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My place, my faith

1:55 PM  Dec 10th, 2015
by Erin Frey '18

The poncho underneath me crumpled. I found the most comfortable sitting position possible on the Capitol Building lawn and closed my eyes. Conversations in Spanish, French and English floated through the air, but I was most impressed that people had the ability to converse at 5 in the morning. Pope Francis’ Sept. 25 address to Congress wasn’t for another four and a half hours, yet I, and a crowd of around 50,000, were already gathered to hear him.

During the pope’s visit to D.C., I was one of the youngest members of the press corps, at the invitation of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. It was, at first, a professional opportunity — I’m a public relations major, and I tweeted the events for @daymag and gathered information to write this story. As a Catholic, it also became an opportunity of faith. You see, ever since I came to college I have been questioning what I believe. And I am not alone. According to a Pew Research Center survey of Catholics, only 30 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they attend Mass once a week, compared to 49 percent of those 65 and older. For the first time, I am being exposed to different religions and people making faith decisions based on something other than how our parents raised us.

I knew that, in the crowds gathered to see the pope, there were more like me who came to hear in his message not just words but a place for us in this worldwide faith. Maybe that is why, as college students, we are so drawn to Pope Francis. He talks, and we listen to him calling and challenging millennials as members of the Church that we didn’t know was ours all along.

The previous day, Sept. 24, I attended the Canonization Mass of Junípero Serra to live tweet what I experienced and to talk to students. I wanted to learn why so many of them were willing to wait in lines starting at 5 a.m. to attend Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

The first students I talked with were four broadcast journalism majors from Duquesne University who were filming a documentary about Pope Francis’ visit. Why did they think it was important for college-age students like us to report at these events?

Junior Emily Stock said that, for the first time, she feels like students have a public figure we can all look up to, one who is finally doing what millennials try to do — accept each other.

“The pope is open-minded — he is a people-person,” she said. “He reaches out to undeveloped communities and appeals to both political parties.”

This was the first of many similar responses. The editor-in-chief of Catholic University of America’s student newspaper, Antoinette Cea, was next to me in line and joined in the conversation. “We [as Catholics] are comfortable being members of the Catholic Church again,” she said.

In the U.S., there are roughly 77.7 million Catholics, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, an increase of more than 20 million from 1965. But the number of Catholic millennials is decreasing. According to the Pew Research Center, only 16 percent of Americans ages 18 to 34 identify as Catholic, compared to 20-23 percent of those older than 35. My personal conversations with young Catholics mirror some of the reasons for this national trend: the Church’s views on marriage equality, divorce, abortion and contraception.

But as I walked around the basilica among 25,000, there was little discussion of what divides us. Instead, students talked about what united them to the leader of the Catholic faith: acceptance, humbleness, modern ideals and a charismatic attitude — not to mention a fondness for Twitter [see @Pontifex].

Although this was my first encounter with a pontiff, it wasn’t America’s. Pope Paul VI was the first pope to visit the U.S. in New York City Oct. 4, 1965. Pope John Paul II made seven trips to the United States over two decades. The last time a pontiff visited America was Pope Benedict XVI, who stopped in New York and Washington in 2008 where crowds of roughly 83,000 gathered, according to The New York Times.

Pope Francis’ visit to D.C., Philadelphia and New York was monumental because his trip coincided with national and international political discussions, including on the environment and the poor. Within a week, he canonized a saint, spoke to the United Nations, ate lunch with the homeless, addressed Congress and attended the World Meeting of Families.

While I was in D.C. on the lawn, UD students were in the Kennedy Union Hangar. Among the comfy couches and bowling lanes was a standing-room-only crowd of nearly 200 watching the address to Congress on the big screen and engaging on social media.

Sophomore Alexandra Altomare, who tweets at @alibearie7, spent that morning in the Hangar playing pope bingo (she earned a space when the pope said “joy” or discussed the “economy of exclusion”). She tweeted, “Started my morning with donuts, bingo, politics, and Pope Francis. I love UD! Very proud to be a Catholic today! #UDPope #pope2congress.”

Some of those same students, days later, piled onto two buses to join the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia Sept. 26-27. Pope Saint John Paul II started the World Meeting of Families in 1994 in Rome and, every three years, it is the largest gathering of Catholic families in the world.

The UD family included 111 students, staff and faculty who traveled together to witness Pope Francis’ arrival in Philadelphia, including senior Megan McAuliffe.

“I enjoyed celebrating and worshipping as one Catholic family,” she said. “Pope Francis called everyone to serve and care for each other as freely as God loves the human family.”

Pope Francis also spoke to inmates at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia. There, he said, “We know in faith that Jesus seeks us out. He wants to heal our wounds, to soothe our feet which hurt from traveling alone, to wash each of us clean of the dust from our journey. He doesn’t ask us where we have been, he doesn’t question us about what we have done.”

Back in Dayton, Dominic Sanfilippo, Jack Schlueter, Andrew Ekrich and I discussed Pope Francis’ visit around their duct-taped kitchen table at their Marianist Student Community house on Trinity Avenue. When asked specifically about Francis’ concern for our consumerist-dominated society, Sanfilippo said, “Pope Francis is calling us to be aware of how we walk around in the world. We have to take a step back from the world and question, ‘How am I acting today?’ We have set up the world where so many people profit at the expense of another and with our generation — it doesn’t have to be that way.”

Through Pope Francis’ various stops in the U.S. — and his willingness to talk about debated issues while remaining true to the idea of caring for the common good of all creation — he transformed for me the idea that Catholicism is just something practiced on Sundays into a ritual lived out in the way we accept others.

When Pope Francis finished his address to Congress, he emerged on the Capitol balcony and said, “And I ask you all, please, to pray for me. And if amongst you there are some who don’t believe, or can’t pray, I ask you please, to wish good things for me.”

The hair on my arms stood up and a chill raced up my spine. I was completely overwhelmed with emotion. As I stood alone in the crowd, I knew I wasn’t the only one who was blinking back tears.

Through that simple statement, Pope Francis recognizes that while we all question our faith, we are accepted anyway. That one statement reaffirmed that there was and always will be a place for me in Catholicism.

Read more about what the pope says (and why we care).

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1:49 PM  Dec 10th, 2015
by Audrey Starr

A book by Shary Hauer ’79.

In her professional life, Shary Hauer was a confident, successful, high-caliber executive coach who advised big-time corporate leaders around the globe — but her personal life was in shambles. “I
was insecure, clingy, desperate and willing to do anything and everything to win and keep a man,” she admits. In Insatiable, Hauer chronicles her emotional journey from self-hate to self-love. “At my book signings and talks, there is always an engaging conversation about love, relationships, what worked, what didn’t and lessons learned. When I was writing this book, I had no idea that my story would resonate with every woman who reads it, but it has,” Hauer said.

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The Long Green Line

1:46 PM  Dec 10th, 2015
by Audrey Starr

A film by Matthew Arnold ’99.

Much of Matthew Arnold’s film career originated at UD. He programmed monthly movies that aired via the campus cable network as inaugural chair of Flyer Movie Channel and produced and directed live campus television broadcasts, which featured Student Government Association debates. Arnold’s first documentary feature, The Long Green Line, was released in 2014 and follows the record-setting career of Chicago cross-country coach Joe Newton. He’s followed it up with two Web series and several independent feature films he’s helped produce. “I love telling stories and working with actors to convey real people and real human emotions,” he said. View Arnold’s work at longgreenlinemovie.com.

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1:43 PM  Dec 10th, 2015
by Audrey Starr

An album by Libby Gill ’15

For singer/songwriter Libby Gill, music is therapy. So, she decided to study both. “Music has always been a big part of my life, and I also had a desire to help people,” said the recent music therapy graduate. As a teenager, Gill found her mother’s 1970s guitar in the basement, looked up some chords on the Internet and never looked back. With a sound that ranges from pop to blues to folk, Gill enjoys pushing her own genre boundaries, gets inspiration from artists like Sara Bareilles and Imagine Dragons, and is, she says, “a Swifty for life.” Gill’s threesong EP, Soldier, was released in February 2015 and is available on iTunes, Bandcamp and Spotify. Her first full-length album is nearing completion; follow along at libbygill.bandcamp.com.

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Fish tales

1:01 PM  Dec 10th, 2015
by Grace Poppe '16

This is no fish story.

UD has a fishing club, established four years ago by senior Robert Petrick.

And this year, it competed at the Fishing League Worldwide College Conference Finals on the Chesapeake Bay.

It may be a sport with a leisurely reputation, but in August Petrick and fishing partner junior Sam Tunnacliffe found themselves racing back to the shore to qualify for the finals.

The team had been on Chautauqua Lake, New York, for eight hours, casting lines under the dock — where they knew the bass would be hiding in the summer heat. With two minutes to the 2:45 p.m. weigh-in deadline of the FLW College Northern Conference qualifier tournament, they pulled their livewell filled with bass onto shore. Wearing blue and red Flyer jerseys, they stepped onto the stage and learned that their five heaviest catches for the day totaled 7 pounds, 13 ounces: enough to land them in the top 20 out of 75 teams and qualify them for the finals.

Although the September finals did not go well — bad weather contributed to 15 teams, including UD, not catching any qualifying bass — Petrick and Tunnacliffe said they were proud to represent UD for the first time at the finals.

The team members also say they are used to being the underdogs. They compete against a sea of teams that have school-funded boats and equipment, or even full-ride fishing scholarships. UD’s team has two boats — which its members have purchased themselves.

“It’s hard to find guys who are willing to put the time, energy and money into this, because it’s just a student-run club,” Tunnacliffe said. “But mostly, it’s just really fun, and rewarding when we do find those people.”

Since most tournaments take place during the summer, the club’s 12 members spend most of the academic year fishing for smallmouth bass on the Great Miami River, and strategizing and researching for the tournaments with the help of their advisers, Jeff Kavanaugh, biology department chair, and health and sport science associate professor Jon Linderman.

“The professionals can look at the temperature and the water clarity and say, ‘OK, you should be fishing in that kind of spot using that kind of bait and that color.’ So, we’re trying to get better at that sort of thing,” Tunnacliffe said.

If they can, the team visits the lake prior to the tournament, so that they can ask local fishers about the most reliable places to buy fish and bait and to discover the best spots to fish in the lake.

“Local knowledge is huge,” Petrick said. Even so, he admits that a lot of it is up to chance. You can spend days preparing, but because of factors like weather and water conditions, you still may not do well on the day of the tournament.

“It’s a guessing game. But that’s what we like about fishing: It keeps you on your toes. It forces you to adapt,” Petrick said.

Tunnacliffe will take over leadership of the club once Petrick graduates, but both say they will never stop bass fishing. “When I started this club, I was looking for a lifetime hobby,” Petrick said.

“And that’s exactly what this is.”

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It’s electric

12:58 PM  Dec 10th, 2015
by Shawn Robinson

University of Dayton mail is being delivered at the speed of light now that two electric vehicles have arrived on campus. The fleet, which also will be used by University parking services, is a gift from Cenntro Motors, a Nevada-based company that develops all-electric commercial vehicles. The donation supports the University’s Hanley Sustainability Institute initiatives. The vehicles are valued at $25,000 each.

Through the Hanley Sustainability Institute, the University’s current sustainability programs are being extended campuswide through an integrated approach to prepare students for the growing demand for sustainability skills in the workplace as well as for civic leadership on sustainability issues.

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Seattle, Washington

12:55 PM  Dec 10th, 2015
by Audrey Starr

For about 300 Flyers, the yellow brick road — from UD to the rest of their lives — led to the Emerald City. From hot jobs to hot java, they’ll tell you there’s no place like a Seattle home.

DayMag asked: How did you wind up in Seattle, and how soon after graduation did that happen?

“I relocated to Seattle from Chicago three years ago for my position with Amazon.com, where I led a worldwide team of data scientists and business intelligence engineers that implemented data science solutions. I have since left Amazon to form a startup, Lumidatum, that provides a cloud data science platform to make data prediction easy.”
—Patrick Rice ’04

“Inspired by the intense beauty of the Olympics, Mount Rainier, the Cascades and Mount Baker circling a very green city, I moved to Seattle in July 2010. I walk to work and ride my bike to the
beach. In Ohio, I drove 20,000 miles annually; in Seattle, I average 500. The Pacific Northwest was also much more inclusive of LGBT residents than the Midwest at the time. Seattle has provided an excellent quality of life that matches my interests and values.”
—Bill O’Connell ’86

“Toward the end of my senior year, I joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and was placed in Seattle. I left for JVC orientation thinking my great Pacific Northwest adventure would last one year, and then I’d return to Ohio. I’m still in Seattle more than 33 years later!”
—Celia Thomas ’82

Alumni By the Numbers

Total Alumni 342
Undergraduate 258
Graduate 99*
Male 205
Female 137

Graduation Classes

All 1950s-2010s
Most 1990s

Academic Area

Arts & Sciences 147
Engineering 77
Business 67
Education 37
Law 14

*15 alumni hold both types of degrees

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Our common home

12:49 PM  Dec 10th, 2015
by President Daniel J. Curran

We are being called to be good stewards of the Earth.

As Pope Francis wrote in his groundbreaking encyclical on the environment, “What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?”

The pope asked us to “care for our common home” — and, ultimately, to care for the world’s most vulnerable citizens who are being affected the most by environmental degradation. (See story, Page 38).

Before the pope called for global stewardship, we made sustainability a major initiative.

In 2013, I signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, pledging that we will take steps to achieve carbon neutrality. We reduced our energy usage and mandated LEED guidelines for new construction and renovations.

We’re making strides. Even as we built substantially more new facilities and increased enrollment to a record high, we reduced greenhouse gas emissions 5 percent per student over our 2006 high.

In the School of Engineering, enrollment in the renewable and clean energy master’s degree program has tripled as we prepare students to design energy-efficient buildings and develop clean energy for the developing world.

In the University of Dayton Research Institute, we’re conducting high-impact research in renewable energy technologies.

In the School of Business Administration, students are learning socially responsible investing, and we don’t have to look too far to find teachable moments. Our board of trustees spent more than a year developing a philosophy called “Catholic, sustainable and responsible investing.” Over the last year, in a phased approach, we eliminated fossil fuel holdings from domestic equity accounts, invested in green and sustainable technologies, and divested from all mutual funds.

In November, the Hanley Sustainability Institute brought together faith-based organizations to advance the global conversation about divestment and the pope’s call for climate solutions.

This is a complex issue with no easy solutions. In times of social change, we draw upon the Marianist philosophy. We must stay at the table, listen to each other, harness the gifts of all and work
together toward a shared vision of the Earth.

As the pope wrote, “The notion of the common good also extends to future generations.”

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On Care for Our Common Home

12:45 PM  Dec 10th, 2015
by Michelle Tedford '94

What has been the Marianists’ reaction to Pope Francis’ encyclical?

We asked this question of Brother Ron Overman, S.M. ’68, assistant provincial for temporalities (finance) of the Marianist Province of the United States. His answer:

There was great anticipation about the encyclical. Many of my Marianist brothers speculated on the content. We have not been disappointed — especially with how Pope Francis connects respect for the environment with how the environmental issues relate to keeping the poor of the world poor.

Many of our communities have read and used the encyclical for community meetings to further understand how the environment not only impacts the poor of the world but also how it will affect future generations. (One helpful study guide was published by National Catholic Reporter, “A Readers’ Guide to Laudato Si,’ ” by Jesuit Father Thomas Reese.)

Soon after the Laudato Si’ was published, the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) encouraged all religious orders of men to adopt a resolution called “Cherish All of Creation.”

The tenets of the resolution include these beginnings:

“We resolve to significantly change our lifestyle, including our consumption habits …

“We resolve to significantly increase our reliance on green energy in our ministries, buildings, and our investments …

“We resolve that we significantly decrease our use of fossil fuels … by purchasing carbon off-sets to increase environmental improvement.

“We resolve to consistently advocate for significant policy changes at the local, national and international spheres …”

Each tenet comes from the encyclical Laudato Si’ and brings us practical ways to make the encyclical part of our life.

Ninety-eight percent of the members of the Marianist Province of the United States endorsed the CMSM resolution.

Several of our communities have already sought ways to use green energy in their local houses. Several have used an alternative energy company (Arcadia) to supply green energy to the power grid, thus reducing fossil fuel use. Such use of green energy may be a small step, but it is the right step and respects the direction of Care for our Common Home.

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Dayton school gets all-star coaching staff

3:23 PM  Dec 9th, 2015
by Doug Harris ’79

Jim Place ’69 has spent the latter part of his coaching career building successful football programs at inner-city high schools. But he knew trying to turn Ponitz Career Tech Center in Dayton into a winner this year would be his biggest reclamation project yet.

Place, a former Flyer football star, has had to overcome apathy, equipment issues and home environments that made getting players to and from practice a challenge.
Practically the only easy aspect of the job, it turned out, was assembling a staff.

When some ex-UD teammates, who were transitioning into retirement, heard he was donating his time to not only coach football but also to help change lives, they became inspired enough to want to be involved.

“They all called me,” Place said. “They were sitting at home. They called and said, ‘I want to do it.’”

Former Flyer teammates Bob Palcic ’71, Mike Wilson ’70, Jim Siewe ’69 and Mike McCall ’68 all were willing to come aboard for no pay, along with another UD grad, Joe Russo ’71, who still teaches in the city.

“We’re having a ball,” Place said. “The kids make it fun. They’ve been great.”

Place, who has won a state title and more than 200 games in his career, boosted the roster from 17 to 64 by finding a donor to purchase city bus passes so the players could attend practices faithfully.

He found a friend to contribute money for the school’s first weight room.

The practice field, which is bordered by I-75 and some oft-used railroad tracks, needed goal posts. Place took care of that, too.

And to make sure his players are fueled properly, he arranged for a weekly pre-game meal.

But while Ponitz players now have the staples of a program that most of their competition enjoy, they blow away their foes when it comes to the collective experience of their coaches.

Palcic spent 12 years as an NFL assistant and 28 at the college level, including at Ohio State. He coaches the Ponitz offensive line the same way he did Cleveland Browns star Joe Thomas and two other Outland Trophy winners he groomed in college.

Siewe was a head coach for four years each at Kettering Alter and Huber Heights Wayne. He handles the quarterbacks.

McCall was a longtime assistant at Alter, helping the Knights win three state titles. He’s in charge of special teams.

And Wilson serves as the unofficial team mentor. The former standout lineman spent 12 years in the pros and is the only person to have played for the NFL, AFL, CFL, WFL and USFL.

“Any teenager needs a helping hand,” Wilson said. “When

I was coming up, I had more than one ‘Dad,’ too.”

Ponitz, which lost four games by 60 or more points last year, is suddenly competitive, winning its last three games to finish 4-6. And enthusiasm is high.

“The coaches make it fun,” quarterback Greg Brooks said. “In a lot of the hitting drills, they get hyped more than we do.”

As for their impact off the field, Brooks said: “There’s a big difference. Everyone is more mature now.”

Place has several younger staffers, and he hopes to hand the job off when one of them is ready to take the reins.

Until then, he’ll show players what it takes to win and help steer them in the right direction.

“I believe in winning little battles,” he said. “If X number of these kids, because of being on this team, become successful human beings, we’ve done a great job.

“We’re not going to change society, but we can win some little battles and make a difference.”

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