Why I give to UA: Mark H. Curley


Canadian Mark H. Curley, Ph.D., teaches English and business management at Cégep de Saint-Félicien in Chibougamau, located in the far-north region of the province of Quebec, and spends his summers in Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Asked why he chooses to work in a place where 50 degrees below zero is typical, Curley, a 2008 University of Akron alumnus, simply says, “You become used to it, and my students are pleasant and eager to learn. The town is so small that everyone knows each other.”

Alumnus Mark H. Curley '08 believes education changes lives, which is why the banker-turned-professor established a bequest that benefits students at The University of Akron.

A native of Montreal, Curley is a classically trained pianist – but spent his professional life in the financial services industry, retiring after a distinguished 30-year career as an officer at KeyBank. His current life’s work as a professor in higher education in the United States and Canada commenced after his retirement and, along with Cégep de Saint-Félicien, has included teaching positions at Chancellor University, Kent State University, and Cuyahoga Community College.

Dedicated to enlightening and improving the lives of others, Curley also is an officer of the Cleveland International PIANO Competition; vice president of the Maison Française de Cleveland, an American nonprofit in greater Cleveland that promotes Franco-American cultural activity; and director of the group’s Maison Française Fund, a philanthropic trust.

Not surprisingly, education is the key to changing lives for Curley, and he holds five degrees from three universities: a bachelor’s in business administration from Baldwin Wallace; an MBA, a master’s in human resources, and a Ph.D. in urban education from Cleveland State; and a master’s in political science from UA.

Despite his three-decade career in business, Curley freely admits that political science has always intrigued him most, and it was at The University of Akron that his intellectual thirst was satiated. While seeking a master’s program in political science, he researched several. “UA’s program stood out,” he said, “and I believe the Department of Political Science at UA is one of the best in North America.”

According to Curley, “Returning to the classroom at UA as a nontraditional student was invigorating, and I arrived with a very different perspective – and perhaps much higher expectations.”

He was not disappointed. In fact, Curley was greatly impressed with the caliber of knowledge demonstrated by his professors, and he cites Karl Kaltenthaler, Ron Gelleny, and John Green among those who made the greatest impression upon him.

Curley’s high regard for UA’s political science program ultimately led him to establish a bequest that designated The University of Akron Foundation as the beneficiary. “My wish,” Curley added, “is that my endowed scholarship in political science makes it possible for many future generations of students to obtain – and benefit – from the excellence I experienced at UA.”