Pay it 1964WARD – Why I give back: My Union degree got me a seat at the table

Union’s Pay it 1964WARD campaign is underway to make a difference in the lives of our students. At UI&U, 100 percent of funds designated to scholarships go directly to the student. Throughout 2020, we will feature a number of Union donors – alumni, trustees, friends, and others – who support Union and our goals to transform lives and communities. Please join them through Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD today.

Randy DanielsenRandy Danielsen, Ph.D., 2003, knows one thing for sure. He would not be where he is today without his Union degree.

“I was an older student, already settled in my career, when I realized that a degree, particularly from Union, would enhance my trajectory in higher education. As a result, I was able to move into the deanship of a private, not-for-profit, post-secondary health science school and lead that program for over 14 years. My degree from Union prepared me to be open to many academic and personal changes, and to make a difference wherever I am.”

Dr. Danielsen’s career started in the Air Force, where he was given the choice of becoming a medic or a cook.

“I chose the medic route. My training as a medical corpsman would lead to my career as a physician assistant (PA), clinician, educator, author, and editor. The PA profession is a relatively new profession that started a little over 50 years ago. I was fortunate to be among the first group of PAs to receive certification from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) in 1975, remaining clinically active for over three decades. I maintained my certification through 2017 and then was able to attain the PA-C Emeritus status. My Union degree opened paths for me to serve in the classroom and administration. A higher education degree gets a person a seat at the table. I would never have been a dean without my Ph.D. from Union.”

Dr. Danielsen pays his degree forward by investing in students and the future of Union.

“I am a first-generation college student and certainly the first in my family to attain a Ph.D. I appreciated my educational experience at Union, and feel it is important to do whatever I can do so others will have a similar experience. Union students come from all walks of life, and many share similar stories of being the first in their family. That is why I invest in Union.”

Another reason Dr. Danielsen supports Union is its social justice mission that is interwoven in the curriculum.

“The concept of fair and just relationships between the individual and society, measured by the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity, and social privilege is something I have felt from a very early age. This is probably why Union appealed to me from the very first day I sought information about their programs.”

Dr. Danielsen’s generosity, and that of other Union donors, supports student scholarships, veteran’s services, innovative programming such as the Maternal Child Health program, the new and emerging Union Institute for Social Justice, and is critical in supporting Union’s mission to engage, enlighten, and empower adults to pursue professional goals and a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.

“Randy is a shining example of how Union’s alumni have developed personal missions to make a difference,” said Carolyn Krause, VP of Advancement for Donor Relations and Alumni Services. “Not only is he a monthly donor, he also serves as president of the International Alumni Association Board. In that role, he welcomes the newest class of alumni every year at National Commencement. He tells them three things: 1) to display their Union diplomas with pride and let everyone know of their Union education; 2) to recruit a new student to Union and to be a Union ambassador; and 3) to make a gift to support Union – at whatever level they can. His contributions support and encourage our adult, nontraditional students to complete their higher education dream to make a difference in their communities and the world. He leads by example.”

Make a difference with your donation. Changing the Faces of Education – Pay it 1964WARD today. Click here to donate.

About Dr. Randy Danielsen

Dr. Randy Danielsen, (Union Ph.D., 2003) is professor and director of the Doctor of Medical Science Program at the Arizona School of Health Sciences. Dr. Danielsen began his healthcare career as a medical corpsman in the U.S. Air Force in 1970, serving 28 years with the Air Force and the Army National Guard, retiring in 1998 as a Desert Storm veteran with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

A graduate of the University of Utah, Randy earned his MEDEX PA Program degree in 1974 and Bachelor of Science (cum laude) in 1978. He earned a master’s in PA Studies (MPAS) from the University of Nebraska with an emphasis in Internal Medicine in 1997. During his doctoral program at Union, he worked closely with other students and had a leadership position on the Graduate Learner Council.

Dr. Danielsen has served in a number of leadership positions throughout the Physician Assistant profession. He has participated on a variety of publication advisory/review boards and has been a prolific writer. He has published more than 25 peer-reviewed articles, 20 journal editorials, and four book chapters. In 2011, Dr. Danielsen published his first book, The Preceptor’s Handbook for Supervising Physician Assistants. He and his wife split their time between homes in Arizona and Michigan.