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9:40 AM  Mar 19th, 2015
by Erin Callahan '15

Forgive, forget: it’s a choice most of us face throughout our lives. The church teaches on the power of forgiveness; seminars and self-help books have focused on the subject; Google brings up millions of hits. But that’s just the process of learning how to forgive. Alan Demmitt, associate professor in counselor education and human services, wants to know if there’s more to it.

Demmitt discusses the concept in his Integrated Approaches to Clinical Counseling course, geared toward students preparing to become mental health counselors. He’s been conducting his own research for the past two years on how forgiveness, or lack thereof, affects mental health — and our daily lives. Though psychology major Michaela Eames ’15 hasn’t taken his course, she’s taken interest in his research. “This isn’t an area I’ve seen much about, so I find it really interesting,” she said.

While most of us aren’t mental health experts, avoiding a grudge could be as easy as following these steps and considering the questions Demmitt poses through his research.

1. Look beyond the books. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the reference guide mental health counselors use to diagnose mental illnesses like depression or anxiety. However, there may be additional factors to consider. “Things you won’t see in there are bitterness, resentment or a lack of forgiveness, but there are many people struggling with those issues, and it could lead to depression, anxiety or fractured relationships,” Demmitt said. Taking those negative feelings into account could help individuals pinpoint — and solve — the problem.

2. Consider your values. Whether you practice a religion or not, certain values could influence your approach to forgiveness, Demmitt said. As part of his research, he interviewed a group of 10 clergy of different faiths about how they apply their religious practices to forgiveness. He’s transcribing the results and plans to next interview individuals without a faith tradition. Eames wonders if research could also address one of her observations: “Forgiveness is innate in
everyone, whereas faith is not.”

3. Establish a forgiving spirit. Demmitt devotes a portion of his research to how people prepare for forgiveness. “I’m focusing on what people do to be ready to forgive when a situation arises,” he said. “How do they go about cultivating this sense of forgiveness in their lives?” Eames calls it “stabilized forgiveness”: finding its origin and learning how to keep it going to prevent a grudge from interfering with
your life.

4. Keep it up. It’s easier to accomplish something than it is to maintain it, Demmitt said, like losing 5 pounds versus keeping it off. “Are there habits and practices people engage in on a daily or weekly basis to keep a forgiving spirit about them?” his research asks. Like the religious figures Demmitt interviewed, following a certain faith tradition or another moral code can contribute to maintaining the forgiving spirit you establish. While Demmitt has not yet reached a conclusion in his research, Eames contends that addressing the process — and the topic itself — is an important first step in helping people live happier lives.

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9:38 AM  Mar 19th, 2015
by Tom Corcoran '13

Nestled between the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers is a town that some call “America’s most livable city” or “the Steel City.” For 1,880 University of Dayton alumni, this hidden gem and gateway to the Midwest is simply called “home.”

The alumni presence in Pittsburgh has boomed in the last decade due to a resurgence in industry and a rise in job creation. Chris Webb ’95, leader of the city’s alumni community, moved his family there four years ago for a position with U.S. Steel.

“The people in Pittsburgh are great,” he said. “When we moved here, the first thing I did was reach out to the UD alumni community to connect with people, and we were welcomed with open arms.”

One of the unique aspects of the Pittsburgh area is an immeasurable and undefined quality that combines big-city resources with a small-town feel. Similar to the spirit on UD’s campus, community is a big part of the Pittsburgh way of life.

“There’s just something special about UD and the connection you feel with people from UD no matter what year they graduated,” Webb said. “Pittsburgh has a very similar community feel to it, and I think that is attractive to a lot of UD alumni.”

The other common thread that makes UD graduates feel right at home is Pittsburghers’ obsession with their sports teams. Each summer, Webb and the rest of the alumni community organize a trip to take in a Pirates baseball game at PNC Park, one of the nation’s premier ballparks. While cheering for the Black and Gold is fun, the alumni community makes sure to stay true to its Red and Blue roots.

During the basketball team’s Elite Eight run in 2014, Webb said, the alumni community had several watch parties to collectively cheer on the Flyers. It is Pittsburgh’s proximity to one of UD’s biggest rivals, however, that allowed Webb and the rest of the community to start a new annual tradition when the Flyers come to town.

“It started last year, when UD came to town to play Duquesne,” Webb said. “We rented out the Blue Line Grille across the street from the Consol Energy Center, where the game was played, to have a big party for all the alumni in the area and anyone else in town for the game. We had a huge turnout because we put our ‘UD Alumni Community’ sign in the front window of the restaurant — Flyer fans just started swarming in.”

As they say, birds of a feather flock together — and so do the Flyer Faithful.

PNC PARK, because you have a beautiful view of the Pittsburgh skyline, and every seat has a fantastic view of the game.” —Jennifer Huber Kirschler ’89

“For me, there is nothing better than taking my 6-year-old granddaughter to PNC PARK by the river on a sunny Sunday afternoon.” —Thomas Fox ’70

PNC PARK is one of the most beautiful ballparks in the U.S., and I’m a season ticket holder at HEINZ FIELD. The CONSOL ENERGY CENTER is also a great venue (and I’m not a huge hockey fan).” —James Bernauer ’70

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Blank page

9:35 AM  Mar 19th, 2015
by Michelle Tedford '94

Depending on your profession, ablank page could be a wonderful thing — full of possibilities, ready for you to make your mark.

For an editor, it’s the stuff of nightmares — ones with hairy spiders, chainsaw-wielding madmen and red pens that have all run out of ink.

So, I almost hate to ask, but did you see the blank pages in this issue, Pages 30-35? No? Thank goodness.

And thank a student. I did.

We employ 13 students — writers, photographers and a social media intern — for contributions that go beyond simply completing assignments and filling holes. In this issue, senior Ian Moran drove under threat of snowmageddon to Columbus, Ohio, to photograph a couple who will make bicycle dreams come true (Page 56). Our graduate assistant Tom Corcoran ’13 channeled his experience on UD’s football team to uncover mysterious figures from the Flyers’ 1938 squad (Page 61). To find their work, just look for bylines followed by the student’s graduation year. They leave their marks everywhere, including proofreading these pages.

Last summer, my assignment to senior Erin Callahan was to poke her head into every academic office and ferret out people and programs for potential stories. She returned from civil engineering with a name: Pete Ogonek. What started as a 500-word student profile blossomed into her feature “Rowing Machine,” starting on Page 30. Not only does she tell a good tale, but she also filled a very large hole left when the editors decided a previously scheduled feature just wasn’t ripe enough to run.

I barely had time to panic about a blank page when Erin filled it with a story of determination and excellence.

I’d like to think this entire magazine shows just that. The traits are often found in those we interview and photograph, in the stories we tell and the University we love. But our staff — both professional and student — demonstrate determination and excellence every day. A favorite part of my job is working with these students, feeding off their energy and teaching them what I love most about this craft. Our working relationship is not perfect; there are frustrations over missed deadlines, killed stories, or the obstinate use of the serial comma. But when I page through the final product, and know all that has gone into it, I am very, very proud.

I hope you are, too.

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Repeating history; celebrating life

9:32 AM  Mar 19th, 2015
by Audrey Starr

Social studies teacher Justin Parker ’14 arrives in his classroom each morning. By the end of the day, he will have seen 107 students sitting in front of him; but he also has the spirit of former social studies teachers behind him.

For Parker, a first-year teacher at Dayton Early College Academy, such a career was a goal set during his own high school years after a charity ballgame gave him a new perspective — and a Flyer connection.

“I had a particular teacher in high school that I wanted to model myself after,” said Parker, who attended Solon High School near Cleveland. That teacher oversaw an annual dodgeball tournament in memory of Solon social studies teacher David Yates, a 1981 UD graduate who died in 2000 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

“Every year, my teacher shared memories of Yates and how those experiences impacted his life,” Parker said. “Without ever meeting Mr. Yates, I learned how selfless he was as an educator and as a person. I did my best during my own time at UD to emulate those character traits.”

A magna cum laude graduate and Dayton Civic Scholars participant, Parker was also a recipient of the University’s David Thomas Yates Scholarship. A history major, Yates was president of the honorary history society and received the Dean Leonard A. Mann, S.M., Award of Excellence, given to the outstanding senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. Established in 2000 by Yates’ family, the scholarship has since been awarded 14 times to service-minded students training for teaching careers — students like Corinne Smyth Gries ’04, the scholarship’s first recipient. Today, she teaches education at St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Indiana.

“UD challenged me to look beyond the classroom and use my education to give back to others,” Gries said. “It was helpful and comforting to know that through the Yates scholarship, someone else was giving back and supporting my education. Earning the scholarship showed me that UD is a community that cares about the future generations of Flyers.”

Parker agreed. “The Yates scholarship held a very special meaning in my life,” he said. “My hope is to make an impact on the students I teach in the same way past teachers impacted me.”


good works 2 connorWhen Philadelphians Mark Connor ’81 and his wife, Miriam Crivaro, prepared to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in 2014, they knew it should be special.

So, they held a joint celebration with Crivaro’s parents, who were celebrating 60 years of marriage. They hired the West Chester Swing Kings, a 19-piece big band, and enjoyed a hot-and-cold buffet from Carlino’s Specialty Foods. And they encouraged guests to send gifts — but not the kind wrapped in pretty paper.

Instead, the couple asked attendees to give to the David Thomas Yates Scholarship at the University of Dayton.

“David Yates ’81 was my roommate for three years at UD, my best friend for nearly 23 years, the brother I never had, and one of my groomsmen,” Connor wrote in his anniversary invitation. “At UD, Dave taught me — a clueless hick from upstate New York — how to study and, by example, showed me there was nothing wrong with having a work ethic and striving for perfection. Dave inspired me to become an A student. I owe Dave for not only my academic achievements but also for my subsequent professional success.”

The duo met in Founders Hall and roomed together as the first residents of 361 E. Stewart St. in the newly built Garden Apartments. Yates helped Connor learn to study, and Connor, a security guard for Marycrest Hall and Campus South,
introduced Yates to new faces. Senior year, they shared the Dean Leonard A. Mann, S.M., Award of Excellence, the first time the honor was ever split.

“For two years before his death, Dave attended an annual Yates 5K Run/Walk in Solon, Ohio, that raised funds for ALS patients and their families,” Connor said. “The theme was ‘Celebrate Life,’ and that’s what we wanted to do with our anniversary. I miss Dave, but I’m grateful our paths crossed when we were young men at our beloved UD.”

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At home in China

9:31 AM  Mar 19th, 2015
by President Daniel J. Curran; Photo by Ty Greenless, Dayton Daily News

When I step down as president in June 2016, I plan to spend part of my time teaching students at the University of Dayton China Institute because I believe our graduates need an international perspective.

They need to excel in their chosen professions — and develop the cultural skills necessary to collaborate in the workplace locally and globally.

That’s why I was so moved by the words of junior chemical engineering major David Borth at a January announcement of Fuyao Glass America Inc.’s $7 million gift. We will use the company’s generous donation to purchase the building that houses the China Institute in Suzhou, China (see story, Page 8).

“When employers hear that you have been to China, they are intrigued and want to know all about it,” David told the audience of state legislators and community leaders. “It speaks to what kind of person you are — that you are not just willing to go outside of your comfort zone but are willing to go very far outside that comfort zone. Employers know that you are willing to challenge yourself.”

The value of Fuyao’s gift is priceless for countless University of Dayton students. When students study abroad, it changes their lives. It prepares them to live and work in a borderless world.

The China Institute — slightly larger than Miriam Hall on campus — sits 7,000 miles away, but it’s become a home away from home to all those who study and conduct research there.

Our students are gaining invaluable experience conducting hands-on projects with such partner companies as Emerson Climate Technologies, GE Aviation, Johnson & Johnson Medical and Lilly Pharmaceutical.

Fuyao’s gift is both visionary and bold. With a presence here in Dayton and on the other side of the world in China, this company knows the power of intercultural partnerships. Just a few miles from campus, Fuyao is undergoing a $250 million renovation of a former General Motors assembly plant for a large automotive glass manufacturing facility. I’ve had the privilege of visiting Fuyao’s headquarters in Fujian Province in China twice, and it’s an impressive operation.

As a Marianist university, we believe building community begins with building relationships, one at a time. We’re discovering that’s a mission that resonates in every corner of the globe.

In December, I traveled to China to join the U.S. ambassador to China as we dedicated the new American Cultural Center at the China Institute. It is one of only 20 such centers funded by the U.S. Department of State in China — and the first to be established outside the campus of a Chinese university. That speaks volumes about our reputation for building bridges.

When making the gift announcement, Fuyao Glass Group Chairman Dewang Cao said the China Institute “has the potential to become a center of international goodwill.”

For our students, globalization is not part of the future. It’s right now.

And it’s quickly becoming part of their comfort zone.

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How the death penalty lives

10:30 AM  Mar 1st, 2015
by Michelle Tedford

In the most recent edition of Studies in Law, Politics and Society, assistant professor of sociology Jamie Longazel and his co-authors analyze why, despite a tremendous decline in the use of the death penalty in the United States, a few locales continue to pursue death sentences. Only 16 percent of U.S. counties account for about 90 percent of all death verdicts.

“Capital punishment operates in a field of violently defended racial boundaries,” said Longazel, who with his colleagues analyze Maricopa County, Arizona, one of the most active death penalty locales in the contemporary United States. They describe how various local actors contribute to a climate characterized by deeply rooted fears of racial ‘outsiders.’ These “racist localisms” are catalysts for the continued implementation of the death penalty in the United States, they write: “At a moment when the death penalty continues to breathe life in just a few places, it is essential to uncover an ever more in-depth understanding of what allows this peculiar institution to persist.”

Click here to read the abstract of the journal article.

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Pachoko, pachoko

11:00 AM  Dec 29th, 2014
by Michelle Tedford '94; Photos by Jed Gerlach '15

Pachoko, pachoko (little by little): Locals use the phrase to describe the pace of life along Lake Malawi, Africa — how what needs to be done, will be done. UD students are using this measured approach to human rights, collaborating with the people to find hope while testing the waters for a UD human rights research base.

“Your life is over.”

A tired grandmother with a crooked back told her orphaned granddaughter to give up — at age 14.

Little Alinafe Kachenje, who after school foraged in the forest to feed her hungry siblings, had received top honors in her class. But Grandmother could not afford the fees for secondary school. The girl, she said, must marry.

Kachenje refused. “I asked one of my teachers, ‘Where can I find hope?’”

Hope is hard to come by in her village of Sangilo, Malawi, in southern Africa, which is one reason University of Dayton students are going there to learn about human rights. Among the world’s least developed and most densely populated countries, Malawi has many children like Kachenje: orphaned by AIDS, malnourished, without access to clean water, and forced from school into work or marriage to survive.

In decades past, the way to “solve” the problem would have been for international organizations to swoop in and hand out money, dig wells and build roads — if a village was so lucky. Change could be temporary and was often based on the donor’s wishes, not the people’s desires.

UD is doing it differently. In the summer of 2014, five students continued the University’s work within a new framework for human rights: collaborate with the residents to define goals based on strengths and needs, then develop and implement plans using local and donor resources to improve the quality of life. It’s a way of applying the Marianist model of working in community to learning in human rights, politics, economics, education, engineering and more. Their results will not only make a difference in Sangilo; they will influence the way human rights work is done, with UD students and faculty at the forefront of finding hope.

*     *     *

Five UD students look out of their home-fired brick rooms and onto one of the world’s largest and deepest freshwater lakes: Lake Malawi. Every day they pull back mosquito nets and rise with the sun, greeted by the pinks and oranges that warm to bright blue skies as they scatter throughout the Karonga district in northern Malawi to talk with the people about what matters to them most: the education and safety of their children; access to clean water; how to survive the drought.

This was their life last summer as members of the second cohort of UD’s Malawi Research Practicum on Rights and Development. During the eight-week collaborative summer research experience, students of many majors conceive independent research projects from half a world away, travel to talk with the people of Malawi and then return to report on their findings.

This is not ecotourism or sightseeing, though they do see beautiful sights. It is not study abroad, but it is research abroad, where students see not a problem but a people.

“It drives my head, and it drives my heart, too,” said Meredith Pacenta, a senior political science and human rights major who researched the moral development of Malawian schoolchildren. “It’s about being open to what God has in store for me to learn.

“The point of the research is to change the conversations.”

These traits — dedication and adaptability — are what professors like Rick Ghere look for when choosing from among the applicants for this selective practicum. The University covers all expenses except medical precautions, a signal of the practicum’s importance to the University’s educational strategies. In return, the University expects students to share their research with the local communities and with others through conference presentations.

Before students leave for Malawi, Ghere conducts a semester of workshops — including talks with students from past cohorts — to help them refine their topic and prepare for life in another culture. He also shares with them his experience of visiting Malawi in 2013.

“Collecting data from the people across the street is hard — ‘this is who I am, this is why I am here,’” the political science professor told them. “It’s even tougher when you’re U.S. citizens and you’re showing up at their houses asking questions.”

The seeds for the practicum started in 2010 with a few students and their individual drives to explore human rights in a nation known for its kind people and extreme poverty. Through those experiences, said Jason Pierce, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, “we learned how a place like Malawi provides a learning opportunity for students from across the University.”

So in summer 2013, the political science department initiated the practicum — open to students from any major — with a research base at Maji Zuwa, a social entrepreneurship lodge in Sangilo Village.

They picked Malawi and Maji Zuwa in part because of an alumnus who pledged his heart to the nation. Matt Maroon ’06 volunteered with the Marianists in Malawi for what was supposed to be a year, a temporary detour between undergraduate studies and law school. He found both a need and an opportunity, and one year has become nine and counting. He founded the Maji Zuwa lodge and the nongovernmental organization Determined to Develop. He also is the practicum’s site coordinator, providing direction, contacts and translators for the students.

Said Pierce, “He’s just a terrific illustration of the Marianist charism in action and a terrific mentor for our human rights students.”

It’s a lot to expect a young adult to live in a developing country, conduct research and influence local conversations about topics critical to life. But UD is providing the opportunity in part because students are demanding it, Pierce said. As UD’s human rights studies program has grown, students want hands-on experience, what in academic lingo is called experiential learning and intercultural competency.

The students translate it in different ways: holding close an AIDS orphan; watching a woman collect water from a contaminated well; listening to a boy whose father beats him if he does not fish at night.

Their research is both quantitative — such as counting and mapping wells — and qualitative, relying on the time and stories of local people to paint a picture of the community’s challenges and assets.

And it has the potential to turn into a University of Dayton sub-Saharan human rights research base where successive years of students can build on others’ research to effect real change. After only two cohorts, students can already point to projects on which their research is being applied.

*     *     *

Unless you work in human rights, you may not know of Malawi. It lies below the equator on the eastern portion of the continent, a long, landlocked country with a mostly rural population. It has a short wet season and a long dry season that is becoming longer and drier, a burden for a country that derives 90 percent of its gross domestic product from farming.

The former British protectorate is not rich in natural resources and therefore, Maroon said, did not receive infrastructure development like other African nations under colonial rule. Travel outside the capital and larger cities is difficult; it takes seven hours to drive 230 miles from the capital, Lilongwe, to Maji Zuwa at a cost of $10 a gallon for fuel.

Its challenges are many, including a high HIV infection rate resulting in more than 700,000 AIDS orphans, according to UNICEF. Nearly half of the country’s population is under age 14.

But if you do know one thing about Malawi, it might be the friendliness of its people. It is known as the “warm heart of Africa.”

“They not only accept you but even call you their own,” Pacenta said. “If I was visiting their school, I was part of the school for the day. Or at Maji Zuwa, I was part of Maji Zuwa. Those little boys [orphans living at the lodge] were my little brothers for eight weeks.”

That warmth is just one of the reasons why Malawi makes a good research base for UD.

Another is the Society of Mary.

The Marianists have been in Malawi since 1960 when they accepted an invitation from the local bishop, first opening Nkhata Bay Secondary School and then operating Chaminade Secondary School in Karonga. The brothers also founded Mzuzu Technical School to teach trades to children. In the early 1970s, Brother George Dury, S.M. ’30, started a reforestation initiative and oversaw the planting of a half million trees over three decades. Fifteen years ago, the Marianists founded MIRACLE, a model of vocational learning for AIDS orphans and microfinance for AIDS widows. That was where Maroon did his service.

Brother Thomas Njari, S.M., director of MIRACLE, said the Marianists are educating for intellect, morality and spirituality. He can see the impact of the brothers beyond his school. “Everywhere in the country, you are going to find our students,” he said.

Ghere said there are other reasons to choose Malawi as a research base. Its political system works, with democratic rule and peaceful transition of power among elected officials from throughout the nation’s three regions. Ethnic and religious groups — predominantly Christian with a significant Muslim population — get along. The climate is good during Dayton’s summer (Malawi’s winter), with temperatures in the low 80s.

It’s a nation that relies on others, with 36 percent of government revenue coming from donor support. With so many NGOs in the country, there are already a lot of college students boarding planes for Malawi. That includes UD students, who since 2011 have worked in Malawi through ETHOS to provide appropriate technology solutions to supply drinking water, energy, irrigation systems and more.

And there’s Maroon. “Students benefit from the capital Matt has earned over the years,” Ghere said. Maroon was on faculty at the local University of Livingstonia for four years, and he arranges for Malawian students to work with UD students as translators. He even knows the U.S. ambassador, whom he hosted for Thanksgiving along with 100 of the children whose schooling his NGO supports.

His connections get students interviews with everyone from schoolteachers to government officials. This summer, he connected junior Andrew Lightner with Victor Mwalwimba, the local government agriculture extension worker, who also provided translation. “I got one more interview every day than I had expected,” said Lightner, a political science major and economics minor. On the way to each interview, Mwalwimba offered background on cotton farming, livestock or the topic of the day. This allowed Lightner to jump right into the conversation. “That was a huge advantage for me,” he said. “Any of my successes really stem from that.”

Maroon has cultivated his relationship with UD, too, where students operate a chapter of Determined to Develop, educating their classmates about the country and organizing fundraising events. Last year they raised $10,000 to build a new school near Sangilo Village on land the local leaders gave to Maroon.

*     *     *

During his interviews with local people, Lightner didn’t want to talk about the weather.

In the States, it can be a euphemism for polite talk on an inconsequential topic. But for the farmers in Malawi, weather was the most important thing.

“Six months of prep work, and you think you know things,” said Lightner of the research he conducted before leaving for Malawi. “But you learn really quickly that you know nothing. I knew nothing.”

He read that currency devaluation had been devastating for the economy. He wanted to ask farmers about it to understand the local impact of macroeconomic policies. “They are in a five-year drought, with every year getting worse,” he said. “When I talked about 2012, when the currency was close to worthless, they only talked about the drought of 2012.”

He listened and adapted, and he switched his research to what was important to them: how to survive the economic stresses caused by drought.

Lightner talked with Jean, a local farm leader, next to a tree outside her home as a large pig snored nearby. She showed her visitors the compost system she teaches to other farmers, using leaves and manure to keep moisture in the parched soil.

From other farmers he learned that goats often give birth to twins twice a year. Farmers say they keep goats as insurance against a bad winter harvest. In practice, they are more likely to go hungry in winter and sell their goats in August to pay for their children’s schooling. “They are incentivizing investment in the future, but they then are suffering the negative effects of malnutrition,” he said.

Lightner, whose international travel experience previously extended only to Toronto, said the economic lessons in Malawi were also lessons about living in the United States. “You realize how much we don’t have to worry about,” he said. “You might say, ‘I don’t like Wall Street, I don’t like banks,’ until you can’t get a loan for less than 200 percent interest. … Instead of chasing loans, “We get to go out and worry about doing our job right or having a good family life.”

His change in research direction happened thanks to Maroon offering insight and resources and his fellow cohort members being open every day to discussing what they learned and what they didn’t know.

Pacenta also changed directions, pairing her interest in faith formation with exploring the moral and spiritual development of children. She visited 11 schools and asked the children if they believed in God. But why did they believe in God? To the teachers and headmasters, she’d ask what made one church-sponsored school different from another. Often, it was only the text of the morning prayer.

“My mentality wasn’t honed in on finding a problem,” she said. “It was really what’s going on, what’s happening here, what role is Christianity playing in the schools and what role is it playing in their community. Is that supporting the development of children and what are the morals and values that they have?”

Daniela Porcelli ’14 also interviewed students at schools, building on previous research on gender identity and asking whether violence plays a role in a girl’s decision to drop out of school. She described an interview with a 15-year-old who was hanging laundry outside her home, a baby fastened to her back with a green and gold patterned cloth. The girl had been accepted into secondary school, but her stepmother’s physical and verbal abuse and refusal to pay for school fees forced her to marry at 13.

“Two years later, with a baby and an unemployed husband, she wished she had endured the abuse for a while longer,” said Porcelli, who graduated in May with degrees in English and human rights. “I discovered forms of verbal, physical and sexual violence add to the discontinuation of school, while poverty is the overarching reason.”

When people are poor, they lack basic resources. International organizations can step in to help. Jason Hayes, a senior human rights major, saw evidence of that literally written all over northern Malawi. He mapped drinking water locations and saw the names of donors scratched in the concrete around wells and water boreholes. Too often, he found them broken and contaminated. Sometimes, communities were not provided training on how to maintain the pump. In others, they could not raise the funds to cover repairs.

“In order to do what’s really needed, what’s really necessary for the community, you need that information,” he said. “You need to know what the community needs, wants, is feasible, so research is incredibly important. … It’s an experience that’s not afforded to very many undergraduate students.”

He found that villages with active borehole committees were in better shape to repair their systems. The best-functioning system was one where an NGO built the water supply, then compelled citizens to pay a small amount each month into a community repair fund. This system, though, also took from the citizens self-determination and local autonomy, also human rights, Hayes noted.

*     *     *

Now back in the States, the most recent cohort is writing up its results. Most students will create a report and present it at a campus conference.

But it won’t just be paper sitting on a shelf.

Each student will also share the results back with the people who spent so much time with them, the farmers, teachers and officials who shared themselves and their struggles with these foreign students. It’s one way to address a common complaint in human rights, that the people affected never see the results of the studies in which they participate. It’s also a way for the people to take the findings and develop their
own solutions.

That’s what Maroon thinks will happen with the schools visited by Pacenta. The local Catholic bishop, Martin Mtumbuka, is interested in how her research could help inform changes in curriculum to distinguish a Catholic education from that of other schools. Pacenta hopes her research contributes in the spirit of a popular local phrase, pachoko pachoko, which in Chitumbuka means “little by little.”

During his research on child labor and night fishing, senior human rights major Jed Gerlach uncovered best practices from surrounding villages that could be used by local leaders to address their child health, safety and educational concerns.

Maroon has plans, too. Education research by Porcelli will help Maroon as he develops a new national high school that also serves local needs identified through research done by previous UD students. And this fall he developed a goat-based microfinance program for female-headed households. It’s an application of Lightner’s findings: livestock can help the women weather economic stresses, and the women will share the wealth by passing kid goats to other women.

And then there’s water. One of the officials Hayes interviewed was Titus Mtegha, CEO of Malawi’s Northern Region Water Board. He is implementing a $150 million foreign aid grant that will give tens of thousands of villagers the opportunity to have reliable, clean water at their homes for the first time. Maroon asked Mtegha why he chose the construction area to include Sangilo Village. His answer: “[Hayes is] here, Maroon is here, we’ve got our friends here, so why not?”

Clearly, Maroon sees benefit in the partnership between UD and Determined to Develop. And so does UD. It has already selected the students who will travel there in summer2 015. Pierce said that the program’s success will grow the possibilities, with plans to strengthen ties with additional Malawian universities and with NGOs that could employ UD students as researchers or use their findings to build development programs.

“I’m excited about the opportunity for the University and how the partnership with someone like Matt can facilitate learning in a deep, deep way,” Pierce said.

Ghere also sees possibilities for growth. Practicum students could partner with UD’s ETHOS engineers, as one practicum student did in 2013. Students could also spend more than eight weeks in Malawi. Ghere said more time would allow students to visit the capital and better understand the center of power for both the national government and NGOs.

In the meantime, Maroon is continuing to spread his message about what appropriate, collaborative development can accomplish. This fall, he brought to campus three of the children his organization sponsors. They stood before UD students and explained the realities of their lives and the power of human rights development.

Now age 18, Alinafe Kachenje is barely 5 feet tall with a determination that doubled her stature at the podium. “Where can I find hope?” The answer: Through organizations like Maroon’s, which paid for her schooling.

But human rights development — chitukuko (pronounced chee-tooku-ko) in the local vernacular — is more than handing out school fees. It’s the energy that students like those from UD bring to her community. It’s good to know other people care, she said. It’s another reason for hope. And their research helps create projects on which she can contribute. Kachenje is learning about the goat microfinance program, working with women to spread the wealth while awaiting results from the national exam that will determine if she can attend college.

And this hope? It’s all UD’s fault, Maroon said. The seed of servant-leadership was planted deep, and it flowered in Malawi. Referring to Maji Zuwa, he said, “It permeates our campus as well.”

“We’re able to give our UD students a really practical, hands-on research experience that is meant to complement that classroom experience,” he said. “It’s exciting because we’re doing a better job at it each year. As it started out, it was this experiment to see whether this could work. We’re at a point now where yes, it does. It has. It will.

“We get to start thinking about the bigger questions of how this can impact not just our small area but the greater northern region of Malawi, Malawi as a country, and Africa and the developing world as a whole.”

Michelle Tedford is editor of the University of Dayton Magazine.


Continued conversations

Determined to Develop
Maji Zuwa
NGO Leadership and Human Rights by Richard Ghere, Kumarian Press, 2013
Department of Political Science

Read more about the work of alumnus Matt Maroon ’06 and view a gallery of senior Jed Gerlach’s night fishing photographs.

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Truth or tale

10:45 AM  Dec 29th, 2014
by Illustrations by Daryll Collins

Stories have long been told at UD, some to preserve history and others to simply scare the freshmen. We asked readers for their favorite rumors and sent our reporters out to dig deep — literally, with one student writer walking underneath campus — to uncover the answers for you.

River beneath campus: TRUTH
Humble, rounded ponds dot a landscape of rolling grass fields. They freeze in the winter for children to skate on; they thaw in the summer for children to swim in — including those children who once attended St. Mary’s School for Boys.

In an earlier time, this landscape composed the University of Dayton campus; bubbling springs fed a quiet stream running through campus, known as the Rubicon River. Now paved, developed and sodded, the remnants of the Rubicon River are buried below ground.

In the early 1920s, a section of the Rubicon was redirected into an underground pipe to develop the land that is now Baujan Field, and mischievous kids like current faculty member Bob Wolff ’58 used the pipes to sneak into football games.

Today, a manhole that rises from the ground between Marianist Hall and RecPlex descends into a 42 feet by 108 feet water storage vault directly beneath RecPlex. This land once existed as a wetland area fed by the Rubicon, where rain could re-enter the groundwater supply.

After the area was dug out and filled with clay in 2004, the massive vault was put in place to prepare the land for the development of the RecPlex and redirect the Rubicon River to the Great Miami River.

While it is no longer visible on campus above ground, Brother Don Geiger, S.M. ’55, professor emeritus of biology and a native Daytonian, has studied the ecology of the area and says that the transition of the Rubicon underground was more than just an aesthetic change. Just because the river is gone doesn’t mean the need for a river is gone.

—Caroline Glynn ’15

Hooch in the graveyard: MAYBE
Somewhere in the Marianist graveyard beside Marycrest may be buried a treasure trove of Prohibition-era contraband, brandished in old glass bottles.

In the 1920s and early ’30s, the only way to get consumable alcohol was through bootleggers and underground breweries, all the while praying you didn’t get caught.

Away from UD, the bootleggers would knock at the back screen door in the dead of night to deliver their product. Meanwhile on campus, anyone who managed to get ahold of liquor hid it from the Marianist brothers however they could.

Legend has it, that’s where the cemetery came in, says Barbara Macklin Faga ’64. “My uncle (Frank Macklin ’32) often told us how he buried several bottles of ‘hooch’ in the Marianist grave area,” Faga says. “I believe it. … All bottles are probably gone, disintegrated by now, but I wouldn’t be surprised (if he did).”

Michael Wicks, a School of Engineering Ohio Research Scholar and radar expert, says Macklin’s bottles could be found with ground-penetrating radar.

“It’s certainly possible,” Wicks says. “It’s a function of the condition of the materials … and where they’re buried.”

It’s easier to identify objects in dry ground, for example, than in damp or wet areas, he says.

“Radar has been used in graveyards for years, but mostly for calibration purposes,” Wicks says. “If you use a frequency equivalent to that your cell phone produces (1 GHz), you could actually find the bottles.”

From a historical perspective, the story of the bottles represents just a snapshot of America’s 13-year dry spell. The economic fallout of the 18th Amendment was widespread, but a lot of damage came at the local level.

In Dayton, the ban led to the closure of five breweries. Pre-prohibition advertisements in UD’s Exponent magazine promoted the “Superba Beer,” but by November 1920 those ads were for root beer, which no one saw need to hide.

—Mickey Shuey ’14

Body farm in the CPC: TALE
A room on the second floor of Fitz Hall — previously known as College Park Center — looks like it should belong in your favorite criminal drama. Bodies encased in cheesecloth line two long rows of tables while the smell of pungent chemicals — and flesh — wafts through the air. But Kimberly Ritterhoff, a lecturer for the health and sport science department, said there is no CSI happening in the former CPC.

“Body farms are associated more with forensic programs and are used to understand how body tissues break down in different conditions,” she said. The most famous body farm, where decomposition happens outdoors, is at the University of
Tennessee Knoxville.

On the other hand, UD’s anatomy lab helps health and sport science undergraduates and graduate students in physical therapy and physician assistant programs experience human anatomy. They learn about anatomical relationships, or the structure location relative to other structures in the body, and how the body can change due to disease or surgery, she said.

It is a rare opportunity for undergraduate students to work in an anatomy lab, giving UD students an advantage when they take dissection courses in graduate school, Ritterhoff said.

The course also allows students to get over the initial fear of dissection.

“I understand it can be alarming,” she said. “I leave the door open so people can come and go as they please. A lot of people linger in the hall, but by the end of it, they’re touching [the cadavers].”

Jacob Lubbe, a senior pre-physical therapy major, described his first experience in the lab as “amazing.”

“It was so interesting, how you keep a body preserved for so long and how you are able to differentiate between the structures of the human body,” he remarked.

Case closed.

—Sarah Devine ’14

Oil under the chapel: TALE
An April Fool’s edition of Flyer News from 1971 suggested there was a large dome of oil discovered underneath the Immaculate Conception Chapel’s altar during that era’s chapel renovations. However, as renovation construction continues this year, don’t expect similar rumors.

Allen McGrew, associate professor of geology, revealed that we have a far better chance of finding water (or maybe holy water?) than oil under the chapel. “I’m afraid it truly would take a miracle, or at least some very fervent prayers, to hit oil under UD’s chapel,” McGrew said.

To McGrew’s knowledge, there has never been a productive oil well drilled in Montgomery County. The most likely “oil play,” or prospective oil field, beneath UD would be in a layer known as the Point Pleasant-Utica interval, which is being drilled for oil and gas farther east. However, in western Ohio, its organic content is probably too low, and it was probably never buried deep enough to heat up to the temperatures necessary to form oil, McGrew said.

With the current chapel renovation, the University will be thinking of energy but in a different way. The renovations will rely largely on local materials, suppliers and talent to design and fabricate its stained glass windows, as well as other features such as energy-efficient lighting and HVAC systems, according to Kurt Hoffmann, UD’s environmental sustainability manager.

The goal is for the chapel to achieve LEED certification upon completion.

—Natalie Kimmel ’13

Tunnels under campus: TRUTH
Just like Batman has his cave, UD has its own underground passages. Ours do not hide the Batmobile, and they do not provide a shortcut to class safe from the rain and snow. They do give us a view of the seldom-seen underground that keeps
campus humming and hissing.

The UD tunnels, first dug in 1898, were constructed to connect heat and electric lines to the earliest buildings on campus: St. Joseph Hall, St. Mary’s Hall and Immaculate Conception Chapel. As the campus grew over the years, so did the

On a tour of the UD underground, Jerry Duncan, assistant director of plumbing and steam systems facilities, pointed at a dark, clearly manmade arch channel of brick and dirt. “There’s the old tunnel,” Duncan said. “While it may be old, the
tunnel is still a working part of campus.”

It’s no place for visitors. Pipes are extremely hot, and the space is claustrophobically small. Duncan said it takes their knowledgeable staff to do the job safely and accurately.

By contrast, the new cement tunnels are well lit and resemble the inside of a power plant. Pipes and boilers are labeled with their corresponding buildings.

Duncan works to make the UD campus a safe and warm place for both employees and students. He described what each and every pipe leads to, the cycle the water goes through, and the six 400-horsepower boilers that require 24-hour watch.

Once the temperature drops below 55 degrees, the tunnels — new and old — provide heat and hot water to our classrooms so we can take off our coats and get comfortable after a cold walk to class. Keeping UD a safe and warm place — now that’s heroic.

—Caroline McCormack ’16

Haunted halls: POSSIBLY
Nestled between St. Joseph Hall and Immaculate Conception Chapel stands Liberty Hall, a seemingly harmless building that appears simple amongst the architecture surrounding it but has more popularity than the rest of UD combined. And that’s because it’s haunted.

“I haven’t seen a ghost, but back before the renovation, I heard a ghost when I was down in the Monk’s Inn by myself,” said Nick Cardilino ’89, who works with Campus Ministry in the building. Monk’s Inn was a basement coffeehouse before renovations in the 1990s.

Cardilino isn’t the only member of the Liberty Hall staff who feels the presence of someone from beyond the grave.

“When I was in graduate school at UD, I saw a foot and a pants leg out of the corner of my eye on the second floor, but I was the only one in the building,” said Mary Niebler ’98, who now works in Liberty Hall.

Ghosts also have been reported to make noise on the fourth floor of St. Joseph Hall and to give the air a supernatural chill in the attic of St. Mary’s Hall. The ghost in Liberty Hall, though, may be the most probable if you follow popular ghost-making legends.

A recent ghost-hunting guidebook states that the ghostly leg likely belongs to an elderly man who died in Liberty Hall when the building held the infirmary.

First known as “The Home,” Liberty Hall was built in 1866 to house faculty and novices, though it was soon used for other purposes including an infirmary. No medical records — including possible deaths of men wearing pants — have survived. Ghostly rumors, though, never die.

—Megan Garrison ’14

First electric lights: TALE
Lights have long shown from campus, thanks to Brother Ulrich Rappel, S.M., who graduated in 1902. But St. Mary’s Institute, that beacon of education on the hill overlooking Dayton, was not the first in the area to receive electric lighting.

According to a history written by Brother Louis Rose, S.M. ’23, the second chair of the electrical engineering department, the electric lamp was introduced in Dayton in 1882.

The Dayton City Council soon authorized the erection of six towers “to hold arc lights.” Those lights preceded electricity on campus, but there were many synergies between the rise of electric power and the training of electrical engineers at UD. For example, Dayton’s current electricity provider, Dayton Power and Light, was founded in 1911, coinciding with the founding of the electrical engineering department.

In 1898, the University opened the Powerhouse, which supplied electricity to buildings including Immaculate Conception Chapel in 1899. The electricity was direct current, as opposed to the alternating current that we plug into today. When it became necessary to supplement campus with power from the utility company, Rappel devised a daily switching regime: homemade DC during the day and imported AC at night, leaving many a forgetful student with a smoking radio come morning.

Rappel had been mesmerized by electricity at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. He brought a kinetic energy to every electrical assignment, whether as professor or resident electrician. Rappel recalled that he conducted “one of the first, if not the first” floodlighting jobs in the country Dec. 8, 1904, when he mounted an acetylene automobile headlight on a tripod and illuminated the dedication of the Immaculate Conception Statue. And while UD wasn’t the first with electricity, the campus did brighten its neighbors; Rappel mounted Cahill Projector lamps on high poles over the football stadium, lighting half of the South Park neighborhood on game nights.

—Michelle Tedford

Original Rudy M.I.A.: TALE
The origin story of Rudy Flyer is more colorful than the mascot’s basketball jersey.

Matt Lampke ’94 shared a rumor from his school days that claims Rudy Flyer was named after a missing student of the same first name. As he heard it, the student was one of UD athletics’ biggest fans; he disappeared one day and was never
found. The rumor continues that years later, an unidentified body was discovered in an old Theta Phi Alpha house crawl space.

Tale, indeed. The sorority says that there is no connection, and public safety has no record of a student named Rudy who went missing.

But UD’s mascot does have a colorful — and shape-shifting — past. A 1925 edition of the Daytonian shows UD’s mascot as a mule sporting a blue and red saddle blanket. A 1956 issue of Flyer News goes on to mention a few more attempts at nailing down a mascot, including “Floyd” the model airplane and “Pedro” the donkey.

Then, a barnstorming pilot inspired by the Wright brothers was born Dec. 3, 1980, during a basketball home game against San Francisco.

His name was a product of the UD community through a “Name That Mascot” contest in 1981, according to a January 1981 issue of Flyer News. An entry form was printed in the student paper for people to fill out and send to UD Arena. Out
of 311 entries, “Rudy” was the winner, and he continues to cheer Flyers on to victory.

—CC Hutten ’15

Royal misspelling: LIKELY
Chaminade. Kennedy. Bombeck. Kettering. Many places on UD’s campus are easily recognized for whom they are named. One particular name, however, has confused students for years: Who is Stewart Street named after?

Another spelling, “Stuart,” is well known because of the first-year residence hall and recreation field by the same name. The namesake, John Stuart, sold his family farm to the Marianists in 1850.

As the story goes, Stuart handed over the land in exchange for nothing more than a promise. The Marianists vowed to pay the $12,000 balance over 12 years and gave Stuart a medal of St. Joseph as a sign of good faith. On Stuart’s land, the brothers grew the school that became UD.

According to the local history room at the Dayton Metro Library, Stewart Street was named for the neighborhood that it ran through: Stewart Hill. Is there a connection between Stewart Hill and the Stuart family, or is it a coincidence?

The librarians believe that both names could refer to the same person, John Stuart, thanks to the royals across the pond.

The popular spelling of that surname was “Stewart” in the 14th century for the house of Robert II, king of Scotland. By the 16th century and Mary Queen of Scots, the royal name changed to the French spelling of “Stuart.” With the variation of spelling, it is plausible that both names refer to one family, yet it is unknown if the Stewart Hill neighborhood or Stewart Street were ever known by the alternative spelling of “Stuart.”

John Stuart put the University on the path to where it is today; now Stewart Street serves as a path to navigate to its campus. No matter how you spell it, both names have their rightful place in UD history.

—Tom Corcoran ’13


What do you want to know? Send your myths and rumors to magazine@udayton.edu, and we’ll search high and low for the answers.


Rumor has it … that only one of the rumors below is true. Can you guess which? See below for the answers.
1. Jon Gruden ’86, Super Bowl-winning head coach and current Monday Night Football commentator, came to UD on a tennis scholarship.
2. When a 1964 alumnus discovered his old house was to be torn down, he bought the property, had it taken apart piece by piece, and then reassembled it on his farm in Missouri.
3. The name of the title character in the TV series Monk was inspired by the Monk’s Inn — the old coffeehouse in the Liberty Hall basement — as the show’s head writer was a 1969 UD graduate.
4. For 20 years after the school was founded in 1850, the brothers bottled and sold wine from the property’s vineyards. One bottle is known to exist and is held in a private collection in Winnetka, Illinois.
5. The swashbuckling actor Tyrone Power — who swung through the air with a sword in hand as both Zorro and pirate Henry Morgan — was also a Flyer. He later appeared on a Hollywood set with the Flyer football team.
6. Before the University was officially named the University of Dayton in 1920, trustees considered naming the school Patterson University, after then-president of nearby NCR John H. Patterson, for all he did for UD.
7. When St. Mary’s Hall was built in 1870, it was only three stories high. Fourth and fifth stories were added 12 years later to accommodate a growing enrollment spurred by immigration from Europe.

1. False. He played Flyer football as the backup quarterback.
2. False. But wouldn’t that be cool?
3. False, and the paint peeling from the coffehouse’s stone walls would have given the fictional Monk fits.
4. False, though St. Mary’s School for Boys was a working farm, with orchards, pastureland and vegetable fields.
5. True. Read more on one of our famous students.
6. False. Actually, Patterson would have been right to name NCR for the Marianists, as the brothers bought Patterson family land to help finance the nascent cash register business.
7. False. When St. Mary’s was built, its five stories made it the tallest building in Dayton. Locals thought it was ridiculous, leading them to call it “Zehler’s Folly” after then-president Brother Maximin Zehler, S.M.

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No going back

10:30 AM  Dec 29th, 2014
by Bob Taft

Death is the ultimate penalty, but are its days numbered? The irrevocable sentence: Reflections of a governor after deciding on numerous requests for clemency.

When I ran for governor in 1998, I did not give a lot of thought to the heavy responsibility I would be assuming for deciding on requests for clemency in death penalty cases. I suspect I was similar to other candidates for governor in this respect.

The first case came to me for decision just two months into my first term. It would be the first Ohio execution in 36 years. Ohio’s death penalty statute had twice been declared unconstitutional and had been reinstated in 1981. It took many years for cases to make their way through the court system to a final determination.

Wilford Berry was described as a “volunteer”; he stated he was ready to die for his crime and had waived his appeal rights. There was no apparent question about his guilt and no basis for granting clemency. That didn’t make the matter any easier. The lights of TV vans outside the governor’s residence in Columbus were shining through the windows of the room where I sat before a telephone that was connected to the prison in Lucasville. I had to be immediately available in the event the “volunteer” changed his mind and decided to pursue his rights of appeal. In that case the execution would be stayed.

Wilford Berry’s execution went forward as scheduled. And as I sat with two aides in the dining room of the residence that evening, it suddenly struck me: The State of Ohio had terminated the life of a human being; the executive branch carried out the death sentence, and I was the chief executive. It was pursuant to law and due process; it was obviously not murder, but I felt somehow complicit in a dire and irrevocable act.

During my two terms as governor, I decided on requests for clemency in 26 cases. Clemency might involve a pardon or commutation of the death sentence to a lesser one. Any governor will tell you that making these decisions is one of the hardest and loneliest parts of the job. I spent many hours poring over case records to make sure no error in law or fact had occurred that would justify clemency. Death is an irrevocable sentence; there is no going back. I was never really comfortable with this responsibility.

At the same time, I was aware that the people of Ohio, through their elected legislators, had enacted the death penalty statute. The death sentence could be imposed only for certain heinous crimes by a jury of citizens who first considered guilt or innocence and then, if a guilty verdict was rendered, weighed aggravating and mitigating factors. Appeals in such cases were interminable, moving through layers of state and federal courts, assuring a high level of scrutiny over what had happened at the trial court level.

Although there is properly a focus on the rights of the accused in death penalty cases, the horrible fates of the victims and their families must also be borne in mind. As I read the cases presented to me, I learned about disabled and helpless victims murdered senselessly and perpetrators such as Jeffrey Lundgren who executed five innocent people, including three children, in cult murders in northern Ohio.

I felt that clemency should be an extraordinary remedy, to be granted only when there is a clear question about the guilt of the accused or the unfairness of procedures followed by the legal system. I commuted a death sentence to life imprisonment in only one case and granted several reprieves in another case. In the case of Jerome Campbell, DNA evidence came to light after the trial which I concluded might have influenced how the jury viewed the case, resulting in a different verdict.

Considering the cases that came to me and developments after I left office in 2007, I believe the days of the death penalty may be numbered, in Ohio and across the country. The U.S. Constitution bars “cruel and unusual punishment.” In one of the last executions during my term in office, since the convicted person had been a drug user, it was extremely difficult to find a vein in which to insert the lethal injection. The execution took an agonizing 40 minutes. Federal courts have declared moratoriums on the death penalty in Ohio due to complications such as this one.

Questions have been raised about whether the death penalty can be administered consistently and without discrimination across Ohio’s 88 counties. Moreover, death penalty cases drag on through one appellate level after another, putting years, even decades, between the date of the crime and the date of punishment; the death sentence is certainly not swift punishment. The death penalty is very costly to administer; lengthy trial and appellate procedures put a burden on county and state governments to pay for lawyers, judges and jails.

Ohio prosecutors have been seeking the death penalty less frequently since the life-without-parole option was created by the legislature in 1996 as an alternative sentencing option. In 2013, Ohio prosecutors filed only nine death penalty cases, the fewest since capital punishment was reinstated in 1981; and in the last decade, death penalty cases are down by more than 40 percent compared to the previous decade. It may be time to ask the question whether the death penalty in Ohio is a “dead man walking.”

Bob Taft, a distinguished research associate at the University of Dayton, was governor of Ohio, 1999-2007.


Learn more about 2015 Rites. Rights. Writes. events.

Read about a Last Suppers exhibit at the Dayton Art Institute.

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The power of possibility

10:15 AM  Dec 29th, 2014
by President Daniel J. Curran; Photo by Andy Snow

I remember feeling at home the moment I walked onto campus.

As the familiar strains of the hymn, “We are Called,” filled the chapel at the opening day Mass of my presidency, I felt so welcomed by the Marianists, students, faculty, staff and alumni. I felt so inspired by the University’s powerful heritage and sense of mission.

As a community, I knew we were poised to do great things together — to make a bold leap forward. In the Marianist tradition, we would build upon our core values, read the signs of the times and embrace the power of possibility.

Today, 12 years later, I feel the same way. This is my home. And the University of Dayton is fulfilling that promise of greatness.

That’s why this is the ideal time to look for a new leader to take our University forward. In December, I announced that I would step down as president in June 2016 after a 14-year tenure. The board of trustees has initiated a national search for my successor.

Two years ago, a reporter looked at the growth of the University’s physical size and academic prestige and noted, “The pace of change has been among the most rapid and substantial seen at any American university.”

When I became president in 2002, I inherited a university on the move from longtime president Brother Ray Fitz, S.M., and discovered a community willing to ask the big questions and seek out answers together. I have been humbled and privileged to be the steward of such a remarkable legacy and to be able to continue our historic upward momentum.

When other universities stepped back and froze faculty positions during the recession, we stepped forward and hired some of the brightest minds in the country.

We didn’t turn away from the brownfield and vacant corporate headquarters on our border, but instead embraced the potential. We felt confident community and government partners would help us secure the funding to bring new life to that land. Today, that land is the canvas for the future and will benefit generations of students.

This fall, we welcomed our largest, most academically prepared first-year class. Faculty, staff and students gathered in the Central Mall as George and Amanda Hanley, through their Chicago foundation, committed $12.5 million — the largest gift in school history — to support curricular innovations in sustainability. We honored Brother Ray by renaming the College Park Center as Raymond L. Fitz Hall, and community and state leaders helped us break ground on Emerson Climate Technologies’ $35 million global innovation center at the corner of Main and Stewart streets.

As I reflect on my presidency, I am most proud of the cumulative successes of our students, alumni, faculty and staff. You have spread the University of Dayton’s excellence and reputation around the world.

Our work together isn’t finished.

I will continue to advocate for social justice and sustainability, which stem from our religious mission to stand with the poor and promote the common good. With the help of alumni and friends, we will raise funds to renovate Chaminade Hall as a home for the Human Rights Center and the Hanley Sustainability Institute.

In 2016, I will take a sabbatical, then return to the students and classrooms I love and continue to build the University’s international relationships, particularly in China.

The Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, founder of the Society of Mary, inspires us to be visionaries — to create our moment in history, to act upon this University’s strong foundation of educational innovation and deep faith.

That’s our calling.

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