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University of Dayton Magazine

Art helping life

12:02 PM  Dec 18th, 2014
by Michelle Friman '15

Before their final presentations, Intensive English Program students are given the opportunity to practice their skills outside of the classroom.

The program holds the poster presentations for international students five times a year towards the end of each term. This round, students demonstrated their knowledge of a work of art.

Hussin Bousfar chose to study the secret behind the Mona Lisa. “You can tell there are different smiles and the important part is the eyebrows,” Bousfar said. “She has no eyebrows, which hides her emotion.”

Lindsay Kearns says this is an important chance for her students. “This is the last step before the final and makes them feel more integrated in UD,” Kearns said.

“Being an IEP teacher, I see that they don’t often get outside-the-classroom opportunities to speak English and practice a language they are not used to,” Kearns said.

As a chance for international students to interact and learn from domestic students and faculty, everyone was welcome to visit and learn about the art on display.

“Instead of studying The Last Supper or other really old paintings, I wanted to pick something different,” Abdulrahman Alkhaldi said, pointing to his chosen work by Edward Happer, The Nighthawk. “This is different from other paintings because it’s just about a restaurant and not a really important scene.”


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10:48 AM  Dec 16th, 2014
by Erin Callahan '15

Could holding a grudge lead to mental health issues?

Alan Demmitt, associate professor in counselor education and human services, suggests it could. He has researched the nature of forgiveness for the past two years, and discusses the concept in his Integrated Approaches to Clinical Counseling course.

He explained if you Google stages of forgiveness, you might get 3 million hits or more — and that’s just the process of learning how to forgive — but he’s interested to know if there’s more to it.

Pointing to a book on his office shelf, he identified the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders that explains how to define and diagnose mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

“Things you won’t see in there are bitterness, resentment or a lack of forgiveness, but there are many people struggling with those issues and it could lead to depression, anxiety or fractured relationships,” he said.

He acknowledged it’s easier to accomplish something than it is to maintain something, and forgiveness is no exception. His main focuses are how people maintain forgiveness in their lives, what they do to prepare for forgiveness and if there are habits and practices they engage in on a regular basis to keep a forgiving spirit.

Demmitt collaborated with Alexandra Hall, a former visiting professor in counselor education and human services, to interview 10 people who are in the habit of forgiveness – like pastors, clergy and priests – and are searching for themes as they transcribe the recordings.

Demmitt hopes to soon interview individuals who don’t have a faith tradition to examine how they cultivate forgiveness in their lives. Beyond that, he said he’s keeping his options open, with the goal of eventually sharing his work with others.

As far as personal goals, he described his research as the perfect intersection of both personal and professional interests.

“I am a Christian, and I think forgiveness is important. I also work in mental health, so I see the need for people’s mental health to be able to forgive other people, and not hold on to grudges.”

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Group picture Retreat 2014 cropped (1)

Live. Laugh. Love. Lalanne.

2:55 PM  Dec 12th, 2014
by Erin Callahan '15

In early December, 18 current Lalanne teachers gathered from their communities in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana at the Bergamo Retreat Center in Dayton for their annual retreat.

Lalanne teachers participate in the retreat as a way to unwind from, and reflect upon, their experiences in under-resourced Catholic schools and as residents of a faith-based community with fellow teachers.

Teachers expressed their excitement to reconnect with members from other communities; to continue friendships established during the summer of their master’s classes at UD; and lean on each other for support for some of the challenges teaching can bring.

“Lalanne is supposed to be faith-based first, and people join because they want to be in Catholic education,” Casey Munn said. “It’s easy to lose sight of in our day-to-day jobs, so being able to refocus on that is beneficial.

Andrew Genco hoped to reflect on original goals, but also wanted to gain a fresh perspective.

“I wanted to reflect on our original mission statement with members of my community and discover how we can improve, but also connect with other communities to see what they’re doing faith-wise to help them grow and bond together,” he said.

The first night, the teachers were welcomed to the retreat with various games and activities. The following day, each community conversed about faith, teaching and “Advent Wait Watchers:” awaiting the coming of Christ, getting a healthy diet of Christ and prayer, with forgiveness as the exercise. The weekend retreat concluded with Mass on Sunday.

One of the biggest takeaways for teachers was the connection they made and the conversations they had — about life, faith, teaching and everything in between.

“It’s nice to know other people have been going through the same things and having similar struggles,” Munn said. “And it’s fun to share some of the successes we’ve had.”

Daniel Eiser was reminded of his purpose in Lalanne — to be a faith-filled educator and serve his students. “Retreat centers you on that faith component and allows you to be rejuvenated with God’s grace,” he said.

Colleen Federici found comfort in the simple things, like staying up until early hours of the morning playing Balderdash and The Game of Things.

“Laughing so hard you cry with people you love is life-affirming,” she said. “Live. Laugh. Love. Lalanne.”

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141209  djc announces leaving presidency in june 2016  Burgess

The secret to success

1:59 PM  Dec 11th, 2014
by Teri Rizvi

After Dan Curran announced he would step down as president in June 2016 following a 14-year tenure, he met with a tableful of students from Flyer News, followed by a press conference with the media.

Here’s what he said:

On his bond with students: “When I walk across campus, it takes me an extra 15 minutes because I’m talking to students the whole way.”

On traits he’d like to see in the next president: “The person will have to interact with the students well. That’s the UD way. I’d also say entrepreneurial and fiscally wise.”

On what he discovered when he became president: “With Brother Ray’s legacy, we had a platform to build upon. There was tremendous energy on campus.”

On the “secret” to UD’s momentum: “It’s our community. There have been so many times I’ve been humbled by what our students do. They’re extraordinary. The faculty, too.”

On his relationship with the trustees: “The board encouraged me to be bold from the very beginning.”

On his relationship with the Marianists: “The moment I was named president I knew I had the support of the Marianists. It’s a group that has your back.”

On his future plans: “I want to teach. I think I’d be lost without the students. I have a ton of energy left. You can step away from the presidency and still make a contribution. Brother Ray (Fitz) showed me that.”

On how to say “Go, Dayton Flyers!” in Mandarin: “Go, Dayton Flyers! It’s Go, Dayton Flyers everywhere.”

On what he’ll miss: “When you’re at graduation and look out over 1,500 faces, it’s a real emotional moment. These students are going out into the world and will make a major contribution.”

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Speaking Out

Speaking out

1:46 PM  Dec 10th, 2014
by Caroline Glynn ’15

Students at UD are speaking out — in the name of community.

On Wednesday morning, nearly 60 students, faculty and clergy members participated in a silent protest and die-in at Kennedy Union Plaza, holding signs that read “C2C,” “#WeCantBreathe,” “All Made In God’s Image” and “Hands Up Don’t Shoot,” among others.

One student held a sign that read, “When any one member of the Body of Christ suffers, we all suffer,” an expression of students’ interpretation of the Marianist charism in light of recent events, including the grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

“The timing of the protest comes as a result of the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases,” said Miracle Reason ’15, an accounting major and coordinator of the protest. “We believe it is time for us to say something because it doesn’t feel right.”

Reason said the die-in reflects the belief that a commitment to community — known on campus as “C2C” — means not only celebrating successes together but also speaking out against injustice and addressing systemic failures.

“A commitment to community means standing in solidarity with one another, and standing in solidarity with our black brothers and sisters, because we’re all part of one race — the human race. It’s the times of trial, stress and controversy that put the values of our community to the test,” Reason said.

As part of a three-day protest, students will wear all black on Thursday, display sheet signs on their houses on Friday, and hold silent protests and die-ins each morning. Students will also be posting Facebook statuses with the recently trending hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.


Photo by Michelle Friman '15

The mouths of babes

2:16 PM  Dec 9th, 2014
by Michelle Friman '15

A college campus is always buzzing with chatter, but on Dec. 8, ours was alive with the sound of small voices (often with big questions and even larger ideas). Here is a sampling of quotes gleaned from the 51st Christmas on Campus.

“Did you pay like a million dollars for this gift?”

“If I climbed the Christmas tree, do you think I could see my house from the top?”

“The ice is so cold it could burn you!”

“Out of my way! We’re on a hunt for Elsa, Anna and Olaf.”

“Y’all have pizza here?”

“Did Santa lose some weight?”

“I love you, Sully. I love you. Can you talk?”

“Wait, I can have as many cookies as I want?”

“Last year, the reindeer flew.” “I think they can’t this year because of Ebola.”

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Photo courtesy of Erin Callahan '15

Making a list and checking it twice

2:05 PM  
by Erin Callahan '15

It’s a UD bucket list item, I’m told, can’t be overlooked.

When asked, “What’s the one thing you should do before you graduate from UD?”, I’ve heard many alumni suggest adopting a child for Christmas on Campus.

After last night, I couldn’t agree more.

It’s not every day that you get a chance to make a difference in someone else’s life, but Christmas on Campus gives students that chance. As a senior who had never buddied up for the proclaimed “most wonderful night of the year” before, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

I chose my gift with care — a bracelet-making kit that allowed for creativity and style, and a small stuffed unicorn — and wrapped it in the prettiest Christmas bag I could find, shiny and colorful, perfect for a little girl.

The smiling face jumping off the bus to greet me belonged to seven-year-old Ne’Ajah, and as it turns out, she loves nothing more than to make bracelets for her friends and family.

Our first stop was face painting, where Ne’Ajah waited patiently as a member of Alpha Phi brushed a red-nosed reindeer onto her dimpled cheek. As we wandered off to the hot chocolate truck, Nerf wars and Ellie’s Carnival, I was able to learn more about her. Her favorite subject in school is karate; she has two pet fish (but is asking Santa for a puppy this year); and she loves the color blue the most, because it’s the color of Elsa’s dress in Frozen.

As we approached the bus at 8 o’clock and said our goodbyes, I couldn’t help but notice the happiness beaming from her as she thanked my friend Casey and I for spending time with her. Maybe it was from all the candy she ate after winning the carnival games, or maybe it was because we really did make a difference.

Despite not knowing what to expect at the beginning of the night, I knew it would be an experience to remember. Little did I know I would become quite attached to Ne’Ajah and her shy but silly personality, and be able to make her Christmas a little bit brighter just by being her friend.

No wonder they call it the most wonderful night of the year.

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CC CoC 2

A perfect pair

11:53 AM  
by CC Hutten '15

Yesterday, I played in a winter wonderland with almost 3,000 of my closest friends at UD.

OK, so maybe I don’t have thousands of friends, but I at least got to spend those three magical hours of Christmas on Campus with my “Little.”

As the University of Dayton Big Brothers Big Sisters Club (UD Bigs) continues to grow, so do the relationships of Bigs and Littles, including me and 9-year-old Courtney.

As a member for almost four years and a leader for three of them, I’ve experienced some highs and lows with the club. I can safely say this Christmas on Campus was the best it’s ever been — because every single Little finally had a Big to be their buddy for the night.

This year was Courtney’s third at Christmas on Campus, but only last year and this year was she matched with a Big. Courtney and I were just matched in August, but it still makes all the difference. Especially because I take Santa visits very seriously.

“I like it when my Big Sister takes me,” Courtney said. “That way, she knows that I want to see Santa, instead of wasting time talking about it. I like to try and do everything.”

For one thing, I know Courtney will never go out in public without wearing pink, and will never own enough lip gloss. She loves playing in makeup, but not face paint. And when deciding between bracelet-making and Nerf gun wars? Easy — crafts over running, always.

After meeting Elsa and Anna of Frozen fame, downing two slices of pizza, joining a fervent round of musical chairs, squeezing in a last-minute visit to Santa and applying four coats of her new lip gloss, Courtney was exhausted — but not quite ready to go home. The best part? I’ll see her again in three days. (I’ll probably hear all about how her brother ate her candy canes; I already have an extra bag to bring her, just in case.)

Read this story for more on UD’s Big Brothers Big Sisters Club.

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Photo by Caroline McCormack '16

Last time, with feeling

11:44 AM  
by Caroline McCormack '16

The lines were growing and the excitement was buzzing on UD’s campus as 5 p.m. rolled around and the chilly — but pleasantly mild — December air rustled. It could only mean one thing: it was finally time for Christmas on Campus.

Seniors Annie Grizzell, a communication major with a minor in Spanish, and Ashley Fecher, a pre-physical therapy student, wanted to make their last Christmas on Campus one to remember. “I’m glad we decided to adopt a child together as our last year here,” Grizzell said to Fecher. “It makes it memorable.”

As Grizzell and Fecher’s line walked over to bus five, they grew more anxious. Would their first-grader Jason be excited? Would he love his gift? What does he want to do? The questions were in the air, and everyone else waiting in line seemed to carry the same curious expressions.

Turns out, Jason was not into action figures like Grizzell and Fecher thought he would be (he preferred a cotton candy machine), and as for activities? Where to begin. As the student duo walked Jason around the RecPlex main gym, his eyes grew big and his smile, wide. The arcade-like games brought him to life, as he would complete each activity with a high-five from a student or a “Jason, you rock at this,” from Fecher.

What Jason really rocked at, though, was Nerf guns programmed by the Fantasy and Science Fiction Appreciation Club. While the club had a time limit of 10 minutes for each child due to the long line, Jason took it upon himself to stretch that time out and bring down any incoming threat. While he may have taken a little longer than necessary, nobody wanted to stop a kid from having fun.

Being with Jason for three hours taught Grizzell and Fecher that he loved Nerf guns, candy and ice cream (except caramel), and he loved greeting friends and strangers alike with a big hug. Although the night came to an end and saying goodbye to Jason was tinged with sadness, Fecher took a deeper lesson with her on her last Christmas on Campus.

“It’s nice that we come together this one night for something bigger than UD; that it’s for the Dayton community as well,” she said.

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Photo by Larry Burgess

A golden Christmas on Campus

10:52 AM  
by Caroline Glynn ’15

For 51 years, Christmas on Campus has been a special night for students to celebrate the season, but it wouldn’t be possible without the staff and alumni volunteers who work behind the scenes to ensure a successful event — especially the Golden Flyers.

As students packed Kennedy Union dining hall to warm up with treats and hot chocolate on Monday night, five Golden Flyers could be seen amidst the crowd, serving cookies to sweet-toothed students.

Mike Connair ’44 flew in from Wilmington, Delaware, to join his brother ,Tom Connair ’50, of Dayton, who has helped with Christmas on Campus for the past eight years. Tom, who also volunteers at the Heritage Center on campus, said he’s thankful for the opportunity to warm the hearts of students.

“The best part of the night has been seeing the expressions on children’s faces when we hand out the cookies,” Tom said.

Bob Daley ’55, a resident of Washington Township, Ohio, also returned to campus for the event, as he has done during the past 10 years.

“Students learn a lot of lessons during their time at UD, and this event is one opportunity. It’s heartwarming to see these young kids enjoying themselves,” Daley said.

For George Skuns ’61, Christmas on Campus embodies the core values of UD. He has also returned for the past decade to help make the night a success for all students, and this year he joined the four other Golden Flyers serving decorated cookies in KU.

“Christmas on Campus flows with the community feeling of UD. It allows students to meet these children and their teachers or parents, and to generally just enjoy the evening. Everybody is so enthusiastic,” Skuns said.

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