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California connections

10:05 AM  Apr 5th, 2017
by Danielle Damon ’18

UD students are provided with the B.E.S.S.T opportunities. During the January Intercession, Jan. 5-12, nine students attended the first Business Experience: Silicon Valley and San Francisco Today.

B.E.S.S.T. is a unique educational opportunity for business majors to visit corporations and major financial institutions across Silicon Valley and the Bay area.

Professors Irene Dickey and Tracy Miller, both full-time faculty in the School of Business, wanted UD students to experience the real-world issues facing their field, so they turned to former students and LinkedIn to rekindle and build new alumni connections.

Over 10 alumni opened the doors of their homes and offices to speak about their take on management and marketing to millennials. Students had the chance to visit global venture capital firm Canaan Partners, advertising software firm Sharethrough and tech firm Oracle, among other major businesses in the area.

“At all the companies we visited, they weren’t talking at us,” said junior marketing major Jamie Stumph. “Even the CEO’s were interested in hearing what we had to say.”

While in California the students immersed into the opportunity and wrote blog posts each day in reflection.

“I am leaving San Francisco today feeling inspired and motivated to go out and work to achieve all of the many goals I have,” Stumph wrote. “These people are proof that if you put your mind to something and really believe in yourself, amazing things will happen.”

Students also participated in five pre-trip and two post-trip class sessions in order to gain MGT and MKT 494 credit. They studied and presented on each company before the trip, allowing them to come prepared to ask questions and maximize the session benefit.

“Irene and I really pushed them out of their comfort zones,” Miller said. “But, I really found if you set student expectations high, they will rise to the challenge.”

To hear more about the students’ experiences, attend their Stander Symposium presentation on Wednesday, April 5 at 1 p.m. in Miriam Hall room 213.


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Don’t blend in

4:01 PM  Apr 4th, 2017
by Gita Balakrishnan

“Not everyone can be an inventor, creator or discoverer. But everyone can be an innovator.”

Those were the words that began Nick Donofrio’s keynote address on the morning of President Eric Spina’s inauguration day, April 4.

A 44-year IBM veteran who holds seven technology patents, Donofrio addressed a to-capacity Kennedy Union ballroom on how to be a leading institution in innovation in the 21st century.

Collaboration and inclusivity were high on his priorities in explaining how institutions and businesses can thrive in today’s global climate.

He stressed the importance of understanding inclusivity when collaborating with others on ideas, because “very rarely do innovators work alone.” As he pointed to the audience members, he affirmed “Me and you— we do better work when we work collaboratively.”

He further emphasized, “When I say inclusion, I mean inclusion with a capital ‘I’….and sometimes the big ‘I’ makes you very uncomfortable.” But true inclusivity, he said, requires working with all types and kinds of individuals from all disciplines and educational levels.

And the reason: “You may never know who has the last piece of the puzzle.”

As an example, he cited the work of the late Steve Job, former Apple CEO.  Having worked with him, Donofrio stated Jobs actually never invented anything, but could “study the problem better than anyone [he] ever knew.” Through this process products like the iPod and iPhone were created, which filled a public need.

And that, he says, is key to creating an innovative product

“If no value has been created, then there is no innovation,” he said. “But, value could be educational value, societal value, governmental value, country-specific value, it could be economic value. There’s so many values it could be, there’s no reason for it not to be applied. There’s all these ways for value to be created.”

As Donofrio closed, he reminded the audience of a quote from Dr. Seuss: “Why blend in when you were born to stand out?”  Since standing out, he says, is what true innovation is.



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Students in action

3:03 PM  Apr 3rd, 2017
by Erin Frey ’18

The tunes of 1950’s swing music rang throughout the Central Mall April 2 as pairs of students sashayed around before introducing themselves as UD’s Swing Dance club.

The Swing Dance Club was one of 16 student organizations that introduced themselves to incoming University President Eric Spina at the “Cornhole and Student Showcase” event. The program set out to show students in action either as one of 32 teams that participated in a cornhole tournament or performing and discussing what they were individually involved with on campus.

Flyer Enterprises CEO Stephanie Bennett said, “You don’t become a well rounded student by just sitting in the classroom. It is the experiences and the different people you get to work with that truly have the biggest impact on you.”

There were demonstrations of taekwondo, presentations from the Panhellenic Council and UD Miracle, and performances from On the Fly and the a cappella group, the Audio Pilots.

President of Student Government Association, Brendan T. Sweetman, presented Spina with a framed certificate that acknowledges his presidency from the students. President Spina will be officially inaugurated on Tuesday, April 4.

Sweetman jokingly said, “Even though we thought you were president this whole time…we appreciate you and your involvement with SGA and the entire student body.”

The schedule of the events this week celebrating Spina’s inauguration can be found here.


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Facelift coming to Walnut Hills Park

9:23 AM  
by Cari Zahn ’18

Walnut Hills Park in Dayton was filled with children, families and University students on Sunday, April 2 — the same day as the presidential inaugural events kicked off. Members of the Walnut Hills community and UD’s Dayton Civic Scholars gathered at the park to celebrate renovation plans for the summer.

Gabi Sanfilippo ’17 and Erika Mrzlak ’17 are two members of the senior cohort for the Dayton Civic Scholars that chose to work with Walnut Hills for their senior capstone project.

“We’ve spent the last three years raising money and we’ve applied for grants and met with people in the community and figured out through the city of Dayton how we could best utilize the area,” Sanfilippo said. “We decided to put our money into the park just to make it a better gathering space.”

Because the groundbreaking will happen after the seniors have graduated, the group decided to hold a celebratory event at the park beforehand with games, food and fun.

“We wanted to get together with the community one last time before we graduate,” Sanfilippo said.

“The community is rallying behind [this project] completely,” Mrzlak said. “They’re very passionate people.”

The Dayton Civic Scholars project will give the park a face lift, including resurfacing the courts, painting court boundaries and providing and installing new equipment.


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Running a University celebration

7:56 PM  Apr 2nd, 2017
by Cari Zahn '18

Among the group of runners participating in a 5K race April 2 in the first day of celebratory events leading up to the president’s installation were family members of University President Eric F. Spina.

Spina will be installed as the University’s 19th president on April 4.  Student-led activities and scheduled speakers are planned April 2-5 to commemorate the historic event.

Reflecting on the weekend’s events from the sidelines of the race, Spina said: “We’ve been waiting for this for a long time and I’m looking forward to seeing people at the various events. The inaugural committee worked hard to try to make this a celebration of UD rather than just a celebration of me.”

On the history of the University, Spina said we should all take this chance to “pause and recognize how extraordinary it is.”

The run was sponsored by UD’s Alpha Phi Omega (APO), a service fraternity on campus, which planned the 5K run to celebrate the inauguration.

Click for a full list of inaugural events.

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A presidential blessing

7:08 PM  
by Bridget Lally '17

At the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception April 2, incense permeated the air, marking the significance of Sunday’s Mass. It was dedicated to blessing President Eric Spina’s forthcoming installation at the University of Dayton Tuesday.

Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, honored the event by delivering the blessing to Spina.

“May the grace of God surpass all understanding,” Schnurr said. “Keep your heart and mind in the knowledge and love of God and his son, our lord Jesus Christ.”

A Roman Catholic and native of Buffalo, New York, Spina attended 12 years of Catholic school, graduating from Canisius High School, the Jesuit institution in Buffalo. He earned doctoral and master’s degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University and a bachelor’s from Carnegie Mellon University.

“May almighty God keep you from all harm and bless you with every good gift,” said Schnurr near the end of Mass.

The chapel was filled to capacity during the blessing at noon with faculty and staff, students, alumni and friends of the University welcoming its 19th president.

“It was a great atmosphere with the presence of Archbishop Schnurr,” said Mike Lally ’88. “I appreciated being a part of it and seeing the connection from our years at UD with Brother Raymond Fitz to the current president.”

Added Heather Lally ’88,“It’s nice to know as a graduate of the University that President Spina will carry on the Catholic, Marianist spirit. I love that the University includes a Mass as part of the whole celebration and inauguration. It speaks to the value of our faith as a university.”

The University of Dayton is celebrating the presidential inauguration April 2-5 with distinguished speakers and campuswide events scheduled throughout the days.


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As Romero did

5:36 PM  Mar 31st, 2017
by Erin Frey ’18

“Standing for justice means getting involved with conflict, entering into the fight and staying in it,” said Kelly Johnson, associate professor of religious studies, reflecting on the life of Blessed Oscar Romero.

Since 1975, this has also been the work of the Pastoral Land Commission of the Brazilian National Bishops’ Conference. On Tuesday, March 28, UD’s Human Rights Center presented the commission with the Blessed Oscar Romero Human Rights Award for its decades of work standing in “solidarity with the poor, the landless and those subjected to forced labor.”

Bishop Enemésio Lazzaris, commission president, accepted the award on behalf of the commission, kissing it and raising it above his head as the crowd rose to their feet to honor the work the Pastoral Land Commission has done for people in the countryside of Brazil.

“As long as we fight for justice and right, victims of violence and forced labor will stay alive,” Lazzaris said.

Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero dedicated his life to standing for justice. Pope Francis has said Romero’s voice says is still resonating 37 years after his assassination. The award, founded at UD in 2000, memorializes Romero’s martyrdom and the dedication to the “alleviation of the suffering of the human family.”

Lazzaris and the Human Rights Center join the legacy of Romero, who refused let the people around them be mistreated. They courageously live the Gospel and give voice to the voiceless.


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A little splash of color

9:04 AM  Mar 30th, 2017
by Danielle Damon ’18

Asphalt and two netless basketball hoops were all that occupied the lethargic play space of St. Benedict the Moor Catholic School.

But that changed last October when the University of Dayton Association for Young Children (UDAYC) broke ground to create a space that was vibrant and colorful for the children.

After tutoring at the 82-student school each week during spring 2016, UDAYC members saw the need to add playground equipment to the empty space.

At first, UDAYC planned to raise money for some basketballs, but the goal grew into a $30,000 playground project. The plans were developed by including the ideas of the children who would actually be using the space.

“We spoke to the kids and asked what their playground would look like,” said UDAYC president and second-year student Anne Price.

UDAYC vice-president and third-year student Olivia Essell added, “We made our plan from what they said and it looks exactly like the kids wanted.”

To fund the project, the group approached their hometown parishes, asked friends and family, and hosted restaurant takeovers on Brown Street to raise money for the new playground.

With the help of Bro. Raymond Fitz S.M., Ferree Professor of Social Justice, UDAYC partnered with the Dayton Foundation and received donations from his Marianist community, which were matched by local corporations.

During fall 2016, UDAYC raised $20,000 to fund phase one — the playset.

“The installation of the playground has been very helpful,” Price said. “It gives the teachers and kids a break, and since having that time outside, the kids behave a lot better and have improved academically.”

UDAYC has additional plans for the play area and is currently raising funds to implement phase two — a $10,000 swing set. They are about $4,000 away from their goal and plan for a fall 2017 installation.

“People see this project as providing an opportunity for the children of St. Benedict the Moor Catholic School, that most kids in public or other Catholic schools take for granted,” Fitz said. “It is a great addition to their learning and to the neighborhood.”

For more information, visit daytonfoundation.org or contact Anne Price at pricea11@udayton.edu.

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The least among us

4:24 PM  Mar 29th, 2017
by Teri Rizvi

In a touching moment, Bishop Enemésio Lazzaris, president of the Pastoral Land Commission of the Brazilian National Bishops’ Conference, gently leaned over and kissed a bronze statue of Blessed Óscar Romero, one of his heroes.

“Thank you for your courage, your faith and your advocacy for the dignity of all people, especially the least among us,” said University of Dayton President Eric Spina when he bestowed the statue — the Blessed Óscar Romero Human Rights Award — on the Pastoral Land Commission in a ceremony in the Kennedy Union ballroom on March 28.

For more than four decades, the group has worked to defend the rights of Brazil’s landless poor, abolish modern-day slavery and fight against the destruction of the Amazon. Dayton native Sister Dorothy Stang, S.N.D., murdered in 2005 for standing up for the rights of Brazil’s landless peasants, worked for the Pastoral Land Commission.

“In solidarity with men and women of goodwill, we will continue fighting and resisting for the earth to be the earth of all,” Lazzaris said in Portuguese when he accepted the international honor.

The true Christian, he said, “commits himself with all strength to make the world or rather, the land, more habitable, defending the rights, especially the rights of the poor.”

The award, bestowed through the Human Rights Center, honors the ministry and martyrdom of Romero, a Salvadoran archbishop slain while officiating at a 1980 Mass because of his vocal defense of the rights of the poor and disenfranchised.

Kelly Johnson, associate professor of religious studies, called Romero “the patron saint for those engaged in conflict” as she offered reflections on his life.

“After a lifetime of struggle with his temper, in the crucible of his years as archbishop, when the long-standing structural violence of El Salvador was breaking out into open violence against anyone who stood with the people, including the church, he did conflict well, very well,” observed Johnson, who was part of a group of scholars who visited Brazil in 2013 to learn about the Pastoral Land Commission’s work to end forced labor.

“For the Pastoral Land Commission, for Dorothy Stang, for those in Brazil struggling to ensure a right to land to live on, a roof over their heads, and decent work, standing for justice means entering conflict, getting into the fight, and staying in it,” she said.

Mark Ensalaco, director of human rights research, founded the award in 2000 to “signify the University’s commitment to peace, social justice and the common good.”

Today, 37 years after Romero’s death, the promotion of the dignity of all people and the alleviation of human suffering continues: “We know that every effort to improve society is an effort that God wants, God demands,” he said.

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New student housing on the horizon

8:41 AM  Mar 27th, 2017
by Courtney Mocklow ’17

The University is unique in the way that most of its upperclassmen live within a few blocks of each other, its north and south student neighborhoods brimming with homes and apartment buildings.

But despite the appearance of an abundance of student housing, students are still in need of accommodations.

“Student demand for University-owned housing continues to increase due to the high-quality amenities, safety features and service responsiveness we provide,” said Beth Keyes, vice president for facilities and campus operations. “Our goal is to provide University-owned housing for all undergraduates.”

This May, construction is set to begin on an $11.2 million four-story apartment building in the south student neighborhood, on the current site of McGinnis Center. The building will add 96 living spaces to campus, equipped with brand-new appliances, wood-look ceramic tile and solid surface countertops.

In addition to renovations to McGinnis Center, the university is currently building three new five-person houses, with three more set to begin construction this summer.

These projects are just the latest ventures in the University’s continuous efforts to provide efficient and comfortable housing for its students.

“We are so spoiled that we get to live in the houses and apartments that we do,” said senior pre-dentistry major Lauren Williams. “We definitely do need more housing if UD’s class sizes keep growing. However, growing too large could take away from the community feeling that we all love.”

First- and second-year students are required to live in University housing and demand from upperclassmen is high for housing in the University’s distinctive student neighborhoods.