Dan Buhr’s colorful career in the Navy started with good grades

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After a 20-year career in the United States Navy, Commander Daniel Buhr is making an impact back in his home state of Iowa.

Buhr (Electrical Engineering, B.S. ’95) is an executive officer of the U.S. Navy and an adjunct professor of Naval Science, a department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University. In his role, he prepares midshipmen for a commission in the Navy or Marine Corps, and connects them with alumni and veterans who have served our nation and continue to support Iowa State.


Under Buhr’s leadership, NROTC has developed a stronger connection between its alumni and students resulting in more donations, scholarships and funding from alumni. These donations have presented many opportunities for the midshipmen, including personal tutors for each student, funding to travel to leadership conferences, and other unique training opportunities. In turn, the ISU NROTC unit has become one of the strongest in the nation.

Growing up, Buhr worked hard to earn good grades.

"My grades let me do many of the things I got to do in my career," said Buhr, who has flown helicopters all over the world, been a test pilot and a flight instructor, led detachments in Korea, Japan, South America and many other countries, detonated underwater mines in war zones, and and traveled with President Barack Obama for three years as his Nuclear Strike Advisor.

"Academics are our number one priority," he said. "Now we can enable our students to achieve better grades so they can do the same things that I’ve done and that our alumni have done. When we get the involvement of our alumni, it really comes full circle."

Over Labor Day weekend, NROTC hosted a huge celebration for alumni and students to honor its 70th anniversary. It was a golden opportunity for alums to connect with current midshipmen and share their experiences.

"We have a lot of great momentum and energy," Buhr said. "These relationships help build leadership experience that our students will take with them out to the field."

Daniel Buhr is another great example of one of the 100,000 ISU alumni living in Iowa and contributing to the economic health of the state.