’s first-generation college students and hope that I serve as a positive example in that regard.