Sixty-one years after his first graduation from what is now Case Western Reserve University, John (“Jack”) Dannemiller (CIT ‘60, MGT ‘64) still speaks passionately of his time as a student.
He said that the Case Institute of Technology introduced him to collaborative teamwork and creative problem solving—some of the most important tools in his long career. “It was an important experience as an undergraduate,” said Dannemiller. “They taught us how to reason, how to think and how to view problems as opportunities for advancement and change.”
After graduation, Dannemiller was recruited by the American chemical company, Diamond Alkali. The company paid his tuition to attend graduate school, so he headed back to campus to study marketing and economics at the Weatherhead School of Management.
He completed the program in the evenings while working full time at Alkali, and said he couldn’t have made it through without the support—and shorthand skills—of his late wife of nearly 60 years, Jean. For his thesis, he designed a course called Professional Selling Skills that has been used to train millions of salespeople in the 57 years since it was created.
“A good education unlocks the door to opportunity,” said Dannemiller, who has been an avid supporter of the Weatherhead School for many years and received the school’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 1999.
In addition to annual fund support, he and his wife shared their intent to endow, through a bequest, the Jack and Jean Dannemiller Scholarship Fund, which will support CWRU undergraduates majoring in engineering and graduate students pursuing MBA degrees.
These days, when Dannemiller isn’t spending time with his four grandchildren or keeping up with fellow alumni, he enjoys writing. He co-authored the Christian book series The Living Dialog Collection, and his most recent book, Answers to Your Greatest Questions, was published in 2019.
Dannemiller shares his love of Case Western Reserve University—and the tradition of supporting it—with his son, David Dannemiller (MGT ‘97).David followed in his dad’s footsteps and completed his Master of Business Administration degree at the Weatherhead School, studying finance and marketing in the evenings while working full time at KeyBank.
“I’m proud to have a school the caliber of Weatherhead right in my backyard,” said David. “There is no question that it was the right career development move for me.” He now runs the midwest region of commercial banking out of Cleveland for Bank of the West.
The company “had nothing in this part of the country when I started—no people, no clients, no brand recognition or office,” said David. “There are not many sentences where you could put the words ‘banker’ and ‘entrepreneur’ together, but that was my challenge when I accepted this role.”
That’s when his training from the Weatherhead School came into play, he said, and the business was profitable within 12 months.
David and his wife, Suzanne, have two adult children—Jack, named after his grandfather, and Kate. Though both of his children have attended different schools, David’s niece, Halley, will keep the Dannemiller family legacy going this fall as a graduate student in CWRU’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.