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Married 63 years, Frederick J. and Marian A. Kroger were friends to the end, only briefly parted by death in January 2013.
When they died — just six days apart — their legacy was already large: faith, family, service and generosity. It grew even larger when the Krogers’ five children gathered to decide how to designate the trust their parents committed to the University in 1997.
“My parents were always devoted to God, family and country,” said Tim Kroger, who is a partner in Main Line Supply, the company started in 1955 by his father, a 1947 mechanical engineering graduate who came to UD after serving in World War II. Having escaped from a German prisoner-of-war camp late in the war, Kroger committed in gratitude to serving others for the rest of his life — and he did.
“He volunteered for everything,” Tim Kroger said. “Parish Council; the Knights of Columbus; St. Vincent de Paul; and the Inca Ball, which raised funds for missions in Central and South America. He would visit people in jail, and as far back as I can remember, they sponsored children in poverty around the world. They were involved with the Glenmary mission and the Marianists, and somehow, he came to all of our sporting events, too, all while growing Main Line Supply.”
Mrs. Kroger, an “extremely diligent wife and mother,” was a model of devotion to family and Catholic education, and their devotion to one another never faltered, Tim Kroger said. In their last days together at hospice, they shared a room, and the staff turned their beds so they could see each other.
“They sent all of us to Catholic schools, and they helped send all 16 of their grandkids to college,” Tim Kroger said. “The Catholic faith was very important to them, and they loved the University of Dayton.”
In tribute to the Krogers’ commitment to the University, to their faith and to Chaminade Julienne, the Marianist high school all of their children attended, Tim Kroger and his siblings — Anne Shock, Mary Helldoerfer, Mark Kroger and Pat Kroger — directed their parents’ gift to two initiatives: a new scholarship for UD-bound students from area Marianist high schools; and the upcoming renovation of the University’s Immaculate Conception Chapel.
“Our parents had the foresight to give to UD and CJ and various churches in the area, and one of their last requests of their children was to please continue this,” Tim Kroger said. “Their scholarship fund at UD will continue to grow.”
A good plan
For decades, planned giving has been an important foundation of the University of Dayton’s advancement, providing students with outstanding academic programs, world-renowned faculty, scholarships and state-of-the-art facilities. A planned gift is more than an act of generosity; it’s a demonstration of faith in the University — and the University of Dayton is grateful and honored to be entrusted with it.
The University received more than $3 million from planned gifts in 2012-13, and new planned gift commitments surpassed $5 million. Among those gifts was that of lifelong Daytonians and longtime University benefactors Frederick J. and Marian A. Kroger.
When University of Dayton biology professor Robert Schuellein ’44 got an offer to work at the National Institutes of Health in 1963, he had to make a difficult choice between two things at which he excelled: teaching and research.
Research won; Schuellein left the University and the Marianist order, took the job at NIH and stayed there until his retirement in 1983.
But he never forgot UD and the legacy he started here: With his faculty colleague and fellow Marianist Paul Machowicz ’41, Schuellein helped create the first master’s program in the College of Arts and Sciences. When Schuellein died in 2011 at the age of 91, he added to that legacy — with a bequest totaling $2.5 million for a faculty research endowment in biology.
A questionnaire for his 50th class reunion in 1994 gave an indication of the pride he took in the work he did. Asked to name his most significant experience at UD, Schuellein answered, “Attending the defense of my graduate student for the M.S. degree in biology — the first M.S. degree conferred at UD.”
That student was Henry Maimon ’64.
“There aren’t enough adjectives in the English language to describe what a fine and wonderful gentleman Rob- ert Schuellein was,” said Maimon, who later earned a medical degree from the University of Cincinnati and ran the gastroenterology department at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Dayton for 26 years. “I feel I owe him a debt of gratitude in helping me get through that degree.”
Maimon had already earned a bachelor’s in English from Princeton University, but he chose to pursue medicine or research instead. Schuellein became both a mentor and a role model.
“He worked hard to make very difficult subject matter clear,” Maimon said. “He tried to cultivate the best in whatever abilities a student had. He could evoke your brain to think a little more and work a little harder.”
George Noland, who came to UD’s biology department in 1955 and became chair in 1963, said Schuellein took measures beyond what was typical to ensure that his students grasped the material.
“But he was a born researcher, and witha born researcher, you’d have to cut off his hands to keep him from it,” Noland said. “Teaching a full load and getting a research lab established at the same time is a horrendous burden. It’s almost impossible to do both, but a born researcher will do it.”
Schuellein knew that funding would make a major difference, Noland said.
“With the teaching load and everything he did for the Marianists, there were just not enough hours in the day for the research,” Noland said. “When Schuellein came in, there were no laboratory assistants. The faculty members had to do all the prep work themselves. A little money makes it possible to maybe teach one less course or hire a student assistant for a class or hire research assistants in the lab.”
Schuellein’s gift also included more than 2,000 projection slides.
“I remember when he started that collection,” Noland said. “You can’t believe what we worked with in those days. My budget for materials in 1963 was $50. If you had a slide projector in the department, it was a big deal. In those days, people didn’t just order slides. They were expensive. He was serious enough about his teaching that he assembled these materials because he knew it would help the students learn.”
Patricia S. Bryant, a retired program di- rector at NIH, worked with Schuellein during the 1970s and ’80s.
“He was a very warm and giving person, a very humble guy,” Bryant said. “His passion was training researchers for the future … building a pipeline of scientists who could make the important breakthroughs.”
It’s fitting, she said, that his legacy gift is now supporting scientists and research.
“If you’d say he was an advocate in his own quiet way for anything, it would be that.”
Additional sources for this story included Renate Myles, acting chief of NIH’s news media branch; Brother Bernard Zalewski, S.M. ’58; Eliot B. Spiess; Dr. Marie Nylen; and George McGowan ’63. Read more thoughts from Schuellein’s colleagues here.
When University of Dayton biology professor Robert Schuellein ’44 got an offer to work at the National Institutes of Health in 1963, he had to make a difficult choice between two things at which he excelled: teaching and research. (Read more here.)
Research won; Schuellein left the University and the Marianist order, took the job at NIH and stayed there until his retirement in 1983.
But Schuellein, who died in 2011 at the age of 91, never forgot UD. In his estate, he gave $2.5 million to the University for a faculty research endowment in biology. A story appears in the Autumn 2013 issue of University of Dayton Magazine. Here are some additional comments provided about Dr. Schuellein and his work.
Geneticist Eliot B. Spiess of Winnetka, Ill., was Schuellein’s doctoral adviser at the University of Pittsburgh. Now retired from teaching, Spiess is a professor emeritus of biological sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “He was my first graduate student,” Spiess said. “He was a wonderful person, very conscientious and just did a lot of hard work. He was quiet and humble, not attention-seeking at all. He did a lot of teaching before he came to me; we were investigating chromosomal anomalies in drosophila.”
Bernard Zalewski, S.M., a 1958 biology graduate, recalled his fellow Marianist as a man who excelled at both teaching and research: “I knew him as a brother,” Zalewski said. “He tried to convince me to get a Ph.D. and come teach at UD. I did come back to teach, but in the School of Business. … He enjoyed teaching; this was a difficult decision for him. But he liked teaching enough to draw me into it.”
George McGowan, a 1963 biology graduate who lives in Waynesville, Ohio, remembers Schuellein’s teaching well: “In the genetics lab, that’s where we dealt with all the fruit flies. I remember one time a plague of fruit flies that got loose. There were just thousands of them. … Dr. Schuellein was very nice, very easy to talk with, and always had a good sense of humor. Among college students, he just really wanted people to understand. … Dr. Schuellein stood out in the science area. I was not the best student he had, but I really enjoyed his class.”
George Noland, a biology professor who became chair of the department in 1963, maintained contact with Schuellein after he left: “When I would go to Washington, I would visit him, so I saw him two or three times in the first couple years he was up there,” Noland said. “He lived simply, and he was a stickler for detail.”
Patricia S. Bryant, Ph.D., a retired program director at NIH, worked with Schuellein during the 1970s and ’80s. Besides being “a beautiful person and a treasured colleague,” she said, he was an advocate for science: “He was helping to build an environment where scientists stay in science. Clinicians are well-rewarded in private practice, so that is an option for people after they’ve had their scientific training; if continuity of funding is a problem, you may lose scientists to private practice. He wanted an infrastructure that continues to value science and a pipeline of people who maintain their commitment to science.”
A beloved chemistry professor who taught almost every doctor, dentist and scientist in UD’s alumni ranks from the 1950s through the 1980s is making a difference today to hundreds more.
In 2001, a year after chemistry professor Carl I. Michaelis died, the University received a remarkable bequest of $1.7 million — part of the estate he’d built with a modest salary, a life lived simply and an investment portfolio that he added to but never subtracted from.
Ten years ago, 16 students received the first awards from Michaelis’ endowed fund. Since then, it’s yielded 251 scholarships totaling more than $622,000.
“He was a very frugal man,” said longtime colleague Al Fratini, professor emeritus of chemistry. “He knew he wanted to give something big to UD, and he lived in a way that would make him able to do that.” Michaelis was an avid reader of the Wall Street Journal, Fratini said, and when he read of advances in chemistry that looked promising, he invested.
“Students liked him,” said chemistry professor Jerry Keil, who worked with Michaelis for almost 20 years. “He always had students in his office. He would help them with their schedules, but also with their professional goals, what they needed to do to achieve them.”
Michaelis also was a mentor for new faculty members and the faculty adviser to the student chapters of the American Chemical Society and the national premedical honor society Alpha Epsilon Delta.
“He was here all the time,” said Howard Knachel, chemistry professor emeritus. “He was gifted in being able to spot a student’s potential. His attitude toward students was always positive and supportive, but he was tough.”
Michaelis seldom splurged on himself, Keil said.
“On occasion, some of us would go to Frisch’s after Mass at Holy Angels,” Keil said. “Carl liked to get a pancake breakfast, and at that time, you could get a pancake breakfast at Frisch’s for $1.19. At Denny’s on Main Street, the same breakfast was $1.29, but he thought it was a little bit nicer there, so if he had a dime to spare, he would go to Denny’s instead.”
On limited occasion, he took financial advice from others.
“He didn’t have a house until the early 1970s,” Knachel said. “For the longest time, he just rented an upstairs room in a house where someone took boarders, and he was happy. But then Joe Walsh (another professor, now deceased) asked him, ‘Carl, what are you saving all that money for? Someday you’re going to die and never have enjoyed it.’”
But he seemed to enjoy it just fine, said Fratini, Keil and Knachel — carrying around the secret that, someday, all that money was going to do something big.
Three couples got together to have a party and watch some Flyer basketball.
But their UD bond also comprises gratitude for the past and a commitment to the future.
Sue and Mike McCall ’68 have been following the Flyers, living in Dayton and staying connected to campus since he graduated in 1968 and they were married in 1969. As for most newlyweds, times were lean: Sue remembers Mike saying, “If we didn’t have to pay Woodman Park Apartments $137.50 a month, we’d be doing all right.
“But we have to buy basketball tickets.”
They may have needed a car more, but the Arena was just opening and, well, they are Flyers.
That they stayed in Dayton after graduation was partly a matter of luck. McCall, who had redshirted on the football team because of injury, was a fifth-year senior with most of his courses done when a couple of his Phi Beta Alpha brothers suggested he try a course or two in an emerging field — computer science.
“I fell in love with Fortran,” he said. That helped him land a job at NCR Corp. And, when he had the insight that supermarkets could more easily change prices with the use of what then passed for hand-held collection devices — that could be connected by radio — he was on the way to forming his own company. BASS Inc. was the early leader in the radio-frequency hand-held devices used widely today.
Beth Madison Pasternak ’76 and Gary Pasternak ’76 met on a basketball court at UD. Gary was a Flyer walk-on for a year before his electrical engineering studies took precedence. Athletics played a major role in Beth’s transition to UD. “My high school field hockey team,” she said, “just gathered up its sticks and balls and moved to UD.”
And they, too, were grateful for a UD education, realizing that their parents had to sacrifice to give them a private, Catholic education. But, she said, “if they hadn’t sacrificed, we wouldn’t be who we are today.”
Who they are and what they do took them away from Dayton to Ocean City, N.J. Gary’s engineering career has taken him to the position of manager of corporate facilities for the Campbell Soup Co. Beth has had a career in teaching and coaching.
The McCalls have been connected to UD for years; the Pasternaks had been away. But when both couples and others among the Flyer Faithful were invited — in conjunction with the A-10 basketball tournament in Atlantic City — to a party at the house of Claire and Stan Duzy ’70, they came.
Stan Duzy, looking back at a career that included being chief administrative officer at Kennametal in Pittsburgh, said he was reminded of a motto not yet coined when he started — Learn. Lead. Serve. In his career’s early stages, he said, “I was in a learning mode. Then I became involved in leadership roles, running companies. When I retired, I became more involved in service.
“My wife and I did work hard. We also realize we had a lot of luck. We were blessed. There are other people who work hard but aren’t that lucky.”
Stan and Claire have established a scholarship for student-athletes who are first-generation college students. The McCalls and the Pasternaks also support the University with their money and their time.
Mike McCall has served on the athletic advisory board and now serves on the Crotty Center Advisory Council for UD’s entrepreneurship programs.
The Pasternaks are following the example of Stan and Claire Duzy by opening their home for gatherings so UD people can get together, maybe talk a little about sports and about what the University of Dayton meant to them and will mean to others.
Michael Doman this summer is taking his first classes at the University of Dayton School of Law. He might not be there if not for a man dead for more than a third of a century.
“The program in law and technology,” Doman said, “is one of the main reasons I chose to attend UDSL.”
He points to the qualifications of the faculty and to an annual event — The Scholarly Symposia Series: Current Issues in Intellectual Property Law. “The program provides great opportunities to connect with alumni through the intellectual property symposiums. These events are not only great for networking but also provide an opportunity to hear perspectives from attorneys who are currently practicing.”
Jason Williams, who received a UD juris doctorate in 2010 and a master of laws in 2011, saw the same benefits of the symposium as did Doman. “A number of us in the IP track attended the symposia regularly,” he said. “It’s a great networking event. We go to meet attorneys in the area. We got to know them; they got to know us.”
It didn’t hurt that the people they met at the symposia were people they also met when interviewing for summer jobs. And, said Williams, now an associate in the intellectual property department of Dinsmore’s Dayton office, that networking “helped me in landing this job.”
Williams and Doman both see significance in hearing the perspectives of practicing attorneys. The topics are often current and of a kind not found in class. Bringing that perspective back to class, Williams noted, added depth to the classroom experience.
And the symposium’s treatment of current, cutting-edge subjects draws practitioners to campus, noted Kelly Henrici ’94, director of the program in law and technology.
The symposium is able to exist because of a man dead for more than a third of a century. That man, Hubert Estabrook, before he died in 1975, made a decision that continues to affect the profession that he served.
In 1920, Estabrook was one of the founders of the firm Estabrook, Finn & McKee, the predecessor by merger of the Dayton office of Porter Wright Morris & Arthur. At his death, he and his wife, Gladys, left their estate to be used to fund legal education in Ohio. The fund distributes its funds to Ohio’s nine law schools and other institutions that advance the study of law in the state.
According to R. Bruce Snyder, current trustee for the trust, the first trustee was John Henry, an adjunct professor at UD. Upon Henry’s death in 1989, Snyder succeeded him.
“From then until now,” Snyder said, “the trust has distributed about $150,000 a year to try to jump-start programs at the nine Ohio law schools, programs that were perhaps risky and might not be tried.”
On campus in May during Alumni Weekend to accept the Honorable Walter H. Rice Honorary Alumni Award, Snyder remarked that the school’s “professors and students have made a career of making me look good as a trustee; we give seed money and often these things fail; at UD, they don’t.”
Snyder indicated that during his trusteeship, donations to the School of Law from the trust and Porter Wright have supported a number of programs at the school besides the program in law and technology. One of those in tune with the University’s mission as a Catholic and Marianist institution is the Symposium on Law, Religion & Ethics.
“Most recently,” Snyder said, “the trust pledged $100,000 to renovate the student lounge [the Jury Box]. The trust’s first grant to the law school was to create a student lounge.”
As Henrici said in speaking of the format of the intellectual property symposium: “We feed the mind, the heart, the soul and the belly.”
Jon Gruden ’86 is busy on Sundays.
The Monday Night Football analyst and an ESPN crew of 120, who roll into town the day before, take over a hotel banquet room, setting up eight flat-screen TVs to keep tabs and take notes on all the day’s games, planning what they’ll integrate into the Monday broadcast.
For three Sundays this season, add to Gruden’s schedule meetings with alumni.
Gruden, a Super Bowl-winning head coach and honorary chair for the Campaign for the University of Dayton, took time out to meet with guests in Tampa, Fla. (Colts versus Buccaneers), Dearborn, Mich. (Bears versus Lions), and East Rutherford, N.J. (Dolphins versus Jets).
Attendees asked about his ESPN schedule — which includes an early Tuesday flight back to the office to start analyzing tapes — and about his UD days under football coach Mike Kelly.
It’s important to surround yourself with really good people, he told his audience, and to work hard and to be open to opportunities to extend yourself.
Gruden just took one of those himself. He’ll be busy football Sundays for the next five years, having recently signed a five-year contract with ESPN Monday Night Football.
Carmen Riazzi traveled to Dayton in the early 1950s for a routine basketball recruiting visit, looking to see if the University of Dayton would be the right fit for an eager and earnest kid from Erie, Pa.
He’s been here ever since.
After a standout college basketball career that included two trips to the NIT championship game, Riazzi ’57 made the Dayton area his home, marrying a University graduate and raising 10 children in nearby Kettering, Ohio.
Many of those children — and a good number of grandchildren — flanked Carmen Riazzi and Ann Fitzgerald Riazzi ’59 during an on-campus ceremony in late September as the University recognized the family for its gift to the athletics department.
In honor of the Riazzi family’s contribution, the men’s basketball offices in the Cronin Athletics Center will be named the Carmen J. Riazzi Basketball Suite. In a short, heartfelt speech, Carmen Riazzi said that the University and the Dayton community have been very important to him and his family, and he wanted to help make the school just as special for future student-athletes.
“We have two children who graduated from UD, and the rest have always been close with the Dayton players,” he said. “We felt very strongly that we could help and this facility was what we needed to get other recruits over here.”
Son John Riazzi, an Oakwood, Ohio, financial analyst and member of the University board of trustees, said the suite’s location adjacent to the Frericks Center was a “perfect fit,” considering that his father was a close friend of longtime athletics director Tom Frericks.
“My father came to Dayton from Erie, Pa., and didn’t know a soul here,” John Riazzi said. “The community embraced him. The University has been so good to him and my mom and our family, and we wanted to give back. The basketball program provided him a scholarship and gave him an opportunity to go to college where he wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. That put him on the right path and gave us the family life that we have.”
Carmen Riazzi was known for his hustle and work ethic as a Flyers guard, and his teams reached the NIT championship games in 1955 and 1956. The 1955-56 team was No. 2 in the nation for seven weeks — the best ranking in program history.
Riazzi was a senior captain on the 1956-57 squad, which finished 19-9 and advanced to the NIT quarterfinals. He averaged 10.4 points and 3.3 rebounds.
The September event became a gathering of Dayton basketball royalty as Flyer legends came to the ceremony to honor their longtime friend. Don Meineke ’52, Don Donoher ’54, Bill Uhl ’56, Jim Paxson ’56 and Bucky Bockhorn ’58 sat with Riazzi at a table during a reception in Kennedy Union, sharing memories of their golden era of Flyer hoops.
Fiore Talarico ’74 knows how to make the sale.
During his multifaceted career, Talarico, a retired Houston businessman, has bought and sold close to 40 companies in industries ranging from pharmaceutical research to pizza. He’s worked as a venture capitalist, a fundraiser for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and an adviser for a national security think tank.
Regardless of the industry, Talarico says that the selling process begins long before one lands a position with a company or makes a deal.
“If you want to get a job, how do you do that? You have to know how to sell yourself,” he says.
Now he’s helping other Flyers become just as adept at the art of selling. Talarico is giving the University a $1 million gift over a five-year period to support the Center for Professional Selling, launched in May 2010. As the call for sales training across disciplines continues to rise from employers and students alike, the School of Business Administration wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to meet that growing demand. The center is one of about
50 at colleges and universities nationwide.
And because of Talarico’s contribution — a gift described as “transformational” by Matthew Shank, former dean of the school who became president of Marymount University in Virginia this summer — the center will take a large step toward accomplishing significant goals that will help students become more competitive in the job market and workplace.
“Selling is important for people from all walks of life,” Talarico said. “This will help more than just future business leaders — all kids can benefit from selling. We want kids at the University of Dayton to be a step ahead.”
Talarico’s gift will help fund equipment needs for the center, provide support for students participating each year in the National Collegiate Sales Competition and be used to help promote the center.
Shank said the center is securing corporate partnerships designed to provide internship and full-time job placement opportunities for students. So far, it has secured two — Total Quality Logistics Inc. and Reynolds and Reynolds have signed on as partners — but the center hopes to have between eight and 10 partners in the near future.
The gift is three years in the making. Shank first mentioned the idea of the center to Talarico when the two were enjoying pizza, pool and a Dayton Flyers basketball game three years ago.
Talarico was sold.
“He expressed an interest in sales and stressed its importance for all students,” Shank said. “He’s an advocate for having students understand the role of sales in their career goals.”
Talarico should know. He’s come a long way from that day in late 1970 when he boarded a bus in Allendale, N.J., with two suitcases in hand. “All that I had,” he said.
He undertook a two-day journey to Dayton, and the bus dropped him off downtown. He asked some friendly locals for help, and they directed him to campus, telling him to look for the Big Boy statue near the entrance.
Big Boy is long gone, but Talarico’s fond memories of his time at the University remain. Today, Talarico actively works to recruit students in the Houston area to the University and invites them to alumni gatherings he hosts at his home and at sporting events. His ongoing enthusiasm even convinced his nephew, Andrew McClain, to transfer to the University. And now his son, Jared, has made the move.
Selling the University to students might be Talarico’s most fulfilling endeavor.
Danny Srisawasdi’s mother inspires him by her selfless example.
Before immigrating to America, she harvested rice in Thailand’s paddy fields. Today, she works 12-hour days as a seamstress in Chicago. Her education didn’t go beyond eighth grade, yet she raised two children on her own.
“I come from a broken home, but that home is filled with love. My mother provided a healthy environment for her kids to be successful and happy,” he said during a break from his chemical engineering classes. “My mom came from nothing and created so much success. I don’t want to disappoint her.”
Thanks to the selflessness of another Chicago family — Cathy and Tim Babington — he hasn’t disappointed. Srisawasdi graduated this spring due, in part, to their financial help. They’ve endowed a scholarship fund in honor of Cathy’s parents, George and Kathleen Valenta, who made sure all eight of their children received what they valued the most — a Catholic education.
“My education was phenomenal,” Cathy Babington said. “I had such a fine education at the University of Dayton, and not just from the standpoint of academics. I grew as an individual and made lifelong friends. We’re giving back because we want to share that experience with other people. This is a great institution and getting better every day.”
Babington ’74, who serves on the UD board of trustees, earned a degree in dietetics and worked as a dietician before parlaying her knowledge and community-building skills into a career at Abbott Laboratories, a global health care company. She retired last year as vice president of public affairs for Abbott and president of the Abbott Fund, which invests millions to fight HIV/AIDS and expand health care in the developing world.
Srisawasdi and Babington, in separate conversations, repeat strikingly similar stories about what motivates them — and why they love the University of Dayton.
Srisawasdi says he studied engineering because of “a passion for the sciences and to simply help people and humanity.” The Babington family’s scholarship benefits underrepresented students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math fields.
“I would like to eventually start an engineering company that makes a difference,” said Srisawasdi, who was part of a service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, volunteered as a tutor at the Dakota Club and serves in the Ohio National Guard.
Babington traveled to Africa, India and China in Abbott’s effort to expand business in international markets while improving the health of people in impoverished villages. “It’s disturbing when you see people who need health care and clean water and can’t get it. There was a commitment at Abbott to making a difference. Our engineers often built wells and clinics. That became part of a broader health care initiative in these countries,” she said.
One day, Srisawasdi hopes to be in a financial position to help others, too — as gratitude for the scholarship he received and in honor of his mother. “Until I’ve paid off all my college loans and donated 75 percent of what I earn to charity, I’ll never feel I’ve done as much as my mother,” he said quietly.
“I’ve always been about giving back more.”