Growing up in Homer, La., between Shreveport and Monroe, Danny Prince developed a healthy respect for his elders. That respect turned into a passion and a long and fruitful career meeting the needs of the elderly. Today, he is president of Paramount Healthcare, based in Ruston, Louisiana. The company includes a chain of rehabilitation centers and long-term skilled nursing facilities located in Texas and Louisiana.
"I always had a real attraction to being around and working with older people," says Prince. "I grew up with grandparents on both sides nearby."
At Baylor, Prince entered the pre-med program and completed a degree in religion. Prince says he and his four children, all of whom later attended Baylor, were impacted by the positive student experience once they arrived on campus, even a generation apart. Prince says two other things have always stood out to him about Baylor: the consistent commitment to providing an excellent Christian educational environment for those from all backgrounds, and Baylor's personal touch.
"Baylor has always taught not only academic excellence, but life skills and to make a difference in whatever the student's chosen profession is. The other thing is just the personal aspect of the people at Baylor, and that still remains so true today. It's amazing to me," says Prince. "And I really do believe this: it doesn't matter if you are a big donor or just an interested fan of Baylor, you have a respect from the people who work there, who manage the school, who direct it and operate it, all the way from Judge [Ken] Starr to anybody in one of the offices. And I really do appreciate and respect that."
After Baylor, Prince pursued a master's degree in religious education at Southwestern Seminary, where he met professor James Williams, who also taught at the University of North Texas' School of Gerontology, one of three schools in the country offering an advanced degree in gerontology at the time. Prince then completed his master's of science in gerontology at UNT.
"This was in the mid- to late-'70s, and it was an evolution of a career path that most people didn't know about," says Prince. "I thought I would love to work with senior adults in a church-related environment, so that was my focus. After I got out of school, I tried to do internships with nonprofit church-related facilities and had a hard time doing that. Again, this was the beginning of graduate degree programs in gerontology, so no one was very interested in hiring people who had those degrees."
Soon thereafter, Prince began a career path operating skilled nursing facilities in Louisiana and Florida. He started his own senior adult healthcare business in Albuquerque in 1986.
"Throughout the course of that experience, we had facilities from New Jersey to South Texas, to the East Coast, to New Mexico. We have sold most of that and just operate in the Dallas and San Antonio markets. We have some other ancillary companies that go along with the business like therapy and pharmacy services. I also have other retail businesses, primarily real estate. In a nutshell, that's how I ended up where I am now."
Because of Prince's devotion to bettering the lives of senior adults, his business has always been about more than the bottom line.
"I am real succinct in saying this is what I do and this is how I do it, it's no big deal," Prince says. "But the real, true passion, the big deal about it all, is that you are caring about older people who made a great contribution throughout their lives to us. You want to respect and honor them in whatever way you can throughout their older years. That's really my true passion in doing all the different things that I do. The true direction and the true motivation for all of it is compassion for senior adults. That's really who I am."
Because of business interests and because Danny and his wife, Lenn, wanted to be closer to their four children attending Baylor (Lauren Rachel Prince Golden, BBA '00, JD '03, Leslie Lenn Prince, BS '03, Lindsey Danielle Prince '05, and Daniel Robert Prince, BBA '07), the Princes now live in Dallas about nine months out of the year. Two of the Prince children are involved in the family business, and their father desires to continue meeting the growing needs of the rising population of senior adults.
"With today's demographics and with the baby boomers all coming of age, we see a potential to stay in that business for some time. I have a great personal passion and interest in understanding how to help people age positively and healthily."
In addition to making a significant contribution designated for the Residential Care of Older Adults Initiative at Baylor's School of Social Work, the Princes serve on the President's Scholarship Initiative Steering Committee, and Mr. Prince is on the board of advisors for the School of Social Work.
"I am very involved there with Dean Diana Garland and Dr. Dennis Myers," says Prince. "I'm working with them pretty aggressively, trying to help figure out what it is that helps that process of aging and caring for older people, especially in skilled nursing facilities, making them more advantageous to the client. They are doing a good bit of research to help us figure out how to educate and prepare professionals to work in the field of long-term care when they graduate from school. In fact, we're working with Dr. Myers on a project right now that will help us better understand the elderly population in the college environment, helping to mix together continuing to learn with the process of aging."
Prince is so invested in Baylor today because of the principles he shares with Baylor.
"Baylor as a university and Baylor people, they invest in what they are doing. They do it not just as a job, but as a calling. I think that's what so excites me about Baylor. When our kids started going there after all those years and we would go down for different events, it was just so refreshing to see that in spite of the fact that things had changed so much in the world, so much was still the same at Baylor as far as the focus on principles that matter.
"Basic principles of treating people correctly and being honorable in what you do. That's my biggest comment about Baylor and how it made a difference in my life. It's confirmation of what really matters is that you treat people right. I have this statement I tell my employees: Just do the right thing, and it will serve you well. I think that's what Baylor does, and I try to do it, too."