Wintertime is often marked by the stark contrast of cold, bleak landscapes and warm, jubilant holiday festivities. When famous Daytonian poet Paul Laurence Dunbar published the hopeful seasonal sonnet “Chris’mus is a’comin,” he had one year left to live.
New York-based publishing house Dodd, Mead and Co. printed the poem in 1905.
Dunbar was in his early 30s at the time, depressed after separating from his wife and suffering from a progressively worsening case of tuberculosis, for which he had been falsely prescribed alcohol as a cure. Still, Dunbar continued to write and a physician eventually gave him a proper diagnosis. This doctor sent him to Colorado to recover, where he made great progress. For a moment, all seemed calm.
“He thought he was cured,” said Herbert Woodward Martin, UD professor emeritus and renowned Dunbar scholar.
In light of his improving health, Dunbar returned to Dayton. But the weather during the journey exacerbated his condition again, and he died in 1906 in his mother’s home.
Nonetheless, the poet’s work continued to circulate in the decades following his death. In 1907, Dodd, Mead and Co. published a small book titled Chris’mus is a’Comin & Other Poems, to be used as a Christmas gift.
The booklet was nearly the size of a woman’s hand, printed in red with touches of gold. The title poem, written in African-American dialect, takes up the first two pages.
Martin said part of the enjoyment in the poem comes from the anticipation of the holiday. Dunbar created a natural dialogue that made this poem highly accessible for black and white readers alike.
One copy of the Christmas booklet was gifted to Mrs. C.J. Brooks, the sender’s name illegible in winding cursive.
This copy made its way to an auction in New York where an agent for Victor Jacobs — a man well known to those familiar with UD’s special collections and rare books — purchased it.
Finally, UD acquired this copy of the book in the 1980s. While the rest of the Dunbar works in the Victor and Irene Jacobs Collection are housed on the second floor of Albert Emanuel Hall — accessible from Roesch Library only after passing through a tunnel and unlocking stacks that are alarmed — Nicoletta Hary, curator of special collections at UD libraries, keeps this tiny volume in her office.
“It’s a lovely little book representative of the time when it was published,” she said.
Martin said Dunbar’s presentation of real characters in his poems, novels and stories makes his work enjoyable to read.
“That is the great value in his fiction and in his poetry. There were real people in these poems, they had genuine voices and they had something to say.”No Comments
Jon Gruden ’86 is busy on Sundays.
The Monday Night Football analyst and an ESPN crew of 120, who roll into town the day before, take over a hotel banquet room, setting up eight flat-screen TVs to keep tabs and take notes on all the day’s games, planning what they’ll integrate into the Monday broadcast.
For three Sundays this season, add to Gruden’s schedule meetings with alumni.
Gruden, a Super Bowl-winning head coach and honorary chair for the Campaign for the University of Dayton, took time out to meet with guests in Tampa, Fla. (Colts versus Buccaneers), Dearborn, Mich. (Bears versus Lions), and East Rutherford, N.J. (Dolphins versus Jets).
Attendees asked about his ESPN schedule — which includes an early Tuesday flight back to the office to start analyzing tapes — and about his UD days under football coach Mike Kelly.
It’s important to surround yourself with really good people, he told his audience, and to work hard and to be open to opportunities to extend yourself.
Gruden just took one of those himself. He’ll be busy football Sundays for the next five years, having recently signed a five-year contract with ESPN Monday Night Football.No Comments
Carmen Riazzi traveled to Dayton in the early 1950s for a routine basketball recruiting visit, looking to see if the University of Dayton would be the right fit for an eager and earnest kid from Erie, Pa.
He’s been here ever since.
After a standout college basketball career that included two trips to the NIT championship game, Riazzi ’57 made the Dayton area his home, marrying a University graduate and raising 10 children in nearby Kettering, Ohio.
Many of those children — and a good number of grandchildren — flanked Carmen Riazzi and Ann Fitzgerald Riazzi ’59 during an on-campus ceremony in late September as the University recognized the family for its gift to the athletics department.
In honor of the Riazzi family’s contribution, the men’s basketball offices in the Cronin Athletics Center will be named the Carmen J. Riazzi Basketball Suite. In a short, heartfelt speech, Carmen Riazzi said that the University and the Dayton community have been very important to him and his family, and he wanted to help make the school just as special for future student-athletes.
“We have two children who graduated from UD, and the rest have always been close with the Dayton players,” he said. “We felt very strongly that we could help and this facility was what we needed to get other recruits over here.”
Son John Riazzi, an Oakwood, Ohio, financial analyst and member of the University board of trustees, said the suite’s location adjacent to the Frericks Center was a “perfect fit,” considering that his father was a close friend of longtime athletics director Tom Frericks.
“My father came to Dayton from Erie, Pa., and didn’t know a soul here,” John Riazzi said. “The community embraced him. The University has been so good to him and my mom and our family, and we wanted to give back. The basketball program provided him a scholarship and gave him an opportunity to go to college where he wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. That put him on the right path and gave us the family life that we have.”
Carmen Riazzi was known for his hustle and work ethic as a Flyers guard, and his teams reached the NIT championship games in 1955 and 1956. The 1955-56 team was No. 2 in the nation for seven weeks — the best ranking in program history.
Riazzi was a senior captain on the 1956-57 squad, which finished 19-9 and advanced to the NIT quarterfinals. He averaged 10.4 points and 3.3 rebounds.
The September event became a gathering of Dayton basketball royalty as Flyer legends came to the ceremony to honor their longtime friend. Don Meineke ’52, Don Donoher ’54, Bill Uhl ’56, Jim Paxson ’56 and Bucky Bockhorn ’58 sat with Riazzi at a table during a reception in Kennedy Union, sharing memories of their golden era of Flyer hoops.No Comments
A Flyer News editor asked me a lot of questions for a story last year, but only one really stumped me: What’s your favorite spot on campus?
The obvious answer came to mind: the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception. It’s been the heart of campus since long before any of us got here. It remains the center around which all of UD revolves, not only geographically but spiritually and in misson and purpose.
But I was one of 20 people on campus they were profiling that issue, and my guess is the other 19 had the same first gut response. We couldn’t all say the same thing. Plus, she had asked for my “favorite” spot, not most important, or most meaningful, most inspiring, highest, loudest, prettiest, funkiest, strangest or the one most likely to make going back into the office an impossibility. Some places make you want to just sit and think forever.
My favorite, huh? The criteria were all mine to decide. If I could be anywhere on campus right now, where would I be? Posed that way, the question got a lot harder, but I eventually answered: Baujan Field under the lights at a Friday night soccer game in autumn.
No matter where I sit, the views are spectacular. From the north stands, next to St. Joe’s, the game unfolds from a television broadcast’s best camera angle. A line of ash trees and the student neighborhood shape the horizon, and from just below, we can hear nearly every word as Coach Mike Tucker coaxes his players and works the officials.
From the south stands, the view is field level, and the players gallop past at Division 1 speed. I like to sit right on the grass at midfield, often barefoot on a sunny day. Feet away from the edge line, we hear the players’ hurried chatter, a constant rhythm that buzzes between the smack-smack of cleat on leather that sends the ball flying impossible distances. St. Joe’s, majestic and colleagial, defines the horizon from this side.
Those two horizons, the brick edifices to the north and the student houses to the south, are another reason I love this liminal spot. If the chapel defines so much of what UD is and aspires to be, so too do places that symbolize the connection between learning and living, places where life’s ambitions and everyday experiences merge into a seamless whole of presence and continuity.
I could’ve named many such places, everywhere that students are learning that knowledge and service and leadership mean most when they are formed and shared in community. They do it off campus too, on retreats, internships and trips to study abroad, everywhere their education takes them. I like those places, too.
In these pages, we describe updates to the campus master plan, changes that have arisen from extraordinary opportunities we’ve seized to expand the physical campus. Some familiar spots on campus are being transformed — if you haven’t already, lay your eyes on the spectacular new Central Mall when you can. With the new land, the boundaries of campus have expanded, an adjustment of mental geography as much as physical.
There will be more favorite spots to choose among in the coming years — a residential complex on Caldwell that will be every bit as familiar to future students as Marycrest is now, facilities in the new GE Aviation building where students will spend untold hours becoming researchers, a University Center for the Arts near the corner of Brown and Stewart streets where creating and experiencing great art will change how we see our world, to name just a few.
A place is just a place, of course, a physical bit of dirt or wood, brick or steel. It gets its meaning not from what it is without us, but from what we become in it — what we do and dream and create, and how we help others do the same.
Maybe that’s why, on this campus, it’s so hard to pick just one.No Comments
When I meet alumni through my travels, they always ask how the University of Dayton has changed. “Is my house on Kiefaber still there?” “What are the plans for the chapel?”
They cherish memories of hanging out together on front porches and seeking a quiet moment in the chapel. From surviving 8 a.m. classes in St. Joseph Hall to hiking up Stuart Hill on a perfect spring day, they tell me this campus remains a touchstone of their lives.
That enduring sense of what makes the University of Dayton so special is not changing as we adapt with the times and build for the future. We are living through the largest land expansion in our history, and the decisions we make today will shape our destiny. In this issue, we share highlights of our newest master plan and invite your observations as we create the University’s future together. Please share your thoughts with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some projects — like the chapel expansion and renovation, future phases of an interactive Alumni Center and a proposed University Center for the Arts — will rely on private support from alumni and friends. Other strategic priorities endorsed by the board of trustees, such as the construction of townhouse-style apartments on Brown Street and renovations to the Science Center, are expected to be internally funded. We also remain open to exploring partnerships that tie into the University’s mission, such as our collaboration with GE Aviation. The global company’s $51 million research center, currently under construction on eight acres of campus land near the Marriott Hotel, opens in 2013 and will provide numerous research opportunities for students and faculty.
The University of Dayton remains in an enviable position in higher education. While many universities stepped back in recent years, we have been in a position to step forward and take some calculated risks. Universities don’t typically acquire a building that once served as headquarters for a Fortune 500 company, attract funding to reclaim a largely vacant urban brownfield or add a sprawling park to their campuses.
Our master plan will guide our future development as one of the nation’s pre-eminent Catholic universities. It’s a living plan, purposely flexible to allow us to react swiftly to new opportunities in new times.
I invite you to view a multimedia presentation of the master plan at www.udayton.edu/masterplan. If you have a tablet or a smart phone, you can download a free University of Dayton Magazine app that allows you to read the feature and enjoy the multimedia extras.
I see a canvas of possibilities limited only by our imagination. We can never predict the future, but we can — with faith and ingenuity — create it.No Comments
A book by Matthew Shadle ’03
To Shadle, hallway conversations about the Iraq War were unproductive. Faculty and fellow students of UD’s theology graduate program had different approaches to moral reasoning about war, as well as assumptions about the causes of conflict between states. “International relationships can learn from Catholic theology,” Shadle says. His book, born from his dissertation, shows us how culture and religion shape identity, which impacts how states define themselves and how they choose to act in a global setting. “Catholics who wish to develop a perspective on war’s origins consistent with their faith do not have to create something out of nothing.”
A book by Father Brian Morrow ’72
Beware the creepy, winged Moresy Bug, who bites people who are never satisfied with what they have. Morrow has used Bug in his homilies for 20 years to discuss greed and giving with children during Advent. “We talk with kids about who was bitten by the bug,” says Morrow from Rome, where he is on sabbatical from his Longmont, Co., parish. He collaborated with a parishioner and an illustrator to tell that the greatest gift is not under the tree but in the heart. “People have asked us to do a children’s book on Lent, so we may write another one.”
A book by Ziad Zennie ’74
Zennie’s clients were right to wonder why he referred to Western theories during his training sessions for Middle Eastern business professionals through Meirc Training and Consulting in Dubai. So he and Farid Muna conducted an empirical study. Interviews with 310 leaders at 129 organizations in 12 Gulf and northern Arab countries uncovered increased interest in participative decision making. Accurate self-assessment, self-confidence and adaptability were among the top-ranking competencies of emotional intelligence. Results are important for future leaders and companies doing global business, as well as those looking for explanations of political trends, says Zennie: “An organization is a microcosm of a bigger structure.”
A book by Laura Roecker ’03
If Roecker could go back to sixth grade, she would be stronger, more courageous. So she and sister Lisa Roecker created a character to inspire: 15-year-old Kate Lowry, who has to navigate prep school and solve her friend’s murder. The sisters team-write their books, agreeing on characters and plot then alternating writing chapters. They also agreed that they hated the publisher’s choice of covers: Kate, in a prep school uniform, with pink hair. Pink? “It was a debacle,” Roecker says. But they’ve since embraced it, editing their words to dye Kate’s hair. Watch for it to turn purple in their sequel, The Lies that Bind.
In the Winter 2011-12 University of Dayton Magazine, we told you a story of community that culminated in the cookbook 5:10:30. We also printed your stories of sustenance. Read a few more, and add yours to the comments section below.
“Popcorn, which set many a fire alarm off in Stuart.” — Lauren Caggiano ’07
“Spring break senior year Michelle Stawicki, fellow design major, and I decided to stay on campus to work on our portfolios. Every day we would arrive at the studio around 9 a.m. and stay until at least 9 p.m. One day we had the brilliant idea to cook chicken for dinner in the crockpot. Our crockpot had a clear lid, so we got some pretty interesting looks and questions on our way up the elevator to the studio. All day long people came to our workspace asking what the good smell was and what was going on. In the end, we both were very happy with the work we put in on our portfolios and were very full from eating our crockpot chicken.” —Elaine English ’10
“We used to always try and make it to KU for their breakfast on Sunday mornings. Those Belgian waffles were the best thing after a fun weekend. ” — Jessica Arnold ’01
“To raise money for Relay For Life, my roommates and I got supplies for grilled cheese donated from KU. We spent a couple hours one night buttering bread and toasting grilled cheese sandwiches using every pan we had in our kitchen. We packed them up in a cooler and then spent the rest of the night sitting outside of Tim’s selling grilled cheeses for a dollar to people as they left. I don’t remember how much we made but it was definitely one of my more memorable Tim’s experiences.” —Megan Mulroy ’06
“My housemates of 111 Woodland taught me to bake in our undersized, ancient, maroon oven that required a wedged broom handle to keep the door shut. When I moved into my first post-graduation landlord house, I burned everything I baked. But I took with me the knowledge that food is more than sustenance. We put our joys and our tears into what we create in our lives. Those women and their recipes for life continue to sustain me today.” —Michelle Tedford ’94