Read our interactive issue to see videos, links and more.
More seasoned Santas would be aghast to hear of the innocent mistake Bob Jones ’63 made while filling in for the legendary figure at Operation Joy, the 1962 precursor to today’s Christmas on Campus celebration.
“When I came back to the event after changing out of my Santa suit,” Jones said, “a little kid came up to me and said, ‘Santa Claus had a ring on just like that.’”
Sitting beside him as he told this tale, longtime friend — and Operation Joy chair — Judy Stonebarger Cerar ’63 laughed and said, “You’ve never told me that!”
Dayton locals Jones and Cerar (who have worked together on several Reunion Weekend committees over the years) made sure to catch up at their 50th class reunion in 2013. Flashing a cell phone picture of the two of them from that party, Jones said, “I made sure to get a picture with Judy. It’s pretty amazing, because we still talk about that first Christmas on Campus a lot.”
In 1963, Ellie Kurtz, director of UD’s student union for 30 years, recognized a good idea and built upon it, institutionalizing the night known as Operation Joy as Christmas on Campus. The event began as a way for students to celebrate the holiday with friends and their campus family before heading home for break.
Cerar says the initial idea for Operation Joy came from UD’s student council: “We wanted to do something for underprivileged children in the Dayton community for Christmas.” On that first Sunday afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m., 60 children and 15 students attended the free celebration. Highlights included singing Christmas carols, decorating a Christmas tree and presenting a gift to each child.
“It was powerful for everyone on the committee to see the kids’ genuine happiness upon receiving their gifts. Beforehand, we’d always been the recipients and, at that moment, we were
truly in a giving situation.”
The event has evolved into what is believed to be one of the nation’s largest single-day, on-campus community service events. In 2012, nearly three-quarters of the undergraduate student body took part, with many of them “adopting” approximately 1,000 local school children for the evening.
Christmas on Campus now features: a live Nativity; tree lighting; Santa’s Workshop with arts and crafts, cookie and gingerbread house decorating, and pictures; a children’s carnival; and live entertainment like dancers, bands, an improv comedy group and several character mascots. The Vigil Mass, generally that of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, closes out the night.
From dressing up as Santa Claus to emulating Mr. Claus through his actions, it’s a lesson that has stayed with Jones. He hopes to one day be chosen by the Christmas on Campus student committee to donate a large tree from his own yard as the celebration’s centerpiece.No Comments
Named for John Stuart, from whom the original campus property was purchased by the Marianists in 1850, Stuart Hall is celebrating its 50th anniversary during the 2013-14 year. With a March 19, 1963 cornerstone dedication, the residence hall was completed and opened the following year for nearly 1,000 male students. In the autumn issue of University of Dayton Magazine, we asked readers to share their memories of the “house on the hill.” Several responses appeared in the Letters to the Editors section of the Winter 2013-14 issue. Here are some more:
Memories in triplicate
I have three distinct memories of Stuart Hall: No. 1: My freshman year, every person with the last name of Stewart/Stuart lived in Stuart Hall. I thought it was a joke; No. 2: Watching the softball and baseball games from the top of the hill, and writing about it for my sportswriting class; No. 3: Sledding down the hills on cafeteria trays in the wintertime.
—KRISTLE STEWART HARDY ’03 (MOUNT DORA, FLA.)
Up the hill, upping the bond
I remember August 1978 as if it were yesterday. My parents and I loaded the car in Rockville Centre, Long Island, and prepared for the journey to UD. I was assigned to Stuart Hall, 6 South. Dayton was in the middle of a heat wave, and unfortunately, the elevator was mainly out that day. Bad news when you are taking six flights of stairs in 90 percent humidity.
As it turned out, my room was as far from campus geographically as you could be: end of the hallway, last room on the left. I was paired with an amazing roommate. Within the next 15 years, we would both stand tall at each other’s wedding. My floormates were what my dad referred to as “good people,” and those friendships remain to this day.
The trek up and down the hill was often cold and difficult, but allowed us at Stuart Hall to feel a bond that was unique to our dorm. Late night Dominos deliveries, watching the Flyer basketball team on the big screen with friends, “traying” down Stuart Hill after a snowstorm. These are memories that began to shape who I would become years later, and remained etched in my mind.
Thank you, Stuart Hall, for all that you gave. Now, if we could just get you to move down the hill closer to campus…
—JOHN S. MURPHY ’82 (CORVALLIS, ORE.)
Stuart was all-male when I was at UD, and the only thing that separated it from Marycrest was the health center. One evening, as my future husband and I were heading down the hill, we slid without moving our feet on the black ice all the way down. Those were the days that a cafeteria tray could take you all the way down the snowy hill through the line of bushes that led to the Ghetto.
—CATHY HIGGINS WETZEL ’77 (UNION, OHIO)
Friends for life
When I was there in 1980, we had to walk up hill, in the snow, both ways. I enjoyed living there; the friends I met in Stuart Hall freshman year became my friends for life.
—DAVE MARNELL ’84 (CANTON, MICH.)
A community within
I loved living in Stuart. All the people I am still really close to from college lived in Stuart. Stuart Hall was like a little community within the larger UD community.
My two favorite memories: Juniors and seniors coming from the Ghetto to enjoy Stuart Hill when it snowed; Walking up to Stuart with some friends, late at night, and about halfway up the hill, a raccoon jumping out of a trash can at us.
—KATHY MCCADDEN ’09 (ST. LOUIS)
Stuart was the last place I wanted freshman year; I remember being so bummed when I got my room assignment. But, I was so sad to leave when it ended, and missed Stuart every year after. There is a bond that is created in that hall that can’t be broken.
—JEN HORTON PALICH ’98 (FLOWER MOUND, TEXAS)
Stuart Hall was all-male when I was there. Guys would leave Marycrest and head up the hill to Stuart. Then there were the cafeteria trays down the hill. Good old days.
—MARY LOU DILEO WELSH ’71 (BLOOMFIELD, MICH.)
Euchre with a case of beer, hockey in the hall, The Who concerts. That was 3 South, circa 1979-1980.
—KEITH FITZGERALD ’84 (MARIETTA, GA.)
A few highlights
Some highlights of 5 North in 1981-82 that pop into my head first: Meeting my lifelong friend, my roommate Tom; The guy immediately overhead bouncing a golf ball on the floor above us (a tube player from the band, if I’m right); Sharing Domino’s pizza with some of the guys after a late night, and learning I could tolerate black olives; Trekking down (and back up) the hill in a pretty good snowstorm to get out to the Ghetto and Tim’s one night; Catching a ride with the Domino’s guy later that winter to get to Tim’s in a worse snow storm; Hall bowling; Tony the junior in the single taking a few of us to Cincinnati for what was my first concert (Genesis); Having to trek to Marycrest for every meal; 12 packs of Old Milwaukee (and others) in the snack bar (3.2% alcohol for 18- to 21-year-olds, as was still allowed that year); Astonishment and amazement at the incredible renovations when I moved my daughter in to the formerly male-only Stuart Hall, in 4 Adele, in 2012.
—MICHAEL BECKER ’85 (EAST LONGMEADOW, MASS.)
During a snowfall in 1983, we didn’t have any lunch trays, so we used the shower curtains from Marycrest as our sleds. Thanks to Patty Henry King for the fun memory.
—MEG BOYD ’86 (HAVERTOWN, PA.)
Hills (and husbands)
Thanks to that trek up the hill, I met my husband. I was walking up the hill toward “home” in April 1996 while my husband was having lunch at Virginia W. Kettering Cafeteria with one of my friends, and he mentioned something about me. She set us up, and we’re still happily married.
—KATIE REILLY FLANAGAN ’99 (NORTH ROYALTON, OHIO)
We’re all family here
I will never forget the first snowfall of the year at Stuart. I was watching out my window in Seven Meyer, hoping that the snow would accumulate. I went back to studying and when I looked out the window again, there was a nice snow covering. I grabbed a few of the girls in my hall and we started a snowball fight. It started with three and ended with at least 20 students all from Adele, Sheehy and Meyer. It didn’t matter that we did not know each other, because everyone was family there, whether you knew them or not.
—LUCY FREY ’15 (CINCINNATI)
Everyone who lived in Stuart secretly knew it was the best dorm. Since it was such a hike to get there, nobody came to visit, and you didn’t want to leave, so we just made great friends with the people living there. I liked it so much, I lived there another year and a half, between being an RA and working summer conferences.
—MARIA HOLMES SUROVY ’99 (CLEVELAND)
I lived in Seven Meyer in 2008-09. While doing laundry, I remember I was stuck with only dollar bills after using up so many quarters in my first few days of freshman year. I asked Stu’s if they had change for quarters; they didn’t. Out of “freshman Flyer” spirit, I decided to ask a random girl walking in the lobby. Out of pure luck, she said yes and told me that she had a big jar of quarters in her room. I was shocked to find that it was a regular fishbowl-sized jar. I thanked her and moved on. One of the few regrets I have at UD is not asking that girl’s name. Living in Stuart may be the result of random computer choices, but it is clearly an act of providence.
—JEREMY VINLUAN ’12 (VIRGINIA BEACH, VA.)
I remember sledding using cafeteria trays (before there was a fence), going down the hill at 5:30 a.m. to clean the engineering building and trying to make it up the hill after a Ghetto party. Great times on 6 South.
—FRAN BUENDIA ’89 (GROVE CITY, OHIO)
My memories: Hallway hockey. Mud football in the back. Tray sledding. Climbing the hills in the snow after a night in The Ghetto.
—JOHN BRIESKE ’85 (STONE MOUNTAIN, GA.)
It has been 50 years since I was part of the first group of residents who lived at Stuart. First memory: Driving back in AJ’s car from a place called The Frat House (a bar north of town) and jumping the curb at the top of the hill. Luckily, the curb grabbed hold of the bottom frame and stopped us from going down that hill.
Second memory: Crossing the railroad tracks to walk up to Kramer’s. Third memory: The field below the hill was turned into a festival (no parking lot there, yet). I ended up in the pie booth, harassing people into throwing whipped cream pies at me.
—HARRY RODERSHEIMER ’66 (FORT THOMAS, KY.)
My favorite things
My favorite times were decorating the hall for Christmas on Campus and sledding on trays.
—DAWN WHITNEY FREGOSA ’92 (SAN LEANDRO, CALIF.)
During the 1985-86 year, after the first snowfall, Floor 3 decided to play football. I slid down the hill — on my stomach. No box, lunch tray or sled needed.
—THOMAS WEHRMAN (COLDWATER, OHIO)
Signs of the times
While trekking up the hill to Stuart freshman year, talking to a friend, I managed to walk into a sign…bang!
—FRITZ RUPP ’87 (VICTOR, N.Y.)
I remember mattress sledding and lobby pizza parties after fun nights.
—AARON MOTLEY ’07 (COVINGTON, KY.)
Let it rain
I remember the fall of 1993, when it was miserably hot and humid. One evening, it finally stormed, and students ran out of Stuart to stand, dance and run in the refreshing rain (as I recall, there was no AC in the dorm).
—HEATHER KOWZAN ALEXANDER ’97 (CINCINNATI)
No memories of my UD experience would be complete without recalling my 1980-81 freshman year at Stuart Hall. From the first day, when I received Domino’s coupons in my mailbox, it was a great adventure. There were so many diverse characters on our floor in the North wing, from all corners of the U.S. We had great views of campus and could see visitors walking up the hill from Marycrest.
There were floor hockey games, body boxing matches, water fights with other floors and shouting matches with the East wing across the parking lot. We even took a road trip to the Air Force Museum with our GA. That year, UD won the Division III National Football Championship — we had a perfect view of the campus excitement.
Several floormates became my housemates in our sophomore year, and then through graduation. They are my lifelong friends. Those were wonderful times and Stuart Hall was a very special, memorable place.
—BOB “A.J.” BRETON ’84 (SCHENECTADY, N.Y.)No Comments
Sam Hanke ’02 and Maura Brent Hanke ’02 had every hope for their happy, healthy newborn, Charlie, when he was born in April 2010. But when Charlie died three weeks later — a victim of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome — the couple searched for ways to prevent other families from experiencing the same loss. Enter Sleep Baby Safe and Snug, designed exclusively for the nonprofit Charlie’s Kids Foundation, which the Hankes began on what would have been Charlie’s first birthday. “Because books are often part of the traditional bedtime routine, it provides instructions and reminders right before the child is placed in their sleeping environment. It’s also likely people will read it to their child numerous times, reinforcing safe sleep guidelines,” said Kate Menninger Desmond ’02, a former classmate of the Hankes who now serves on the CKF board. Proceeds from the book support the CFK mission of education and advocacy.No Comments
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.No Comments
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 pokies online 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.No Comments
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 Comments
The thousands who flocked to Denver were rapturous.
Me, I was mostly annoyed.
Pope John Paul II had swooped into our smoggy city and brought with him tidings of joy for the youth of the world. He also — perhaps rightly, after the 1981 attempt on his life — brought a hyper- vigilant and imaginative security detail that saw in my rusted fire escape a potential sniper’s nest. It seems the pope, when looking for digs to inhabit during the 1993 World Youth Day celebrations, did just as I had done months earlier — decided the red brick charm a stone’s throw from the capitol outweighed the accompanying view of junkies stumbling over from Colfax Avenue. For more than a week, we were neighbors, him in the apartment building behind mine and me un- able to take out the trash lest one of his snipers mistake me for an assassin.
I was annoyed, but I was also in awe.
Growing up Catholic, I saw images of the pope everywhere. I close my eyes and envision the calendar that hung on the landing to my grandmother’s basement — him in profile, red cape, hand raised in blessing. He was larger than life, real but surreal, someone with a hotline to God yet for whom we prayed.
This celebrity was not lost on a young boy who, during a 1980 visit to the Vatican, went up to JPII to ask for his autograph (which he signed, “JPII”). My husband, raised Presbyterian, remembers thinking, “I don’t know who this pope guy is, but he must be famous — look at the house he lives in.” When he and his family returned to Dayton — and to UD, where his parents worked — the Flyer News ran a photo of the family palling with the pontiff.
Those who hear my husband, Kevin Anderson ’93, tell the story sometimes have the unconscious reaction of reaching out to touch him. It’s a response to the holy that I also witnessed on campus when Pope Francis was elected last March. In times of excitement and anticipation, as well as fear and sorrow, we seek a physical closeness to fill in the gaps of what we cannot articulate. Campus gathered around streaming coverage of the pomp at the papal palace to the point of nearly overwhelming campus band- width. We sought out students with Argentinian ties and those studying abroad in Rome. Each of us was drawn to the event by something different — the process or pageantry or potential — but the enthusiasm was interdenominational and infectious. And, as we do so much on this campus, we celebrated it in community.
Back in Denver all those years ago, I shook off my annoyance, walked into the parking lot separating our buildings and looked up. There was JPII taking a rooftop stroll. I had no words to describe what I felt but, grabbing Kevin’s hand, I knew I was close enough.No Comments
Feeling a spray of mist, I float down the Great Miami River with the River Stewards, an eclectic group of students from almost all majors united around their love of the river.
As I paddle my kayak past tree-lined grassy banks and watch the downtown skyline emerge in the distance, I understand more deeply their passion, their sense of wonder at the possibilities.
The River Stewards represent a new generation of water enthusiasts. As ambassadors for riverfront development, they are a critical part of a team of regional leaders and planners working to leverage the assets of more than a dozen waterfront communities in a 77-mile stretch winding from Sidney to Hamilton — and right through our campus.
Don’t underestimate the power of their vision, the depth of their tenacity.
With the help of donors and educational leaders, they recently converted a 53-foot semi-trailer into a mobile, multimedia classroom. It’s a roving billboard that vividly illustrates the students’ commitment to conserving and promoting the Great Miami River watershed. It’s set to travel to area schools this fall.
The RiverMobile’s mission is simple: to develop pride for the region, to provide knowledge about Dayton’s river system and water resources, and to develop personal responsibility for the protection of local water resources and the environment.
As Rivers Institute graduate assistant Bethany Renner ’12 told her fellow River Stewards at the unveiling of the RiverMobile, “We believe that if people learn to appreciate and grow to love our local watershed and its assets, they will do their part to act as good stewards.
The RiverMobile is just one very visible example of how the University is bringing Dayton to the river. This summer, we partnered with the Miami Conservancy District to construct a bike path extension along the river from Stewart Street to the softball diamond. We plan to build stairs to the river and place benches or swings along the adjacent bike path. We’re launching the Outdoor Engagement Center so all students will have access to the equipment they need to enjoy our rivers and trails.
More importantly, faculty, staff and students in the Rivers Institute can be found at the table of every major regional discussion about water. The River Stewards recently lobbied to remove a dangerous low dam in down- town Dayton. They created a river leadership curriculum for UD students. They spearheaded an annual River Summit to develop a regional strategy for tapping into the untapped potential of the rivers.
We educate our students to be community builders. One trip down the Great Miami River is all it takes to see how well the River Stewards have learned that lesson.No Comments
Ten years ago, Bill Mills ’00 walked into Flanagan’s and spotted someone he thought was a UD classmate. It was Matt Williams ’00, and the two realized they lived on the same floor in Founders Hall as freshmen.
Sounds like a typical UD story, except the Flanagan’s in Mills’ anecdote wasn’t the pub near campus but a similarly named spot in Grand Rapids, Mich., a city where one is less likely to meet another Flyer.
On return trips, they met two more alums, Paul Berkemeier ’00 and Tina SantaMaria Berkemeier ’00, and decided there were enough Flyers in town to start an alumni chapter. Mills became the first president of the West Michigan chapter in 2004, held the role for five years, and returned to that position in 2012.
Past chapter activities have included volunteer work with charities assisting the homeless and displaced youth, Christmas off Campus and gamewatches.
“We try to mix up our event sites and hold some in Kalamazoo or Grand Haven, even though 75 percent of our members live in Grand Rapids,” said Mills, who counts 400 alumni throughout the west side of the state. “It’s tough sometimes because we do have a smaller chapter.”
Outings near Lake Michigan prove to be a uniting force, and driving distance becomes less of a factor when members want to enjoy the beach.
“Summers are big here because our winters are pretty brutal,” Mills said.
They might have found another winning idea in ArtPrize, a competition promoting civic involvement through the creation of art in Grand Rapids. Residents help artists develop their pieces and then vote for their favorites. Often called the “American Idol” of art, ArtPrize attracted more than 1,500 entries from artists in 47 countries.
Voting runs Sept. 18 to Oct. 6, and voters must register in person to cast ballots .
“Since it’s such an instrumental event to west Michigan, we thought it would be great to get the chapter involved,” Mills said.
Members gathered monthly during the summer to help Mexican artist Sebastian Salamanca Huet with his work “Childhood Desires” by placing biodegradable kites in trees. The kites symbolized Huet’s youthful hopes and dreams, which encountered both restraint and protection in the trees, representing his mother and other authority figures.
“Childhood Desires” appears downtown near the famous red steel structure Alexander Calder crafted in the 1960s that helped establish the mid-sized city as a Midwestern artistic hub.
Mills expects chapter membership to increase in the future, as he says growing numbers of students from nearby Catholic schools are choosing UD.
If they return to west Michigan, he’ll make sure to contact them — if he doesn’t see them at the local Flanagan’s first.No Comments
Surrounding yourself with children isn’t the only way to stay young at heart — acting like a kid can have benefits, too, says Shauna Adams ’79, associate professor and executive director of the University of Dayton’s Bombeck Family Learning Center.
“One of the reasons children are so vibrant and interactive is that they inspire each other. As adults, we often look for ‘the’ answer, and once we find what we think it is, we don’t go any further,” says Adams.
Joy Comingore, curriculum and field specialist at the Bombeck Center, cites author Rachael Carson, who says that for children to keep the sense of awe and wonder they’re born with, they need the companionship of at least one adult who hasn’t lost his or her own sense of fascination with the world. Adams notes that there is a correlation between creativity and innovative thinking in young children and their achievement later in life.
“For every dollar spent in early learning, between $7 and $16 is saved later in terms of fewer jail cells, less special education and intervention, lower high school dropout rates and more potential to collect tax dollars from successful citizens,” Adams explains.
Want to get your creative juices flowing? Try these tips.
1. Put down the to-do list. “Children are present in the moment. They notice what is happening around them rather than concentrating on what is coming up next or re- hashing what they just experienced,” Comingore says. “We miss the common, everyday experiences that can enhance our lives: the young rabbit in the front yard; the funny-looking cloud; the smiles on the faces of others, especially when we have smiled first.”
2. See the potential. Remember when a towel was a superhero cape, a row of kitchen chairs be- came a train car and a stick was a mag- ic wand? Reignite that imagination. “Innovation can be about physical play and items that you have in front of you, but it’s also a mindset, a communication style, a problem-solving style,” Adams says. For example, when Bombeck Center teachers led their preschoolers through an investigation of earthworms last summer, they asked themselves what other connections the lesson could hold. Since earthworms self-generate electricity as they move through the earth, the group moved on to study friction and
3. Do the hokey pokey. When Comingore sees students’ eyes glaze over during class, she has them get up, walk around, swing their arms and touch their elbow to the op- posite knee. Teacher and educational consultant Ann Anzalone ’90 points out that movement helps build the brain. “Crossing the midline of our body activates the brain and gets different areas of it working,” she says. “Children naturally get these movements in as they run and play. As adults, we have to be more intentional about incorporating brain-integrating movement each day.”
4. Don’t play the villain. Approach relationships in a non-threatening way, and they’ll be more fruitful. “Fear, threats and too much pressure increase cortisol levels and close down the learning receptors in both children and adults,” Adams says, adding that collaboration and flexibility are precursors to innovation.
5. Be silly. Start any brainstorming session with the mindset that there is no stupid idea. “Often, brainstorming is done ruthlessly, with specific rules about what it should look like,” Adams says. “But the absurd ideas have value because those are the ones that allow you to see things in a new light and find a unique solution.”
Hear more from Adams about the power of play in this 90-second Lecture.No Comments