The University of Dayton community celebrated the life of Marie Thérèse de Lamourous Sept. 14, the day she died 180 years ago.
Marie Thérèse was one of the three founders of the Society of Mary. As a lay woman, she worked with William Joseph Chaminade and Adele de Batz de Tranquelleon, the other Marianist founders.
University Chaplain Father Kip Stander, S.M., led the celebration Mass, held at the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception.
The Mass opened with an introductory speaker from Campus Ministry who encouraged the guests to allow the example of Marie Thérèse to “inspire us to live a life of Mary and love.”
Marie Thérèse, who lived in France during the French Revolution, provided elements of healing to those vulnerable in society.
In addition to the anniversary of her death, Sept. 14 was the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
On this holy day which commemorates the cross, Stander stated that the “cross is a symbol of God’s eternal love.”
“We are asked to be open, faithful and faith-filled,” said Stander.
During the prayers of intentions, guests prayed to act in Marie Thérèse’s ways, by demonstrating hospitality.
The Marianist family consists of sisters, brothers, priests and lay people who are all independent yet coordinate together, explained Stander. “Marie Thérèse laid the groundwork for all of that,” he said.
In July, Campus Ministry held a service to pray for those affected by racially motivated attacks, including those in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis and Dallas.
Although campus is generally quiet during the summer, the event was attended by many UD community members who expressed interest in holding those kinds of services on a monthly basis.
So on Friday, Sept. 9, Campus Ministry, the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Center for International Programs came together to hold the first “Prayer of the HEART” service. HEART stands for healing, empathy, awareness, reconciliation and transformation.
“We are part of a bigger world,” Director of Campus Ministry and Center for Social Concern Nick Cardilino said. “We want to promote the dignity of human beings, but that is not where it ends. Discrimination happens on UD’s campus even though it is not something we hear much about, together we want to pray for our hearts to change and become more accepting.”
Cardilino mentioned that the committee for the prayer service met for the first time in September, but they wanted to act quickly due to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops call to prayer on the Feast of St. Peter Claver.
St. Peter Claver fought against slavery in Columbia during the 1600’s, and in his honor, the UD community gathered around the Peace Pole.
Students, faculty and staff lead the group in song, prayer, readings and litany.
“God, hear our prayer and move us to action” the group repeated after each intention.
The UD community prayed for those negatively treated due to their race, skin color, sexual orientation, religion and country of origin.
“I came today because I think we don’t take enough time out of our day to come together in prayer,” Amberly Santana ‘17, a graduate student working towards a master’s degree in college student personnel, said. “I think it’s important to take the time to pray for peace in our community and world, and continually make it a part of our everyday lives.”
Normally, it would be a bit unnerving to spot police cars and an ambulance lined up in the courtyard outside the chapel moments before the 12:30 p.m. Friday Mass.
“Blessed are they who bring peace among us. They are the children of God,” sang the congregation, which included more than a dozen of the University of Dayton’s first responders — public safety officers and student volunteers in UD’s Emergency Medical Services.
In all, more than 100 faculty, staff and students participated in the “Blue Mass,” designed to recognize and bless emergency personnel and offer prayers for their safety.
“Our emergency personnel work tirelessly 24 hours a day to maintain a safe and secure campus,” said Bill Fischer, vice president for student development, in welcoming remarks. “Today we pray in gratitude for you, for the important work you do for our campus and region.”
The Rev. Kip Stander, S.M., thanked the first responders and challenged the campus community to always be ready to step up and help each other.
“In the first reading today, we’re told to send relief. In the gospel, it says to be prepared. It’s a message for all of us to assist in a time of need,” said the Rev. Kip Stander, S.M., during the homily. “It’s not just the people in blue. We ask our student-athletes to be prepared to compete. We expect our students and faculty to be prepared, to be ready. … We are called to know the gifts of one another in this community, to protect each other, to help (one another) grow.”
During the Mass, the campus community raised their hands over the first responders for a blessing and later moved to the courtyard for Stander to bless the emergency vehicles.
Rodney Chatman, executive director of public safety and chief of police, quietly entered the service with his hat in hand, emerged from his pew to shake the hands of numerous students during the “Sign of Peace” and later expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support.
“We’re blessed to be able to invoke our faith in the work we do. For me, this is extremely emotional,” he said after the Mass.
Chatman gave a shout out to student volunteers in UD’s Emergency Medical Services. “I have a passion for the students,” he said. Our students are phenomenal. When you talk about first responders, they truly are. They respond to (campus emergencies) with professionalism and maturity. It’s a pleasure to be associated with them.”
Last week, the University of Dayton recognized Suicide Prevention Week between Sept. 5-9 leading up to Suicide Prevention Day on Sept. 10, which were both national events.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst college students —claiming the lives of 1,100 college students each year. UD recognized this statistic by placing 1,100 small flags in the Central Mall field near Kennedy Union.
The week was co-sponsored by the University of Dayton Counseling Center, Community Wellness Services and Active Minds. These organizations hosted information tables and resources around campus throughout the week. Additionally, they coordinated Frank Warren’s “PostSecret Live” event, part of the UD Speaker Series.
Information tables and activities were scattered across campus, at Kennedy Union, Marianist Hall, Marycrest Complex and the Rec Plex. At the tables, students made bracelets with nine blue beads and one red bead representing the fact that one in 10 students have had thoughts about suicide.
“This is a way to remind people to reach out to friends who are in need,” said Terri Pelley, Ph.D., psychologist and coordinator of outreach programming for the UD Counseling Center. “We hope to be a support to those friends to give them the right resources and words to say.”
Pelley said that they hope to raise awareness of the challenges of living with mental health on campus. “We also hope to reduce the stigma of both living with it and seeking for help,” she said.
Junior Zack Wilker, marketing and operations management major, found the number of flags and what they represented to be shocking.
“Suicide or thoughts of suicide is not something to take lightly,” Wilker said. “If this week saves one person, it’s worth it.”
Asking someone “How are you?” or “Are you okay?” could save a life.
With genuine care and the right timing, the smallest thing, such as these questions, can make the greatest impact.
This was one of the many powerful messages that Frank Warren delivered to a full-house on Sept. 8 at the first UD Speaker Series event of 2016-17 in the Kennedy Union ballroom. Warren is the creator of the PostSecret Project and author of six PostSecret books, which have all landed on The New York Times bestseller list.
PostSecret.com is an online collection of highly personal secrets, both funny and serious, on artfully-decorated postcards mailed anonymously from people around the world. The postcards are sent directly to Warren’s home in Maryland and he posts scanned images of the cards to the blog every Sunday.
PostSecret first began as a community mail art project in 2004. As of today he has received more than one million anonymous secrets. During his presentation Warren said, “I’ve been called the most trusted stranger in America.”
Warren’s multimedia event, “PostSecret Live,” was co-sponsored by the University of Dayton Counseling Center, Community Wellness Services and Active Minds. The presentation aligned with Suicide Prevention Week, which was Sept. 5-9.
Warren ended his talk with the reminder that, “Kept secrets are walls. Shared secrets become bridges.”
To read anonymous secrets from all over the world, visit postsecret.com.
Had you ventured through ArtStreet this summer, you may have felt, seen, heard, or noticed something unusual going on. Often a dormant season for collegiate campuses, this summer on ArtStreet was anything but.
In its second iteration, the Collaboration Accelerator 2.0 infused the block with creative energy and friction unlike existing collaborative project-based programs.
Its 12 summer interns formed a curious cross-section of academic life: engineering, marketing, communications, visual arts, unmanned aerial systems, and international studies.
For seven hours a day, every day, participants were challenged within the Institute for Arts Nexus’ process model to tackle three challenges: modeling connectivity in 2050, reframing our perception of drones, and developing a new approach to energy as a commodity.
They took polls in the community, researched independently, reconstructed idea after idea to shape a final deliverable–a “four-dimensional” (sight, sound, space, emotion) experience as well as a concrete product, staged openly in ArtStreet for visitors to explore.
ArtStreet Director and program guide Brian LaDuca charted the course of the Accelerator. He explained the unique nature of program’s deliverables by framing them as “experiences.”
“It’s not just ‘look at this product,’ but ‘look what this product does in action,’ and ‘how does it affect people?’ …When you can deliver emotion into a product it becomes an eye opening experience for the stakeholders and the audience,” he said.
Following the final days of the White Box Gallery showcase, junior visual arts major Jesse Thompson stressed the importance of shedding stereotypes in order to succeed.
“Never let anyone tell you, especially based upon your major, that you can’t be creative, or you can’t be analytical. [At the Accelerator] we understood that there are differences in our educational backgrounds, but together we filled the gaps and became stronger in the process.“
Watch a video on the Collaboration Accelerator here: https://youtu.be/zz9qgsh_prU
The Student Government Association continued its annual tradition of honoring the 2,977 people who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by placing an American flag in honor of each victim in Kennedy Union field. Students planted the flags Friday morning, and they will remain through Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called for a National Day of Prayer for Peace in Our Communities as part of the national commemorations of the 15th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. The Chapel of the Immaculate Conception bells tolled at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9, and prayers for peace will be offered at all campus Masses on Sunday.
UD honors alumni Kristin Irvine-Ryan ’93, Alfonse Joseph Niedermeyer III ’83, Mary Lenz Wieman ’80, William Eben Wilson ’65, David Wiswall ’69 and Joseph J. Zuccala ’68, who died 15 years ago in the attacks on the World Trade Center.
University of Dayton President Eric F. Spina has already made school history, and he hasn’t even hit the 100-day mark in office.
Spina is the first president to engage with the campus community, alumni and friends through the tools of new media. And he’s prolific about it.
The social media-savvy @DaytonPrezSpina is quickly building a fan base — and a reputation as a compelling storyteller, whether he’s tapping out a tweet about a prayer service in the chapel, sharing a photo of wife Karen and family dog Theo in the stands at a Dayton Flyers football game or recording a spontaneous greeting to the campus community on Snapchat on his first day.
Followers have been quick to hit the heart button.
“I only follow my kids on Instagram, but I’m following him,” said @PhilChick82, assistant vice president and treasurer. “If there’s something meaningful happening in the moment, he shares that with the community. He’s showing us what a president does, and he’s doing it every day.”
Through his frequent posts, Spina displays school pride: “Our women played superbly tonight,” he tweeted when @DaytonVB beat rival Xavier. He tweets from the heart: “1 yr ago today, Karen & I arrived at UD for the 1st time for interview. 3 days later we left thinking this might be it. Today we are home.” And he shares his personal and presidential life, from campus images, like the River Stewards setting up camp along the Miami River, to family moments, such as “saying goodbye to my own kids” as they headed back to college.
“I appreciate the authenticity and sincerity that come across in President Spina’s social media posts,” said @mcpautz, director of the MPA program and associate professor of political science. “So often, these channels can seem contrived, but I don’t get that sense from his. And his frequent participation in social media makes him seem more accessible.”
MBA student @farhat_youssef, who manages social media for the Human Rights Center, calls the president’s social media presence “impressive.”
After the two met in the Center for International Programs on Spina’s first day, Farhat used an old-school approach and sent a thank-you note. Spina responded with a direct message on Twitter.
“Many argue that social media has made us distant, but Dr. Spina is bringing the personal touch back to the game by developing a unique relationship with the Flyer Nation and expressing his eagerness to promoting UD stories in all possible ways,” said Farhat, calling the president a “socially active strategist” who blends personal musings with institutional posts.
“As a student and an alum, I’m inspired by every tweet,” he said. “Each post or tweet triggers in me the question, ‘What can I do?’”
Spina, who concedes he is addicted to Twitter, often pauses to take a selfie when he’s meeting with students or chatting with faculty. Not every photo makes the cut, though.
On his biggest stage — UD Arena in front of thousands of new students and their families — everyone smiled for an iPhone moment.
“I felt so much pressure, and the photo was horrible. Even my kids said I couldn’t post it,” he said with a laugh.
“It was a crazy summer,” Ben Steinhart, a third-year entrepreneurship major, began. “One day in Ghana we played a soccer game with the kids — it poured. We slipped in the mud, the sun set in the background and men chopped bushes with machetes around us.”
A few months earlier, Steinhart’s mom showed him a video featuring Happy Kids — an orphanage in Ghana. Steinhart shared the video with Dante Pezzutti, a third-year pre-med major, and they embarked on a fundraising mission for a six-week trip.
Soon after, Steinhart bumped into information about the UD-run five-week India service/cultural immersion. Pezzutti and Steinhart decided to take on two continents in 11 weeks, allowing Steinhart to go on his first plane ride and trip out of the country.
“We wanted to spend our summer in a more meaningful and different way,” Pezzutti said. “For us it was more about the opportunity instead of the country – it just presented itself to us.”
Together they joined UD students in India and donated time with Marianist-run programs, such as, a boy’s camp in Bangalore, playschools in the slums and ended the trip in Calcutta with the Missionaries of Charity.
“The part of India that sticks out to me is volunteering at Kalighat – Mother Teresa’s first home for the dying destitutes in Calcutta,” Pezzutti reflected while Steinhart added, “it was very humbling.”
After a whirlwind of adventures in India, they parted for Ghana and attended the Happy Kids school to observe and teach classes, and run an after-school reading program.
“We had to come up with solutions to various problems, but ran into cultural boundaries,” Steinhart said. “We were told we can’t fix problems the way we intended. There is an American mentality of ‘we can do anything,’ but we learned we can’t.”
Both expressed they miss the relationships formed abroad the most. They plan to continue raising money for Happy Kids and one day return to India and Ghana.
About seven years ago, UD began a research project with hopes of leading to a fiber-optic, hand-held biosensor that would detect various molecules in breath, air and water.
The research group is currently examining how light passing through sensitive optical fibers can detect the presence of specific molecules, such as those present in sweat, saliva or breath. The opportunities for this device, they say, could be endless, including, early detection of disease and hazardous materials.
The research is ongoing, but would not be possible without the merging of the departments of chemistry, physics, biology and electro-optics – along with students and faculty from the School of Engineering and the Minority Leaders Program.
Electro-optics professor Dr. Joe Haus and associate biology professor Dr. Karolyn Hansen lead the research.
“I always think the middle name for UD is collaboration,” Haus said. “We get a lot of good work done when we collaborate and share equipment and ideas.”
Diego Garcia Mina, an electro-optics doctoral candidate, is from Columbia and has been working on this project for about two years.
“When you work with people from different departments you can learn from different fields and it expands your education,” Mina said. “I like applying concepts I learned to solve problems related to the fiber-optics sensor. This is an important project that can help many people in the future. When I finish after this year, I want to go back to [Columbia], continue working with sensors and find an application to a problem using what I learned at UD.”
Elaheh Ghanati, an electro-optics doctoral candidate from Iran, joined the project this summer and anticipates the device could have real health-related impact in the future.
“I am excited to be a part of this project,” Ghanati said. “…every part of the project is a challenge. [But,] if you can solve a health problem, that is the best way to use science.”