Ohio Gov. Bob Taft wants to know how he can enroll in the Dayton Early College Academy.
“Do you take old people?” he asked a group of DECA students after talking to them about their experiences at the innovative high school, a partnership between UD and Dayton Public Schools.
The governor was particularly impressed with the amount of work the students tackle. One student told Taft how they all write a 75- to 100-page autobiography by the time they graduate.
“You do?!” asked the governor, incredulous.
Another student told him teachers assign homework every day, which students complete in addition to such extras as internships and preparing exhibition projects.
“Great,” Taft said. “You may not think it’s good, but I think it’s great.”
In addition to his DECA visit, Taft was on campus to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the Peace Corps. Taft began his career in public service in the 1960s as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania, where he taught English and other courses and coached the girls’ volleyball team.
Taft admitted that his father, a Republican congressman from Ohio at the time, wasn’t exactly thrilled his son chose to join the Peace Corps, a “Democratic initiative” in his view.
However, speaking in the student union named after the president who inspired him to enter the Corps and serve his country, Taft said his parents eventually came around. Wearing a tie adorned with flags of the world’s nations, he also spoke fondly of his time in the Peace Corps — including the first day he arrived at the Tanzanian school at which he would teach only to find the school, and such supplies as food, locked up.
“Then almost out of nowhere came this man on a motorcycle,” Taft told a crowd of approximately 130 gathered for a luncheon in the Kennedy Union ballroom. “But it wasn’t just any man: It was an African priest in a white, flowing robe on a motorcycle, inviting us to his parish for dinner. And we said, ‘Thank you, God.’
“I’m not sure if he was a Marianist priest,” Taft added. “But if you want to embellish the story here in Dayton, go ahead.”
Women’s History Month brings an interesting juxtaposition of exhibits to the Kennedy Union lobby. “Remembering Black Catholic Sisters,” displayed near the elevator, honors three black women who founded Catholic religious orders, as well as St. Catherine Drexel, who founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament for the education of Native Americans and African-Americans. Cecilia Moore of the UD religious studies department wrote the biographies for the exhibit, including that of Mother Mary Lange and her thoughts about being a woman of color and a woman religious.
Throughout the lobby, bright pink life-size silhouettes display the thoughts that UD women expressed about what it’s like to live in their bodies. The exhibit, “The UD Body Monologues,” is sponsored by the Women’s History Month committee and provides space for faculty, staff and students share stories such as surviving cancer and wearing one’s “jiggly thighs” with the same sense of pride as one wears one’s family name.
If you have been to a UD men’s basketball game in the last three years, you have probably seen him. Right around the end of half time, he is that student in the second or third row dancing like crazy to the techno hit “Sandstorm.”
The funny thing about senior Kevin Davidson is that he hates to dance. Davidson never goes out to dance and swears that he will never be seen dancing at a weekend party. But, he said, “if I hear ‘Sandstorm,’ it’s hard to stay in my seat. It just makes me dance.” (Click to see a Quicktime video taken during two January games.)
The whole thing started sophomore year when he tried using keys to distract opposing players during free throw shots and to get the crowd excited right before the second half. He abandoned this idea “because I kept hitting people in the face with the keys.”
Then last year, he noticed more and more people sitting, watching and clapping along with his dancing. A star was born.
Davidson’s dance has gained him great celebrity following.
“I have been stopped by people wanting my autograph; people have asked me to pose in pictures with their children, and one woman even asked me if I would dance at her daughter’s wedding,” said Davidson, who declined the invitation.
And if you’ve been ogling his red and blue pants, hoping for a pair of your own, it’s no use. They’re one of a kind – made by his mother.
“We happened to have the same colors at my high school so my mom made me a pair of red and blue pants,” Davidson said. “They happened to work well for UD too.”
With a brain full of knowledge and jobs beginning to develop, I see that my career is not the thing to worry about most; tax season is a different story.
When I graduate in May, taxes are just one of the many wonders that will be thrust into my life. Enter my life as a “real person” (as I refer to those who make a significant contribution to our world): taxes, health plans, apartments and generally life beyond my parents.
Before attending a series of four sessions geared to graduating seniors, I only vaguely understood letters like PPO, HMO and IRA. The confusion of graduation is still there and, sure, I’ll be calling my parents often after school to answer questions about the “simple, stupid things,” as the speaker called it. At least now I don’t stare back blankly attempting to conceptualize the words when someone talks about these things.
I now walk in the direction of my future with some confidence that I’ll be able to do this, where ever that direction is… .
The series for graduating seniors was sponsored by the office of student involvement and leadership and the UD Mothers’ Club. To view more events like this for graduates, visit the student involvement Web site.
The Lackner Award, which honors faculty and staff who have made a significant contribution to the Catholic and Marianist character of UD, comes with a piece of original art, which recipients get to keep, and $5,000, which they don’t. They do get to donate the money to the UD endeavors of their choice. Between them, 2006 Lackner recipients Roberta Weaver and James Farrelly have nearly eight decades of service to UD and $10,000 to designate.
Weaver will give $1,000 to the Fitz Center to support its tutoring and mentoring program; $1,000 to the Dayton Early College Academy for books and materials and $3,000 to the School of Education and Allied Professions to support urban initiatives to prepare teachers and principals.
Farrelly sliced his pie into smaller wedges, dishing out $2,000 to Studio Theater for original productions — in honor of his UD alumni children, Mark Farrelly and Anne Farrelly; $1,000 to Sister Mary Louise Foley of campus ministry for outreach to single parents; $900 for scholarships to the Stratford Festival trip sponsored by the English department; $500 to the Library Advancement Association for music and literature, $500 for a cause he couldn’t remember; and $100 to endow the “chairs of the table of wisdom” (the long-serving UD folks who gather each day in the Barrett Dining room) with coffee for the month of March.
Forewarning the attendees that his after-dinner remarks might last a bit longer than requested, Farrelly cheerfully encouraged them: “Deal with it. You got a big meal and a great dessert.”
When I asked my little brother if he would go see the UD Monologues with me, he quickly responded with, “I can’t. It’s part of women’s week, AJ. I can’t go. I’m not a woman.”
It was this stereotype specifically that Josh Richardt and Leslie Singel, the student directors of this past weekend’s Studio Theatre production, were trying to fight.
“This show is going to be something that we hope every student can relate to in some way, not just the women,” Singel said.
Issues ranging from body image, first loves, chick flicks, rape, Halloween and much more were told from a woman’s perspective, a man’s perspective, a teacher’s perspective and even a reporter’s perspective.
Men, women, faculty, students, parents and friends attended the show and each seemed to be touched in some personal way.
“Theater should be for the people. They should be able to relate,” Richardt said. “And that is why we are dealing with issues that happen right here on this campus.”
The entire show was student written, directed and performed. Each member of the cast was asked to write one original monologue. These, along with monologues collected from the student body and a few professors, were assembled into the show.
Watching, I couldn’t help but marvel at how real it all was. Each monologue touched me in some way. I either had gone through that, helped a friend through it or known someone dealing with the same thing.
At times I looked around and everyone seemed to be feeling the same thing — they knew this story, they had been a part of it at some point in their lives.
Many others, like my brother, realized this weekend that these weren’t just women’s issues, but issues that affect us all as members of the UD community.
“If I could leave UD with one thing when I graduate this would be it,” Richardt said, with the hope that this project will continue for years to come.
If it was made to evoke awareness, The Constant Gardener certainly succeeded.
As my roommates and I walked out of the Tuesday evening film screening at ArtStreet, we were engaged in conversation, fascinated by the lives of people living in these small African villages. We couldn’t believe the movie’s plot: Justin Quayle, played by Ralph Fiennes, pieces together the work of his deceased wife Tessa Quayle, played by Rachel Weisz. In the first moments of the film, the audience learns she was killed for her activism to gain public awareness for the testing of unapproved drugs on AIDS victims by large pharmaceutical conglomerates.
We found ourselves asking, “Does this really happen? Who is to blame? What can be done? What can we do?”
The movie was shown as part of the Citizens of the World events series, taking place in ArtStreet Feb. 13-March 10, designed to allow students to glimpse various world cultures. The series is sponsored by the Department of Languages, the film studies program, ArtStreet and the Center for International Programs.
With red Campbell’s soup cans representing the brick and white-labeled cans as the stonework, a team of chemical engineers re-created the Immaculate Conception Chapel in Torch Lounge Thursday during the Engineers’ Week can build.
Senior Chad Brajercik said he chose the chapel “because I want to win and I figured they’d give us points for school pride.” The team taped together cans of mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple and Vienna sausages to make the cross topping the blue-papered dome.
Four teams representing the different departments used 1,200 cans to craft their structures, including a bridge (electrical and computer engineering), the Eiffel Tower (civil engineering) and the Gateway Arch of St. Louis (mechanical and aerospace engineering).
“Anyone can stack cans straight up,” said senior Richard Henkel, whose team built the arch design. With the help of packing and duct tape, the team used a slight angle when stacking the cans to create the curved structure. When the ceiling was too low to completely finish the curve, they added a keystone at the top to join the two tilting towers. With the leftover cans, Daniel Shellhuase ’05 — who came back to campus for the fun — and sophomore Thomas Robbins created a can catapult to help destroy the arch after the competition.
The cans, collected from the campus community and donated by Campbell’s Soup Co., will be donated to the House of Bread.
If only the Winter Olympics had the drama of this event.
As part of National Engineers’ Week activities, engineering students Tuesday tried to avoid egg drop soup with contraptions of coat hangers, paper cups, straws, rubber bands, paper string and paper clips. The goal was to land an egg safely on the ground from a third-floor drop from Alumni Hall. Judges awarded points for appearance, function, ingenuity, design and style. Some bird droppings had the look of MacGyver contraptions. Others had me wondering if the Wright brothers started out like this.
David Krivonak, a gold medal winner in the enginerd competition and a computer and electrical engineering student, fell short of a bronze by half a point.
“No. I don’t feel cheated by the judges,” Krivonak said. “He was fair. I have next year and maybe grad school so I have time to win.”
Krivonak said the competition got his creative juices flowing. He was able to use some of the engineering design ideas from class as well as lessons in physics and math.
In the end, unlike Olympic snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis whose showboating move in her event final cost her a gold medal, nobody was left with egg on their face.
Engineers’ Week started with displays of supreme geekdom yesterday in Kennedy Union. Students donned pocket protectors and “kick me” signs for the enginerd competition. On Friday, one department will be named the week’s winner.
“Down to the core, we’re all nerds,” said Dave Krivonak, a senior electrical and computer engineering major from Canfield, Ohio (pictured right), who posed for a photo with fellow contestants Kevin Walsh (left) and Daniel Fleck (center). It’s a label Krivonak’s proud of. “If it wasn’t for that, we wouldn’t have gadgets like these,” he said, displaying a palm-sized computer fan rigged with a 9-volt battery that served as his personal air circulator. He then tested its voltage with the digital multimeter he carried in his other hand.
Even the faculty got in on the fun. Kevin Hallinan, chair of the mechanical and aerospace engineering department, had gotten geeked up the night before for his daughters, who were supremely embarassed for him, he said. So he decided to bring the get-up to school. “What they don’t understand is that when you get older, you have no reason to be embrassed,” he said, grinning through masking-taped spectiacles
Krivonak got all the glory; his outfit and gadgets won the contest, earning his department 10 points toward the week’s total.