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Welcome Back Board Chairman Dan Urech
By Felicia Smith, Director of Institutional Advancement

In January 2019, the Board of Trustees announced the appointment of Mr Daniel Urech as Chairman of the Board of Trustees.  Previously, Dan served on the Board of the Riverside School from its establishment in 1990 and was ISZL’s first Board Chairman from 2008 to 2012.  Dan is a Swiss citizen and studied languages and law in Geneva, international relations in Princeton and graduated from law school in Bern. After many years in insurance and banking, he started his own law practice and is an active member of the Bar Associations of Zurich and Switzerland, while also serving on the boards of Swiss companies and foundations.  He has a daughter and a son; the latter was a member of the first generation of students at the Riverside School. We are grateful for Dan’s continued support and leadership.

In February 2019, Dan participated in an interview for an ISZL film produced by IB Film students Cameron Livesay, Max Pawlowski, and William Eskdale:  

What makes ISZL such a special place?
ISZL is a unique school, and if you look at its history, you will see how incredibly special it really is. ISZL was formed based on the merger of two schools, the International School of Zug and the Riverside School, that were very different from one another. What they had in common were excellent teachers and the special community they served. Both schools were successful in their own way. 

You have had such a long history with the school, could you tell us some more about the evolution of ISZL?
The Riverside School, carved out of another international school, was a high school financed by a foundation, with the aim of being an elite school offering the highest level of education.  The International School of Zug, by contrast, was a primary and middle school, managed by a capable and dynamic school teacher who took over an existing school and wanted to expand it. 

The International School of Zug was considering becoming a high school as well, extending the curriculum year by year by keeping the middle school students as they were graduating. The Riverside School was looking for a continuous supply of students from an international primary school that would help it grow. And so the fortunate event happened: The Riverside School and the International School of Zug decided to merge, at a time when the International School of Zug was already at this fantastic location in Walterswil, having taken over a former Catholic boarding school, while the Riverside School was in another great building called the Salesianum Villa on the lake of Zug, peculiarly enough also formerly a religious institution. Both campuses grew exponentially, and the high school finally had to build its own site in Hünenberg as we know it today. My connection to ISZL is through both the Riverside School Board, where my son was one of their first students, and my stint as a member of the Advisory Board of the International School of Zug.

Both schools at the beginning had no more than 30 students. When you look at the school today with well over 1,200 students, it is almost unimaginable how that growth period was managed. For any organisation, growth is always a challenge financially and also in terms of other resources: You have to expand the teaching facilities, you have to hire new teachers, and you have to find the finances to do it all. 

What inspires you to serve on the Board; what is your vision for the future of ISZL? 
Today ISZL is flourishing, but we need to improve and expand the facilities to meet the needs of a growing school population. As the Board of Trustees, we need to continue our work to shape this special school in the vision of the schools’ founders. It is always always a challenge to find the right words to describe our mission and vision, which cannot be lengthy, as otherwise, no one will pay attention. I remember the Board meeting convened to establish the mission for the school: We actually limited it to the three core values of what we wanted the students to embody, and that was “to respect, to motivate and to achieve”. You could have had also added, “to inspire". To inspire people to uphold the institution it has become and support its development is the essential part of our mission.

Life is a process and not static; we must cope with the world as it is today and be prepared for the future. Relying on the past experience and wisdom allows ISZL, as times change, to adapt while upholding the values of the school. 


 

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