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A sweeping story

1:59 PM  Nov 6th, 2012
by Cilla Shindell

Since 2000, thousands of students, faculty, staff and visitors have walked past or stopped to consider the Mirror of Hope, the mountain-like, many-figured sculpture in the lobby of Roesch Library.

It’s easy to pick out familiar scenes: Creation, the Nativity, the wedding feast at Cana, the Crucifixion, the Heavenly City. But the more you look, the more there is to see and the more the humanity of each small figure emerges.

There’s too much to take in all at once. But just in time for the annual crèche display, University Libraries has published , a new book tracing the history and symbolism of the sculpture as it grew from a simple Nativity scene into an account of the sweep of Christianity from the Creation to the City of God.

It’s also the story of an unusual collaboration between two men – Father Johann Roten, S.M., who wrote the book, and sculptor Kevin Hanna – working together over many months and long-distance telephone lines to bring to life the stories of the Old and New Testaments in layers of humanity, faith, art history, symbolism and the spiritual.

Roten, as the Marian Library’s director, commissioned Connecticut-based Hanna to create a sculpture distinctive to the University of Dayton, to commemorate the University’s 150th anniversary and celebrate 2,000 years of Christianity.

The five-year collaboration between Roten, the theologian, scholar and art historian, and Hanna, the deeply spiritual Protestant artist, resulted in an intricately detailed piece of 24 scenes, 12 feet long, 5 feet high, containing more than 240 figures – men, women, children, familiar biblical figures, celestial beings as well as animals – and even evokes the Immaculate Conception Chapel.

The sculpture traces a “journey of love,” Roten says, that starts with God and, then through Christ, comes back to God.

“We did the book to make sure that people don’t forget, that there is permanence, a memory of what it all means,” said Roten, now the library’s director of research and special projects and the book’s author. “It’s actually gained in popularity; we can see that no matter what the exhibit or event at the library, in the end, everyone ends up in front of it.”

Click on above photo for more Mirror of Hope images.

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Happy birthday, Title IX

11:09 AM  Oct 28th, 2012
by Mickey Shuey ’14

In the nightstand by her bed, Pat Jayson’s jewelry box gathers dust. Most of the accessories inside mean little to her.

A pair of rings, however, are treasured by the 1967 UD graduate. One is her UD alumni ring; the other, a token of her fondest memory as both a Flyer and a woman in sports.

With the 1972 Education Act, or Title IX, came a mandate that, in education, women be given opportunities equal to men. Until Title IX, schools rarely provided support to women, especially in athletics. Even after 1972, only a few schools actively sought to reward female student-athletes for success.

“When we won the 1980 women’s basketball championship, Brother [Ray] Fitz made sure we each got a ring,” Jayson says, adding that then-president Fitz was adamant that the team received rings to mark the accomplishment.

An athletic trainer for the 1980 AIAW championship team, Jayson was surprised by the president’s gift. Jayson was a faculty member throughout the ’70s and ’80s, also serving as athletic trainer and coach for several UD women’s sports teams.

Her time as a student-athlete, though, was far different from that of her own players.

“If we got money for meals, it was usually coming from the coach’s own pocket,” she says of her playing days. “We went to high schools without sports, so we were grateful to even get to play.”

Forty years after Title IX, UD provides female student-athletes with a total of 108 scholarships in nine NCAA Division I sports, as well as meal money and other luxuries once reserved for programs like men’s basketball and football.

“Title IX changed things for me for sure,” basketball player Cassie Sant ’14 says. “Without it, we couldn’t even play in the same building
as the men. It’s great to feel welcome.”

“They don’t pay lip-service here,” basketball coach Jim Jabir says, noting the team’s office in the state-of-the-art Cronin Athletic Center. “Our people really provide for us.”

For Jayson, Title IX changed everything, providing everlasting memories along the way.

“The ring is absolutely beautiful. But it’s nice knowing I was part of something important.”

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My Old House 1985-87: 301 Stonemill

7:44 AM  Oct 10th, 2012
by Mickey Shuey ’14

For six women living at 301 Stonemill in the ’80s, early mornings were part of the schedule.

During Reunion Weekend 2012, housemates Angie French Dunn ’87 and Barbara Kingsley Miller ’87, both educators, returned to their junior- and senior-year home to recall some life lessons that came from living there.

The only bathroom in the house was essentially a deluxe closet that was always cold and cluttered. Starting at 6 a.m., each housemate — including four student-teachers — had a 15-minute slot for shower use. The order changed weekly, keeping the women from losing sleep over showering.

“After 7 a.m., anyone left got the cold shower,” says Miller. “But they also got to sleep in.”

Everyone pitched in washing dishes and sweeping.

“One of the girls was a clean freak, so we each had chores to do,” Dunn laughs as Miller chimes in, “The woodwork was always shiny from Liquid Gold.”

Miller remembers the house as one of the nicest in the neighborhood, though the area was home to few students then.
“The family [a house over] was a man, his dad and a very scary dog,” Miller says.

Other neighbors, like the male students across the street, were jokesters. Dunn says that after playing a practical joke on them, she and her housemates left for winter break feeling “victorious.”

Upon their return, the women found all their furniture tidily rearranged — up in the attic. The duplex’s exterior had a hole big enough, apparently, for a 20-something-year-old man to fit through.

“It’s one of those things that you just have to laugh at,” Dunn says.

The house was drafty, too. Rather than paying for heat in the winter, the women opted to put plastic on the windows.

“It was a fish bowl,” laughs Miller.

Both women agree that 301 Stonemill was always a place they loved coming home to.

And take a tour of this old house with today’s residents.

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Learning, leading, serving

2:10 PM  Oct 2nd, 2012
by Shannon Shelton Miller

With pride and as a reflection of the excellence of a University of Dayton education, the National Alumni Association recognizes alumni and their accomplishments through an annual awards program. The 2012 recipients are:


Ricardo Bressani ’48 | Bachelor of Science Chemistry

As a researcher in nutrition and food sciences, Ricardo Bressani’s life has been devoted to improving health outcomes for children in his native Guatemala. In turn, his discoveries have nourished children around the world.

Born in Guatemala in 1926 to Italian parents, Bressani earned a scholarship in 1944 from a Catholic organization to study in the United States, a gift that brought him to UD.

“I am looking forward to visiting the University of Dayton, where I spent my first four years of study and which I enjoyed very much,” Bressani said from his home in Guatemala.

Bressani received a doctorate from Purdue, taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and published more than 500 professional articles. His early work explored the genetic nutritional differences in corn, and he developed a variation with a protein quality similar to that found in cow’s milk. He later worked with other vegetable-based proteins that decreased incidences of protein-energy malnutrition, examined how cooking methods affected nutrition and studied ways to get the best level of nutrition from bean and legume-based diets.

Bressani earned numerous honors for his work, including the Danone International Prize for Nutrition in 2003. He has seven children and 23 grandchildren.



Rick Pfleger ’77 and Claire Tierney Pfleger ’78 | Bachelor of Science Marketing and Bachelor of Science Elementary Education

When Rick and Claire Pfleger recognized the growing needs of the Catholic schools serving an inner-city population in Indianapolis, they were ready to offer their assistance.

Rick Pfleger, a retired vice president for North American sales at Juniper Networks, funded a project to place computers in 15 of those schools. Today, 30 Catholic schools in the area are computer equipped and wired, with students taking full advantage of the technology. In addition, Rick and Claire just sponsored a project at Cathedral High School, Rick’s alma mater, called “One to One”,  where all students have access to their own tablet computers in order to complete course work, with the ultimate goal of eliminating text books.

“With his background in technology, these projects have been a perfect fit,” Claire Pfleger said. “It has been a very rewarding experience.”

The computer equipment and labs are just a portion of the family’s philanthropy. They also sponsor three students attending Cathedral High School and have contributed generously to major renovations at the school. In addition, Rick recently co-chaired a $110 million campaign for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to support the needy in central and southern Indiana.

When their daughter, Lindsey, attended the University of Dayton, the Pflegers began including UD in their philanthropic efforts as well. They funded the renovation of The Hangar in Kennedy Union and created the Richard J. and Claire T. Pfleger Endowed Scholarship Fund to help deserving students with financial need.

Rick summed up their efforts by stating, “I’m a big believer in breaking the cycle of poverty through education, and feel very fortunate that we are in position to give back.”



Kenneth Oaks ’87 | Bachelor of Science Finance

When Kenneth Oaks co-founded Total Quality Logistics in 1997, he aimed to shape his freight brokerage firm around the values of ethics and integrity.

That’s why he developed his Five Winning Principles: pledge integrity; exceed expectations; recognize the value of teamwork; be forthright about conflict; and maintain balance in life and business.

“We treat others the way we’d want to be treated,” Oaks said. “It’s one of the most basic, but important principles in life.”

His annual reports have proven that profit, ethics and a commitment to community could certainly co-exist. The firm, based outside Cincinnati, has logged more than $1 billion in total sales and experienced growth averaging 50 percent each year since its founding. Total Quality Logistics employs about 1,500 workers to move more than 500,000 truckload shipments each year for more than 7,000 customers. In addition to the Cincinnati headquarters, Total Quality Logistics has 12 offices throughout the nation.

Oaks and Total Quality Logistics have won numerous honors, including Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award; inclusion on the Greater Cincinnati Best Places to Work list; multiple mentions in the Inc. 5000; the Better Business Bureau Torch Award, and the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year award.



Michael Lofton ’05, ’07 | Bachelor of Arts Communications; Master of Public Administration

In the future, Michael Lofton hopes to award scholarships for students to attend UD and receive the transformative education he credits for his commitment to serving others.

What he can’t give in financial assistance now, he contributes in service. Lofton served two terms as St. Louis alumni chapter president and is currently vice chair of the Chapter Council for the National Alumni Association and a member of the board of directors.

“I’ll never be able to repay UD for what it’s given me in terms of a top-notch education, as well as providing me with relationships and experiences that I can never replace,” he said.

As a student, Lofton was vice president of the Student Government Association, co-chair of Red Scare, president of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, chair of the United Way student campaign and co-founder of the campus chapter of the NAACP. He also served as an assistant coach for the boys’ basketball teams at Oakwood High School.

Lofton currently works as the director of university accounts and partnerships at Welcometocollege.com, a company founded by Justin Bayer ’01, and is an assistant boys basketball coach at Clayton High School in St. Louis. He also serves on the steering committee of the United Way’s GenNext program for young professionals.

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At home in China

1:39 PM  Oct 2nd, 2012
by Teri Rizvi

UD celebrates opening of China Institute

As the University of Dayton China Institute delegation’s tour bus snaked through the quiet Sunday-morning streets of Nanjing, another bus appeared beside it.

From the neighboring bus, Kurt Jackson leaped up out of his seat, pointed excitedly to his University of Dayton physical therapy shirt and waved with a big grin. What are the chances of running into a bus carrying seven doctor of physical therapy students and their professor from a campus on the other side of the world?

Nothing spoke more tellingly of the University of Dayton’s growing presence in China than that singular moment.

“We hadn’t seen any American people and happen to see you drive past us. It’s crazy,” said Andrew Lengerich of Cincinnati, who had spent nearly a week in August at Nanjing Medical University learning about acupuncture and other therapy techniques.

Just a few days earlier in a part of eastern China that was rice fields and farmland less than two decades ago, the University of Dayton opened a stand-alone center in the ultra-modern Suzhou Industrial Park. A typhoon had lashed eastern China earlier in the day, but all-day heavy rains and high winds could not deflate the day’s spirit.

As faculty, staff and students ducked out of the relentless rain and into the newly renovated University of Dayton China Institute, they pulled out cell phone cameras to capture shots of each other in front of the lobby’s bilingual sign.

“This is quite a theatrical backdrop for the opening, just a little drama,” said Tim Pelling, a freelance photographer who caught the last train that morning out of Shanghai to Suzhou before the weather halted service.

Later, music faculty and students teamed with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, artists-in-residence on campus, in a dedication concert at nearby Dushu Lake Theater that drew 400 people. The final movement of George Gershwin’s lilting “Rhapsody in Blue” filled the theater after music professor and concert pianist Eric Street opened the concert with a string of American ragtime tunes.

Dressed in an elegant red evening gown, Xing Lu, a student from Nanjing University of the Arts, raised the tempo a notch with a jig-inspiring piece on the traditional Chinese erhu, a two-stringed fiddle. With fingers stretched on mallets and her body bobbing between octaves, percussionist and junior Becky Welch coaxed harp-like music from a marimba borrowed from a family in nearby Changshu City who asked for her autograph on the concert’s program.

Senior music major Mitchell McCrady, who started playing the French horn in fifth grade, predicted UD’s Horn Quartet in its first trip to China would “knock their socks off.” With Street on piano, McCrady expressively tackled Franz Strauss’s horn reverie, “Fantasie, Opus 2.”  And in a soaring finale, DCDC reprised “Os padroes,” a piece inspired by the artistry in the painting and sculpture of Willis “Bing” Davis that premiered in Dayton in February. They danced with joyful abandon.

Those moments on stage captured the spirit of the day.

“Today is a celebration,” President Daniel J. Curran told the largely Chinese crowd at the pre-concert grand opening ceremonies, conducted in English and Mandarin and capped with colorful bits of confetti. “There’s an innovative, entrepreneurial spirit in Suzhou Industrial Park that’s unlike any in the world.”

Curran’s ties to China run deep. The grand opening crowd included dozens of Chinese officials and scholars Curran had befriended during 25 years of cultivating research and education ties in a country that fascinates him. As a sociology professor at Saint Joseph’s University, Curran held a professorship at Nanjing University early in his academic career.

“China is such an economic force in the world that we should be here,” he said. “The China Institute is part of a larger globalization strategy that includes increasing our presence in numerous parts of the world. We’re taking a holistic view of international education, and this is one piece.”

Home to a third of the world’s Fortune 500 companies and just 75 miles from the world’s busiest port in Shanghai, the park opened in 1994 as a cooperative venture between the governments of China and Singapore. Nearly two dozen universities from all over the globe have committed to establishing a presence here, but the University of Dayton is the first American one.

First impressions

“It’s like Disneyland. It’s a corporate theme park,” said Devon Schreiber, a 22-year-old MBA student from Cleveland when she caught her first glimpse of Suzhou Industrial Park. Row upon row of high-rise apartments, gleaming corporate buildings, a street full of banks, elegant hotels, natural lakes — even a Ferris wheel — popped before her eyes as the tour bus wound through miles of a landscaped oasis on the modern outskirts of the ancient city of Suzhou.

Others in the UD grand opening delegation had similar reactions. “When people in the U.S. say ‘industrial park,’ they’re thinking low-slung aluminum buildings in a farm field. Here, they’ve literally built a city from scratch,” said Ted Bucaro, UD director of government and regional relations, who helped organize the China Institute ceremony.

Former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, who now teaches on UD’s campus, said he was taken aback by the size of the endeavor. “When we compare an industrial park in Ohio to this, it’s just a postage stamp. This is unreal. It’s built on a superhuman scale. It’s almost like a company town, except it’s a megatown.”

In a section of the park called BioBay, home to 275 high-tech companies, the University of Dayton occupies a five-story, 68,000-square-foot building that’s slightly larger than Miriam Hall. It’s outfitted with eight specialized science and engineering labs, classrooms and space for a Marianist heritage center. Suzhou Industrial Park officials invested millions in the building’s renovation and have waived the rent for three years.

“Engineering students in our Innovation Center on campus have worked with about 120 American industries — many of which are already located in the park — on product development. That’s a model we’re replicating,” Curran said. “This is not about starting an international campus for the University of Dayton. It’s about providing our students with international opportunities few campuses can offer.”

Nearby, the University’s students and faculty will stay in subsidized, furnished apartments as they travel here to work on product development projects or to offer short courses to students and engineers who work for companies like Lilly Suzhou Pharmaceutical Co., Emerson Climate Technologies (Suzhou) Research and Development Co., Marian (Suzhou) Co., Ltd., and Makino (China) Co., Ltd.

In all, UD has signed memoranda of understanding for research and education partnerships with six American-based firms in the park.

In August, before the official grand opening, UD faculty delivered courses in energy-efficient manufacturing, project management, multidisciplinary design, and creative problem solving and decision analysis. The students included 40 employees from partner companies and eight UD students from China living and working in Suzhou.

As the China Institute takes shape, UD is considering offering English classes to Chinese students who want to study in the U.S. and in-service training in theology and philosophy for Catholic priests. Researchers and faculty from partner industries and universities are expected to share lab and office space in the building as the University taps into local expertise to collaborate on product development and teach courses.

Chinese-style capitalism

Elsewhere in Suzhou Industrial Park, workers keep the gardens and lawns
vibrant in the shadows of dozens of construction cranes. The park is a magnet for foreign investment, and multinational companies are flocking to this highly competitive development zone that boasted a gross domestic product of $25.1 billion in 2011 — more than that of a country like Jamaica. With a population of around 700,000, Suzhou Industrial Park remains highly livable, too, without the congestion and smog of Shanghai and Beijing, goliath cities that teem with millions of people.

For first-time visitors, the sprawling 111-square-mile park has a distinctly entrepreneurial feel to it. While the government still owns land, banks and media in the world’s most populous nation, China pundits say this park stands out as a global model of how to transform a once-sleepy, largely rural city into an economic hot spot where public and private investment spark innovation and economic growth.

According to research by Z.H. STUDIO, media and marketing consultants in Beijing who study the Chinese economy,
Suzhou Industrial Park officials envision the park as an up-and-coming Silicon Valley. They’re focused on attracting and retaining talent and creating a culture of innovation.

“China, as a whole, is working to develop an upgraded workforce,” said Zhihua “Stephanie” Yan, a principal at Z.H. STUDIO. “People in Suzhou Industrial Park are working hard to educate and train potential employees for their companies, which are working on new technology that will allow them to compete globally.”

Competitive edge

Company executives in the park told Phil Doepker ’67, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering who coordinates industrial and technical relations at the China Institute, that they’re struggling with a 30 percent employee turnover rate every year because these engineers are highly marketable. “They’re thirsty for our graduates,” he said. “Our message to our graduates, particularly those from China, is this: ‘You can get a top-notch education at the University of Dayton, work in Suzhou in the summers as interns and get a job right after you graduate.’”

According to a May 2012 report from the Institute of International Education, fewer than 4 percent of American engineering students participate in study-abroad programs. STEM graduates, the report concluded, are ill-prepared to “compete in an increasingly borderless marketplace.” The researchers recommended that universities develop “innovative programs to educate, develop and train the next generation of globally competent scientists and engineers.”

Provost Joe Saliba ’79 believes that University of Dayton graduates who’ve worked at the China Institute will stand out among their peers when seeking jobs. “Our students will have a competitive edge over students from other universities. I cannot think of a CEO or top manager in a major American company who doesn’t have global experience,” he said.

Weiping Wang, who’s overseen the University of Dayton’s initiatives in China since 2002 and helped increase enrollment of Chinese students to a record high, now serves as assistant provost and the executive director of the China Institute. She’s a well-connected and respected scholar with educational experience on multiple continents. She has traveled to China with trustees, administrators, faculty and students who are working together to attract projects and create academic offerings through the China Institute. More recently, she collaborated with Doepker and Scott Segalewitz, professor of engineering technology, to offer China-based multinational companies the University’s research and education expertise.

“We believe in starting small, building pilots and building upon that,” Saliba said. “We’re committed to Suzhou being our base in China.”

Pilot projects

Back in Dayton, American, Chinese, Lebanese and Indian students in the School of Engineering’s Innovation Center have already gained experience solving problems for American companies in Suzhou Industrial Park. Negotiating a 12-hour time difference and a Chinese New Year celebration that halted progress for weeks, two teams spent the bulk of spring semester working with two companies.

For Lilly Suzhou Pharmaceutical Co., the students developed sustainability guidelines to reduce energy usage in Suzhou plants.

“If we had a couple people on the site, we could have had the data we needed (to do our calculations) quicker. There was a communication barrier,” said Dan Fink ’12, a mechanical engineering graduate from Cleveland who’s now earning a master’s degree in UD’s clean and renewable energy program.

“If they follow the guidelines, they can reduce energy substantially. I think they’ll benefit from this. It will get some wheels turning,” he said. “Having the opportunity to work with global companies on real-world issues is a great opportunity for undergraduate students. Working with Lilly on energy reduction helped reinforce the importance of efficiency in the manufacturing and business worlds.”

For an Emerson Climate Technologies plant in Suzhou, students worked on an oil separator for a refrigeration system.

The UD team included two Chinese students, who conducted bi-weekly conference calls in Mandarin. Still, the group managed to create only a simulation of how the oil separator should work. “Our biggest challenge was the testing conditions. We needed the actual machine,” said Jun Hou, a computer engineering technology major from Shanghai whose group gave the company three designs for prototyping and testing.

Tony Saliba ’81, dean of the School of Engineering who helped design the labs in the China Institute, said these communication hurdles can be alleviated by students traveling to China and working directly with clients. “We’re simulating the world for our students. In the real world, sometimes you have to deal with a 12-hour time difference with clients, and sometimes you have to visit the site. This allows them to actually come here and work directly with companies. It’s very important for our students to work across the globe.”

In September, three senior engineering students traveled to Suzhou to interview executives at Lilly Suzhou Pharmaceutical Co. about the types of courses its engineers need. This project, part of a capstone course, will help professors design curricula for working professionals.

At the same time, Wang and faculty members are working to develop internships and co-ops at partner companies and launch a six-week summer program in Suzhou, targeted to UD engineering and business students. Students selected for the program, which begins in May, will receive free international airfare and housing in apartments at Suzhou Industrial Park while they earn nine credit hours.

“They will take courses in project management, innovative design and entrepreneurship, and intercultural communications from UD professors,” Wang said. “They will visit our partner companies  — and gain some practical experience in a global environment.  We want both American and Chinese students to
apply for this program and take classes together. That’s why a course in intercultural communication is so important.”

While in China, students will attend seminars on Chinese culture and society, taught in English by professors from Nanjing University and other partner universities, and take cultural tours of Suzhou, Shanghai, Nanjing and other nearby cities.

In the future, Wang envisions UD faculty offering a variety of courses from across disciplines for both UD students desiring to study abroad and prospective students in China who want to continue their college education in Dayton.

It’s all designed to make global learning a hallmark of a UD education, administrators say.

Provost Saliba, who fled war-torn Lebanon without knowing a word of English, earned three degrees from the University of Dayton and rose to its top academic post, is as comfortable chatting with alumni at a gathering in Kuwait as he is discussing curricular reform at a faculty meeting. He expects the next generation of graduates to be comfortable working and living in all time zones.

“I cannot actually imagine a college student graduating without global competencies,” he said.

Then he mused, “If it weren’t for those four Marianists from Alsace-Lorraine who came to Dayton, we wouldn’t have the University of Dayton as we know it today. And if it weren’t for those two brothers from Dayton who invented flight, we wouldn’t be opening this center in China. They have shrunk the world.”


Teri Rizvi, part of a delegation that traveled to China in August, is associate vice president for University communications. She reported from Rome in 1991 when William Joseph Chaminade was beatified. As a freelance journalist, she’s extensively covered life and politics in Pakistan and worked as a London-based correspondent for McGraw-Hill World News and a researcher for ABC News early in her career.

– – – – –

View related stories from the Autumn 2012 issue:

A firsthand experience

A longstanding relationship

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A firsthand experience

1:39 PM  Oct 2nd, 2012
by Teri Rizvi and Cameron Fullam

Like novelist John Steinbeck, who once embarked on a cross-country journey to discover the soul of America, Joe Watras jetted to China this summer to see for himself what he’d already absorbed through books and lectures.

“I went to the setting to paint the scene, to get a feel for the conditions. Without that, I’d be flying blind in the classroom,” says Watras, professor of teacher education.

During lunch in the Barrett Dining Room on campus, the soft-spoken Watras chatted amiably about why he chose to spend a year studying the political, social and economic landscape of China with seven other faculty members. Shortly before Memorial Day, they flew nearly 7,000 miles to Beijing for the beginning of an intense three-week immersion experience.

This is a study-abroad program — with a twist. It’s designed to change the way faculty teach.

“We’re creating a cadre of champions” for bringing the world into the classroom, says Amy Anderson ’09, director of the Center for International Programs. “Many of these faculty are exploring a place they’ve never been before. It’s outside their comfort zone. We’ll run one more program in China before exploring countries in Latin America, Africa or the Middle East before rotating back again.”

The program’s initial focus is apparent. China sends the largest number of international students to the U.S., and the University of Dayton’s international student population mirrors that trend. The University opened its doors this fall to more than 1,500 new and returning international students, with nearly half from China.

Watras became intrigued with the differing ways the U.S. and China approach the teaching of professional ethics to school administrators after Wu Hongkuan, a visiting professor from China Jiliang University, made a casual observation during a classroom discussion of Thomas Sergiovanni’s book Moral Leadership.

“Sergiovanni recommended that school principals emphasize developing a spirit of curiosity among students, looking at conditions that impede learning as problems to solve and developing attitudes of respect among students and teachers. He wanted principals to use these characteristics to rate the performance of the teachers. Some critics complained the model was authoritarian,” Watras says. “Most of my graduate students approved of these ideas, and Mr. Wu thought this was the way that members of the Chinese Communist Party tried to work.

“I thought we could work together to flesh out his observations.”

When Watras visited China Jiliang University in Hangzhou, “officials greeted us like we were visiting royalty.” Watras, whose own lifelong research has focused around school integration, discovered “friendliness, openness and concern for higher values.” It made him reconsider “my prejudice that the Chinese political system was oppressive.”

“There may be elements of repression,” he notes, “but there seems to be a consistent drive for personal achievement and social growth that is consistent with the best elements of democracy. The people told me we’re trying to blend Eastern and Western views of ethics.”

The Global Education Seminar, now in its second year, opened up the eyes of other professors, too. As music therapy professor Susan Gardstrom stepped last summer into a therapy center for children with autism, she was surprised to hear children singing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

“Growing up, the only information I remember getting about China was that the Chinese were going to take over the American auto industry,” she says. “Obviously that was a narrow and biased perspective, so I relished this opportunity for personal growth. This visit stimulated a desire to learn more about the country, heightened my cultural sensitivity and developed in me a sense that we are all in this together.”

Gardstrom interviewed music therapists in psychiatric and educational settings. She exchanged ideas with two professors at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and a therapist who traveled to Sichuan as part of an earthquake crisis intervention team. She also led a workshop on clinical improvisation and delivered two research presentations.

Gardstrom and Watras are part of a growing number of faculty who are strengthening the University’s network of international relationships — and enriching curriculum revision, scholarly study and collaborations.

“There is great value to have study-abroad programs for students, but we can have a greater effect on more students if we change the way we teach in the classrooms here on campus,” says Don Pair, associate dean for integrated learning and curriculum in the College of Arts and Sciences. “The effects are immediate: faculty from last summer have already changed what they are doing in the classroom as a result of their experience.”

For example, history professor Chris Agnew has created three new courses and plans to develop an Asian studies minor. Agnew teaches Asian history with a specialty in Chinese history, and he took advantage of the trip to conduct research and sort through ancient texts in libraries.

Engineering technology professor Sean Falkowski had no previous experience with China before his participation in the Global Education Seminar. He used the trip to understand how sustainability works in China. He plans to apply what he learned to the University’s redesigned program in global manufacturing systems.

For Watras, the experience sparked a desire to apply for a six-week Fulbright grant and return to the country for more intensive research.

From the pace of new construction (“buildings pop up like mushrooms after a rain”) to the diligence of the people (“green tea blooms on hillsides as steep as buildings”), Watras can now paint a scene of China for his American students.

“We weren’t tourists,” he says. “It was an opportunity to learn and grow — and bring those ideas back to our disciplines.”

– – – – –

View related stories from the Autumn 2012 issue:

A longstanding relationship

At home in China

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A longstanding relationship

1:38 PM  Oct 2nd, 2012
by Teri Rizvi

Scott Segalewitz knows only a few words in Mandarin, but he’s taken one to heart — “guanxi.”

Loosely translated, guanxi means connections. “In China, it’s all about relationships,” says Segalewitz, professor and former chair of UD’s engineering technology program.

In 2006, Segalewitz helped start what’s become the University of Dayton’s longest-running partnership in China, one that set the stage for the University’s growing footprint in a country on the economic rise across the globe.

A select number of engineering students at Shanghai Normal University, which enrolls triple the number of full-time students as the University of Dayton, study for three years at the Fengxian campus that sits on the edge of a picturesque lake. For their final year, they transfer to UD’s largely residential campus in the heart of the American Midwest.

Many have never stepped foot on American soil before, and they’re not used to living in a city that’s a sliver of the size of Shanghai. They take intensive courses in communication and English composition in the summer before starting classes in the fall in either electronic or manufacturing technology.

At the end of their year, they earn diplomas from Shanghai Normal and the University of Dayton — and a greater shot at the top engineering jobs in their own country, where many now work for multinational companies like Mitsubishi and Exxon.

That’s what inspired Yongxu Shen, who’s adopted the American name “Cecilia,” to trade life in arguably one of the fastest-developing cities in the world for a year on a Catholic campus that prides itself as much for its welcoming atmosphere as for its engineering school’s reputation.

“I’m a little nervous,” Cecilia concedes during Segalewitz’s orientation class in early August. “I’ve never been outside China, but I want to improve my knowledge of the language. I want the experience.”

Classmate Wei “Harry” Zhang says he’s impressed with the engineering labs. “We took a tour, and they’re more modern. I want to learn more about American technology.”

On this humid summer day, just three weeks before thousands of University of Dayton students move back to campus, 20 students listen intently to Segalewitz as he talks about the importance of professional ethics. But first, he gives them a little fatherly advice.

“I always tell my students that if you’re doing something your mother wouldn’t approve, it’s probably not right,” he says to start off his midday class. “We need to treat people fairly. It doesn’t matter where we come from. Ethics is about doing what is right.”

Segalewitz launches into an animated lecture that ranges from amusing stories about the Pirate Code of Conduct to candid observations of unethical behavior of athletes at the London Olympics to a more serious viewing of a video showing one of the greatest engineering disasters of all time — the July 17, 1981, collapse of a suspended skywalk at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City.

Segalewitz had no experience teaching a roomful of international students before UD launched the joint degree program, but he’s developed a comfort level and a rapport with the students, many of whom he taught in China during a faculty exchange. “Their conversational English is very good, but their technical English tends to be what we stress,” he notes. “We go over to China to teach to give them an ear for the technical language.”

While not all professors travel to other countries to teach, many have students from abroad in their classes. That’s why Segalewitz gave his faculty a 593-page cultural handbook, Kiss, Bow, or Shake Hands: The Bestselling Guide to Doing Business in More Than 60 Countries.

Now that Segalewitz has stepped down as chair of the engineering technology department, he’s turning his attention to teaching and helping Phil Doepker ’67, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, coordinate industrial and technical relations at the newly opened University of Dayton China Institute. They’re working closely with multinational companies in Suzhou Industrial Park to develop research projects and courses.

“Engineering doesn’t just happen in Dayton, Ohio,” he says. “It’s a worldwide profession. The more experience we give our students — international and American — the more marketable they’ll be.”

Xujun “Daniel” Peng agrees: “This year will change my life.”

– – – – –

View related stories from the Autumn 2012 issue:

A firsthand experience

At home in China

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Lasting impression

12:41 PM  Oct 1st, 2012
by Rachel Sebastian ’13

They say the story is found between the lines. But sometimes the story is laid out before the letters even hit the paper.

For those using a letterpress system, setting out the letters is only the beginning of a process that’s stamped in their memories forever.

In a dark corner of College Park Center, an obscure contraption called a platen press sits, tucked behind rows of computers. Although the piece seems out of place, it isn’t completely alone — it’s neighbored by a California Job Case, which contains drawer after drawer of type featuring individual letters, numbers and images of the University’s logo and presidential seal.

And while the letterpress system sits in the shadows of digital print, a few remember a time when it had a very active presence on campus.

Brother Joe Mariscalco, S.M. ’62, who now lives at Mount Saint John in Beavercreek, Ohio, operated the letterpress system until 1998. With a master’s in printing technology, he put his degree to use for 44 years.

“I haven’t seen one of those [presses] in a long time,” he chuckled. His retirement marked the end of the press’s use on campus.

Brother Joe Barrish, S.M. ’50, noted the great level of skill required in this intricate process that would set the foundation for later methods of printing. Whether it was for stationery, a brochure or a flyer, the process began
by organizing the designated type — one letter at a time.

Laid out backward in preparation for the transfer of ink to paper, the type was set into a heavy steel frame called a chase. Squared and locked up, it would then go into the press. But it wasn’t an automatic finish. Mariscalco would then pull down a lever that would lock the chase into place and work with the press’s distinct rhythm as he placed the paper in and pulled the paper out. And once you had put in the paper, “get your hand out right away . . . it’s going to print whether you’ve got paper or not,” said Mariscalco.

His hands were lucky enough to escape the press, but he still couldn’t avoid the very noticeable ink-stained fingers. Thinking back, Mariscalco, now 84, said he probably should’ve worn gloves.

The ink stains on Mariscalco’s fingers faded away years ago, but the memory of the letterpress made a lasting impression.

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How to be a rockstar without playing an instrument

12:34 PM  Oct 1st, 2012
by Sara Dorn '12

David Bradley ’71 helped invent IBM’s first personal computer, but his claim to fame is the invention of the three-key shortcut to restart a computer — control-alt-delete. It’s made him a keyboard rock star in the computer world, where he’s befriended fellow computer whizzes like Bill Gates and regularly signs autographs. He offers tips on achieving technological fame.

1. Give it your all, all the time  While working on the System/23 Datamaster, IBM approached him to help develop the PC. “You never know when the best opportunity is going to come along, so always make sure you’re doing your best.”

2. Take shortcuts  Bradley was fed up with restarting the personal computer every time it malfunctioned, and so control-alt-delete was born. “It took all of about nine steps and five to 10 minutes to code.” Initially meant for programmers, the keystroke caught on with the public.

3. Bring a Sharpie Bradley prefers Sharpies — both black and silver — for autographing computer keyboards for his fans. “A guy from IBM has me sign 10 of them at a time that they give away as prizes during patent contests.” Students also request his autograph.

4. Spread your knowledge  In the last 30 years, Bradley has taught at Florida Atlantic University and North Carolina State University, and his daughter, Sara Higgins, is carrying on the Bradley legacy as an electrical engineer at IBM.

5. Reward yourself  Bradley took an early retirement from IBM in 2006 and has been traveling the world with his wife since, but play was always a priority. “I would take three to four weeks off for trips every year. I like to think I struck a reasonable balance between work and family.”

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The Creative Classics

3:07 PM  Sep 28th, 2012
by Shannon Shelton Miller

In our era, technology often separates us from the art, from the sense of creation.   But for members of this creative class, traditional skills and tools can feed a hands-on creative process that produces often messy, sometimes complicated and always classically wonderful art.   Through their hands, we reconnect with our history, giving us appreciation for the beauty and wonder of our world.


Michael Lauer ’97 | WITH THESE HANDS

While tourists explored New Orleans’ French Quarter during the summer, Michael Lauer toiled inside a historic theater repairing pieces of ornamental plaster to their original state of elegance. Other days he worked in homes, using his hands to craft new decorative pieces for future generations to enjoy.

His hands are often covered in plaster these days, as Lauer reinvented himself in 2007 as an architectural plasterer specializing in ornamental, decorative and plain plaster, or flatwork. He eschews drywall and sheetrock, the typical materials used in most modern structures.

A visual communication design graduate, Lauer spent 10 years as a graphic designer for multiple organizations but longed to find an enduring craft that would remain with viewers long after completing his work.

“I got tired of sitting behind a computer and wanted to use my God-given talents to work with my hands,” he says.

Lauer discovered the American College of the Building Arts in Charleston, S.C., a school offering architectural specializations in six construction areas using traditional artisan practices. He planned to pursue carpentry, but after arriving, he “fell in love” with plaster. He opened his own studio in Charleston in May 2011 after earning a bachelor’s degree in architectural plaster working.

“Of all the artisan techniques, plaster work was the most artistic,” he says. Using his graphic design background, he adapted the process of creating intricate designs on a computer to envisioning them in plaster as he drew up blueprints for his new projects.

His student and professional projects have included replicating old cornice pieces in a Long Island mansion and a Charleston dwelling, using flatwork to restore a circa 1814 Charleston home turned bed-and-breakfast, creating decorative medallions for chandelier bases, and completing repairs on the ornamental plaster ceiling in Garrett Hall, a 100-year-old building on the University of Virginia campus.

Each time a visitor gazes at his restorative work or customers ask for a new piece for their homes, Lauer accomplishes what he imagined the moment he left his graphic design job — creating an artistic legacy that can’t be erased by pushing delete.


Margaret Brenner Neff ’85 | SALVE FOR THE SKIN

Sensitive skin and allergies plagued Margaret Neff for much of her life. Soaps, laundry detergents and dishwashing liquids led to breakouts of rashes or hives.

“I was allergic to everything in the world,” she says.

Without those allergies, though, Neff might not have experimented with natural products to find more skin-friendly formulations. And without such experimentation, which began more than 20 years ago, she wouldn’t have started Nature’s Touch Soaps, the business she’s run from her home in Cedarville, Ohio, since 2001.

“I was just making soap and giving it away,” she says. “It kind of just happened as opposed to something I had a business plan for.”

Neff, who earned a master’s degree in education from UD, spent 32 years as a special education teacher. After her retirement in 2007, she dedicated more time to soap making, mixing different formulas and
recipes in her kitchen. She often gave samples to friends, who began joining her for soap-making sessions.

As the demand for samples grew, Neff realized she had the base for a thriving business. She recently expanded to a studio outside her home, where she makes up to 96 bars in one session and can produce more than 1,000 in a week. All bars are blended, molded, cut and wrapped by hand.

Neff says she stays true to the processes soap makers used 200 years ago, using plant-based essential oils rather than chemically based fragrance oils, for example, and leaving in moisturizing byproducts like glycerin, which many manufacturers remove to sell separately for greater profit.

She’s also committed to using environmentally friendly processes and working with local suppliers. In addition to soap, she produces private-label products for other companies and sells lotions, creams, scrubs, salts, herbal bags and hooded towels.

The business is a family endeavor, with daughter Kara handling social media and Internet promotion and husband Nolan managing some of the financial transactions. Nolan calls his wife the “chief cook and bottle washer.”

It’s a job description she happily accepts, and her skin is probably just as appreciative.


Beth Doyle ’89 | BY THE BOOK

One day, a visitor could present an 18th-century leather-bound volume covered in clear Scotch tape. Another day brings in an old book with brittle pages hanging on by a few threads.

It’s up to Beth Doyle, head of the conservation services department for Duke University Libraries, to determine how to repair such items, including fixing haphazard efforts done with adhesives or staples.

Bookbinding involves more than sewing skills. An organic chemistry background helps her identify degrees of fabric degradation, and she sifts through leather swatches to find pieces closest to the book’s original treatment.

“I love that conservation is a mix of old-world craftwork and modern technologies,” she says. “I’m doing the same thing that bookbinders did in the 15th century or even the fourth century.”

Entering her 10th year at Duke, Doyle conserves materials as varied as an early 20th-century collection of hand-drawn and colored maps of North Carolina to ancient Egyptian papyri. The Duke Libraries boast the fifth-oldest collection of papyri in the world, with pieces dating to the third century A.D. From works of literature to private letters and tax receipts, the papyri display slices of everyday life in the ancient world.

Doyle majored in photography at UD and took a bookbinding course to make books to display her photos. The handiwork appealed to her love of history, and bookbinding and printmaking were among her areas of interest.

After graduation, Doyle operated a letterpress as an apprentice in a Chicago print shop, work that differed little from what Johannes Gutenberg did in the 15th century.

During summer 2012, Doyle began binding a collection of manuscript letters Louisa Whitman wrote in the 1860s to her son Walt, the famous poet. Doyle doesn’t often read the works she repairs, but Louisa’s amusing recollections of the mundane, such as annoyances with another son, made the assignment a page-turner.

When Doyle is done, future visitors can enjoy Louisa’s musings for themselves. As with her other projects, each painstaking restoration revives a once-lost piece of history, one that now endures to enlighten, entertain and educate generations to come.


Richard Mark French ’88 | MUSIC MAN

Richard Mark French’s work in the mechanics of musical instruments, particularly guitars, shaped his career as a mechanical engineering technology professor at Purdue University. He’s published books, developed an on-campus test facility and run summer workshops for youth to use guitar making as a gateway to science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers.

Despite having access to the best materials in music technology, the former aerospace and automotive engineer finds it more fulfilling to step away from them.

“I read somewhere that making musical instruments should be a quiet art,” he says. “When I’m just building for my own enjoyment, I try to keep it that way. I like using traditional methods and building the hand skills that true artisans need.”

A self-proclaimed “wood junkie” and “wood snob,” he’s even cut trees and sliced them into rounds, then sealed and seasoned the wood before crafting it into a guitar. As a luthier, he experiments with various hand tools, finding a 125-year-old saw to be among the best in his toolbox.

He’s given guitars to friends, allowing others to enjoy the fruits of his work. And his skill has come in handy during workshops with teenagers raised in the digital age. When one group struggled with a piece of machinery in a guitar-making workshop, French whipped out a chisel and saw and cut the wood himself.

“I think that gave me some credibility,” French says.

When French pursued his doctorate at UD, the manager of the photomechanics lab where he worked told French he could use the equipment to indulge his hobby of exploring the dynamic behavior of a guitar —
as long as he finished his degree, which he did in 1993.

French later tinkered with acoustic technology as a noise vibration engineer in the auto industry, and music industry professionals began contacting him for structural testing using lasers or acoustic testing using sound chambers. French accepted the jobs for free, and he later used that knowledge for his own acoustic work.

Still, he says there’s nothing better than getting out the chisels, scrapers and files and building things by hand. As French demonstrated to his students, technology doesn’t supersede the need for basic craftsmanship.



The janitor gives Janelle Young her final warning. She’s failed to heed earlier ones and he insists that she must leave.

“I’m locking the door in 15 minutes,” he says.

This back-and-forth exchange takes place almost every time Young makes after-hours visits to the darkroom at Stivers School for the Arts near downtown Dayton. As the director of the school’s photography program, she has access to one of the few places in the city where she can indulge her passion for film photography.

At UD, Young practiced her craft in the darkroom; digital photography was an elective. As her photography classmates shot exclusively in digital after graduation, though, Young scouted the city for community darkrooms, booking any available time outside her hours as an office manager at the Dayton Visual Arts Center.

Emerging from the darkness, clothing stinking of chemicals and stained by developing fluid, her dedication to film photography grew with each session.

“Even as technology advances and the printers and scanners are better, there’s nothing like a silver gelatin print,” she says. “In the image, there are clumps of silver embedded in the paper. In digital photography, the ink lays on the surface. There’s just a different look and feel.”

During her four years at DVAC, she decided to exclusively use film for her professional work. Her current project is a series of a black-and-white illusions of landscapes created by capturing the reflection of sunlight on a white background. At Stivers, where she’s entering her third year, she teaches film photography to high school students.

Her dedication to tradition can create additional burdens. Finding chemicals, film, paper and color processors is a daunting task, and a roll of 12-exposure film is $6.

Young shoots five rolls a week to capture three or four quality images. The numerical limitations of film make every shot precious, and such necessity sharpens her view of the world, giving her a broader perspective on nature and the human condition.

Still, Young persists in keeping the art alive through teaching — and by continuing to bargain with the janitors for just one more minute in the dark.

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