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Frankly, my dear, they’ll always be Flyers
Yes, Atlanta is the Georgia state capital. But it also boasts another significant — albeit unofficial — title, according to its residents.
“A lot of people here refer to Atlanta as the ‘Capital of the South,’ and I think that rings true and attracts people to move here,” says Kevin Miskewicz ’09, current leader of the Atlanta Alumni Community.
Home to nearly 1,300 UD alumni, it’s not just the warm weather and Southern charm that attract these former Flyers to migrate south.
“The weather here is great — you still see all four seasons, but the winter is a lot milder,” Miskewicz says. “I think the tremendous growth that the city has experienced in the past decade is really what draws alumni here. There are a ton of opportunities.”
According to Miskewicz, there are a few striking similarities between Atlanta residents and its UD alumni community.
“The Southern hospitality that you experience here is very similar to the community feel on UD’s campus,” Miskewicz says. “People are very friendly and open. You find yourself talking to the grocery store cashier like you’d talk to your grandma.
“Also, so many residents of Atlanta — like so many members of our alumni community — are transplants. It’s pretty rare to meet a resident who was born and raised in Atlanta. Which means you’re exposed to a wide variety of cultures and ethnicities, which offers a pretty cool living experience.”
Bringing people together is a hallmark of the Atlanta Alumni Community. Each year, the community plans an outing to an Atlanta Braves game and participates in Christmas off Campus, among other activities. In 2014, for the third straight year, the group participated in Holidays around the World at the Franklin Road Community Association, helping children decorate more than 250 Christmas cookies.
The community also recently teamed up with alumni associations from several other Ohio colleges — including Miami University, Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo — to host a networking event and minor league baseball gamewatch.
“Meeting up with other Ohio college alumni was a great success because it allowed us to pool our resources and bring more people together who have a lot in common,” Miskewicz says.
Through his involvement with the alumni community, Miskewicz is constantly reminded that there is no school like UD.
“Not every school tries as hard to stay connected with its alumni like UD,” he says. “We’re lucky that UD puts forth the effort to keep us
connected to campus and is constantly engaging us and reminding us of all the fun we had
while we were there.”
Nestled between the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers is a town that some call “America’s most livable city” or “the Steel City.” For 1,880 University of Dayton alumni, this hidden gem and gateway to the Midwest is simply called “home.”
The alumni presence in Pittsburgh has boomed in the last decade due to a resurgence in industry and a rise in job creation. Chris Webb ’95, leader of the city’s alumni community, moved his family there four years ago for a position with U.S. Steel.
“The people in Pittsburgh are great,” he said. “When we moved here, the first thing I did was reach out to the UD alumni community to connect with people, and we were welcomed with open arms.”
One of the unique aspects of the Pittsburgh area is an immeasurable and undefined quality that combines big-city resources with a small-town feel. Similar to the spirit on UD’s campus, community is a big part of the Pittsburgh way of life.
“There’s just something special about UD and the connection you feel with people from UD no matter what year they graduated,” Webb said. “Pittsburgh has a very similar community feel to it, and I think that is attractive to a lot of UD alumni.”
The other common thread that makes UD graduates feel right at home is Pittsburghers’ obsession with their sports teams. Each summer, Webb and the rest of the alumni community organize a trip to take in a Pirates baseball game at PNC Park, one of the nation’s premier ballparks. While cheering for the Black and Gold is fun, the alumni community makes sure to stay true to its Red and Blue roots.
During the basketball team’s Elite Eight run in 2014, Webb said, the alumni community had several watch parties to collectively cheer on the Flyers. It is Pittsburgh’s proximity to one of UD’s biggest rivals, however, that allowed Webb and the rest of the community to start a new annual tradition when the Flyers come to town.
“It started last year, when UD came to town to play Duquesne,” Webb said. “We rented out the Blue Line Grille across the street from the Consol Energy Center, where the game was played, to have a big party for all the alumni in the area and anyone else in town for the game. We had a huge turnout because we put our ‘UD Alumni Community’ sign in the front window of the restaurant — Flyer fans just started swarming in.”
As they say, birds of a feather flock together — and so do the Flyer Faithful.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT ROOTING FOR THE FLYERS AT UD ARENA, WHICH PITTSBURGH SPORTS STADIUM IS YOUR FAVORITE?
“PNC PARK, because you have a beautiful view of the Pittsburgh skyline, and every seat has a fantastic view of the game.” —Jennifer Huber Kirschler ’89
“For me, there is nothing better than taking my 6-year-old granddaughter to PNC PARK by the river on a sunny Sunday afternoon.” —Thomas Fox ’70
“PNC PARK is one of the most beautiful ballparks in the U.S., and I’m a season ticket holder at HEINZ FIELD. The CONSOL ENERGY CENTER is also a great venue (and I’m not a huge hockey fan).” —James Bernauer ’70
As holiday festivities rolled around, alumni in Milwaukee were laser-focused on the big event: Christmas (Off Campus, that is).
This season, their community served dinner at the Guest House of Milwaukee, a men’s homeless shelter. It’s one of a series of yuletide projects alumni like Susan Timms Cantwell ’86 have looked forward to year after year.
“We’ve volunteered with the shelter for the last four years, and I love seeing residents engaged through cookie decorating and ornament making,” said Cantwell, who’s been active with the Milwaukee group for 15 years.
One year, there was a day spent sorting shelter donations; another year, the crew helped stage a performance of the Nativity with children at a local church, complete with costumes and set direction. Another time,
Flyers hosted a Christmas party at the Boys and Girls Club, dressing up in animal masks and diving into ornament decorating.
“My husband and I both went to UD,” Cantwell said. “I love to share the feeling I got while being at school. The memories, the emotional nostalgia and the love from growing up on campus is why I drag everyone I can over to Dayton.”
Community leader Jennifer Johnson ’07 made a beeline for the group as soon as she moved to Milwaukee in 2013.
“The opportunity to combine my passion for Milwaukee and UD was a no-brainer,” she said. “My goal as community leader is to make sure I’m easily available to area alumni and perpetuating a learn, lead and serve lifestyle.”
So what’s a Milwaukee community to do the other 364 days a year? Continue coming together with purpose. They frequent businesses unique to southern Wisconsin — like the Lakefront Brewery, where every tour ends with a round of the Laverne & Shirley TV show theme song — and those with Flyer connections, like Purple Door Ice Cream, owned by Lauren McCoy Schultz ’01.
From reindeer cookies to musical pints, Milwaukee alumni say the best part about getting together is seeing the Marianist values they learned on campus living outside Dayton.
Save us a seat.
There’s a lake, the northern climate and three horticultural domes. So, which season is your favorite for experiencing Milwaukee?
“The very beginning of summer. There is such an excitement then. There might still be crispness in the air from spring, but everyone is outside and ready to take on all things Milwaukee.”
—Lauren McCoy Schultz ’01
“I love our area. My favorite season is fall, but I can describe my favorite things about here, regardless of season, to anyone, anytime.”
—Carrie Ballard ’01
“While the recent display of beautiful fall color tried to sway me, in summer Milwaukee shines brightest. Residents get Summerfest’s selection of musical acts, cultural festivals and the opportunity to take full advantage of our Great Lake
by boat or beach. Summer is the best time to take in a play in the woods at Spring Green’s American Players Theatre after touring the grounds of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin estate.”
—Greg Calhoun ’08
It’s summertime, all the time, for California Flyers
When Steve Geise ’92 took the reins as leader of the San Diego alumni community, it was on the verge of being shuttered.
“We were barely kicking,” Geise said.
Despite the wildly popular Christmas off Campus event, led since 1999 by Phil Cenedella ’84, and the bi-annual Surf and Turf tailgating fete, Flyer alumni didn’t gather regularly in America’s Finest City. So Geise did what any self-respecting Flyer would do to draw Southern California area graduates together: he added a table.
Geise, a partner with Jones Day law firm, explained, “I organized a brewery tour and tasting and billed it as a lifelong learning event” to draw more alumni support. It worked. Afterward, with the spicy scent of hops still swirling in the air, Geise pledged to keep the momentum alive.
San Diego counts among its UD cohort some 400 members, mostly transplants from other states, but they’re scattered up and down the Pacific Coast and as far inland as El Cajon. Although the dispersion presented a geographical challenge, Geise, originally from New York, instead recognized it as an opportunity.
Drawing on the if-you-build-it-they-will-come mentality, he and his team began hosting a flurry of Flyer gamewatch parties, networking nights, beach cleanup service projects, brunches, Masses and dinners with alumni. Attendance swelled with a cross-section of graduates from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, and Geise now proudly reports their once-fledgling community is blossoming.
“Despite being the farthest I’ve lived from campus, I really feel close to the school,” he reports.
Lest anyone think that the San Diego alumni community is kicking back and resting on its newly resurrected palm fronds, the members are learning more besides the science of craft brew. The community is learning valuable lessons about what draws SoCal folks halfway across the country to UD and how to stay engaged with those students while they’re enrolled and after they graduate.
Whether it’s a dinner — similar to the one 1999 grads Chris Duncan and Kristin Blenk Duncan recently held in their San Diego home for a group of current students — or slinging fish tacos at a campus recruiting event, Geise has figured out keen ways to inject the Marianist values and the red-and-blue UD colors into the sun-kissed Southern California community.
“We’re so far away from campus, but when we get together, it’s like we’re on Brown Street,” Geise said. “Only we’ve got palm trees.”
IT’S ALWAYS SUMMER IN SAN DIEGO. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE BEACH READ?
“I enjoyed THE SILKWORM by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling, of Harry Potter fame).” —Carol Gibson Lewellen ’72
“BOYS IN THE BOAT by Daniel Joseph Brown. The story follows University of Washington rowing team members through college in the 1930s all the way to the Olympics. It’s soon to be released as a movie, and I think Flyers will like it.” —Mary Beth McCabe ’79
“BICYCLE MAGAZINE because San Diego is great for biking. All roads have bike lanes and you can ride year-round.” —Bob Raibert ’90
“I just finished Mariano Rivera’s THE CLOSER and Tony La Russa’s ONE LAST STRIKE. It’s the perfect combination for me, since the beach and baseball are my two favorite things.” —Maggie VanDura ’10
“If you do not like the Sunday comics, then it has to be JAWS by Peter Benchley. ‘We’re going to need a bigger boat.’” —Dan Shillito ’70
Reno can call itself whatever it wants; Louisville’s the biggest little city in the world, say Flyers there. In this city, the 700-person-strong alumni community is known as the “few but faithful.”
“Louisville’s a great town for a community like UD alumni because of the nature of the city,” explains John Gueltzow ’06, community leader. “It’s not particularly big, and given that most of our alumni went to one
of the same four or five Catholic high schools, a lot of us already know each other or are connected through mutual acquaintances.”
Former community president Traci Hall ’04 points to the impact the group has not just in Louisville but also back in Dayton. “Our community is unique because, while we’re not in Ohio, we’re close enough to host an on-campus event occasionally. We’re small but big enough to make a difference,” Hall said, noting that
the Louisville community boasts the largest percentage of alumni who give back to the University.
Gueltzow, who was born and raised in Louisville, now owns his own law practice in town. Louisville alumni are a core group of active members, and Gueltzow cites basketball gamewatches as his community’s favorite event — and 2014’s tournament run was no exception.
“This year was particularly fun. We met at Shenanigans, a friendly neighborhood place. We had nearly 100 people in attendance for the Sweet 16 game against Stanford. The management got really excited, serving
drinks in UD glasses and hanging a sheet sign outside to let passersby know it was where Flyer alumni
came together,” Gueltzow said.
One thing Dayton and Louisville have in common? Loyal fans.
“We’ve also had outings to Bats games, our minor league baseball team,” Hall said. “We don’t have major league sports in town, but we have minor league teams and our shared love of college athletics.”
In this Kentucky town, though, there’s another sporting event the community looks forward to each year.
“The Kentucky Derby is one of the biggest annual events in Louisville, which means it’s also one of the busiest for our alumni,” Hall said. “But, we always try to join in the excitement, and it’s not unusual to find a red-and-blue crowd at Churchill Downs each May.”
In fact, the horses run so fast, they seem to fly — obviously, they’re UD fans.
IT’S GAME TIME: WHAT’S YOUR MUST-HAVE TAILGATING SNACK?
“You need RICE KRISPIE TREATS. Kids love them and adults who say they don’t are lying.”
—Tracie Doyle Stoll ’95
“PRETZEL RODS AND BEER CHEESE from Paul’s Market. We wouldn’t head to a game without it.”
—Lisa Thomas Hartung ’84
“A HOMEMADE SANDWICH: turkey, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, red pepper mayonnaise, pepper
jack cheese, salt and pepper on sweet Italian bread. It is awesome.”
—Rob Nunnelley ’80
—Robert Kremer ’91, Aaron Miller ’94 and Kristi Jo Jedlicki ’90
Go ahead, call them weird. Members of the Austin alumni chapter want it that way.
From bat-watching boat cruises to a Texas hold ’em tournament, the University’s second-smallest chapter — edged out only by Puerto Rico — embraces its quirks and those of the city.
“The city’s tagline is ‘Keep Austin Weird,’ so we’re known for having an edge,” explains Michelle Arnett French ’87, chapter president. “We like to brainstorm outside of the box and take advantage of all the non-typical things Austin has to offer.”
French and her husband, Jeff, a 1987 grad, had lived in Texas for seven years when they began having what she calls “UD encounters.” Once, they asked a bartender in a sports grill to turn on a UD basketball game. He told them someone was already in the back, watching it. Then, they saw someone wearing a UD T-shirt at a nearby gas station. The group grew large enough to become an official chapter in 2007.
“Jeff began keeping an email list of fellow Flyers we met until we had enough to become an official chapter. The dot-com explosion brought a lot more people to Austin, including UD grads,” French says.
Like Emma DallaGrana ’13 and Nick Doyle ’13, who both found jobs in Austin before they’d even donned a mortarboard.
“When I found out I was moving to Austin for a job with 3M, I immediately logged on to alumni.udayton.edu and was thrilled to see an alumni chapter there,” DallaGrana says. “I had no connections in Austin and did not know a single person in the whole state of Texas. From the beginning, Michelle and the chapter have been so welcoming and engaging. Just knowing a group of Flyers in the city made it that much easier to move here.”
A 2012 recipient of UD’s Innovative Program of the Year Award for the bat-watching event, the Austin chapter’s programming is also philanthropic. More than half of the proceeds from a recent poker tournament, which included a tutorial on how to play, were given to the Dan Haubert Memorial Scholarship. In February, the group laid out a welcome mat — in the form of carbohydrates — by hosting a post-race celebration lunch for alumni in town for the Austin Marathon. They also formed a cheering section the day of the race, which several alumni ran in memory of Haubert ’06.
“One thing I love about our smaller chapter is that we’re able to go beyond having the same alma mater; we can build personal relationships,” says French, who helped DallaGrana find an apartment and hosted her and Doyle for Thanksgiving dinner. “Your background and your age don’t matter — when you’re a Flyer, you’re family.”
The most famous catacombs in the world are in Paris, but UD alumni don’t have to travel halfway around the world to experience a set of intertwining tunnels with a rich history. They just need to meet up with UD’s
Indianapolis alumni chapter.
“The chapter meets six to 10 times, annually,” said Melissa Weseli ’04, chapter president, who listed activities like gamewatches and Christmas off Campus as popular offerings. “We host at least five main events each year.”
The chapter focuses on lifelong learning, culture, art, student outreach, spiritual growth, networking and service. The nearly 1,400 members provide a vast selection of activities to enjoy in the Hoosier state, but it’s what the Indianapolis chapter chose as its cultural event last spring that caught the attention of several other chapters.
“In my job at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, I had heard about the City Market catacomb tours as a fun thing to do while visiting the city. I thought our local alumni would enjoy it, too,” Weseli said.
The tunnels that rest below the traffic and hubbub in Indiana’s capital city were constructed more than a hundred years ago. Instead of housing the dead, these tunnels were used to transport and store meats and produce sold at the City Market before the days of refrigeration. More than a century has passed, yet the limestone and brick archways are still intact and apt for exploring.
“We were able to partner with Indiana Landmarks, a fantastic organization that hosts this public historical tour along with the others in the state,” Weseli said. “The 30-minute tour was on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of June, taking us underground to see all the remains of a historical plaza that was destroyed by a fire in the 1950s.”
The catacombs were a nice place to cool down during the hot summer day, with a wide range of alumni participating.
“Most of us had never explored that part of our city, including me,” Weseli said. “We will definitely do something like that again in 2014.”
While UD alumni make a home in Indianapolis, they aren’t just staying for the Indy 500 and Hoosier pride, but a slice of history that lies just below their feet.
How can you have lots of fun, for little cash, in Indy?
“St. Joan of Arc French Market, the first Saturday after Labor Day. It’s free and always has a UD vs. Notre Dame volunteer challenge going.”
—James Seidel ’70 and Molly Pritchard Seidel ’71
“Visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is one of my favorite things in Indy and one of the best values around. For just a small additional fee you can take the bus tour around the grounds of the track.”
—King Doxsee ’90
“Tailgating at the Hurst Beanery before a Colts game, Three Wise Men in Broad Ripple for pizza and beer or going to Clowes Hall at Butler for a concert.”
—Mike Bosway ’80 and Betsy Sweeney Bosway ’81
“Running, walking or biking on the ever-expanding Monon Trail or the downtown canal. Listening to music at outdoor concerts held at various parks in the summer.“
—Margaret Adamek ’82
Ten years ago, Bill Mills ’00 walked into Flanagan’s and spotted someone he thought was a UD classmate. It was Matt Williams ’00, and the two realized they lived on the same floor in Founders Hall as freshmen.
Sounds like a typical UD story, except the Flanagan’s in Mills’ anecdote wasn’t the pub near campus but a similarly named spot in Grand Rapids, Mich., a city where one is less likely to meet another Flyer.
On return trips, they met two more alums, Paul Berkemeier ’00 and Tina SantaMaria Berkemeier ’00, and decided there were enough Flyers in town to start an alumni chapter. Mills became the first president of the West Michigan chapter in 2004, held the role for five years, and returned to that position in 2012.
Past chapter activities have included volunteer work with charities assisting the homeless and displaced youth, Christmas off Campus and gamewatches.
“We try to mix up our event sites and hold some in Kalamazoo or Grand Haven, even though 75 percent of our members live in Grand Rapids,” said Mills, who counts 400 alumni throughout the west side of the state. “It’s tough sometimes because we do have a smaller chapter.”
Outings near Lake Michigan prove to be a uniting force, and driving distance becomes less of a factor when members want to enjoy the beach.
“Summers are big here because our winters are pretty brutal,” Mills said.
They might have found another winning idea in ArtPrize, a competition promoting civic involvement through the creation of art in Grand Rapids. Residents help artists develop their pieces and then vote for their favorites. Often called the “American Idol” of art, ArtPrize attracted more than 1,500 entries from artists in 47 countries.
Voting runs Sept. 18 to Oct. 6, and voters must register in person to cast ballots .
“Since it’s such an instrumental event to west Michigan, we thought it would be great to get the chapter involved,” Mills said.
Members gathered monthly during the summer to help Mexican artist Sebastian Salamanca Huet with his work “Childhood Desires” by placing biodegradable kites in trees. The kites symbolized Huet’s youthful hopes and dreams, which encountered both restraint and protection in the trees, representing his mother and other authority figures.
“Childhood Desires” appears downtown near the famous red steel structure Alexander Calder crafted in the 1960s that helped establish the mid-sized city as a Midwestern artistic hub.
Mills expects chapter membership to increase in the future, as he says growing numbers of students from nearby Catholic schools are choosing UD.
If they return to west Michigan, he’ll make sure to contact them — if he doesn’t see them at the local Flanagan’s first.
Run into a UD graduate in the Rochester chapter, and you’ll likely get an earful.
If you ask some of the 767 alumni in the Rochester, N.Y., chapter to talk about their alma mater, you’d better have a comfortable chair handy.
“We love to talk about UD — it’s kind of an obsession,” said chapter president Katie McGuire ’07. “Three of our alumni chapter presidents are Rochester natives. If I wear a Flyers T-shirt to the Rochester Public Market, I’m inevitably going to be stopped by someone who wants to tell me when they graduated and what house they lived in on Kiefaber.”
Proud and passionate, Rochesterians were born to be loyal Flyers, McGuire said. The chapter is known for strong event attendance, whether they have to slog through a snowstorm to make a game watch or tolerate an eight-hour bus ride back to campus for Reunion Weekend.
“We’re hearty,” McGuire explained. It doesn’t hurt that the bus trips, started years ago by longtime chapter president Frank Geraci ’73, have now reached legendary status. “We fill a bus with 50 people, everyone brings snacks and movies, and we sit together as a big cheering section at a basketball game. It’s a blast.”
They also understand how to maximize their city’s offerings. Last fall, the chapter was recognized by the Alumni Leadership Council with a Program of the Year award for its 9/11 commemoration event. The group toured the traveling exhibition “September 11, 2001: A Global Moment” and invited University political science professor Mark Ensalaco, director of human rights research, to lead a post-tour discussion.
Rochester alumni have also partnered with local agencies like the Notre Dame Learning Center, a Catholic-based tutoring program; participated in charity fundraisers like the Tour de Cure for the American Diabetes Association; and volunteered at major events like the LPGA Championship.
You can also find them getting back to their roots. They host an active Christmas off Campus event each year and organized a bowling night to connect with current UD students home on winter break. A meet-and-greet luncheon for area law grads is also in the works, McGuire said.
“There are several colleges and universities in the Rochester area, but our UD alumni chapter is larger and more active than some of theirs,” she noted. “Just ask us — we’ll be happy to tell you all about it.”
What’s your favorite Rochester festival?
“The Park Avenue Festival is one of my favorite summer festivals in Rochester; it’s always held the first full weekend of August. I have attended since I was a child and still love going.”
—Jackie Sudore-Flood ’95
“The Lilac Festival. It’s the first festival of the season, with 10 days of entertainment and yummy food.”
—Anne Marie Jankowski ’94
“Fairport Canal Days!”
—Dom Zambelli ’16
“Positively Pittsford, for the food and live music.”
—Trish Gramkee Kazacos ’92
Win or lose, Cleveland’s professional sports teams have some of the most loyal fans in the nation.
By combining that devotion with UD’s passion for Flyer basketball, the Cleveland alumni chapter found the perfect mix for its alumni events.
“We might not have the best pro teams, but we show up,” said chapter president Carla Rossi ’05. “It’s something we can bond over.”
In a large city where the east-west twain rarely meet and 40-mile drives on I-90 can separate far-flung suburbs, Rossi and her husband, Craig ’07, have spent the past year bringing together more than 3,000 alumni from east, west and all parts in between in the spirit of Flyer and Cleveland sports love.
Alumni eagerly gobbled up tickets purchased for UD nights at Indians and Cavaliers games, and gamewatches for the Flyers’ matchups against Xavier and the first round of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament proved to be popular draws. The chapter hosted gamewatches at Buffalo Wild Wings in Strongsville, owned by Jerry Franklin ’74 and daughter Colleen Franklin ’02, and Mullarkey’s Pub in Willoughby, owned by another parent-child team — John Bowers ’76 and son Kevin Bowers ’06.
Another gamewatch spot, Eddy and Iggy’s bar in Lakewood, doesn’t have direct UD ties, but the owner has become quite fond of Cleveland’s Flyer Faithful.
“We had a really great turnout there,” Rossi said. “The owner even calls us now when UD games are coming up and asks if we’d like him to host it.”
Lest one think that Cleveland alumni only unite for sports-related programming, a Christmas off Campus celebration in Lakewood drew a strong crowd, as did a Christmas decorating event at St. Aloysius Church on the east side.
Sometimes, the group doesn’t need sports or UD traditions to have fun. Last winter, the chapter hosted Beer School, a two-hour course at Cleveland-based Great Lakes Brewing Co. Rossi said one attendee noticed someone she hadn’t seen since their 2002 graduation, and the two have now rekindled their college friendship.
“Being a UD alum means you’re family for life, wherever you are,” Rossi said.