Read our interactive issue to see videos, links and more.
Campus at night is a different place.
People move with more meaning, not because they have to, but because they want to
or just be up all night. Like me.
I captured these photos between sundown and sunrise over three months this fall. Shooting in low light at night makes scenes a little spooky and a lot more alive. Generations of student photographers have captured the people change the campus change.
But the way the night works on campus stays the same — it is for the students.
The Ku Klux Klan terrorized Catholic universities in the 1920s. But somehow, we forgot. Professor William Vance Trollinger Jr. uncovers stories of great courage in a struggle to define who is an American.
The University of Dayton served as the headquarters of Catholic subversion in southwest Ohio.
That’s how the Klan saw it.
In the years between 1923 and 1926, the Dayton chapter of the Ku Klux Klan — which had at least 15,000 members — devoted much of its energies to harassing the University of Dayton by burning of crosses.
A UD student in the 1920s, Jack Brown later recalled, “it [was] their joy and delight to come out on the campus and burn a cross or two.” But the students did not passively accept the Klan’s harassment. They fought back. As a student at the campus high school later reported, on more than one occasion he and some of his peers raced out of class to chase the Klansmen away, all the while calling on the cowards to “show their faces.”
The Klan responded to such defeats by lighting crosses in Woodland Cemetery across from the University, as the cemetery fence gave the Klansmen some protection from enraged students. But even there the Klansmen were not safe. On one occasion UD football coach Harry Baujan learned that the Klan was en route. So Baujan, as he recalled a half century later, went “to the halls and called out all my big football players.” Gathering them near the cemetery, he instructed the players to wait until the Klansmen got “around that cross.” Once the cross was ablaze, he exhorted his players to “take off after them” and “tear their shirts off” or “anything else, whatever you want to do.” But the Klansmen saw them coming; Baujan lamented, “we never got near any of them,” as “they went … so fast through that cemetery.”
I think this is a great story of courage in the face of terrorism. But you will not find it in any official UD history. There are more stories of student resistance to Ku Klux Klan harassment at other Catholic universities, but most of those stories are also not included in the official histories. As a historian I have a responsibility to uncover such stories and retell them. In doing so we can better understand the struggle to define who is an American and the struggle to secure a university education — struggles which did not end with the cross burnings of the 1920s.
RESURGENCE OF THE KLAN
While for many the decade after World War I is best known as the “Roaring Twenties,” these were also the years of the anti-Communist Red Scare, Sacco and Vanzetti, the Scopes Trial, and the Ku Klux Klan. Having virtually disappeared in the late 19th century, the Klan was reorganized in Georgia in 1915 and exploded into national prominence in the early 1920s.
While the original Klan concentrated its animus against the newly freed slaves and their Republican Party supporters, this “second” Klan had an expanded list of social scapegoats that included Catholics, Jews and immigrants. Moreover, while the first Klan was based primarily in the South, this Klan had its greatest numerical strength in the Midwest and West. Indiana was the site of the Klan’s greatest achievements, but Ohio may have had more members than any state in the Union; as David Chalmers — who estimated Klan membership in Ohio as 400,000 at its peak — observed in Hooded Americanism, “there was a time during the 1920s when it seemed that mask and hood had become the official symbol of the Buckeye State.”
This certainly fit Dayton. Having recovered from a disastrous flood in 1913 that killed hundreds, in the early 1920s Dayton was a thriving industrial city of more than 150,000 residents and such going concerns as Delco and National Cash Register. Dayton’s factories attracted immigrant laborers; according to the 1920 Census, 28 percent of the populace was either foreign-born or of foreign parentage. Eighty percent of the foreign-born Daytonians were from central, eastern and southern Europe, particularly (in descending order) Germans, Hungarians, Russians, Poles, Austrians, Italians, Slavs, Greeks, Lithuanians, Czechs and Romanians. Such immigration patterns meant a strong Catholic presence in Dayton. According to the 1926 Religious Census, 35 percent of reported churchgoers were Catholic, with almost all the rest Protestant. According to Chalmers, this was the perfect setting for the Second Ku Klux Klan: a majority of native-born residents, but with a substantial minority of non-Protestant immigrants.
With at least 10 percent of the city’s population as members of the Ku Klux Klan, Dayton joined Indianapolis; Portland, Ore.; Youngstown, Ohio; Denver; and Dallas as “the hooded capitals of the nation.” And these Klansmen and Klanswomen were determined to make the Klan’s presence felt. Newspaper articles and oral interviews suggest a Dayton illumined by burning crosses in the mid-1920s.
Perhaps the biggest night of cross burning came on May 6, 1924, when the local Klan celebrated the 58th anniversary of the KKK’s founding. The Dayton Daily News reported Klansmen burned a “30-foot cross … in each of the four districts of the city,” attracting supportive crowds of “several hundred persons” to each site.
While only a small percentage of cross burnings in Dayton found their way into newspaper and Klan reports, oral interviews with Catholics who lived in the 1920s help fill out the story. One woman who was a teenager in the Klan’s peak years admitted that she is still spooked by the memory of “crosses burning almost every night” near her home. One resident of Dayton in those years recalled that the “threat of Klan violence was always there … [this was] the big threat in the Catholic mind: what [the Klan] could do to us.”
The Society of Mary, a Catholic order of brothers and priests, founded St. Mary’s School for Boys in Dayton in 1850. Renamed the University of Dayton in 1920, the school by 1923 had 280 full-time undergraduates (85 percent of whom were Catholic), 36 law students and 174 students who took night classes, not to mention the 560 students who attended the high school on campus. A contributor to a locally published KKK newspaper asserted that the University “stands like a giant fortress upon a high hill overlooking the surrounding country,” with a ROTC program that had been established for the purpose of training a Catholic army to fight religious wars against American Protestants.
On Sept. 21, 1923, the Dayton Ku Klux Klan held perhaps its largest rally, including a 3-mile march down Main Street (its sidewalks packed with cheering spectators) and a “naturalization ceremony” for prospective Klansmen at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. Fifteen thousand Klansmen formed a ring around 7,000 kneeling initiates, while 10,000 spectators filled the stands. The ceremony included prayers, songs and the oath taken by the Klansmen-to-be affirming their “pure American nationality” (that they were white and they were Protestant). Then, celebration.
It would have been very difficult for the students and staff on the campus just down the road not to hear the cheering and singing of an estimated 32,000 white Dayton Protestants, not to feel the tremors of bombs being set off, not to see the Klan airplane (with a cross illuminated with red electric lights) circling the Fairgrounds, not to see the fireworks exploding in the sky, not to see the 100-foot burning cross.
BOMBS IN THE NIGHT
This rally seemed to embolden the Dayton Klan in its campaign against UD. The autumn of 1923 saw more cross burnings on or near University property. In early December the Klan planted a cross on campus and set it afire; as the Dayton Daily News later reported, this incident “terminated in a clash between a group of students and the alleged klansmen [sic], [who] were outnumbered by the students,” and who ran off into the night “before identification could be made.” It was an embarrassing failure for the forces of militant Protestantism and may have motivated the Klansmen to up the ante in their next attack.
Wednesday, Dec. 19, 1923, was the first day of Christmas break at the University of Dayton. By the time evening had arrived fewer than 40 students remained on campus. At 10:30 the calm was shattered. Students leaped out of their beds and ran out into the night as 12 bombs exploded throughout campus, all at some distance from University buildings. No one sustained serious injuries and the property damage was minimal; it could have been much worse, given that at least one bomb went off near campus buildings that stored guns and ammunition for the university’s ROTC program.
But what caught the eyes of the frightened students shivering in the cold was a blazing 8-foot, burlap-wrapped, oil-soaked cross on the west edge of campus. As the UD students ran toward the cross in order to tear it down, they discovered the perpetrators waiting for them. As reported by the Dayton Daily News, several hundred Klansmen had filled 40 to 50 cars, which they very slowly drove in single file “past the blazing emblem,” all the while issuing “a volley of threats” to the badly outnumbered students. But the tables soon turned. Angry at losing their sleep, hunderds of neighbors charged the hooded intruders, yelling their own “menacing threats” as they approached the line of cars in front of the blazing cross. The alarmed Klansmen hit the gas and sped off into the night. Faculty and students, along with the University vice president, “hastened to the cross and battered it to the ground.”
In the bombing’s aftermath, local residents vented their frustrations to the press, complaining that “they ha[d] made repeated remonstrances to the police in regard to the demonstrations at the university,” but to no avail. There were rumors that the police department was filled with Klansmen. The UD administration, however, had also worked to keep city authorities from responding to the disturbances; as Vice President Father Francis Kunnecke, S.M. ’06, admitted after the bombings, the University’s plan had been “to cope with the situation without seeking the aid of the police.”
But the “brazenness” of the Dec. 19 attack led Kunnecke to assert that these “demonstrations directed upon the university were unjustified and unlawful,” and thus the University would “do everything in its power to force prosecution.” When Dayton police detectives reported (after a one-day investigation) that they “were unsuccessful … in finding clews [sic] which would reveal the identity of the invaders,” President Father Bernard O’Reilly, S.M., responded by publicly expressing his frustration with the history of Klan attacks on the University, attacks that “forced the students to lose sleep, which greatly handicapped them in their studies.” He met with “city officials … and asked that immediate action be taken to discover the identity of the alleged klan [sic] members.”
The Dec. 19, 1923, incident was the high point of Ku Klux Klan harassment of the University of Dayton. There were no more bombings. But it does not appear that the Dayton Police Department ever identified the bombers, much less brought them to justice. Moreover, the Klan continued to burn crosses on and near campus, and held more large rallies at the fairgrounds. It was not until the late 1920s, when the Ohio Klan entered a precipitous decline, that the University of Dayton could begin to consider itself safe from terror administered by “100% Americans.”
In spring 1996, I was hired as an associate professor of history at the University of Dayton. That summer, Provost Father James Heft, S.M. ’66, asked me to write a brief article on some aspect of Dayton’s religious history, to be distributed to those attending an interfaith Thanksgiving celebration sponsored by the National Conference of Christians and Jews.
I knew nothing about Dayton’s religious history, but I did know that the Second Ku Klux Klan had been strong in Ohio. That fall I turned my undergraduate American religious history class — which had just four students: Erin Flory Camargo ’98, John Jauch ’97, John Nally ’96 and David Yarosz ’96 — into a research seminar on religion and religious conflict in Dayton in the 1920s. The secondary literature on the Ohio Klan was minimal, and there was virtually nothing on the Dayton Klan. But their careful reading of the Dayton Daily News showed that the Klan had been very active in Dayton, and that the University of Dayton had been a target of Klan wrath. Students interviewed Marianists who had been on campus as students in the 1920s, as well as Catholic laypeople who had resided in Dayton in those years. From our two months of intensive research I wrote — with my students as secondary co-authors — a very short pamphlet, “Toward a Tolerant and Inclusive Community,” which was distributed at the interfaith celebration.
What surprised me most was that virtually no one I talked with at UD knew that the University had been the target of Ku Klux Klan harassment, much less knew that the school had been bombed in 1923. There is no mention of Klan harassment in institutional histories written in 1937 (just 14 years after the bombing) or in 2000 for the University’s 150th anniversary. And the oral history of the attacks seems not to have made it from one generation of students to the next; in response to my paper on this topic at the 2011 American Catholic Historical Association meeting, Philip Gleason ’51 commented that never in his time as a University of Dayton student (nor in the six decades since graduation) had he heard a word about the Ku Klux Klan’s attacks.
To underscore this point, I return to the story of coach Baujan and his football players chasing the Ku Klux Klan away from campus. The story becomes more dramatic when one realizes Harry Baujan’s place in University of Dayton athletic lore. Having played for Knute Rockne at Notre Dame and for the Cleveland Tigers/Indians in the nascent National Football League, Baujan came to UD in 1922 as an assistant coach, taking over as head coach in 1923. Over the next few decades he created a stellar football program; not only does the UD soccer field (which had been the football field) bear his name, but in 1990 he was posthumously inducted as a coach into the College Football Hall of Fame.
For all of Baujan’s renown, I had heard nothing about his team’s encounter with the Klan until the summer of 2011 when I visited the University archives. The archivist on duty mentioned in passing that there was an unsubstantiated rumor that UD football players had confronted Klansmen. With this rumor in mind, I discovered the story in a transcript from a 1974 oral history interview with Harry Baujan and one of his players. Five decades had likely muddied some facts, but it seems almost certain that sometime in the mid-1920s the University of Dayton football team — prompted by its legendary head coach — confronted cross-burning Klansmen and sent them running.
How and why does an institution “forget” an exciting, even heroic, story such as this? Clues go back to July 1920, when the board of trustees voted to change the name from St. Mary’s College to the University of Dayton, a decision that obscured the school’s Catholic identity while publicly linking the school to its home city. While I have not been able to locate records of the board’s deliberations, in October 1920 President Father Joseph Tetzlaff, S.M. ’05, published an article in the University of Dayton Exponent explaining the board’s decision. Tetzlaff provided three reasons for the name change, the second of which focused on how the term “university” better fit the “scope” of academic work being done at the institution.
But the first and third reasons had to do with the city itself. Tetzlaff began with the confusing assertion that making the change from St. Mary’s College to University of Dayton would “bring home to the City of Dayton” the “work of premier order accomplished” at the school “in the domain of cultural and technical education”; this statement suggested that naming the school for its home city would induce Daytonians to have pride in their local university, thus implying that city residents had not felt such pride about St. Mary’s College. Tetzlaff’s third reason for the name change was equally ambiguous: “To do honor to the City of Dayton, which has always entertained a kindly interest in its principal school. … We entertain the fondest hopes that the citizens of this progressive community will make permanent this sympathetic attitude” by providing “their further moral and material support.” If the city had truly maintained “a kindly interest” in the school since its 1850 founding, why the concern that Daytonians “make permanent” their “sympathetic attitude”?
Perhaps the most that can be said for Tetzlaff’s ambiguous explanation is that it was aspirational. But in the next few years a significant percentage of native-born Daytonians joined or supported the local Ku Klux Klan chapter, which had as one of its primary and ongoing activities a harassment campaign directed against Dayton’s “principal school.”
Still, UD’s administration stayed quiet, perhaps grasping at their “fondest hopes” for the University’s relationship with the city. Then came the December 1923 bombing. Silence was no longer an option. But in breaking the silence it is telling what the administration said. Both President O’Reilly (who had become president that year) and Vice President Kunnecke focused their comments on the threat to the ROTC arsenal on campus; because the Klan was now threatening the property of the United States, its attacks on the University must be stopped. It does not appear there was one public comment from either administrator about the Klan’s anti-Catholicism, or about how Catholics in Dayton and Dayton’s Catholic university were weary of being harassed. To the contrary, the vice president went out of his way to downplay the school’s Catholic identity, observing not only that “students of all denominations attend” the University (thus eliding the fact that 85 percent of UD undergraduates were Catholic), but that this interdenominational “student body” has made “a universal remonstrance … against the picturesque demonstrations that have been staged” on campus.
One plausible reading of the University of Dayton’s almost instantaneous institutional amnesia regarding the Ku Klux Klan harassment and attacks is that there was some sense of shame that a large portion of the community in which they resided and in whose name they had titled the University did not understand UD as truly American. The faster all of this could be forgotten, the better.
What happened and then was forgotten at the University of Dayton leads to questions about the Klan and other Catholic universities, which numbered 69 in 1926, according to the Catholic Education Association.
In Contending with Modernity: Catholic Higher Education in the Twentieth Century, Philip Gleason relates the famous story of the confrontation between University of Notre Dame students and the Ku Klux Klan. As Gleason observes, in May 1924 university students “broke up a regional rally and parade in South Bend,” an attack followed two days later by a student march “on the local Klan headquarters in response to rumors that one of their number was being mistreated there.” Thanks to “the calming effect of an emotional appeal by Notre Dame president [Father] Matthew J. Walsh,” the students were “persuaded … to return to campus before the second episode got completely out of hand.”
UD and Notre Dame were surely not the only Catholic schools to encounter the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s. What do institutional histories say — or not say — about such encounters, and what does it tell us?
To answer these questions, I focused on Catholic colleges and universities in nine northern and western states where the Ku Klux Klan was particularly active in the 1920s: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. I located 23 institutional histories of 17 Catholic universities and colleges in these states. Nine of these histories make reference to Ku Klux Klan activities near or related to the university, but none of these histories make any mention of Klan activities on campus.
For example, in his history of Xavier University, Roger Fortin tells the story of 1928 Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate Myers Cooper, whose “association with St. Xavier College and its Catholic identity” — Cooper had led the fundraising campaign for Xavier’s football stadium — provided fodder for attacks by his Democratic opponent at a time when the Ku Klux Klan was organizing hate campaigns in Cincinnati.
Detroit was also a center of Klan activity in the 1920s. In his 1977 centennial history of the University of Detroit, Herman Muller relates the story that every Saturday evening in the summer of 1925 Klansmen drove by Gesu Chapel, a church the Jesuits had been “empowered to build” very close to the new campus site of the university. According to a Catholic resident who lived nearby, the University president, Father John McNichols, S.J., “call[ed] for me and my uncle, who was a deputy sheriff,” to protect the church: “My uncle had a double-barrelled shotgun and I had a pump gun. One of us stayed in front and one in back. Father Mac did not want them to burn down the church.”
The story is similar in John Stranges’ 2006 history of Niagara University, The Rainbow Never Fades. Stranges observes that a gathering of some 5,000 hooded delegates shocked “the Catholics of western New York”; Niagara students interpreted the Klansmen as a “demoralizing blemish” or, more hopefully, a “monster reptile doomed inevitably to extinction.” But in The Rainbow Never Fades — as in the histories of Xavier and Detroit — there is no reference to Klan attacks on or harassment of Niagara University.
The Ku Klux Klan receives more attention in James Covert’s history of the University of Portland, A Point of Pride, but it is only in the context of Oregon’s infamous Compulsory Education Bill. As Covert notes, the “Ku Klux Klan … was a motivating force” for this ballot initiative, which made it illegal for “any parent [or] guardian” to “fail or neglect or refuse to send [their] child to a public school,” and which was passed by Oregon voters in November 1922. Covert observes that the University of Portland (known as Columbia University until 1935) not only supported the legal campaign to have this decision ruled unconstitutional — which the Supreme Court did in 1924 — but the lead attorneys in this legal effort were “all formerly connected” with the university. But again, no reference to the Klan on campus.
In their 1953 and 2007 histories of Marquette University, both Raphael Hamilton and Thomas Jablonsky report that the local Klan chapter was prominently involved in the successful campaign to persuade the Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors to reject a proposal to sell a square block of county-owned property to the university for purposes of building a health complex. What’s curious here is that this only mention of the Klan’s political intervention took place in 1927, at the very time when the Milwaukee chapter of the Klan was, as David Chalmers observes, rapidly splintering into irrelevance. In the mid-1920s, when the Klan was stronger, was it harassing Marquette students?
Finally, there is Denver’s Regis University. The Klan was a dominant force in Colorado politics in the early 1920s, including the election of a Ku Klux Klan executive committeeman as state governor. In keeping with the other university histories, the two institutional histories of Regis are silent about cross burnings on campus. But in his 1955 study of Catholic education in Colorado, William Jones notes that on April 1, 1924, “a large cross was placed on the campus near Carroll Hall and ignited before the faculty or students were aware of the incident.” In his 1989 work, Colorado Catholicism, Thomas Noel also reports this incident, but he gives a different twist on the Regis response: “According to [one source], ‘the Jesuits held the boys back inside or they would have torn those Kluxers apart.’”
One more point about Regis. In April 1921, the trustees changed the college’s name from Sacred Heart to Regis. Institutional histories report that school officials were unhappy with how many schools in America were named “Sacred Heart,” and they were concerned (to quote Ronald Brockway) “about the profane use of a clearly sacred name in sports yells emanating from frenzied fans” as well as unhappiness with students corrupting the school’s initials (S.H.C.) “into the unflattering nickname of ‘the Shack.’” Interestingly, in his unpublished 1997 piece entitled “The ‘Regis’ of Regis University,” John Callahan takes a different tack, arguing that another reason for the name change was that Sacred Heart “provided a clear target for the Ku Klux Klan, which was growing quite powerful in Colorado.” A less obviously Catholic name would provide cover, and “Regis” was “chosen because John Francis Regis was a Jesuit saint who worked in the mountains. Simple as that.”
STORY OF COURAGE
The confusion as to why Sacred Heart College became Regis College in 1921 is indicative of the larger point that there is much we do not know about the Ku Klux Klan and Catholic higher education in the 1920s. We can say definitively that Notre Dame was not the only Catholic institution of higher education that had direct encounters with the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan harassed and attacked both the University of Dayton and Regis College, and it may very well have harassed and attacked other Catholic universities. Moreover, and as with Notre Dame, UD and perhaps Regis, students were not passive victims; instead, they responded aggressively to the Klan attacks, more aggressively than did their school’s administrators.
As I told students at the August 2013 academic convocation, in chasing off the Klansmen UD students were saying, “we are true Americans.” But they were saying more than this. They were also making clear that while the Klan could hold gigantic rallies two blocks away, light crosses on campus and even explode bombs, the Klan was not going to keep these students from a university education, from a University of Dayton education. It was too precious.
This gift of a university education was precious in 1923; it is precious today. Of course, and as I also said to the students at convocation, UD students today don’t have to deal with Klansmen lighting crosses and exploding bombs. But there are still obstacles to overcome. Those obstacles include the fact that we live in a culture that repeatedly tells all of us that thinking about ideas is a waste of time, that seeing the world in simple terms is better than seeing it in its complexity, that seeking beauty and justice and truth is a frivolous quest, that understanding the “other” is irrelevant.
As in 1923, then, there are challenges to securing a university education. So it behooves us here at UD to remember our history, to remember the time when — just 90 years ago — UD students tore down burning crosses and the UD football team chased the Klan away from campus. Forgetting history is never good, and in this instance the UD community has a story of determination and courage to draw upon. So we should.
William Vance Trollinger Jr. is professor of history in UD’s history and religious studies departments and director of the CORE program. He and his wife, Susan Trollinger of UD’s English department, are writing a book on young earth creationism to be published by Johns Hopkins University Press. This article is an abridged and revised version of an article that appeared in the spring 2013 issue of American Catholic Studies: “Hearing the Silence: The University of Dayton, the Ku Klux Klan, and Catholic Universities and Colleges in the 1920s.”
Pay attention. That’s what jurors promise to do. But what happens to justice when social media provides more compelling evidence?
@JurorNo1: Here we go again. #ihatejuryduty
@JurorNo2: He’s obviously guilty. Wish we could go home.
@JurorNo1: Guilty? With that @justinbieber hair? His barber even started a “Free Willy” Facebook page.
@JurorNo2: LOL #weallhatejuryduty
Imagine this Twitter exchange happening in the jury box during a trial.
Now imagine you’re the defendant and your future depends on the jurors paying attention to the evidence you believe will exonerate you.
But while you’re sitting at the defense table, palms slick with sweat, knees trembling, nervously tapping your foot like Ringo Starr on the drums because you know if you’re found guilty you’re going to prison, maybe for a very long time, the jurors are busy Tweeting and texting and updating their Facebook pages with details about you, your alleged crime, your bad haircut and the awful way your plaid pants clash with your striped shirt.
It could happen.
It has happened.
“Oh yes, it’s happened,” says University of Dayton law professor Thaddeus Hoffmeister. “It’s already been done in the box, in the jury box itself, unfortunately.”
The telltale sign?
“The juror’s head was down all the time,” Hoffmeister says.
If you’re surprised, you shouldn’t be.
Social media is as ubiquitous as naked photos of Anthony Weiner. No matter where you go or where you are — the movies, church, even the urinal — you can find someone texting, Tweeting, Instagraming, Tumblring, Digging, emailing, Facebooking, Amazoning, eBaying or just searching for information on Wikipedia about Miley Cyrus twerking. It has changed the way we work, the way we interact, the way we live.
The difference of course is that, mostly, someone’s life isn’t on the line.
When jurors are sworn in for duty they tacitly agree to listen to all the evidence presented to them when they swear to judge as fairly and impartially as possible. The concern is that all the distractions and, worse, the almost instantaneous ability to gather “facts” not in evidence, compromise a defendant’s ability to get a just and unbiased trial.
“I worry about that, yes definitely,” says Montgomery County [Ohio] Common Pleas Judge Timothy O’Connell ’77.
O’Connell, a 1980 graduate of the UD School of Law, leans back in a leather chair in his cluttered fourth-floor office in the Montgomery County Courthouse, his fingers tented as if in prayer, his brow furrowed as he contemplates the question of jurors going outside the boundaries of the courtroom to gather information they shouldn’t have.
“There have been cases reported where convictions have been reversed, new trials ordered and even dismissals of charges in some instances because of the use of information that wasn’t presented in the courtroom,” he says.
Attorney Jon Paul Rion ’96 remembers a civil case in Dayton that was settled in favor of his client just before closing arguments.
“We spoke to the jury afterwards, before they were discharged, and they’d read all about the case, knew what the judgments were, knew all the information,” Rion says. “It was unbelievable the amount of information they had that was not presented in the courtroom. And they openly admitted about getting the information about the case while the case was ongoing. We were shocked, one, not only by the openness but, two, the amount of information they felt they needed to do their job correctly.
“Clearly when you have information like that coming in through the back door, it’s of great concern. It’s impossible to monitor.”
Therein lies the rub. We live in an instantaneous world. We can connect to each other as well as to huge stores of information in the blink of an eye. Or more precisely, the flick of a finger. We now have the ability to check a defendant’s background, his or her prior record, and read personal comments about the person that may or may not be true. We can go to Google Earth to view crime scenes, check out lawyers, judges, witnesses and fellow jurors, “Friend” the victim, the defendant, their families and friends, and leak details to the public that are supposed to remain confidential.
“I particularly worry about jurors who can fairly easily go online … and go into the clerk’s records and find out about prior charges and prior convictions of the defendant,” O’Connell says.
Hoffmeister, who writes a blog about juries (juries.typepad.com), points to a sexual assault case in Louisville, Ky., where the victim, unhappy with the sentence of the two juveniles convicted of attacking her, went online and named them, even though the court kept their identities sealed.
“She said something to the extent of, if this is all that reporting a rape got me, then I’m mad I reported it,” Hoffmeister says of her reasoning. “There’s a lot of things going on with that particular case, such as can we keep legal proceedings quiet in the age of social media? It’s very hard. There are so many different ways you can get information out to people, courts are going to struggle with that.”
Twitter, Facebook and the like have turned ordinary citizens into what Hoffmeister calls “social media vigilantes.”
In 2009, for instance, an American couple visiting the Bahamas decided they wanted an exotic meal … of endangered iguanas. Like all good Facebookers, they felt the need to document their feast and posted pictures of themselves “cleaning the iguanas, and barbecuing the iguanas, and grilling the iguanas,” Hoffmeister says.
“Somebody saw the pictures on their Facebook page and called the authorities down in the Bahamas and these people were arrested. All because of people watching and seeing what was on somebody’s Facebook page. There’s so many different ways that social media is now impacting criminal law.”
Two years ago, Hoffmeister, who joined the UD law faculty in 2007, didn’t consider Twitter as something viable.
“I thought, 140 characters, how does this work?” he says.
Now he teaches a class on social media and the law and, in early 2014, will have a book, Social Media in the Courtroom: A New Era for Criminal Justice, published by Praeger.
Sitting in his cramped office in the lowest level of Joseph E. Keller Hall, Hoffmeister, dressed in khaki pants, a blue checked shirt and sandals, is practically giddy while talking about the impact of social media on the judicial system. Words spew from his mouth faster than the Twitterverse reaction to Ben Affleck as the Batman.
After it occured to him that almost all his jury blog posts were about the effects of social media on jurors, Hoffmeister began to look at the entire judicial system.
“How are the criminals using (social media)?” he asks. “How are the attorneys using it? How is law enforcement using it? How do judges use it? How do we get it admitted into evidence? How do we get your Facebook page where you either contradicted the statement you made earlier or you foolishly posted a picture with you standing there with the stolen property admitted against you?”
And, as the man who consulted on the jury instructions for U.S. v. Barry Bonds, he understands the fears of a defendant about getting a fair trial.
“They have a valid argument,” Hoffmeister says.
Highly publicized cases such as that of Jodi Arias, who was convicted of brutally murdering her ex-boyfriend, make it virtually impossible to sit an unbiased jury, he says.
In a story about the penalty phase of Arias’ trial, CNN quoted jury consultant Richard Gabriel as saying, “(Social media is) incredibly powerful because it is a juror interacting in their natural environment. It’s them unedited, uncensored and not trying to couch things in way that’s politically correct. So you have a candid view of the juror, and it allows you to see how they view the world and how they express themselves.”
To his point, an alternate juror allegedly ignored instructions by the judge and posted on Facebook something about Arias’ temper.
“If (Arias) does have Latina blood, it may explain a temper lol,” the juror wrote.
Jurors aren’t the only ones with smartphones, of course. Judges and lawyers can also abuse technology — and get in trouble.
Says UD law professor Denise Platfoot Lacey, “Oftentimes it’s personal social media abuses that have gotten them disciplined. For instance, a lawyer asks for a continuance because he’s got too heavy a workload and then posts on social media that they’re really hungover because they were out too late the night before.”
Lacey served for two years as the secretary to the Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism for the Supreme Court of Ohio, investigating complaints against lawyers and judges. Social media now adds more challenges.
“Lawyers and judges have taken an oath to be a part of the system that will be fair and impartial, ” she says. “If there are abuses, people see this and they wonder about the officers of the court to whom we’ve entrusted the system.”
So what can be done about it? Can anything be done about it? As Hoffmeister says, the court system “changes at a glacial pace.”
One thing judges can do is change their instructions to juries — something O’Connell has done — cautioning them to not speak or use social media to communicate with anyone about the case. The Ohio State Bar Association amended its recommendations on jury instructions in 2010 to include just such a social media clause.
But, says Hoffmeister, expecting a juror to keep quiet about a case has never been practical — or realistic.
“I never believed that people went home after jury duty and didn’t talk to their wife or their husband about it,” he says. “You’re kidding yourself if you believe that. I think people always went home to their spouses, they talked about the case, and their spouses responded by saying, ‘Oh, I think he’s guilty’ or ‘not guilty.’ I just think it’s at a higher level now where you can reach out and talk to people outside your immediate vicinity.”
Judges could also confiscate any device — phone, tablet — that could connect a juror to the Internet, or consider something as drastic as sequestration.
Neither is entirely effective.
Sequestration, Hoffmeister and O’Connell agree, is expensive and an invitation for jurors to lie their way out of service.
“It turns people off,” Hoffmeister says.
Meanwhile, seizing phones and tablets could send some jurors into jittery fits.
“I’ve read some stories,” Hoffmeister says, “that say the Internet can be addictive. When you get an email it releases endorphins in your mind. It’s a pleasant sensation to you.”
For some, it’s a sensation they can’t live without. Last fall, the Behavioral Health Medical Center in Bradford, Pa., rolled out a 10-day inpatient program to help users kick their Internet habit. It may not be the same as asking a junkie to quit popping pills, but it’s an acknowledgement that some people just can’t give up their smartphones and tablets without help.
There are more extreme measures for judges, of course, such as sending jurors who violate the social media instructions to the slammer.
“That would be the last solution,” Hoffmeister says. “We in this country don’t punish like they do in England and other common law countries. In England, I’ve seen them give someone six months, which I thought was outrageous, for violating the rules. In England they hammer the jurors. In this country, we don’t hammer jurors.”
O’Connell agrees that sentencing jurors to jail time would be onerous.
“We always try to do the least invasive thing,” he says. “We’re always walking on eggshells now about making things convenient and easy and pleasant, if you will, for jurors.”
Pleasant for jurors, maybe, but not so much for defendants who must not only face the judgment of their peers but also hundreds, sometimes thousands, of anonymous “friends.”
“I know one case,” Hoffmeister says, “where a woman juror in a sexual assault trial took a Facebook poll and said, ‘OK, what do you Facebookers think I should do?’”
Scary, yes, but not the end of the world — or our justice system — says attorney Rion.
“For the most part, I believe jurors, citizens, try to be fair,” he says. “Examples to the contrary are always there, but I think you can rely on the jurors of this county, or any county, to at least try to be fair. Whether that translates into perfection, it never does, but it seems like people are well-intended in our judicial system and there is a great pride people have of it.
“Due to the extent that we have to be careful and watchful of (social media), I agree completely. But it’s not as if we’re in a situation where we need to scrap the jury system and start over. It’s still the best mechanism for justice that we could possibly have.”
Curbing the social media vigilantes
Can there ever be uniform instructions to juries about the dos and don’ts of social media? University of Dayton law professor Thaddeus Hoffmeister doesn’t think so.
“From state to state and county to county, things are different,” he says. “There are just so many jurisdictions, I don’t see how we could come up with a set of standards that everyone could use. There are some approaches you can use, but there is no surefire method.”
Among those approaches:
Better jury instructions. “Ask them if they can do without their phones for days or weeks. If they can’t, excuse them. And tell them why it’s important they don’t use social media. Juries need to know why they shouldn’t be using their phones.”
Attorneys and judges should set an example. “If the judge is using his phone and the attorneys are using their phones, jurors logically ask, ‘Why can’t I use my phone?’”
Use the juror oath to promise to hear the testimony fairly. “I do believe people take that seriously.”
Offer rewards for good behavior. “In one case, the judge promised to keep a journal for every juror with every story written about the case if they stayed off their phones.”
Allow the jurors to ask questions. “If there’s an accident scene and you’re not going to take us there, or you’re going to use legal terms I don’t understand, well, you could get away with that 20 years ago because I wasn’t going to go to the library and look up ‘reasonable doubt’ or ‘respondeat superior.’ Now, I can just ask Siri and she’ll tell me what that means. So let them ask their own questions.”
Even though the standards for social media in the judicial system can’t be consistent, he does say things need to change if courts want jurors to be fair and impartial.
“The law doesn’t want to change,” he says. “The law says we’re going to change at a glacial pace. We are in charge. The judge and the lawyers say, we’ll tell you what you need to know. No, technology is going to force you to change and, in my opinion, it’s empowering jurors.
“I think the rules of evidence, as they are, are too restrictive. I think juries should see more. I think they should see more evidence. I don’t know how much more or where to draw the line. But I think they should see more and I think they will see more because, if we don’t give it to them, they’ll find it themselves.”
Gene Williams is a freelance writer who misses the day when letters were written by hand, calls were made from phones attached to the wall and movies were never interrupted by smartphones too dumb to stay dim in a darkened theater.
He wore out three street maps — folding and refolding, finding new territory and retracing his steps — as he explored Nanjing, China. Professor Sean Wilkinson spent six weeks in fall 2012 as an artist-in-residence at Nanjing University of the Arts, but his desire to make photographs drove his explorations and discoveries. The resulting 66-piece exhibit, Here and There, Now and Then, will be on display, alongside select images from his Dayton work, in Nanjing in November. Click the image at left to view images from the exhibit.
My purpose in going to China was not to produce a documentary record of my time there, nor was it to create a flattering or a critical portrayal of that country. I sought simply to make images of what attracted my attention, just as I have done for many years in Dayton.
I have constructed a sequence of images that begins with overt references to traditional Chinese aesthetics. This influence gradually dissolves, but never completely, as the pictures come to reflect my own sensibilities more overtly. The majority of my images are rooted in modernist, Western explorations of form and abstraction, and in postmodern examinations of illusion, appropriation and irony. So there is a fusion of ideas and perceptions, the historical and the contemporary, the foreign and the familiar. I seek to immerse myself in what I find to be beautiful, intriguing, provocative, evocative and compelling. And I hope that those who encounter this work will find those qualities in my pictures and in themselves.
Photographs, at least in their traditional form, are precise coordinates on a grid of time and space. They mark a point that identifies a here and a now, which became, in the moment the picture was made, a there and a then.
While these relationships are intrinsic to every photograph, the pictures I made in Dayton and in Nanjing are particularly concerned with the meanings of here and there, and the way the locus of those terms shifts back and forth, as each set of images informs the others.
Every photograph is also about a particular then, but by being present with it, we may revive something of its original essence as now.
Photography, as an apparently neutral witness, seems to have no need for interpretation or imagination, and is thought to rule out invention. It has always, however, been a medium that serves the proclivities of fiction as readily as it provides objective data.
I make photographs entirely within the traditional framework of straightforward representation. There is a direct correspondence between what was in front of my camera and what appears in my pictures. And yet, even as they are rightly seen as statements of facts, I believe that my photographs constitute a form of fiction. I fashion my pictures from things I find into things of my own.
The practice of art, after all, is one of trans- forming the world one finds into a world one makes. Taking in the results of this process, the observer, the listener, the reader, the audience that apprehends a work of art may thus in turn become, to some degree, transformed.
Many of the photographs I made in Nanjing depict marks. They were often just remnants or fragments of marks, or they were marks that were made in an effort to cover other marks. I am intrigued by defacement and effacement, by cancellation and obliteration, by assertion and negation, and by overlapping layers of condensed histories. The walls I photographed announced and declaimed, they whispered and they shouted, and they were shouted over, muffled, and silenced; yet they continued to speak.
Most of my photographs of marks are about the gestures of making those marks as much as they are about the marks themselves. We can feel in our own hands and bodies the movements that other hands and bodies made in the making of these marks.
Perhaps one reason I was drawn to in- decipherable marks on walls in China is that they represent my experience of being cut off from language. I could not understand anything people said as they conversed with one another in the street and on the bus. I could not read a word of signs that appeared everywhere. All this communication was unintelligible to me, impenetrable yet eloquent at the same time, very much like the language of the marks that I photographed.
There is in photographs an odd conflation of intimacy and distance, the real and the surreal, and of revelation and deception. I am drawn to each of these elements as well as to their contradictions, and to the impossibility of reconciling them completely.
The blue ink of the tattoo ran in unsteady lines atop a caramel-colored foot. And Pope Francis, dressed in immaculate white, got down on his knees and kissed it.
This man understands the power of symbolism. On Holy Thursday, Pope Francis again cleansed away preconceptions, extending the ritual washing of feet — a re-enactment of Christ with his Apostles — to women and non- Catholics.
“Among us the one who is highest up must be at the service of others,” he said during Mass at a Rome detention center, where he washed the feet of 12 juvenile offenders. “This is a symbol, it is a sign. Washing your feet means I am at your service. And we are too, among each other.”
There is something different about this pope, something felt by the thousands of youth who packed the Copacabana sands during World Youth Day celebrations and by a single UD student who cried on the phone to her Argentinian mother at the announcement of his papacy. This first Francis is also the first pope who is a Jesuit, a member of the Society of Jesus religious order whose mission and formation both forged the man and his approach to the papacy. His solidarity with the poor is obvious. More subtle are the ways this man — all the way from Rome — is influencing our lives with his call to holiness.
HOLY SEA CHANGE
He is rightly called the leader of one of the largest populations on the planet: 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. And he has the ear of the world, both secular and religious. When the media want a holiday message to broad- cast, they hand the pope the mic.
“And so we ask the risen Jesus, who turns death into life, to change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace,” he pro- claimed this Easter, as reported by Fox News.
What Francis says, matters. And what Francis does, matters.
Nevermind that he’s unlikely to do anything too shocking.
“Those that might expect some dramatic changes on issues like gay marriage or women’s ordination are probably going to be disappointed,” says Sandra Yocum, UD associate professor of religious studies and president of the College Theology Society. Remember, she says: He was elected by 115 other men, and all of them were appointed to their positions because of shared perspectives and agreements on fundamental church teachings. Still, his humble demeanor and words of compassion some- how feel like a change, she says.
There’s a sense of a holy sea change under way. Francis is a different kind of pope in a very powerful, symbolic way.
Have you heard the one about the pope who carried his own suitcase? Or the bishop-soon-to-be-pope who rode the bus?
“If you’re a bishop and you’re spending a half an hour on a bus, that’s a half an hour you’re not spending in a parish, you’re not in the office, you’re not doing other things,” says Father Thomas Reese, S.J., senior analyst at National Catholic Reporter. “Now that adds up after awhile. But on the other hand, that has spoken to the world, that has been a witness, that has said something to the people. And maybe that’s more important than all the half hours that he would have spent doing something else.”
During World Youth Day, much to the consternation of his body- guards, Francis shook nearly every hand and kissed nearly every baby extended to him. He extended indulgences — remission for sins after absolution — to those who followed his Twitter account (@pontifex). In the Rio de Janeiro slum of Varginha, he hugged children who waved gold and white flags. It’s an energy and accessibility unseen in 40 years.
In Brazil, Francis said, “We need saints without cassocks, without veils. We need saints with jeans and tennis shoes. … We need saints that drink Coca-Cola, that eat hot dogs, that surf the Internet and that listen to their iPods. We need saints that love the Eucharist, that are not afraid or embarrassed to eat a pizza or drink a beer with their friends.”
In that same speech, he said, “We need saints that have a commitment to helping the poor and to make the needed social change.” It is his focus on the poor that, in these first months, has captured the most attention.
First, there’s his name — Francis — for the saint from Assisi reputed to have emptied his purse and traded clothes with a mendicant to beg at the doors of St. Peter’s Basilica. Then there’s the papal palace, which Pope Francis eschewed for a two-room apartment in an adjoining hostel. He replaced his papal limousine with a four-door blue Ford Focus. Gone is the bling — there’s a plastic black watch on his wrist and a silver ring on his finger.
Father James Martin, S.J., author of The Jesuit Answer to Almost Every- thing, says Pope Francis is someone who knows intuitively the value of symbol in the way Jesus did.
“So, the symbolism of moving out of the apostolic palace, the symbolism of washing the feet of Muslim youth on Holy Thursday in a detention center rather than washing feet of priests at the church of Saint John Lateran … and the symbolism of something as seemingly frivolous as the Ford Focus — people understand that.
“And like Jesus, people say he speaks with authority as a result of the way he lives.”
AMONG THE POOR
Poverty makes this pope different, in more ways than one.
For most of history, popes have been elevated from diocesan priests — priests who serve in a definite geographical area, a diocese. Diocesan priests do not take a vow of poverty.
Unless they are best-selling authors like Father Andrew Greeley, diocesan priests are unlikely to become rich. But they can earn and keep a salary. Priests of orders — including Jesuits and Marianists — do not. Poverty, Chastity and obedience are unifying oaths for memo- beers of religious orders.
So is Francis popular because he’s a Jesuit? Unlikely, says Martin.
“I don’t think the Jesuits are that well known,” he says. “That might appeal to people who know the Jesuits already. I think that he is so popular because he’s so authentic, and he’s so popular because he’s living so simply.”
Instead, it’s likely Francis commits acts we consider popular because of his Jesuit formation.
“We’re all Catholic, we’re all part of the church, but there is a little difference in style, a little difference in background, accent and nuance,” says Father David Fleming, S.M., professor at UD’s campus in Bangalore, India. “He has a pastoral sense that flows from his Jesuit style.”
Not all Jesuits have the same style or priorities. They discern their individual calling through 30-day silent retreats, during which they meditate on the Gospels and Scriptures, asking for God’s mercy and committing to serve Christ in concrete ways through their lives and actions.
These Spiritual Exercises, set forth by Society of Jesus founder Ignatius Loyola, are not just about a life’s path; they are a daily challenge. “What is God calling us to do today?” Reese asks.
Francis has demonstrated his calling to live in solidarity with the poor. This requires breaks with tradition.
“You can’t just say to him [Francis], ‘but we’ve always done it this way,’” Reese says. “Being open to the Spirit means being open to surprise and to change. He’s talked about that, about how the church is a human being changing over its lifetime, and we shouldn’t be afraid of change.”
That ability to change is also found in Jesuit history. Known as the soldiers of Christ, early Jesuit priests carried Catholicism — through evangelization and education — with them throughout Europe and as far away as Japan and Brazil. Reese says priests often traveled alone and worked within their faith and local circus- stances to discern the work to which they were called. “St. Ignatius would … write these long letters to people who were way off in Germany or the Far East, and he would give them a long list of instructions, but typically he’d always end his letters with, ‘If this doesn’t make sense in the place you are in, do what makes sense.’”
So it makes sense that Francis, in his new position, would decide to swap his ride.
The pope’s humility — something highly at- tractive to his followers — also has Jesuit roots. In addition to the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, Jesuits make a special vow of obedience to the pope and pledge not to seek higher office. Ignatius wanted to avoid the scourges of ambition and careerism and to prevent having his best men be picked off for service to others.
“Jesuits make a promise not to ‘strive or ambition’ for high office in the church or in the Society of Jesus,” Martin says. “We are trained not to want to desire or aim for any of those high offices. So the fact that you have someone who has made that promise and who is now in the highest office means that he will be very free about letting things go.”
By odds, you’d expect the pope to be a diocesan priest — two-thirds of the world’s priests are. Of the third in orders, the greatest number belongs to the Society of Jesus. Established in 1534, there are 19,000 Jesuits in the world to- day — a number that is growing in places like Vietnam and Latin America as it decreases in the United States and Europe.
As unlikely as a Jesuit pope was, a Marianist pope is even more unlikely. There are more than 10 times as many Jesuits as are brothers in UD’s founding order, the Society of Mary, and only a third of Marianist brothers are also priests. Says Fleming, “Marianists try to focus more on the grass roots rather than on high offices. And most Marianists are not ordained priests but are religious brothers instead.”
Being from an order makes Pope Francis different. Knowing he’s a Jesuit further refines our understanding of his papacy. But in the end, what does it matter to us or to a Midwestern university like UD? Hannah Petko-Bunney, a senior chemical engineering major, calls Francis the “people’s pope.” She says faith is very important in her family, who are nondenominational Christians.
“I think that the humility and open- ness of the new pope is refreshing,” she says. “There is a real chance for him to bring about welcome changes in the Catholic faith, bring about a new view of acceptance in faith.”
Senior electronic media major Scott Zingale says he was fascinated by the story of Francis picking up the phone to cancel his newsstand subscription. “I like the new pope because he seems down to earth,” says Zingale, who adds that he and other Jewish students on campus are interested in the pope’s words and actions. “He is a consistent authority figure that also makes time for the people that look to him for spiritual guidance.”
Francis’ model of leadership strikes at the heart of the learn, lead, serve tradition at the University of Dayton, says Yocum. By not taking on the trappings of the papacy, Pope Francis is serving as an inspiration of how those in leadership positions can conduct themselves.
While the pope can be a role model, he can also be a distraction, she says. We wait around for him to give us permission to do what we already know we are called to do. Following Francis’ example — and that of Jesuit founder Ignatius, who took first vows six years before receiving official recognition for the Jesuits from Pope Paul III — we should simply act, she says.
“That’s a significant piece, recognizing both our part in this and not waiting for the pope to do the work that we need to do here,” she says. The call to holiness is a universal call and we recognize, through him, that we are part of something much bigger, she says, “which includes Marianists and Jesuits and Benedictines and lay people and diocesan priests and people from all over the world.”
And all over the world, people are watching. And they see, in a simple act of example — of washing feet, of letting go of trappings and pre- conceptions — the promise of Francis’ young papacy.
Michelle Tedford is editor of UD Magazine. She once shared a ZIP code with Pope John Paul II when he moved to her block during World Youth Day 1993.
Still waiting for Rome
There has never been a Marianist pope. And the wait could be very long, indeed.
Father Paul Vieson, S.M. ’62, director of the Marianist Archives, tells us, “There has never been a Marianist who was created a cardinal.”
Popes are chosen from the ranks of the cardinals. Cardinals are priests appointed by the pope to help with the running of the church. Cardinals are often chosen from the ranks of bishops. Three Marianists have been appointed bishop, but none are currently serving.
Raymond Roussin, S.M., was the archbishop of Vancouver from 2004 to January 2009. Now archbishop emeritus, he is retired.
Paul Vollmar, S.M., was an auxiliary bishop of Chur, Switzerland, from 1993 to 2009. He is now retired.
Oscar Alzamora, S.M., was bishop of Tacna, Peru, from 1983 to 1991, when he became auxiliary bishop of Lima, Peru. He died in 1999.
Beat X? Really?
If you know just one thing about the Jesuits, it may be one letter: X.
Xavier University, UD’s longtime athletics rivalry (the future of which remains murky given athletic conference shifts), was founded by the Society of Jesus and is one of 28 Jesuit universities in the United States and among more than 3,700 Jesuit educational institutions throughout the world. It is named after St. Francis Xavier, the first Jesuit missionary.
Off the court, the rivalry dissipates.
“I think we’re good friends,” says Father David Fleming, S.M., professor at UD’s Ban- galore, India, campus, who had occasion to work with the future Pope Francis during the 2001 Synod of Bishops. “The fact that we live in communities and work in communities and have our training in communities brings us close together and gives us an understanding.”
The Society of Jesus is primarily comprised of priests but also brothers. It does not have women religious but does have associate groups of lay people. The Marianist family includes lay people, vowed women religious (Daughters of Mary Immaculate) and vowed men religious (Society of Mary, primarily brothers but also priests, all of whom share equally in membership and authority posts).
Orders adapt their missions to their times but always by the compass set by the founder. Therefore, the time and place in which the order was begun tells us much, Fleming says. Monastic orders, like the Benedictines of the fifth century, lived apart from society, creating community for those who participated in the work of God.
Breaking out of the cloisters were the mendicant orders, beggars who daily preached and attended to the people in the growing cities of the Middle Ages. These included St. Francis of Assisi and his followers. “Their style was appropriate to a growing population and had an urban sensibility,” Fleming says.
By the 16th century, the spread of Protestantism became the church’s primary con- corn. To its rescue came Ignatius of Loyola, a hotheaded Spanish soldier whose mystic- call experience led him to form the Society of Jesus. He is best known for the Spiritual Exercises — in which an individual’s calling is discerned through meditation and prayer, using intellect and emotion to deepen one’s relationship with God.
“It’s true that we have more than our share of Ph.D.s and intellectuals,” says Father James Martin, S.J., editor at large of America, of the Jesuits. “St. Ignatius put a great deal of emphasis on education because, when he was at the beginning of his ministerial life, he decided he couldn’t do much without an education.”
Says Father Thomas Reese, S.J., “We Jesuits have been changed dramatically by the fact that we went into higher education, which meant we had to send people off to get doctorates. … If you send people off for higher education, my God, they start thinking, and all that has an impact.”
In the 1800s, Father William Joseph Chaminade founded the Society of Mary in Bordeaux, France, to combat secularism and religious in- difference in the wake of the French Revolution. Its path of formation — first as a group of lay people, then as an order of sisters, finally adding a congregation of brothers — reflects the Marianist value in community and equality, says Sandra Yocum, UD associate professor of religious studies.
“The Society of Mary see themselves as bringing Christ in the world in the way that Mary did — the focus is on community,” she says. “They were trying to respond to another way of thinking about fraternity, equality and liberty within a more traditional Catholic context.”
Yocum says this is the root of the unique community feel we associate with UD and two other Marianist universities, St. Mary’s in San Antonio and Chaminade in Honolulu. The Marianists are known for providing primary and secondary education, first to boys in France and now to schoolchildren in 31 countries.
“There are many dimensions to being in- tellectual that include the affective as well as the rational side of our lives,” she says. Mary accepted God’s invitation, but not without asking questions and speaking her mind. When the wedding at Cana runs out of wine and Jesus tells his mother that it was not yet his hour, she instead turns to the servants and commands them, “Do whatever he tells you.”
“There are many ways to be intellectual in the Catholic Church,” she says. “Sometimes we think about it in the small tent but there is this big tent. Both the Marianists and Jesuits reflect certain aspects of Catholic intellectual tradition. Both are needed in service to the world.”
Just as the Marianists are more intellectual than they are often given credit for, the Jesuits are more affective than often thought.
Martin says Jesuits have renewed their com- fitment to community. “For us, community was supposed to be primarily apostolic in nature, in the sense that it supported the work of the ministries. But recently, our superior general stated that community is part of our miss- scion,” he says.
Other similarities? Mystical experiences led both men to found their orders. Just as Ignatius safeguarded against the evil of careerism, Chaminade said the Marianists should not be interested in the “ecclesiastical dignities.” Ignatius told his missionaries to do what the local circumstances dictated; Chaminade wrote, “New times call for new methods.”
Each new religious founder borrows from the past, says Reese. “What can I learn from the earlier people and what makes sense changing … and what’s the special charism of my group? I think Ignatius did that in the 16th century when he looked back at Francis and Dominic and Benedict. … I think later generations have picked and chosen from different orders and come up with their own ideas.
“It all goes back to Jesus and the Scriptures — we’re all united there.”
Though should we expect unity in the stands during basketball games? That would take a miracle.
When Pat Hurley ’85 graduated from the University of Dayton, anything seemed possible. Almost 30 years later, the father of three college-age children has become an unwitting participant in a radical experiment conducted by his alma mater. He’s glad that he did.
“I feel better today than I have in the last couple of years,” says Hurley, who “started too late … and fell behind” in setting aside the savings he would need to send his kids to college.
Dayton’s experiment involves shining a light on that blackest of post-secondary education’s black holes: calculating and budgeting for the real cost of a degree. Most colleges provide families of prospective students with a partial estimate of the cost to attend the first year of college only, neglecting to fully disclose expenses not covered by tuition, room and board. A ProPublica report characterized undisclosed fees as “a kind of stealth, second tuition imposed on unsuspecting families.”
Instead of continuing to be part of the problem, the University is proposing a solution. For first-year students who enrolled at UD in the fall of 2013, the University promises that there will be no hidden fees, no increase in net tuition and no extra charges for textbooks — for four years. UD officials say that by giving families an honest, four-year financial prospectus, students and parents can make informed choices and be part of the national conversation about college cost transparency, a conversation UD is propelling.
UD’s leaders believe the four-year tuition program is in accordance with the institution’s deepest values. In a world of opaque higher education costs, says Rob Durkle ’78, the University’s assistant vice president for enrollment management and market development, becoming more transparent about costs “is the right thing to do.”
CALCULATING THE REAL COST
Pat Hurley and his wife, Christine, vowed to pay for their kids’ undergraduate educations. (“If you go to graduate school,” Hurley told them, “it’s on you.”) So far, they’re making good on that promise. The couple’s oldest, Annie, graduated from the University of Dayton last spring. Their middle child, Patrick Jr., is a junior biology major this fall, which also marks the first semester of college for Margaret, the Hurleys’ youngest. “I have had two at UD for the past two years and will have two at UD for the next two years,” Hurley says. “This tuition thing is very relevant in our house.”
The Hurleys have sat together at the kitchen table and asked tough questions: How much to pay out of pocket and how much to borrow? Whether to take out loans or draw on a line of credit? How to avoid leveraging equity in the house that would put their home at risk? How to pay tuition for kids in college, save for those who are still in high school, pay down the mortgage and set aside funds for retirement?
Planning was hard, in part because the scourge of college fees is widespread. According to U.S. Department of Education data, degree- granting institutions in more than half the states reported that fees constituted “a greater portion of combined tuition and fees in the 2010-11 school year than they had in 2008-09,” ProPublica reported. At some institutions, the total cost of fees is several times the cost of tuition.
When Annie went to UD and Patrick Jr. joined her two years later, it all suddenly seemed overwhelming. “My anxiety when I had two [in college] was the reality of ‘Holy cow! We are spending a lot of money,’” Hurley says. “It’s just hard on a family budget.”
Forced into setting priorities, he and his wife decided their primary goals were to pay for the kids’ college and save for their retirements. Other financial goals became secondary concerns. “It took a year or two for me to get serious about taking a longer-term view,” he says.
Paying for post-secondary education is indeed a long-term proposition, yet most colleges and universities promote short-term thinking. Institutions provide prospective students and their families with one-year cost estimates that omit mandatory fees, sidestep annual tuition hikes and ignore the fact that financial aid awards can shrink or lose purchasing power over time.
“There are certain things that schools hold close to the vest,” Durkle says.
The poker analogy is apt. Families are able to calculate the real cost of college about as well as a card player can guess the hand of an opponent who raises the stakes. “It’s challenging when tuition goes up every year,” Hurley says. “It’s tough to budget. … At some point you just want to know.”
A survey by Human Capital Research Corp. found that 40 percent of parents with children in their first year of college at 21 private institutions were “very confident” of their ability to finance the education of those kids. In the second year of college and beyond, confidence fell by half, to 20 percent. Financial crises can ensue, forcing families to cut corners and students to go without required books. In the worst cases, a child drops out of school.
When Pat Hurley and his wife received the four-year financial aid prospectus that UD prepared for Margaret, it included much more information than the documents received two and four years earlier for the Hurley’s older children. Yet the disclosure is simple enough to fit on two pieces of paper.
Margaret’s prospectus listed all projected costs for four years. The first sheet shows net tuition cost (“sticker price” minus grants and scholarships) for years one through four. Should UD raise tuition, it will increase the value of scholarships, dollar for dollar. If state or federal aid declines, the University will cover those shortfalls, as well. (All but about 2 percent of UD’s students receive aid totaling more than $100 million in grants and scholarships.)
The prospectus listed Margaret’s on-campus housing and University meal plan costs (both of which are required of residential students in their first two years), as well as her estimated transportation and discretionary expenses. The prospectus showed no fees of the type he paid for Annie, which before this year totaled more than $2,000 annually for some students. In the interest of transparency, UD eliminated them. The orientation fee that UD charged Annie? Gone. The basic university fee? Gone. The lab and counseling center fees? All gone.
A line item listed as “books & supplies” shows entries of “$0” for four years. Margaret and other students in good standing receive $500 each semester to buy required texts at the University bookstore — eliminating what the University considers another hidden cost. Nationally, 70 percent of college students say they have gone without a required book because the cost was too high, according to a 2011 survey by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. At Dayton, prospective students qualify for the book stipend ($4,000 over four years) if they make an official visit to campus and file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Under a heading labeled “the real cost of your degree,” the prospectus lists Margaret’s total billable and non-billable costs for four years. Even though she is undecided about her major, her parents know how much their daughter’s bachelor’s degree will cost. The last section of the document lists customizable options for paying first-year expenses.
The University guarantees the terms of Margaret’s prospectus if she will file a FAFSA every year, maintain a 3.0 grade point average, enroll in a minimum of 12 credit hours per semester, and remain “a responsible member of the University of Dayton community.” If her GPA dips below the 3.0 threshold, the University will renew her financial aid and recommend that she meet with an academic counselor.
“We look at these students as members of our family,” says Kathy McEuen Harmon, the University’s assistant vice president and dean of admission and financial aid. “We want to give them the opportunity to be successful.”
And Patrick Jr.? While as a returning student he does not qualify for the guaranteed tuition program, his bill and that of all returning, full-time students will also include no fees.
The University has given Pat Hurley peace of mind. “I now have my college tuition plan for the next four years laid out. I know exactly what I borrowed, and I know what I have to plan for out of cash flow,” he says. “It’s a big weight off my shoulders.”
‘NICKELED AND DIMED’
In a sense, the need for Dayton’s trans- parent tuition program was 50 years in the making.
On Sept. 15, 1961, an item in the UD stub- dent newspaper, Flyer News, reported that the University had collected $25 from every student who registered for the fall semester. “This is the first time UD students have paid this type of fee,” the article noted. The purpose of the basic fee was “to pay the costs of student seer- vices … not covered previously by a special fee.”
Over the decades, add-on charges piled up like grime on a windowpane. Getting a clear view of four-year education costs became difficult. By the time Annie Hurley was on cam- pus, the University was assessing some 40,000 fees on the bills of some 10,000 students annually. “We created a system that almost masks the real cost of education,” says Sundar Kumarasamy, the University’s vice president of enrollment management and marketing. “We were part of the problem.”
Students and families began to complain. “I often felt as if I was getting ‘nickeled and dimed’ by the University of Dayton,” wrote a student who filled out the 2012 Graduation Sur- vey. With tuition rising annually, tolerance for fees had reached a breaking point. “The public outcry caught our attention,” Kumarasamy says.
He began devising a more transparent sys- tem, one that would inform families of the real cost of attending the University and make it easier for them to plan. He took inspiration from the teachings of the Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, the founder of the Society of Mary, which in turn founded UD. Father Chaminade encouraged “fearless creativity” and the concept of “new times, new methods,” Kumarasamy says.
The University also has a history of nimbly responding to shifting markets and conditions. In the 1950s, the Flyers men’s basketball team played in Madison Square Garden, generating publicity and creating a pipeline of students who traveled from New York and New Jersey to attend college in Ohio. When the oil crises of the early 1980s dampened enthusiasm for travel and curtailed out-of-state enrollment, UD focused attention on the local market, and enrollment of Ohio students surged. More recently, the University has enlarged its recruiting foot- print and developed new markets outside the state.
UD also was one of the first institutions of higher education to accept college applications exclusively online. It was 1999, and “people were up in arms,” Durkle says. “Now everybody is online.”
In 2012, the time seemed ripe for another bold move. Several years of record enrollments and more selective classes had put the University in the enviable position of actually needing to enroll a smaller class. If greater financial disclosure somehow resulted in UD’s enrolling even fewer students than planned in the 2013- 14 academic year, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. (Projections based on marketing models showed a potential 200-student drop.)
Following a series of executive session meetings and presentations by University President Daniel J. Curran, UD’s board of trustees adopted Kumarasamy’s vision for more transparent dis- closure and a tuition policy that held students’ net costs steady for four years. “We couldn’t lose the opportunity to do what is right,” he says.
CHALLENGE OF OUR TIME
The University of Dayton’s transparent tuition program is unique. The forces that drove its development are not.
Between 2008 and 2013, “the United States cut higher education spending by a combined 10.8 percent,” Governing magazine reported in February, citing estimates calculated by Illinois State University. During the same period, household incomes for many families were stagnant or in decline.
The gap between the cost of college and the ability of families to pay it has grown, as well. In 1976, tuition was equal to 10 percent of household income, on average. “Today it’s closer to 30 percent,” says Jonathan Robe, a research fellow at the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. UD’s emphasis on transparency and its net-tuition guarantee “is a good step,” he says. “There is an information gap.”
There is also a troublesome financial short- fall for many families. Last December, the General Accountability Office reported that fewer than 3 percent of families used a 529 plan or Coverdell Education Savings Account to save for college. “The economic downturn may have reduced income available for education savings … [at a time when] paying for college is become- in more challenging, partly because of rising tuition rates,” GAO wrote. Nationally, total student debt, estimated at more than $1 trillion, has surpassed accumulated credit card debt.
Other pressures are buffeting the higher education sector. A shrinking number of high school graduates is stoking competition among colleges and universities for a smaller pool of traditional full-time, college-age students. The decline is expected to be particularly steep in Ohio. Nor is enrollment in college a guarantee of success. Nationally, 40 percent of first-time, full-time college students do not graduate within six years. Many don’t return for the second year of college.
Durkle recalls a young woman from a blue- collar family in Chicago who enrolled at UD. “The family pulled the money together … but they couldn’t do it in year two,” he says. “The outlay was more than they had anticipated. We think this program will help to retain students. Now they’ll have the ability to see all four years.”
By providing the information families need to make sound financial decisions, UD hopes to retain more students. Requiring undergraduates to maintain good academic standing to preserve the net-tuition guarantee should further promote persistence, University leaders say.
“This is a sociological challenge of our time,” Kumarasamy says. “We need to become part of the solution rather than only identifying the problem.”
A WAY FORWARD
The experiment seems to be working.
Total number of applications for the fall semester was 6 percent higher than last year, even though UD’s sticker price for the 2013-14 academic year ($35,800) went up 5 percent. The average net tuition — per year, after scholar- ships and grants — is $19,613. The average annual bottom line as found on the four-year prospectus is $31,103.
Families are reporting, through UD’s admit- ted student survey, that the tuition plan and its explanatory materials are helpful. More than 62 percent responded that the information was “very useful” in helping them plan and budget for college; 3 percent responded it “detracted.”
Among the families who decided not to enroll at UD, 24 percent responded that the information on cost transparency enhanced their college decision.
A number of experts have endorsed UD’s transparency initiative, among them David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and Mark Kantrowitz, a financial aid expert who publishes FinAid.org. Clark Howard, a nationally syndicated consumer expert, said on his radio show May 20, “The University of Dayton has come up with an idea that I think is really smart.”
Not surprisingly, there have been a few bumps in the road, mostly in the area of managing expectations. In the past, engineering students paid a surcharge due to the school’s extensive lab requirements. The elimination of that fee means that tuition paid by other students will subsidize those taking labs, critics have asserted.
Some parents were taken aback this year when they received a prospectus indicating that there would be no cost for books. The old financial awards sheet listed a cost for books and an offsetting “book scholarship.” The change in presentation had no impact on the bottom line, but some families were unhappy about “losing” their book scholarship.
UD is listening to the feedback, using it to tweak the experiment and better communicate the plan that is sometimes difficult for those familiar with the old formula to understand, University officials say. It’s also giving families tools to help them compare schools offering different prospectus models (see “7 questions,” story, below).
Families approach college choice and cost in a myriad of ways based on a number of factors. Those perceptions could influence perceptions of UD’s tuition experiment. “The role of parents runs the gamut, from driving the [college selection] process to sit- ting back and allowing children to drive it,” says David Hawkins, director of public policy and research at the National Association for College Admission Counseling. “The way in which a family responds to price sensitivity … depends on socioeconomic status.”
Families of first-generation college students tend to be averse to debt. So too low- income and ethnic minority families, Hawkins says. For high-income families, debt is a way of life. “If they [UD] can offer predictability, that is a selling point,” he says.
It was for Pat Hurley. In the final analysis, sending a child to college is about more than cost. Hurley wanted his children to get a faith-based education and a quality education, and “the University of Dayton is on a short list of schools that offer both.”
“I’m a big UD fan,” says Hurley, who counts among the University’s alumni three brothers and a sister, three first cousins, and two nephews. “The fact that they’re trying to make the tuition predictable and a little more affordable shows me that they are committed to the kids they are recruiting and educating.”
John Pulley has covered higher education for more than 20 years and has led The Pulley Group, a higher ed communications agency, for the last seven. He and his wife are saving to send their boys to college.
7 questions to uncover the true cost of college
Sometimes education costs can be hidden. Other times, they are simply unconsidered. To help families understand and plan for the total cost of an undergraduate education, UD’s Rob Durkle and Kathy McEuen Harmon offer questions to ask and expenses to examine.
Questions to ask schools:
1. How much has tuition increased historically? Use those figures to estimate the cost of tuition over a four- or five-year period.
2. Does the university attach fees to certain services, such as career or personal counseling or tutoring? How about credit fees for required internships?
3. Are books and other required supplies included in the stated cost?
4. How much does it cost to participate in social activities like club sports or the Greek system? While they aren’t required for graduation, many students consider such activities an essential part of the college experience.
5. Are required courses available and plentiful? If classes fill quickly or aren’t offered on a regular basis, it might take more than four or five years to graduate, adding to the overall degree cost.
And questions to ask yourself:
6. What is my student’s annual cost of travel (driving or flying) between school to home? Such expenses should be factored into the family’s budget.
7. How can my student cut costs before enrolling? Taking AP and summer program courses for credit can reduce the number of credit hours they’ll need to take — and pay for — as an undergraduate. Achieving a solid GPA and test scores in high school will benefit their bottom line for years. “By doing those two things, students in- crease their chances of getting good scholarships,” Harmon said. “That’s the biggest thing you can do.”
–Shannon Shelton Miller
Chorus of concern
A growing chorus of concern from education experts and political leaders indicates that the issue won’t go away anytime soon:
“We must make it easier for parents and students to finance their col- lege education and understand their financial obligations,” wrote U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a letter to college presidents.
“If colleges don’t start providing more comprehensive information to prospective students, the government will step in,” said Anthony P. Carnevale, director and research professor of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, in an article published last fall by The Chronicle of Higher Education. “If we don’t get transparency, we’re going to have to regulate.”
“Many schools market themselves to students without explaining the real costs of attendance. Letters informing them about financial aid awards often blur the distinction between loans and grants to make the school look like a better deal than it is,” ac- cording to a New York Times editorial published last year.
“The polls are really starting to show resentment toward higher education,” said Patrick Callan, president of the Higher Education Policy Institute, in San Jose, Calif., in a story published this May by the Dayton Daily News.
No huddled masses here. Today’s immigrants and refugees are using their strength to help rebuild Dayton with help of the city’s Welcome Dayton initiative.
When Islam Shakhbandarov first stepped onto American soil, he clutched his chest and gasped for breath. The air in Atlanta that September night in 2005 was so hot and thick with moisture it had to be gulped into his lungs.
“I took one step off the plane and I almost lost my breath,” he says, his dark eyes falling out of focus as he recalls his introduction to a new life. “I thought, ‘How am I going to survive here?’”
But there was something else on the breeze that evening besides the heat and humidity. The smell of fear. After deplaning, Shakhbandarov entered the sprawling Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and found himself awash in a sea of humanity that ebbed and flowed and broke over him like waves on a beach. There were thousands of people, strangers, dressed in clothes he didn’t recognize, speaking a language he didn’t understand and casually ignoring one another and the din that enveloped them.
It was nothing like Uzbekistan, where he was born, or Russia, from where he and his family had fled.
“I got scared,” says Shakhbandarov, a soft-spoken 29-year-old with the good looks of a young Al Pacino. “I thought, ‘I’m going to get lost in all this.’”
But he didn’t, and seven years later he finds himself in Dayton, a city that has spread its arms to welcome not only him and the Ahiska Turkish-American community to which he belongs but also immigrants from all over the world.
Welcome Dayton: Immigrant Friendly City Initiative is a community program to let foreign-born people know that there is no place better to live, work and grow families than the Miami Valley area of southwest Ohio. More a set of broad guidelines than anything else, Welcome Dayton is the city’s commitment to help immigrants integrate into the community. To that end, it has hired a program manager and invested funds — perhaps as much as $200,000 over the next several years — to support local organizations in forming policies and practices to implement the plan.
Birthed and nurtured in no small measure with help from the University of Dayton, the strategy seems to be working. Though the immigrant population constitutes slightly less than 4 percent of Dayton’s total population, it’s growing and, more importantly, thriving.
You can look no further than Shakhbandarov and the Ahiska (pronounced hiss-ka) Turkish immigrants.
“It’s a community that has exploded,” says Theo Majka, a professor of sociology at UD and co-author of the Dayton Refugee Community Assessment study, which was researched and written to complement and assist the implementation of Welcome Dayton.
Majka has researched during the past 20 years the experiences of immigrants and refugees moving to the Dayton area. In the assessment study, the co-authors identified the issues that often create barriers to integration and made recommendations for how Welcome Dayton could overcome those obstacles and — like the Ahiska Turks — thrive.
When Shakhbandarov first migrated to Dayton after brief stops in Abilene, Texas, and Boise, Idaho, there were, he says, but seven or eight Ahiska Turkish families living here. Five years later, there are nearly 400.
“There are so many here now, I don’t know them all anymore,” he says with a thin smile.
Why are so many Ahiska Turks coming to Dayton, Ohio? And Ecuadorians? And Rwandans? And Congolese? And Iraqis?
For that matter, why is Dayton putting out the welcome mat when other states — notably Arizona, Alabama and Georgia — and cities are doing just the opposite?
The simple answer: economics.
Manufacturing left much of the Midwest, and with it, Dayton lost half its population since 1960. Houses that were once filled with prosperous families now stand like rows of broken teeth, empty and shuttered.
By welcoming immigrants, Dayton believes it has found a way to reverse those fortunes.
“Immigrants are extremely beneficial to the Dayton economy,” says Melissa Bertolo, program coordinator of Welcome Dayton. “They are two to three times more likely to start businesses than people born in the United States. Meanwhile, homes are being bought and revitalized in the Dayton area.”
The very presence of immigrants in Dayton, says Majka, is like a mini-economic stimulus.
“They shop, they spend, they open small businesses and create jobs,” he says.
Because the program is not yet 2 years old — the Welcome Dayton resolution was passed by the City Commission in October 2011 — there are not yet hard figures to assess the financial impact of immigrants and refugees in the community.
But there is anecdotal evidence that many neighborhoods have seen crime rates fall and property values rise.
“We bring many positive things to the community,” says Shakhbandarov, who, despite his youth, is founder and president of the Ahiska Turkish Community Center on East Fifth Street, where he works full time. “Right now, they might not see what we can do, but they see the potential of what we can do.”
It’s not all about the money. The city has a long and rich history of helping its own. Welcome Dayton is more or less an extension of that munificence.
“Why do it?” Majka asks. “It touches on our core values as a society to offer a helping hand to people in need.”
Tom Wahlrab, generally considered the father of Welcome Dayton, agrees.
“For others, it was the economic factor,” says Wahlrab, the now-retired director of the city’s human relations council. “For me, it was the human factor. If I see people suffering, how can I in my life live with that knowledge and not help?”
That suffering is real. Shakhbandarov was 6 years old when his family fled a bloody pogrom in Uzbekistan against Ahiska Turks and resettled in Russia.
“I saw many, many friends killed,” he says. “I was afraid all the time. But it was more scary to see the older people, the adults, being so afraid. You never think your father will be scared of anything. He is Superman and you don’t think he is ever scared or helpless.”
In Russia, things weren’t much better.
“We could not get jobs without paperwork, and they gave us no paperwork,” he says, holding an unlit cigarette and a lighter in his left hand that he absently taps against his thigh. “You had to pay the police, the government under the table just to work. If you didn’t, they would put you in jail for days, for months. There were segregated classes and no medical treatment. We were nothing.”
It’s those sort of stories that led City Commissioner Matt Joseph ’94 to help lead the Welcome Dayton movement.
“From a moral standpoint it was the right thing to do,” says Joseph.
For Joseph, the decision to back Welcome Dayton was “more on a personal level than a commissioner level.”
“I guess it’s whatever’s left of the Marianist philosophy after all these years,” he says about his UD education, which taught him to be committed to a common good. “Bottom line, immigrants were already here, and we needed to do something to make sure they weren’t marginalized.”
Indeed, Dayton has been resettling refugees through Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley for more than 70 years, says Dorothy Balser, manager of refugee resettlement and mission services. She estimates that about 140 refugees are settled in Dayton through the U.S. State Department each year.
“We do this and have been doing this regardless of the [Welcome Dayton] initiative,” she says.
Still, her department works in collaboration with Welcome Dayton to ensure achievement of mutual goals: self-sufficiency for immigrants and refugees as soon as possible after arrival, and community integration.
To that end, Welcome Dayton has brought together several entities — Dayton Public Schools, UD, the Dayton Metro Library, law enforcement and clergy, among others — to provide the necessary tools for integration.
“It’s about synergy,” says Wahlrab, who earned a master’s degree from UD in 1984. “It’s about connecting and talking and helping one another in ways that weren’t happening before.”
Working together to achieve a common goal is something with which Dayton is familiar. It’s the same sort of model that worked in saving lives during the 1913 flood and now ensures smooth transitions for those coming to Dayton from foreign lands.
“I think for me, I’ve always viewed the city as being open,” says Nan Whaley ’98, a city commissioner for eight years. “At the core, that’s how we grow, as an open community. … Anyone can come here and follow their dreams and make a difference.”
Whaley was raised in a little town south of Indianapolis. She says her first experience with Dayton was when she attended UD; her first experience with public office, being elected at age 29.
“[I]t says something about who we are as a community,” she says.
The message is clear. Nobody, not even those born in the U.S., can — or has to — do it alone.
“It’s easier to acclimate when others are there to help,” says Bertolo of the coordinated effort to provide assistance.
It will be easier still for the children of current immigrants.
“My grandfather was born in (Eastern European) Georgia,” says Shakhbandarov. “My father was born in Azerbaijan. I was born in Uzbekistan. My son was born in the United States.”
He knows that his 3-year-old son will never have to watch his friends butchered in a military pogrom or pay grubby-handed bureaucrats just to get a job.
This is what Welcome Dayton has to offer. Assistance. Opportunity. Freedom.
For Shakhbandarov, a life that seemed so strange and terrifying that night in Atlanta is now filled with promise.
“When I first came here and saw all the buildings and high rises and computers — I never had a computer before — and the food, lots of food, it was a very unique experience,” he says. “To open the refrigerator and it is full … many people don’t know what it is like to open the refrigerator and find it full of food and drinks.
“For the first three, six months I can’t sleep. I was always worried what will happen. How will I keep my identity? It causes a huge depression. But little by little, it gets better. Dayton is very welcoming, and now I have a vision of a life. And for my son, I have a better vision than I had for myself. What is happening here in Dayton could be a great example for others.”
He sighs, able to breathe easy.
Gene Williams is a former executive editor of the Cherry Hill, N.J., Courier-Post. In the course of reporting this story, he drank his first-ever cup of hot Turkish tea. Make that two.
Instead of building a wall, UD built partnerships. Now Brown Street thrives.
Brown Street, once on the edge of campus and now in its center, remains in some ways unchanged over the past several decades. You can still get a porterhouse steak at the Pine Club, grab a turkey sub at Milano’s or have your feet stick to the floor at Tim’s.
But part of Brown is now very different. Once upon a time, there were — in reality if not in name — two Brown Streets: one near the upscale suburb of Oakwood and home to Tim’s, Milano’s and the Pine Club; the other, north of Stewart Street.
The Fairgrounds Neighborhood (bounded by Brown and Main streets north of Stewart Street and south of Miami Valley Hospital) was definitely not upscale when Tom Burkhardt ’70, vice president for finance and administrative services, was an undergraduate.
“It was a place,” he said, “where people dumped trash and old tires.”
When Steve Schmidt ’71 in 1980 told his wife, Angie ’71, he was thinking of buying a business on Brown Street north of campus, she said, “Isn’t that where you go to get beat up?”
Schmidt and Burkhardt are both people with UD history. Schmidt’s father, Bernie ’42, has an endowed chair in engineering named after him in recognition of his years of teaching at UD. On Burkhardt’s office wall hangs an old photograph — of three of the five generations of Burkhardts to attend UD.
Schmidt and Burkhardt share not only Dayton tradition; they, in different ways, share with many others in having built a path to the future for the University of Dayton and its namesake city.
That path runs down a street called Brown.
Steve and Angie Schmidt in 1980 took the risk of doing business on Brown when they bought a 4-year-old store, Second Time Around. While Steve built a law practice, Angie, who died in 2012, managed the store. While its sales of used merchandise shifted from vinyl to CDs and from VHS to DVDs, and as tablets and other electronic devices added a range of possibilities, the Schmidts expanded their business.
But, with short notice, Second Time Around could have become homeless.
“We were on a month-to-month lease with our landlord for 17 years,” Schmidt said. To ensure that the business would have a building to house it, when a property across the street came up for sale, Schmidt bought it.
“I took,” he said, “a $25,000 advance on my MasterCard.”
When another building came up for sale, he took another advance. Then, Second Time Around’s building came up for sale.
“My landlord called,” he said. “I had 13 days to make an offer. People kept telling me I’d be stupid to do so.”
But he did. Now eight Brown Street businesses call him landlord.
“It took,” he said, “staying power, confidence and belief in Brown Street.”
According to local developer Jeff Samuelson, “Angie was an angel. And Steve literally was a pioneer.”
When the Schmidts purchased Second Time Around, there were people across the street who also believed in Brown Street and had staying power. Joe and Irene Kiss 50 years ago co-founded the restaurant now named Joe Kiss Hickory Bar-B-Q. Joe spent 33 years with the restaurant until his death. His daughter Margo has worked there since childhood; her husband, Gary Fisher, has been there 33 years. And it’s not just co-owners who have been there a long time; a half-dozen people who aren’t family members have worked there more than 30 years.
“Most who leave,” Gary Fisher said, only half-jokingly, “leave only when they die.”
One waitress didn’t stay quite that long, but probably a bit too long. She had become very forgetful but was still working one day a week.
“A millionaire from up north was eating here,” Fisher said. “After dinner, he said to Joe, ‘We know she’s older, but we ordered steak and got chicken. That we don’t mind; it was good. But we got charged for the steak.’
“Joe asked the waitress why she was still working. ‘I want to make enough to play bingo.’ So, he told her she didn’t have to work; he just gave her weekly bingo money.”
Kiss, like Steve Schmidt, also took steps to ensure the survival of his business. For years, the Hickory had no parking of its own. The lot next to it was clearly marked as belonging to the Westward Ho cafeteria adjacent to the lot on its other side.
“One day,” said Fisher, “Joe told me the Westward Ho was going up for sale, and he was going to buy it before somebody else did. I asked him how much he was willing to spend. ‘Whatever it takes.’ We need parking.”
They got that needed commodity.
But while a few businesses on Brown Street thrived, the area as a whole did not. The Fairgrounds Neighborhood had flourished into the mid-20th century. Residents then included NCR workers along with a few UD students and some nursing students from Miami Valley Hospital. A number of NCR workers lived in rooming houses during the week and on weekends returned home (Kentucky for many).
But in the early 1970s, the NCR factory jobs began to disappear from Dayton as later did the factories and eventually the company’s world headquarters.
The rooming houses, which had provided good housing for the workers, deteriorated. The number of owner-occupied houses decreased. Absentee landlords, vandalism, panhandling and drug sales increased. Institutions — such as churches, Miami Valley Hospital and UD — tried to aid the people in the neighborhood. For example, UD students built programs and a playground for students at Patterson-Kennedy, a Dayton public elementary school at Wyoming and Alberta streets. UD’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity revived a boarded-up house at 51 Frank St. Staff from UD’s Strategies for Responsible Development worked with the area’s business association, laying the groundwork for people working together to restore the neighborhood.
But the problems were too big for service groups, volunteers and grassroots efforts alone to eradicate.
The area was perceived as unsafe. And often it was. After UD students were assaulted in the area in the early 1990s, a parent called Brother Raymond L. Fitz, S.M. ’64, UD president from 1979 to 2002, and said, “We should build a fence.”
Dick Ferguson ’73, an assistant to Fitz at the time, remembered Fitz later saying in a meeting about the situation, “Rather, we should build relationships.”
And emphasis on those relationships led to a renaissance.
“Brother Ray Fitz deserves an enormous amount of credit,” said Thomas Breitenbach, then president and CEO of Miami Valley Hospital, “for erasing the barriers that had existed between the University and the surrounding community, and using the University’s economic and intellectual resources to improve the neighborhood.”
Ferguson, who has directed UD’s Fitz Center for Leadership in Community since its founding in 2002, remembered that in the mid-1990s UD, Miami Valley Hospital and NCR were all doing master plans.
“Leaders from the city of Dayton,” he said, “were frustrated with a lack of Brown Street development and asked that we all get together.”
They did. Ferguson chaired the Rubicon Master Plan Committee. After the issues were identified, it became clear that No. 1 was the condition of the Fairgrounds Neighborhood.
Today Brother Bernard Ploeger, S.M. ’71, is president of Chaminade University in Honolulu; Tom Arquilla ’81, senior vice president of business development and strategy at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio. During the 1990s, they were representing the business interests of the University of Dayton and Miami Valley Hospital, respectively. One day in Ploeger’s office, the two were looking at a map of Brown Street.
“We agreed,” Arquilla said, “that the future, if we did nothing, was untenable. There would be blight. We would have walls around UD and Miami Valley. So we had to invest in the neighborhood or let it deteriorate.”
Their institutions each invested millions of dollars.
Miami Valley, directly adjacent to the Fairgrounds Neighborhood, did some work on its own, including relocating a street when the hospital built a new emergency department. Then came the phase, in Arquilla’s words, of “ramping up partnerships.” Among the partners, in addition to UD and Miami Valley Hospital, were the city of Dayton, Montgomery County and CityWide Development, a nonprofit economic community development organizer.
Miami Valley’s Breitenbach asked Arquilla to do some research about similar situations. One hospital, Arquilla said, reacted to its environment “by building its campus as a barrier to the neighborhood.”
Another hospital was St. Vincent in downtown Toledo, which worked to redevelop the area near it by renovating some houses, numbering under a dozen.
“I asked them, if they had to do it over, what would they do differently. Their reply was, ‘We didn’t do enough.’”
Dayton’s institutions decided they had to do enough.
The Rubicon Master Plan was completed in 1998; in 1999, UD and Miami Valley Hospital formally committed to Genesis, a project for transforming the Fairgrounds Neighborhood. UD’s commitment to the first phase (which would run through 2004) was $2.2 million. Contributions from Miami Valley Hospital and other institutions, including banks and government, brought the total to more than $14 million. The goals of the project were simple though ambitious:
An early acquisition, 1056 Brown St., became the Rubicon House, a community gathering spot and meeting place for those working on Genesis. Those coming to meetings there could, Ferguson noted, look across Brown Street and see children being raised amid drugs and prostitution.
Arquilla said that sometimes they asked themselves, “Do we know what the hell we have done?” But like Julius Caesar after he led his army across the Italian Rubicon, they knew there was no turning back. So they pressed forward — with a little help from their friends.
Friends included city police. Within view of the Rubicon House was a drug house, said Burkhardt, who by this time had succeeded Ploeger as UD’s chief financial officer. Having such tenants was one landlord’s mistake. The city acted against the dealer, and the property became available.
“It was still a huge price,” said Burkhardt, who, like Arquilla, was averse to overspending institutional resources.
And those resources, though substantial, were limited. Among the problems were drug deals being made on street corners and people bringing trash into the neighborhood and dumping it. Something had to be done.
“We installed video cameras,” Burkhardt said. “Since they were expensive, all except one were fake. But they worked.” Drugs and trash felt less comfortable in the neighborhood; and residents themselves organized and worked with the city in keeping the neighborhood clean.
In revitalizing the neighborhood, Arquilla said, Genesis faced two major obstacles: zoning that allowed rooming houses and a significant amount of property being owned by very few people.
Although the path to overcoming both challenges wasn’t always smooth, zoning was changed and property acquired. Old houses in untenable condition were rebuilt or demolished; new ones arose. And new curbs and sidewalks and trees appeared.
As the area moved to owner-occupied housing, about two dozen people who were renting in the old rooming houses had to find other places to live. Arquilla managed that process, bringing to it a personal perspective. In 1971, when he was not yet a teenager, his family lived across the street from a hospital.
“The landlord,” he said, “sold the property to the hospital. He gave us 30 days to get out. We were turned down for a loan. My father was ill. While he was in a coma, we got a loan. Then he died.”
So when Arquilla was working on acquisition of property in the Fairgrounds Neighborhood, he said, “I didn’t do what happened to me. We found those people places to live. We got them a real estate agent. We provided a relocation package. After I raised what happened to me, there was never any debate over those issues.”
The commitment of Miami Valley Hospital has been critical to the success of the neighborhood, said CityWide President Steve Budd ’76, who continues to chair the Genesis board. (The board also includes two members from UD and two from Miami Valley.) Funding from the hospital has supported two additional Dayton police officers for the neighborhood (without affecting other areas of the city), a social worker and community organizers. The hospital also offered strong financial incentives for employees to buy houses in the neighborhood. Julie Liss-Katz, director of public affairs at Premier Health (parent of Miami Valley Hospital), manages those endeavors.
“Of the 32 houses built by Genesis,” she said, “16 were purchased by Miami Valley Hospital employees.”
Genesis had attempted, Budd said, “to cure a ‘cancer’ in the neighborhood, to create an environment so commercial and residential development would come in.”
Coming in — and in a big way — was developer Jeff Samuelson.
It started small, with a colleague’s question about an available property: “Do you know this place on Brown Street?”
“It’s a pit,” Samuelson said. “But it’s near UD.”
That began a complicated series of deals running parallel to the Genesis project. Samuelson’s JZ Construction, as the lead for other partners and investors, acquired a number of pieces of property on the west side of Brown Street, including a bowling alley-turned-bar-turned-bingo parlor — and then found tenants, including Panera, Chipotle, Penn Station and Dewey’s. Samuelson also constructed the new Milano’s building and did the renovations to several other Brown Street businesses.
On the east side of Brown Street, the University joined with the Miller-Valentine Group to develop University Place, which opened in 2008 and runs from Stewart Street northward. The facility contains graduate student apartments, restaurants and shops, including Flyer Spirit — a student-run retail store.
Within the Fairgrounds Neighborhood itself now is another change — housing being built, not by nonprofit partnerships, but by a commercial builder, Charles Simms Development.
The renaissance of Brown Street from UD to the hospital extends farther north on Brown (and its continuation, Warren Street). A former city of Dayton firehouse has become Jimmie’s Ladder 11, a reincarnation of Jimmie’s Cornerstone Bar and Grille. One of Dayton’s premier restaurants, Coco’s, has established itself even farther north. And Goodwill Easter Seals is moving its Dayton headquarters to a nearby site.
Among the most visible recent changes to Brown Street are UD’s Caldwell Street Apartments, having risen on the site at Brown and Caldwell streets where the auto dealer Frank Z once did business. Across Brown Street at that point, what once was an NCR building has transformed into UD’s College Park Center. And substantially changed is the street itself; the past year saw a complete replacement of a long section and the addition of decorative street lighting, underground utilities, new traffic signals, new sidewalks — and dedicated bike lanes.
At its south end, Brown Street now appears to be spilling over into Oakwood. The former site of the Routsong Funeral home, across Irving Avenue where Brown Street turns into Oakwood Avenue, is seeing stores built that have a resemblance to the new ones on Brown — perhaps because the developer is Jeff Samuelson, and success gets imitated.
Dayton has learned the lessons of Genesis and the rebirth of Brown Street. These — being applied to the renewal of other neighborhoods throughout the city — include:
But a street called Brown now runs proudly through the heart of the University of Dayton to the suburb of Oakwood, to the center of Dayton and to worlds beyond.
Thomas M. Columbus has been around Brown Street long enough to have had a drink at the Shed, but claims he was not here to welcome the Marianists when they immigrated to the U.S.
At Press Coffee Bar in Dayton’s Oregon District, the sound of screaming steamers bounced off the red tin ceiling and back down to where Eric Krissek ’10 sat sipping a cup of hot chocolate.
Kansas born and bred, he perched on a bar stool and spoke of how far he was from home and from his expectations 10, six, or even three years ago.
“It’s an illness,” he said of the hereditary obsession with Kansas State. “It’s even on my wallet.”
Yet when it came time to choose a college, he shunned the Wildcats and picked the Flyers. Three years after graduation, he’s still on team Dayton, living in a downtown townhouse, teaching in the Dayton Public Schools and patronizing the best places for hot cocoa.
It’s a phenomenon — students coming from out of state, graduating, staying, working and raising families — that’s not easily quantified but nonetheless provocative. With a world of possibilities before you, why choose Dayton?
Twenty percent of UD’s living alumni — 21,891 — made that choice and are living within 60 miles of UD. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 83,818 Montgomery County residents age 25 and older hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, hinting at UD’s intellectual contribution to the region.
People have stories that help answer such questions, like Gloria Marano ’88 from Long Island, who strengthened her ties to this city during the accounting department banquet her senior year. As department chair Ron Burrows drew up the seating plan, he asked her, “So, which of these companies do you want to work for?” He sat her at a table with what would become her first employer, Gans Riddle.
“I didn’t really think about moving,” said Marano, who bonded with classmates who also chose Dayton after graduation. “We called it our family. We didn’t have family here, so we became family.”
Jim Tyler ’85 has a family story with a different twist. He decided after graduation to go home to Willow Grove, Pa.
A year and a half later, he came back to Dayton, for the love of Lisa Beery ’85. Brother Charlie ’88 had already followed Tyler to UD, and by the mid-’90s, his mom, dad, another brother, sister and brother-in-law had also moved; today, 10 cousins make up the next generation of Daytonians. (While they may become Flyers, UD is attracting an increasing number of undergraduates from outside of Dayton. In 2003, 14 percent of undergraduates were from Dayton; in 2012, 8.2 percent were locals.)
“I feel a very strong connection to Dayton, very close to UD,” said Tyler, editor of the Skywrighter, the newspaper for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. “There’s the incredible amount of things you
can do here, be able to get to your job easily, be able to have the lifestyle that you want that you can afford.”
Derrick Keegan ’76, from Rochester, N.Y., chose Dayton because he craved the independent life he began at UD. Though his employer later transferred him to North Carolina, he accepted an offer to move back.
“It’s a conscious decision I’m happy I made,” said Keegan, vice president of marketing and sales for Globe Motors.
For Krissek, who had five job offers upon graduation, the reasons to stay were many. There’s his fiancee, Melanie Singer ’10, who also works in Dayton. There are his buddies, with whom he shares an apartment adjacent to downtown’s bike paths. And there’s his job, as a teacher at Ruskin PreK-8.
“At Ruskin, you get anyone who walks off the street. You get great kids, and you get kids who have been through the run of the mill, even juvenile detention center, so that’s a challenge.”
It’s a challenge he wanted to pursue, and Dayton offered it. His exposure to the city’s diverse populations — volunteering at DECA, attending the urban plunge retreat, student teaching at Ruskin — reinforced his desire to connect with place and people, to teach and make a difference.
Krissek is the first to admit that he might not always stay. He understands the draw of someplace new.
“It’s harder to do that the longer you stay,” said Krissek, who is finishing his third year teaching at Ruskin. “That’s why we keep saying, ‘One more year, one more year.’ If not, we’ll stay here forever.”
He’d be in good company.
This city once churned out cash registers, refrigerators and automotive radiators. Tomorrow’s economic revitalization will have decidedly fewer parts but many more players.
Looking out the sixth-floor windows of Roesch Library, it’s hard to focus on the challenges that have tested this country — manufacturing flight, two stock market crashes, the subprime mortgage meltdown and the Great Recession.
But gaze west — across the green swath of fields where NCR factories used to sprawl, down to the river where the GE Aviation EPISCENTER is rising — and see the future. The $51 million aerospace research complex is part of a multibillion-dollar makeover that aims to transform the Dayton region from a workaday manufacturer of consumer products into a high-tech powerhouse.
Dayton hopes to produce the kind of urban miracle that revived Pittsburgh and Akron, Ohio, after they lost their major manufacturing industries. Both cities linked local, high-tech universities with the business community to refocus the economy around advanced-technology industries. Dayton’s turnaround draws on the strengths of a very large pool of players, the University of Dayton’s world-class research labs among them. Each will contribute needed pieces of the puzzle for an urban renaissance. If the effort succeeds, it could serve as a model for the industrial, commercial, residential and social revival of other cities in the Rust Belt, where most UD alumni live.
“I think revival is starting already,” says University President Daniel J. Curran.
After the loss of 30,400 manufacturing jobs from the Dayton region since 1990, putting people to work is job one. The target industries include aerospace, sensor technology, medical devices, new materials, cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing — areas in which Dayton already has a nucleus of small and midsized companies.
The region is plunging ahead with tremendous speed, in part because the region’s leaders no longer must spend their energy in the past.
The final blow came June 2, 2009, when NCR Corp., the last Fortune 500 company based in Dayton, announced it would move its headquarters to Georgia. “I was in deep mourning for about two days,” recalls John Gower, then Dayton’s planning director, now adjunct faculty in urban studies at UD. “Then I woke up and said to myself, ‘The last shoe has dropped. We don’t have to worry about NCR, General Motors or Delphi leaving. We’ve been set free.’”
The old economic formula that powered Dayton was quite simple — large corporate headquarters and massive local factories that employed tens of thousands in the assembly-line production of cash registers, ATMs, shock absorbers, tires and refrigerators.
Dayton wants to replicate that formula with a twist. “The manufacturing that comes to Dayton in the future is going to be very different,” Curran says. “It’s going to be high-tech.”
Universities around the country have become catalysts for urban revivals because of their commitment to community, intellectual capital and physical position — that, unlike an NCR, the University of Dayton will never pick up and move to a new city offering incentives. UD also has world-class technical labs and cutting-edge engineering and business programs that contribute to its position. “If you look nationally, you see the growth of high-tech around research universities,” says Curran.
As a major employer and magnet for talent, UD has long been a critical part in Dayton’s economy. Now it is helping to fill the role once played by leaders of the city’s Fortune 500 companies, such as NCR founder John H. Patterson, who guided the region to recovery from the great 1913 flood.
“I think UD is a 21st-century version of a Fortune 500 company,” Gower says. “In fact, I would say they are even better than a Fortune 500 company because of the University’s Marianist view of social justice and the University’s incredibly long-term view of things.”
Of course, UD, its students and alumni have self-interest in these efforts. If the city thrives, UD will find it easier to attract research and business partners and talented students, faculty and staff. And those who hold its degree could see it grow in value and prestige.
In the new industrial Dayton, tech products will likely be produced by myriad small and midsized companies, which will make their products in small and midsized factories near their headquarters. In the long run, this may work to Dayton’s advantage. “I’d rather have 100 companies with 25 employees than one that employs 2,500,” says John Leland ’89, director of UD’s $100 million-a-year research arm, the University of Dayton Research Institute. “If you lose a couple of small ones, the impact is small. You lose the big one and you’ve taken a pretty big hit.”
To lure new technology firms and the manufacturing jobs they bring requires a revival of the innovative, risk-taking atmosphere that prevailed in the Midwest at the dawn of its industrial age.
“It was a pioneer spirit,” Leland says. “We had it 100 years ago. Somehow we lost it. But we can get it back.”
We didn’t need it, Leland suggests, when manufacturers like General Motors could guarantee employment for life. “Our culture went from one of risk taking to one of seeking security,” he says. “There’s a saying that those who seek safety and security will ultimately lose it.”
Fortunately, reservoirs of that pioneer spirit still exist in Dayton, especially among supplier companies and specialty machine shops that depended on automotive work. These companies had no choice but to adapt and find new lines of business when General Motors and Delphi shuttered their Dayton-area plants. One of them is Bastech, led by Ben Staub ’90, which has recreated itself into a 3-D print manufacturer primarily for the aerospace industry.
But Dayton needs to create a lot more small tech companies with growth potential. So, it is creating inner-city research parks to attract them. While the required blocks of in-town land would normally be hard to assemble, in this case there is land for the taking.
The first project was Tech Town, which began rising in 2008, just before the nation’s economic roof caved in. Three buildings are up on a near-downtown site where GM once made automotive radiators; nine more buildings are planned. While the recession has tempered early ambitions, more than 40 tenants are now in place, including UDRI’s sensors group, one of the early anchors.
When NCR left Dayton, UD stepped up. On land that once comprised the corporation’s world headquarters and 15,000 factory jobs, UD now houses the Research Institute’s headquarters; undergraduate, graduate and continuing education classes; the Center for Leadership; recreation fields; the doctor of physical therapy program; and administrative offices. Midmark, a fast-growth health care product and services company, this spring leased a sizeable block of space in UD’s 1700 South Patterson Building as its new headquarters. And the GE Aviation EPISCENTER will complete construction on former NCR land this summer.
After UD acquired NCR property in 2005 and 2009, Curran told a Dayton audience that the University’s objective was to attract a major corporation to build on part of the site. “People in the audience shook their heads,” Curran recalls. “They didn’t think it could happen. When we announced that GE was coming, they were so happy.”
Landing GE Aviation has boosted the city’s confidence in its revitalization efforts. In 2009, the region’s high-tech turnaround got another boost when the state of Ohio designated Dayton the state’s Aerospace Hub of Innovation and Opportunity, a company-attraction strategy designed to encourage aerospace-related companies to cluster in an urban corridor that runs from Tech Town to UD, and provided $250,000 in startup funds. While state funding has expired, the success of the initiative has led the University and its partners — the city of Dayton, CityWide Development Corp., the Dayton Development Coalition and Montgomery County — to develop a plan to keep the hub progressing because of its success in attracting business. Since the designation, eight companies have gravitated to Tech Town, and six more are in process, says the hub’s director, former Air Force officer Kerry Taylor.
Making the region pop
A turnaround strategy and a couple of technology parks are a start, but the region’s organizations have more detailed plans. Together, they strive to create a vibrant community core that contributes to the quality of life workers seek and employers need.
“A strong urban core is important to retain and attract companies and talent,” says Jeff Hoagland ’91, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition, which seeks new and expanded business for the 14-county Dayton metropolitan area. “We need students who go to college here to stay in the region,” he adds. “A strong urban core helps to do that.”
Among organizations contributing to success is the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education, which has committed to collaborating to create 20,000 local internship opportunities by 2020. UpDayton spurs economic growth within the region by engaging, connecting and empowering young professionals in the Miami Valley. Five Rivers MetroParks promotes programming and facilities that attract outdoor enthusiasts and families seeking exercise and adventure. And the list goes on.
The Dayton Development Coalition works by serving as a “one-stop shop” for companies that want to locate or expand in Dayton and the surrounding area. It maintains an inventory of available land, factories and office buildings, and it helps prospects gain state financing. It also serves as a distribution arm for venture capital funds from private investors and public agencies. Curran chairs the coalition’s board of trustees.
Its work has helped greater Dayton become the nation’s No. 1 midsized market for new and expanded business facilities in three of the last five years, according to data compiled by Site Selection magazine. For example, the coalition helped Process Equipment Co. consolidate its headquarters and four suburban factories into the former Dayton Press complex on Dayton’s near west side. Process Equipment, which makes factory automation equipment, machine tool components and other products, plans to boost its payroll from 160 to 410 workers over five years.
New and expanded businesses add up to a substantial reservoir of talent, which in turn helps to attract still more business and more talent to the region. “Success breeds success,” Hoagland says.
Within the city, one of the biggest attractions is the area known as “Greater Downtown.” It runs down Main Street from downtown to UD and includes a several-mile swath on either side.
It already contains the financial district, Tech Town, four of the city’s six large medical complexes, UD and Sinclair Community College, UD Arena, the Dayton Art Institute, the Schuster Center for Performing Arts, and Fifth Third Field, home of Dayton’s minor league baseball team. The Greater Downtown corridor is also the focal point for the city’s $3.4 billion building boom and a magnet for new ventures. In recent years, the corridor has attracted six new corporate headquarters along with the offices and labs of some 50 technology firms.
But some city leaders think Greater Downtown needs something more if it’s to serve as a magnet to get large numbers of entrepreneurs and inventors to settle in the Dayton region.
“People want to live in Boston or other big cities where there’s all this urban stuff,” says Dr. Michael Ervin, an entrepreneur and former UD trustee who co-chairs the Greater Downtown project. Fifty years ago, Boston created its own urban renaissance, turning a drab central city into a live-wire community. “What they did in Boston is very doable,” Ervin says. “And we’re going to do it here.”
So, the Greater Downtown project is pushing upscale downtown living, nightlife, bike trails, a new kayaking course and an emphasis on the environment — things that appeal to young, well-educated entrepreneurs and inventors. “The infrastructure has been laid over the last 10 years to really make this area pop,” Ervin says.
Once the Dayton region attracts a nucleus of inventors and entrepreneurs, city leaders believe factory jobs will follow. But to understand how Dayton will reclaim its manufacturing strength necessitates an understanding of the city’s manufacturing history — both its fall and its rise.
A century ago, Dayton excelled as an inventor’s town. It was a compact place where people with ideas were likely to rub shoulders with other people with ideas, many of whom worked in what’s now considered Greater Downtown.
At the southern end, Civil War veteran Patterson bought a tiny local company that made cash registers and launched the National Cash Register Co. A couple miles away, bicycle mechanics Wilbur and Orville Wright resolved the problems of powered flight — and set the city up for a long-term future in aviation. And downtown, inventor Charles Kettering founded the Dayton Engineering Laboratory Co. to make auto parts, including his revolutionary self-starter, which relieved car owners from having to turn a hand crank. Their ideas were in part powered by labor migrating northward and by the rise of a middle class that could purchase such products.
These days, the players are different, but the idea is the same — pack technological talent in the same small area and nourish ideas until they grow into economic engines.
UD’s Research Institute has emerged as a high-tech powerhouse with expertise in advanced materials, advanced manufacturing and aerospace technology, including being a major federal government contractor for aerospace R&D. Downtown, Sinclair Community College has emerged as a major job-training center, focusing on the jobs of the future. Inventors in need of talent, technology and business expertise can draw from UD and two other large universities in the region, Wright State and Miami University. The goal is for their inventions to be manufactured in Dayton.
The nation’s leaders are taking up the refrain of American independence through the reclaiming of manufacturing jobs, which in the Dayton region have dropped from 38 percent of the work force a half century ago to about 10 percent of the work force today.
“They all realize the importance of manufacturing,” says City Commissioner Dean Lovelace ’72, a former NCR production worker laid off when the corporation sent work to Mexico. “Manufacturing has been dormant, but it’s a sleeping giant.”
In Dayton, advanced manufacturing may hold the key to keeping jobs local. Advanced manufacturing enables American workers to produce more, faster, with less labor. UD researchers believe labor-saving manufacturing can trump cheap overseas labor.
One of the most promising such technologies is 3-D printing. Office printers lay a thin layer of ink on paper. By contrast, 3-D printers add layers of plastic, metal or other materials until a three-dimensional part is formed. UD’s Research Institute landed a $3 million state grant to refine 3-D printing for manufacturing. The work is under way at the former NCR headquarters.
The 3-D process could be a game changer, enabling product designs that couldn’t be done before. For instance, a component with 10 parts can be re-engineered so that a 3-D printer can create it in a single piece. The 10-part component requires lots of labor to make and assemble, giving an advantage to China. But if re-engineering reduces 10 parts to one, “that work will stay in the U.S.,” says Brian Rice ’90, who heads the Research Institute’s multiscale polymers and composite division, which landed the state grant.
These new products will have to be designed by engineers who understand 3-D printing and its potential. “UD is already incorporating 3-D technology into its engineering courses,” Rice says. “I would say we’re ahead of the curve.”
3-D printing may eventually be used to make any number of things, including aircraft engine components. Bastech produces 3-D prototypes for its aerospace customers. A sister company called Rapid Direction Inc. sells 3-D equipment to companies that want it. Bastech, headquartered in suburban Dayton, opened a downtown satellite office among a growing thicket of tech firms. It is discovering where these companies might use 3-D printers and showing them what the technology can do, says Bastech’s Staub. “That’s the beauty of Tech Town.”
The view of the Dayton region’s economy is starting to look again like Dayton in its heyday, when inventors and entrepreneurs traded expertise and built the city into a manufacturing powerhouse — a place with good jobs, stable neighborhoods and homegrown industrial corporations whose executives cared about the community. This new generation of home-grown corporations could soon retool local factories to turn out products again bearing the stamp, “Made In Dayton, Ohio, USA.”
Freelance reporter Doug McInnis and his wife, Liz Schaaf McInnis ’76, live in Casper, Wyo. A former Dayton Daily News reporter, Doug continues his 39-year love of Flyer sports.