When David Juran kicked off his college career in 1985, he moved into a University of St. Thomas icon, Ireland Hall. Back at its grand opening in 1912, Ireland Hall featured the latest in technologies – including "lighted electricity.” By the time Juran moved in, however, the building wasn’t exactly at the top of its game.
“It was in a bit of rough shape then, but we loved it,” Juran said. “We were very proud and really enjoyed our time, those of us that lived there.”
Three decades later, Juran ’88 is back at St. Thomas – this time serving as the newest member of the Board of Trustees. During his time away, much has happened, including an extensive facelift of Ireland Hall in 2019. Meanwhile, Juran has built an extensive resume in real estate, overseeing billions of dollars in transactions.
A St. Thomas finance major with a clear passion for the housing business, Juran was pleased to see Ireland Hall’s transformation alongside the debuts of Tommie North and Frey Hall.
“Modern dorm rooms were something that St. Thomas needed more of,” Juran said. “And especially with the new residency requirement, these spaces with modern amenities are great.”
Business by the numbers
Juran is a self-professed numbers guy. And he hopes to continue guiding St. Thomas while relying on that business acumen. As president and CEO at Colliers Mortgage, Juran helps “make the numbers work.” It’s a role he’s held since Colliers acquired Dougherty & Company in 2020, where he served as executive vice president for nearly two decades.
"I like the housing business," Juran said. “It’s not as flashy as a big office building or a mall, but slow and steady wins the race.”
Juran has developed or overseen hundreds of projects, both market rate and affordable housing.
“The housing business is probably the most conservative side of the real estate business in the sense that you know what you're going to get,” Juran said. “As long as you build quality buildings in decent locations, you’ll fill them up and you’ll keep them full.”
As the deals piled up over the years, Juran slowly lost touch with his St. Thomas roots, but it was his longtime business partner – Michael Dougherty – who brought him back into the fold.
Dougherty family relationship
Dougherty had just partnered with St. Thomas on one of its biggest investments in history – the Dougherty Family College. And right as the college made its debut in 2017, Dougherty asked Juran and his wife to join him on the journey – both as donors and on the DFC advisory board.
"Just the passion that I see that Mike and Kathy have for the students ... is really a special thing,” Juran said. “The things that St. Thomas has done at Dougherty Family College make me proud of this institution and the way it’s grown.”
His journey back to St. Thomas now complete, Juran has put much of his focus into DEI work.
“The numbers have to work, but not only do the numbers have to work – we have to do things,” Juran said. “We have to be more inclusive and continue the good work that DFC has started doing.”
Juran’s commitment to financial success alongside his demonstrated passion to do good has impressed his new colleagues on the Board of Trustees and university leaders alike.
“David has a loyal passion for our students and will work to deepen the impact that St. Thomas has on our community and in our world,” Interim President Rob Vischer said. “We are lucky that David ... a dedicated business leader and philanthropist, has joined the Board of Trustees and will share his time and talents with St. Thomas.”
Putting trust in St. Thomas
Juran is well aware that his tenure on the Board of Trustees begins as higher education in general experiences much change and challenges. Despite an evolving landscape, Juran believes St. Thomas has the foundation to weather the storm.
“St. Thomas has a great reputation as a really high-quality institution,” Juran said. “Down the road there are going to be winners and losers in higher education ... I think St Thomas is not only going to survive, but thrive and grow going forward.”
Part of that strength Juran attributes to the university’s commitment to the common good. He’s proud of a mission that is developing a new generation of community-minded leaders.
“We can't always just put our financial success first – although that must be in place to make everything else work,” Juran said. “We must try to shape students who are thoughtful about how they can get involved in the community, how they can get involved with St Thomas, and how they can do good in general.”
Serving on the Board of Trustees certainly isn’t something this Tommie ever imagined, but he’s glad his journey has come full circle.
“It’s almost like going back to school again,” Juran said. “I will admit it’s a little bit weird to be back on campus, but I’m looking forward to dedicating more time to what I think is such a great institution.”