Dr. Dirk Craen has been serving as president of European University since 1998. Under his leadership the university has benefited from many accomplishments which include receiving triple accreditation, developing a network of international campuses and implementing a variety of new programs for university students. Today European University hosts a diverse student population representing over 100 nationalities.
In addition to his role at European University, Dr. Craen also acts as the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) chair in Business Administration, Entrepreneurship and International Relations. Dr. Craen is a firm believer in the value of a well-rounded, international business education and aims to offer such an experience to European University students.
Beginnings and family
Despite his long-term experience in education, Dr. Dirk Craen did not come from a family that was professionally involved with higher education: he was born and raised in Belgium where his father worked importing coated abrasives. Once he was old enough to work, Dr. Craen followed in his father’s footsteps and entered the same industry as a salesman. Dr. Craen would continue to work in sales and in 1977 was offered a position as an adjunct faculty member with European University. He enjoyed instilling his knowledge and experience in young people. In 1985 he solidified his presence in the world of academia as professor and Dean of the newly opened EU Montreux campus, the first EU campus outside of Belgium.
Dr. Craen continued to work for EU, initiating the expansion of programs to other European countries, and in 1998 when existing management was looking to sell the university, Dr. Craen seized upon the opportunity to deepen his connection with the university that he had already given so much to. Since 1998 the university has seen many changes under the direction of Dr. Craen and in 2013-2014, the university was recognized by QS MBA as a top 35 business school in Europe.
Throughout a successful career and international travels, Dr. Craen has not let his endeavors get in the way of what matters most: family. This has always been at the forefront of his priorities, and in even the shortest of conversations, his love of family becomes apparent. His three children are also active in EU: Ann is the university’s Head of Accounting, and Carl and Luc each operate and manage different campuses within the European University network in Spain, (Barcelona), Switzerland (Geneva and Montreux) and Germany (Munich).