We remember the lives and contributions of faculty members who have passed away. Thanks to those who responded to a call from the UD Magazine for their remembrances. Please add your comments and sympathies below.
David W. Ahern 12-26-16 Professor emeritus of political science
“David was a wonderful colleague and teacher, and a terrific friend with a delightful sense of humor and an engaging conversational style.”— John Geiger, former University provost
“He loved to rib folks he liked about any number of issues ranging from their driving habits to choices of restaurants. Dave was generous to a fault — in my case, he offered me his home while he was traveling, provided I would take care of his belligerent cat.” — Rick Ghere, associate professor of political science
David had a delightfully sharp sense of humor. He was a creative and innovative educator, developing simulations and computer-facilitated learning well before inquiry-based models of learning became more common in higher education. Former students are still quick to remember fondly their time in Ruritania. He also provided valuable leadership for the department of political science over many years.” — Jason Pierce, dean of College of Arts and Sciences
Father Joseph Patrick Tedesco, S.M. 12-2-16 Professor of psychology
“Father Tedesco was an adjunct member of the UD Department of Psychology from 1996 to 2011, and for the fall semester of 2015 when he was back in Dayton on sabbatical. He taught many courses including intro, abnormal, developmental, personality, tests and measurements, and his all-time favorite, sports psychology. He was very beloved by his students and admired by other faculty. Father ‘Teddy,’ as he was affectionately known, was also my teaching mentor when I first came to the department in 2007. He was a natural born teacher and standup comedian. He was also a licensed professional clinical counselor and a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology. His dissertation research was on performance enhancement. He also received the honor of being inducted in the Ohio Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2006. Father Teddy was also my formation mentor when I first joined the Marianists. We lived together in the Alumni Hall Marianist Community from 2008 to 2010. He helped shape me into the Marianist I am today. He taught me volumes about generosity and self-giving by his example. Father Teddy and I were also co-advisers together for the Greek Fraternity on campus, Beta Theta Pi. He said this made us ‘double brothers.’ He was my truly my best Marianist friend. We all and will miss him terribly. He deeply touched many lives as a priest, teacher and friend.
“May his good and great memory be for us a blessing!” —Brother Thomas Farnsworth, S.M., professor in the department of psychology
“Early in my career at UD, I was assigned to teach in the department’s Summer Intensive Physics Program, which was instituted by Joe. This program offered students the opportunity to complete the two semester algebra-based physics sequence, both lecture and laboratory, in a total of 7 weeks during the summer. Participants were fully immersed in physics, meeting 6 days a week, all day and into the evenings. Because it was a unique offering at the time, students from a number of institutions around the country enrolled, and although the course was very demanding of the student’s time, students always reviewed the experience as productive and valuable.
Joe was a constant member of the Physics golf team that played in the annual Jim La Vance Memorial Golf Tournament. It was great to be able to spend a morning playing golf with Joe, who was an avid golfer. As skilled as he was, he enjoyed playing with those of us with questionable skills. We looked forward to fielding a team every year and spending the time with colleagues outside of the department.” —John Erdei, associate professor and chair of department of physics
“Takis had a passion for regenerative medicine and, in particular, limb regeneration that will transform the lives of those who have suffered from such life-changing injuries. His work on regeneration was a very significant scientific breakthrough. Takis’ loss is a major blow to UD and the research community as a whole.” —Khalid Lafdi, professor of chemical and materials engineering
“Takis was an inspiration. The department’s current research success was built around Takis’ efforts and spirit; he was one of a very few scientists who could make research sing. I think many of us saw that his best days were ahead of him, which makes his passing all the more difficult. He will be sorely missed.”—Mark Nielsen, professor and chair of the department of biology
“No words to describe Professor Tsonis. He was a special person. My Godfather. He had a foresight that very few could understand. He was men of his own kind. Scientist of a caliber not less then a noble laureate. If someday I have to give title of father of tissue regeneration-I will be glad to nominate his name. He could have achieved, and contributed lot more than what he had. His hypothesis has always worked. His imagination was beyond limits. His power to read patterns was nothing less than a God Gift. I am sad that he passed away, and left me like this. Hope whereever he is he is in peace, and solitude because that is what he was searching for in his last two years of life. God Bless my Mento. Dr. Panagiotis A. Tsonis. Amin!”—Abijeet Mehta, doctoral candidate in department of biology
“Dr. Rowe encouraged us to stretch our intellects. I vividly recall him handing me a copy of Nature with the advice that, even as an undergraduate, I should be aware of cutting-edge research. Though he was academically demanding, he was also warm and hospitable. He once invited a group of us out to his farm to look at the Andromeda Galaxy without the light pollution of the city. Of course, Dr. Rowe had a bonfire, drink, and an evening of storytelling waiting for us. He will be dearly missed.” —Kaitlin Moredock DiNapoli ’08
“John contributed a great deal to our department during his decades at UD. He developed both our business ethics courses and our philosophy of law courses, coordinating with the schools of law and business. A constant learner, he taught a wide variety of courses including medieval philosophy, Islamic philosophy, philosophy of art, logic, and philosophy of language, and served as a docent at the Dayton Art Institute for many years. John was effusive and outgoing, and loved teaching, food, drink and friends. He will be missed by his colleagues in the department of philosophy and elsewhere on campus.” —Rebecca Wisnant, associate professor of philosophy
“Dr. Quinn was a renaissance figure in many ways and wanted students to feel connections with hands-on experience. For example, what would it be like to do our taxes based on Roman numerals, and how did we shift to the numbers that we use today? Dr. Quinn created UD’s PHL 365: Islamic Philosophy and Culture course to introduce students to the wider web of geometric structures in Muslim art and architecture. He wanted students to embrace the Islamic rebirth of math and science that led directly to our use Arabic numbers and algebra today, with all the efficiency that this has brought in its wake.
“The University of Tehran invited him to speak more than once on Islamic philosophy. During these visits, Dr. Quinn assembled a remarkable collection of beautiful illuminated manuscript pages, which he often shared with students.
“Dr. Quinn was a trailblazer at UD in establishing PHL 313: Business Ethics and keeping it up to date. He would consistently receive top awards for papers at academic conferences on business ethics.
“With his law degree, Dr. Quinn would often give colleagues and students legal advice free of charge.” —John Inglis, professor and chair of the department of philosophy
“John Quinn was one of my professors when I attended graduate school in philosophy at UD in the 1980s. He possessed an appetite for knowledge. He studied law, art, philosophy, business and whatever peaked his curiosity. In many ways he was a true Renaissance man. He volunteered as a docent for the Dayton Art Institute. He created the now popular course in Business Ethics. John was generous with his time. Over the years, he dealt with health issues with great courage, humor and dignity. This is how he faced his death. I am glad to have been his student, his colleague and his friend.” —Bill Marvin ’91, lecturer in the department of philosophy
“Dr. Watras was an amazing faculty member who inspired education majors at UD for decades. He would start every class with a little joke to draw us all into the moment, but he didn’t have to. He had our attention the moment he would softly say, “Good afternoon.” Like every other member of the Dayton family he cared for his students. I wasn’t the best scholar, but his genuine nature always made me feel like my contribution to the conversation mattered. He had a way of making every student feel as bright and unique as one of his bow ties.” —Michael Fletcher Skelton ’12
“I had Dr. Watras freshman year at UD. He was an excellent professor who truly cared about all of his students and wanted them to learn and grow to become wonderful educators. I will always remember his corny jokes and custom bow ties that he wore daily made by his wife. He is definitely a professor I will never forget!” —Anne Nestor ’12
“I was fortunate enough to have Dr. Geary as a professor during my time at UD. I took his introductory audit course and distinctly remember it being one my favorite classes due to his enthusiasm and practical experience with the subject. Dr. Geary didn’t just simply teach what the textbook said, but instead taught by providing real-life situations that made the topics both interesting and relatable. Dr. Geary truly cared about his students and their well being and I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from him.” —Anita Shankar ’11
For Patricia Russell, innovation comes in all forms. Not only has she taken risks professionally, starting her own consulting firm after a successful chemical engineering career, but her methods as a consultant concentrate on changing individual perspectives.
During her time as an undergraduate, Russell recorded a great deal of firsts. She helped found Minority Engineers for Advancement and was both the first woman from the Bahamas and the first African-American woman to graduate from the University with a chemical engineering degree.
After getting her master’s in chemical engineering and working in the field for several years, she discovered a different path.
“I loved chemical engineering — I liked the analytics and the numbers,” she said. “But while working as a chemical engineer, I discovered the type of work I really belonged in. It was always about people.”
Sixteen years ago, she made the leap. By starting The Russell Consulting Group, Russell was able to pursue the work she loved. Her firm works with companies, primarily in health care and higher education, to improve productivity and create a great place to work.
“A lot of consultants work on changing behavior, hoping that will impact results,” she said. “I focus on shifting thinking, on identifying thought patterns behind behaviors, on mastering ego to transform cultures.”
Russell’s engineering background has continued to serve her well, giving her firm a competitive edge.
“The strategic-thinking skills I learned help me survive the ups and downs of consulting work,” she said. “If you don’t have that strategic or critical-thinking talent, it’s almost impossible to adapt your business model.”1 Comment
In 2012, Robert Boeke and his wife, Rita, traveled to Haiti to teach a three-week math and English course. They didn’t intend to visit the island more than once. But in August 2014, they returned to facilitate a seminar that helped Haitian students plan for their futures.
Originally, the Boekes went to Haiti at the suggestion of Father Medard Laz, with whom they started a Catholic parish in Inverness, Illinois, in the 1980s. When Father Laz later became involved in a project in Haiti, he informed Bob Boeke that his math background would be a help at the University of the Nouvelle Grand’Anse (UNOGA) in Jeremie.
Upon arriving in Haiti, the Boekes realized almost immediately that their students had trouble envisioning the future in their work.
“We were concerned that university graduates in agronomy and business management would be hampered in their ability to start businesses, plan plantings and bring about change in Haiti,” Bob Boeke said.
He and his math educator colleague Mercedes McGowen planned a two-week seminar to stimulate multiple areas of the brain and help students become well-rounded independent leaders and thinkers.
After the Boekes returned to the U.S., the Divergent Thinking Seminar was approved by the UNOGA administration for Aug. 18-29, 2014.
UNOGA will continue to offer the seminar, after sending three Haitian employees to stay with the Boekes for a two-week training on presenting the material. Following the training, the Boekes plan to have daily Skype sessions with the teachers for support.
“Perhaps the most important ongoing result of the seminar is that the students have a sense of empowerment. They are talking among themselves and others about believing that they can change Haiti,” Bob Boeke said.No Comments
Pat Glaser Shea grew up privileged. “I had a family that loved me and parents who valued education,” Shea explained.
The daughter of a steel worker in West Virginia, Shea has been the CEO of YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee, the largest provider of domestic violence services in the state, for 10 years and sees the absence of such privilege every day.
In 1984, the UD marketing graduate settled in Nashville, Tennessee, and began to volunteer at the YWCA, where she saw firsthand the effects of violence and abuse on women and girls. “When women and girls aren’t able to live up to their potential due to abuse, we all lose out,” said Shea.
After a 20-year career in health care, Shea now focuses on ending gender violence by locating root causes. “We have been missing 50 percent of the population, thus half of the equation,” said Shea. “It is time to involve men, to invite good men to be part of the solution.”
Shea has become an outspoken advocate for engaging men in the effort to end violence against women and girls. In March 2015, she gave the TEDxNashville talk, “Violence Against Women: The End Begins with Men.”
In her talk, Shea states there are three things everyone can do: know the facts and elevate the issue, as violence against women is an epidemic; work to change our culture that belittles and devalues women and girls; and teach boys that loving and respecting women and girls is part of healthy masculinity. Shea said, “When women are valued and safe, we are able to be better mothers, sisters, daughters and partners. Everybody benefits.”No Comments
Some might say that Legos are toys meant only for the hands of children. Rafe Donahue would respectfully disagree.
Donahue, now senior director of statistics at Wright Medical in Franklin, Tennessee, used the popular building blocks to construct a structure iconic to UD’s campus: In 2014, Donahue built a miniature Lego model of the Chapel of Immaculate Conception. [Watch the video.]
“A couple of weeks after I had started building it, Paul Elloe in UD’s math department called me,” Rafe said. “He asked if I wanted to come to UD and give a speech, so I thought I’d also present the model while I was there.”
After graduating with a degree in mathematics from UD, Rafe went on to receive a doctorate in statistics from Colorado State University. To complete his Lego masterpieces, he needed to translate his knowledge of numbers and equations into the field of Lego architecture.
Rafe had an admiration of the chapel’s structure, inspiring his build. “Once I finished it, I immediately wanted to build more, so I made two more copies after giving one to the math department. One is with my sister, and the other I carry to Lego shows around the country.”
Donahue is grateful he was able to present UD with something to exemplify his appreciation of the school.
“I wanted to present all the amazing professors I had at UD with a gift that was really meaningful, something important and beautiful on that campus.”
Two models are currently displayed on campus: one in O’Reilly Hall, in the office of Maura Donahue, Rafe’s sister and director of budget and operations for the College of Arts and Sciences, and the original model, outside the mathematics office in the Science Center.No Comments
Wilbur Wright offered this advice to young people on how to succeed in life: “Pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.”
Adjunct professor Peter Newman would add to that, “and go to school at the University in Dayton.”
After all, we are the Flyers for a reason, Newman said. And so, in his course The Legal Environment of Business, Newman asked his students to read The Wright Brothers by David McCullough.
The 2015 book, Newman said, fleshes out the historical fact we all learned in second grade — that two brothers from Dayton invented powered, controlled flight — and gives us insight into both the rules of business and the personal traits required to be successful entrepreneurs.
“There is more to being successful than just following the rules,” said Newman, an adjunct professor in both business and law with more than three decades of experience in labor and employment law, corporate compliance and alternative dispute resolution. “You must be ethical, empathetic, optimistic, brave. The Wright brothers embody the traits of successful people that we should try to emulate.”
Newman wondered what lessons his students would find in the pages of the Wrights’ lives, so he had them write about it. Junior Nicolette Dahdah found inspiration.
“When we look back at the past, we should admire and seek to emulate the humbleness they carried to the enterprise, the dedication that made sure they saw it through to the end, and the perseverance to take the dream of flight and bring it into reality despite all their setbacks,” she wrote. “For what is an entrepreneur if not one who tests the limits of society’s thinking and wonders what barriers can man break today?”
In addition to reading McCullough’s book, students visited one of the Wright historic sites in the Dayton area and snapped a photograph. Students knelt at the brothers’ gravesites in Woodland Cemetery, posed in front of the Wright Cycle Co. shop and stood on the replica front porch of the boys’ childhood home less than 3 miles from campus.
The assignment, Newman said, also provided a historical context for their business education at UD. Students who knew nothing of Dayton’s history learned through McCullough that, in the era of the Wrights, Dayton inventors held more patents than those in any other city — good motivation for the next generation of entrepreneurs, Newman said.
Sophomore Ally Ayoob snapped a selfie at Hawthorn Hill where Orville spent his latter years. She wrote that, as she continues her education and enters into professional life, she will draw on the lessons she learned from the Wright brothers and from McCullough, who made their story come to life:
“As a University of Dayton entrepreneurship major, I am both humbled and inspired by the rich entrepreneurial history from which my university and its city draw so much pride.”
In reading The Wright Brothers, it is evident that Orville and Wilbur had a great deal of determination. Despite countless setbacks and negativism coming at them from every direction, the brothers never gave up on their dream. When it first became known that the Wrights were interested in building a flying machine, they immediately received negative feedback. People called them fools and cranks and thought they were trying to achieve the impossible. It wasn’t until nearly a decade later when people were able to witness the flights for themselves that they would rescind their comments. It would have been easy for the Wrights to become discouraged. Additionally, once Wilbur and Orville began building and testing their planes, they struggled for years in coming up with designs. Whether it be in designing the frame, wings, propellers, engines or any other aspect of the planes, each proved to be a great struggle. Wilbur and Orville could have concluded that, after multiple failed attempts in design (for each of the different parts), flight was simply not meant to be. They had to persevere through bad runs, failed attempts, and above all, plane crashes. The worst of these crashes, Sept. 17, 1908, left passenger Lt. Thomas Selfridge dead and Orville in critical condition. That Orville would later return to the air shows his commitment to aviation. —Carmen Bender, junior, international business management
A saying that their father constantly preached to them was “good mettle.” In other words, embrace the challenge in front of you. They met every project and task in front of them with a mindset full of passion and heart. This would result in heated arguments and isolation, but it would also consume them in a beneficial way. John T. Daniels, the amateur photographer whom the brothers had document their progress, once referred to Orville and Wilbur Wright as “the two workingest boys I ever knew.” Innovators today view their work as work, whereas the brothers viewed their work as life. When one shares this perspective, the discipline, the work ethic and perseverance come without question and without hesitation. —Patrick Duggan, sophomore, marketing
Otto Lilienthal, a pioneer who made great progress in flight from observing birds, provided the basis for all men pursuing flight. McCullough wrote of the Wright brothers’ use of Lilienthal’s data tables, “The difficulty was not to get into the air but to stay there, and they concluded that Lilienthal’s fatal problem had been an insufficient means of control — ‘his inability to properly balance his machine in the air,’ as Orville wrote.” At this moment, the Wright brothers decided to throw out Lilienthal’s data and start from scratch. The Wright brothers used their creativity and developed their own testing methods in a wind tunnel with small models. If the Wright brothers were not willing to challenge and change the status quo, they would not have been able to invent the
airplane. —Tianmu Luo, senior, marketing
Personality differences between Wilbur and Orville helped contribute to the success of the brothers. Wilbur, four years older than Orville, was the senior leader in the partnership. He was often described as critical, or, as McCullough wrote, “always ready to oppose an idea expressed by anybody.” In terms of business, critique is beyond important. Wilbur did not critique to offend anyone but to have, as McCullough wrote, a “new way of looking at things.” This critical attitude developed higher expectations, and when expectations were not met, Wilbur was often more discouraged than his younger brother. Wilbur became so discouraged that at one point he said, “Not in a thousand years would man ever fly.” Yet when discouraged by repeated failures, it was Orville’s spirit of ambition and generally optimistic attitude that brought Wilbur right back to the next calculation. While Wilbur had more confidence in his work as time progressed, Orville continuously displayed a high, hopeful, contagious spirit. —Kayla McLaughlin, junior, accounting and operations
The brothers did not believe they had what it took to be businessmen because they did not think they had any tenacity. Wilbur wrote, as conveyed by McCullough, that “the boys of the Wright family are all lacking in determination and push.” But the tenacity of the brothers was evident. As the brothers started to make headway in flight, people did not believe they had what it took to go any further. McCullough wrote that “as far as the reaction in Dayton, probably not one person in a hundred believed the brothers had actually flown in their machine, or if they had, it could only have been a fluke.” Hearing comments such as these would be enough to hinder many entrepreneurs, but for the brothers it was simply fuel to keep progressing. Instead of hanging their heads and giving up, the brothers continued innovating to show these doubters that they could and would achieve their goals. —Andrew Hoffman, sophomore, entrepreneurship
Orville and Wilbur needed a place to test their airplane in a place of high wind, no trees and sand where they could land. The brothers researched and contacted the weather bureau, and Wilbur asked Octave Chanute, a French-American civil engineer and aviation pioneer, for advice. They concluded that the small island of Kitty Hawk was the perfect secluded place for their test runs. Their creative place, though, was not always a perfect place. McCullough wrote that “they had endured violent storms, accidents, one disappointment after another, public indifference or ridicule, and clouds of demon mosquitoes. To get to and from their remote sand dune testing ground they had made five round trips from Dayton, a total of seven thousand miles by train, all to fly little more than half a mile.” Entrepreneurs need a place for their idea to be tested, a place for it to come to life and become a reality. —Corinne Cowan, junior, marketing
One of the earliest examples of ingenuity in the lives of the Wright brothers is described by McCullough; while still in high school, “Interested in printing for some while, Orville had worked for two summers as an apprentice at a local print shop. He designed and built his own press using a discarded tombstone, a buggy spring, and scrap metal.” Orville exemplified that self-drive has no age requirement, an important lesson to all aspiring entrepreneurs. Later in their journey, Wilbur had to rely on his ingenuity when The Flyer arrived to the Bollee factory in shambles. McCullough described, “Those who worked with him at the factory marveled at his meticulous craftsmanship, how he would make his own parts when needed, even a needle if necessary.” He took matters into his own hands and fixed the problem himself. —Megan O’Kane, sophomore, marketing
Everyone is very quick to praise the risks the Wright brothers did take but often overlook their more important ability to identify the risks they were not willing to take. From the beginning, Wilbur and Orville decided that they would never fly together. That way, if tragedy were to strike, one of them would still be around to carry on the legacy. They realized that their work was far more important than the enjoyment they would experience flying together. It was not until 1910, shortly before Wilbur’s death, that they flew together for the first and last time. Their risk management abilities were also seen in their everyday work. The brothers never let the opinions or wants of others affect their work. It did not matter who was watching or how big the crowd was — including a planned demonstration for the U.S. Senate and others at Fort Myer — they would not fly in poor conditions or take unnecessary risks just to please the crowd. Risk
management is vital to the success of any business. Not only their success but also their lives relied on their ability to judge risk. —Mary DeCrane, sophomore, leadership
At no point during their experimentations and successes did the Wright brothers seek to lord their performance over another member of the field, nor did they boast in their own time of their accomplishments. They offer us a lesson in humility. When we contrast that to how today’s business practices work, it’s a startling and shameful difference. The Wright brothers spent $1,000 on their flight venture; aviation pioneer Samuel Langley spent $70,000 on his failed attempt. “[B]eing the kind of men they were, neither said the stunning contrast between their success and Samuel Langley’s full-scale failure just days before made what they had done on their own all the more remarkable,” McCullough wrote. More importantly, instead of belittling one of the key figures who had inadvertently competed with them to be the first to achieve the power of flight, they praised him for being so generous to their cause and assisting them in their own efforts. Wilbur even stated that Langley deserved credit beyond the jeering and cruel amusement his failings brought him from the community because he shared with the brothers the drive to pursue a dream that many found foolish and impossible. If competing businesses worked hand in hand to pool resources and intellect in order to harness the vast shared knowledge between them, humbling themselves to put aside differences and work for mutual gain, the atmosphere of the marketplace would be astonishingly changed. —Nicolette Dahdah, junior, communication
Although Wilbur and Orville maintained ownership of their machine and depended on each other instead of outside sources, the brothers made the right friends and hired the right employees, both of which were crucial in their success. The Tate family, friendly Kitty Hawk locals who allowed Wilbur to stay with them when he first arrived in North Carolina, often helped the brothers build structures and execute experiments on the dunes, McCullough wrote. Charlie Taylor was an employee of the Wright Cycle Co. who proved to be, as McCullough wrote, “more than a clever mechanic, he was a brilliant mechanic and for the brothers a godsend.” It was Taylor who built the engine that would allow the brothers to make aeronautic history Dec. 17, 1903. Invested, excited, innovative employees such as Taylor are at the heart of a business. Personal relationships are also incredibly important, especially to new businesses. Friends and family are usually a business’s first supporters, first sales and first marketing resource. They provide advice and goodwill and may even volunteer time and resources to the venture. Without the Tate family and Charlie Taylor, the Wright brothers’ path to creating the airplane could have looked much different. Entrepreneurs need to recognize just how important friends, family and employees are to their businesses and utilize these relationships as influential assets. —Ally Ayoob, sophomore, entrepreneurship