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A book by Brad Saum ’88
A finalist in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards’ regional nonfiction category, Saum’s book delves into the history of Harney Peak, the highest point in the Black Hills of western South Dakota. It features a wide collection of unearthed artifacts, like an 1899 newspaper ad offering burro rides. A former park ranger, Saum promises the 7-mile hike to Harney Peak is worth it. “You can imagine Mount Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum standing on the peak, peering across the pine trees and spotting a rock outcropping a few miles away, declaring it the site of a grand mountain carving.”No Comments
A book by Mary Murray Bosrock
“Before I was old enough to go to school, I knew three things. We were Irish, we were Catholic and we didn’t talk to our next-door neighbors.” So begins a chapter in Bosrock’s memoir of 1950s life in Sandusky, Ohio. The second-youngest of eight children — five of whom attended UD — she recalls an era where “innocence reigned and nuns ruled” and includes tales of her time on campus in the early 1960s. Bosrock, who has written more than 10 books, says, “When I turned 65, I decided instead of getting serious about writing, I would only write what I loved. And this book was a labor of love.”No Comments
A book by Heather Johnson Parsons ’95
At 10 years old, Parsons spent two weeks preparing for a class speech. Armed with plenty of research and hours of practice, she stood in front of her classmates — and was too paralyzed with fear to deliver a single word. In her book, You Know What I’m Sayin’?, the communications lecturer advises readers on how to avoid this and other common public speaking horrors. “I wrote the book for the average person who has never taken a public speaking course; but it was also on my bucket list,” Parsons says. “I wanted to challenge myself and prove that I could do it. Most of my friends don’t even know I wrote it.”No Comments
It sounds like a never-published Nancy Drew book: The mystery of the hidden hatchet.
Sent to University Archives 40 years ago by then-president Father Raymond Roesch, S.M. ’36, this handheld tool — a mere 12-by-6 inches but weighing in at 2 pounds — was unearthed during the last significant overhaul of Immaculate Conception Chapel.
“This hatchet was found in the base of the main altar in the chapel when it was removed during the renovation in 1971,” Roesch wrote. “Thus, it was probably used in the construction of the chapel in 1869.”
The chapel is UD’s third-oldest building (behind Zehler and Liberty halls), celebrating its 145th anniversary next year. Steam heat arrived in 1898, followed by electric lights a year later.
A major renovation also occurred in 1949.
While the tool’s origin is uncertain, Doug Gaier ’86, president of the Ohio Tool Collectors Association, agrees that it looks like a shingling hatchet, a common construction tool in the 19th century. A smaller sibling of an ax, it was used to shape shingles and nail them in place, with a notch on one end for pulling nails.
University Archivist Jennifer Brancato has one theory.
“According to Eric Sloane’s book, A Museum of Early American Tools, these hatchets had a hole in the handle so the worker could hang it from his wrist. Ours doesn’t have a hole, so maybe it was dropped and never picked up,” she said.
Or, its placement could have been intentional. Placing relics beneath altars was a frequent liturgical practice, said Crystal Sullivan, director of campus ministry. In Catholic theology, an ax or hatchet can be an emblem of St. Joseph, indicating his work as a carpenter.
Covered in decades of dirt and rust, a maker’s mark on one side of the blade is illegible, save for a clear “No. 2” etched at the top and the words “cast steel,” indicating its blade material. The handle is carved wood, worn smooth with age.
A good mystery isn’t complete without a twist, though. Viggo Rambusch, whose New York City-based architectural design company completed the chapel renovations in 1971, remembers it a bit differently.
“I have fond memories of Father Roesch and the remodeling of the chapel for post-Vatican II,” he said, “but for some vague reason, I think the hatchet was found in the pulpit.”
If there are any secrets left to uncover in UD’s chapel, they might be found next year: renovations to update the space are planned for 2014.No Comments
Married 63 years, Frederick J. and Marian A. Kroger were friends to the end, only briefly parted by death in January 2013.
When they died — just six days apart — their legacy was already large: faith, family, service and generosity. It grew even larger when the Krogers’ five children gathered to decide how to designate the trust their parents committed to the University in 1997.
“My parents were always devoted to God, family and country,” said Tim Kroger, who is a partner in Main Line Supply, the company started in 1955 by his father, a 1947 mechanical engineering graduate who came to UD after serving in World War II. Having escaped from a German prisoner-of-war camp late in the war, Kroger committed in gratitude to serving others for the rest of his life — and he did.
“He volunteered for everything,” Tim Kroger said. “Parish Council; the Knights of Columbus; St. Vincent de Paul; and the Inca Ball, which raised funds for missions in Central and South America. He would visit people in jail, and as far back as I can remember, they sponsored children in poverty around the world. They were involved with the Glenmary mission and the Marianists, and somehow, he came to all of our sporting events, too, all while growing Main Line Supply.”
Mrs. Kroger, an “extremely diligent wife and mother,” was a model of devotion to family and Catholic education, and their devotion to one another never faltered, Tim Kroger said. In their last days together at hospice, they shared a room, and the staff turned their beds so they could see each other.
“They sent all of us to Catholic schools, and they helped send all 16 of their grandkids to college,” Tim Kroger said. “The Catholic faith was very important to them, and they loved the University of Dayton.”
In tribute to the Krogers’ commitment to the University, to their faith and to Chaminade Julienne, the Marianist high school all of their children attended, Tim Kroger and his siblings — Anne Shock, Mary Helldoerfer, Mark Kroger and Pat Kroger — directed their parents’ gift to two initiatives: a new scholarship for UD-bound students from area Marianist high schools; and the upcoming renovation of the University’s Immaculate Conception Chapel.
“Our parents had the foresight to give to UD and CJ and various churches in the area, and one of their last requests of their children was to please continue this,” Tim Kroger said. “Their scholarship fund at UD will continue to grow.”
A good plan
For decades, planned giving has been an important foundation of the University of Dayton’s advancement, providing students with outstanding academic programs, world-renowned faculty, scholarships and state-of-the-art facilities. A planned gift is more than an act of generosity; it’s a demonstration of faith in the University — and the University of Dayton is grateful and honored to be entrusted with it.
The University received more than $3 million from planned gifts in 2012-13, and new planned gift commitments surpassed $5 million. Among those gifts was that of lifelong Daytonians and longtime University benefactors Frederick J. and Marian A. Kroger.No Comments
When Erin O’Connell ’14 sits down at her family’s holiday table each year, she expects a side of laughter with her cheesy potatoes. They will tease each other about who got to fill their plate first (the O’Connells line up by height, shortest in front) and continue poking fun at the couple who mailed frozen meat to an aunt in advance of the party — but forgot to tell her, so it thawed on her front stoop.
“Sitting down together over a meal is crucial to our relationships with each other, and to food,” says O’Connell, a senior dietetics major and president of the Student Dietetics Association. She notes that coming together at the table is central to the Marianist tradition.
As psychology professor Jack Bauer points out, “People need rituals. We are hard-wired to be part of groups, especially family, and in a time when our society is so complex — people are living all over and are busy — we need to have a set place where it all comes together, even just once a year.”
Meals also offer time for reflection. “You don’t need to have long, in-depth conversations about the meaning of life. Just by talking about the things that you’re doing, that you’re interested in, you’re talking about what’s important to you. You’re checking in with each other, and maybe finding ways to help each other,” says Bauer, who serves as Roesch Chair in the Social Sciences.
1. The family that cooks together, stays together. Or, at least stays happier. “Cooking as a group takes the pressure off one person to prepare the whole meal and be stuck in the kitchen,” O’Connell says. Also, plan ahead. If hosting a potluck, coordinate dishes so there’s adequate oven space, or ask guests to bring cold dishes, like a salad or fruit tray.
2. Think big (but serve small). In Brian Wansink’s book Mindless Eating, he notes that when food is placed in a smaller serving bowl with smaller serving utensils, people will take and eat less. “It’s a mental thing. You think you are eating the same as you would from a bigger bowl, but you actually serve yourself less and are still satisfied,” O’Connell explains. Aim to fill your table with a quarter protein, half vegetables and fruit, and a quarter grains.
3. Eat first, play later. No, you don’t have to give up grandma’s triple-layer pecan pie. But eating lean protein and vegetables before arriving can help you make clearer choices. “You’ll eat less because you’ll be full faster,” O’Connell says. Then, get moving: run a 5K together, throw a Frisbee around the yard or turn on some tunes and dance. “My family always plays flag football the day after Thanksgiving,” O’Connell says. “We enjoy working together as a team, but it also helps people feel relaxed and happy since physical activity produces endorphins.” She recommends scheduling your fun between dinner and dessert; it allows your cells to use those nutrients before you ingest more sugar.
4. Keep the fun (not the food poisoning) going. One memory no one wants: an illness epidemic. “Don’t let the food sit out for more than 90 minutes,” O’Connell says. “Not only does this follow recommended food safety guidelines, it also keeps you from eating more.” Another idea: Leftovers can make great one-dish entrees the next day, with little effort. O’Connell suggests turkey noodle soup, gnocchi using mashed potatoes, or a casserole. “Combine the rest of your vegetables, turkey and stuffing, add a cream soup, and put it in the oven.”
5. What guests don’t know won’t hurt them. One final tip: “If you alter recipes to reduce the fat and sugar, keep it a secret,” O’Connell advises. “Not everyone is ready to make those changes.”No Comments
Standing with hands submerged in a sudsy sink, surrounded by my college housemates, I was reminded of my life at UD.
Doing dishes was not one of those memories.
At 114 Chambers St., our dysfunction manifested itself in towers of starchy pasta pots and dinnerware. Some of us bullheadedly refused to wash a dish that wasn’t ours. Others of us had no conception of the need for dishes to be washed.
Since then, we’ve all learned a few things, such as how much we mean to one another. That was reinforced this October when five of us rendezvoused in Chicago for a girls’ weekend. It was our first quorum since a 2005 wedding. We had meant to reunite a year earlier for a 40th birthday celebration, but a birth and a death and other messy stuff called life just got in the way. As we cooked and ate and talked and did one another’s dishes, we understood just how much we had missed, and how much we had missed one another.
At TEDxDayton Nov. 15, Justin Bayer ’01 revealed the secret to success. It’s the kind of simple solution we’re all born with but, sometime between birth and high school, the tag washes away and we simply forget how to care for ourselves.
“Success is happiness.” Justin’s wide smile crinkled both corners of his eyes as he stood on stage at the Victoria Theatre before a packed house ready to be infused and inspired. He told the story of his guidance counselor who once … twice … five times told him to visit the University of Dayton. The Cincinnati high schooler had no intention of attending a college 50 miles to the north. But he acquiesced, and he visited. “I call that visit the turning point for the rest of my life — something just felt right,” he said.
He found his MARV — meaning, accomplishment, relationships and vitality. Justin uses the acronym to describe the path to success. In his business, Welcome to College, he shares the MARV philosophy with students to help them avoid becoming national statistics like the 56 percent of college students who report feeling lonely, 44 percent hopeless or 85 percent overwhelmed.
College, for me, was a good first step. But moving into that crummy landlord house on the Dark Side and living with always smart, forever talented, often loud women who during the next three years challenged me daily changed my life. As one housemate said in Chicago, at UD was the first time she felt like a rockstar. And in the glow of one another’s spotlights, we all grew to realize our dreams. These women are my MARV.
Two weeks after that reunion, I again had my hands in a sudsy sink, this time in Bowling Green, Ohio, for the funeral of Patrick Fitzgerald ’66, the father of Kerri, my Chambers Street roommate. He will be remembered as a happy grandpa whose eyes crinkled as he smiled, a champion of public television and human rights, a lover of family, friends and Jameson, which we raised to him in a toast.
Sounds like success to me.No Comments
Whenever I walk through campus and spot the towering blue dome of the chapel, I instantly feel at home — and at peace.
I occasionally take a break from the busyness of the day to steal a few moments, sit in the chapel, reflect and be one with God. This is the spiritual heart of our campus. It’s a place to witness grace in our lives. It’s where we come together to celebrate, to find solace, to pray in community.
During my time in the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, I have seen that it is in need of care. We’ve completed only partial renovations of the chapel since its construction by the Marianists in 1869.
Today, this sacred place deserves a thoughtful and unified renovation. We want to improve the interior to meet contemporary liturgical requirements while bringing back the wood finishes, warm colors, pews, artistic touches and the simple elegance of yesteryear. I recently reviewed preliminary sketches for new stained glass windows that will mimic the original colors and patterns — and respect the chapel’s rich history.
More than $11 million toward a $12 million renovation has been committed from trustees, alumni and friends, including a major bequest and a recent anonymous $3 million gift. I’m confident we can meet this fundraising goal and begin a yearlong renovation in August 2014. I’m so grateful to our supporters for their faith in this project.
Earlier this year, we entered into a formal partnership with the Church of the Holy Angels, which sits in the middle of campus among student houses on the corner of Brown and L streets. This is not a merger but a true collaboration. A graduate assistant is helping to direct a K-6 faith formation program at the parish, and undergraduates in the two-year Forum for Young Catechetical Leaders program are teaching catechism classes and offering programs in adult faith formation and sacramental preparation.
Most importantly, when we need a larger worship space, Holy Angels will now be available. That has allowed the University to recommend a renovation rather than an expansion of the chapel. We are now working with a liturgical consultant and architect to finalize the plans.
Preliminary plans call only for a modest addition on the south side of the building for a bride’s room, reconciliation room and restrooms. As people walk through the chapel’s beautiful wooden doors, they will enter a new gathering space. Just inside the chapel, a baptismal font will serve as a visual reminder of the origins of our faith. Traditional wood pews will replace the chairs. Every detail, from the art and statues to the religious symbols used on the windows and walls, will reflect a desire to enhance the chapel’s natural beauty and create greater harmony.
The newly renovated chapel will stand as a testament to what a community of believers can accomplish through faith and action. It will be a symbol of our gratitude to our Marianist founders, who taught us that we are to use our knowledge and faith to make a difference in the lives of others.
It will be a sacred place for all.No Comments
Answering readers’ questions in this issue is Father Quentin Hakenewerth, S.M., former superior general of the Society of Mary, now living in Mexico. Questions not appearing in the print edition are listed first.
How can we graduates from Marianist institutions foster that same sense of community we experienced in college with our colleagues in our professional life? —ANDRES GREETS ’06, PHILADELPHIA
I believe at least two elements are necessary to build Marianist community: a common experience of God — truth and goodness — and a common project of helping others in Mary’s name. Share our faith in such a way that the presence of God and Mary is felt and express that goodness in doing good for others.
What role do you see for the Society of Mary in the struggle for the rights and dignity of women in society and in the church? —BROTHER BILL FARRELL, S.M., SANTA FAZ, CHINAULTLA GUATEMALA
We men in the Society of Mary have a special relationship with Mary, the Mother of Jesus. In our consecration we try to love her with the love of Jesus, and we hand over our life to her to help her in her mission. We consider her as much greater than ourselves, never as equal or less than we are. We treasure her purity and her faithfulness in the Holy Spirit. We Marianists should treat all women with this same attitude. As Marianists, what we do to any woman, we do to Mary.
In the U.S., Marianists refer to the three founders: Chaminade, Adele and Marie Therese. In other countries Marie Therese is not considered a founder. Do you consider Marie Therese one of the founders of the Marianist Family? If so, why; if not, why not? —PATI KRASENSKY, PHILADELPHIA
Mother Therese de Lamourous was a consecrated member of the Marian Sodality of Father Chaminade, who was her spiritual director. They had a great spiritual influence on each other. Marie Therese was sent by Father Chaminade to help form the first F.M.I. [Daughters of Mary Immaculate] community in Agen. She helped form the community but was never a member of it. Mother Therese was a foundress, but of a work and mission very different from that of the Sodality, the F.M.I. or the S.M. — all part of the Marianist Family. She founded the Misericorde, an independent work (freeing prostitutes from their former life) that eventually became a religious congregation with a spirituality of divine mercy, quite distinct from the Marianist spirituality. She did not want to found a province, only an independent house. When the bishop of Lavalle, France, asked her to found a community there, she sent four sisters for three years to found another independent community and then return to their community of origin. The same happened with Lavalle and Paris. From Paris a community was founded in Poland, which became a province and a new religious congregation — the Sisters of Divine Mercy. Saint Faustina Kowalska is a member of that congregation. The spirituality and mission of the Misericorde are clearly distinct from the spirit and mission of the Marianist Family. Perhaps we are spiritual cousins?
How would you suggest that the Marianist system of virtues be handed on to University faculty and associates? —TED CASSIDY ’60, CLEVELAND
I believe that the manner suggested by Father Chaminade is still valid. (1) First we need a clear idea of what the particular virtue is and what it does for us. We might learn this as much by group reflection as from the instruction of some expert. The Holy Spirit is at work in the group. (2) Once we have a clear idea of what we want, we need reflective prayer to motivate us. The virtues mean nothing if we are not motivated to change, to really want to grow in the virtue. (3) After beginning to practice the virtue we need frequent examination of our experience of living the virtue. This is especially effective when done in a group where we know each other. Father Chaminade named these three elements instruction, meditation and examen. In all three steps, count heavily on the action of the Holy Spirit.
With the Church’s current emphasis on evangelization, what would you advise as the best way for young people today to develop a personal and vibrant relationship with our Blessed Mother Mary to become in turn evangelizers in their families, with friends and colleagues, and through whatever ministry of profession they choose? —MELBA FISHER, SAN ANTONIO
Evangelization and the Mother of Jesus — what’s the connection? Well, evangelization means communicating the good news about Jesus. If we want to share the good news about Jesus, we have to know Jesus — not just the doctrine about him, but know his person, live his presence. Now imagine what it would be like to live with his Mother in order to get to know Jesus. We can do what the beloved disciple did when Jesus gave his Mother to him. He took her into his own life. If we take Mary into our home, into our heart and live with her, we come to know Jesus in a very personal way. That makes it easy to talk about him to others; just tell them about your experience.
Is there a particular moment in the lives of Jesus and Mary that inspires you most at this time in your life? —JUDY MCKLOSKEY ’67, EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN.
Two moments particularly inspire me. The first is when Jesus gives his own power and authority over evil to his disciples. What trust on the part of Jesus, and what love to share his very being in this way with his disciples! When I am able to see myself among those disciples, I am deeply moved. The second moment is when Jesus gives his own Mother to the beloved disciple on Calvary. When I can see myself as the beloved disciple, I am awed and highly motivated to live my life consecrated to Mary for others.
In your experience, what has been the Society of Mary’s response to “the fundamental option for the poor” in its apostolic commitments and its own modis operandi? —BROTHER BILL FARRELL, S.M., SANTA FAZ, CHINAULTLA, GUATEMALA
The Society of Mary has always had some works dedicated to the poor. It has always had a minority of members directly dedicated to the poor. The Society of Mary as a whole has never made the poor the determining point of all of its works or of the life style of all its members. We have always had some inspiring examples of members and individual works dedicated to the poor, but not a “Society of Mary” dedicated to the poor. I believe the same is true of the Church, something which Pope Francis would like to see change.
You have been quoted as saying that “We really need holy Marianists in this day and age.” How would you operationally define a “holy Marianist”? —BROTHER TOM FARNSWORTH, S.M., DAYTON
For me, a holy Marianist is a person imbued with the experience of being the beloved disciple at the foot of the cross, receiving Mary into his life and dedicating everything to her mission. This grace of the Holy Spirit (charism) shapes his/her personality and his/her life of service to others.
The following questions and answers appeared, in somewhat shorter form, in the print edition of the University of Dayton Magazine.
Pope Francis has been noted for his personal simplicity as well as his strong passion for the poor. How would you like to see the Marianist family live this out? —BROTHER BRANDON PALUCH, S.M. ’06, DAYTON
Our concern for the poor should change not only the life of the poor but our lives as well. The most effective means to bring about this change is to look into the eyes of a poor person. If we do that, much will change for us and consequently for the poor. When was the last time you looked a poor person in the eye?
What have you learned from living in the Mexican culture for 17 years? —FATHER THOMAS SCHROER, S.M. ’65, DAYTON
A number of convictions have formed in me during my years in Mexico. I don’t know if they are correct, but I will mention three: (1) The greatest cause of poverty that I have experienced is corruption — taking advantage of power or position to exploit others for one’s own good. A good example is education where money and job security reigns more than the good of the students and competency of the teachers. The Teachers’ Union aims to benefit the teachers, not the students. (2) Popular religion is strong [among] good people with strong emotional attachment to religious practices but often without much understanding or commitment to the person of God and neighbor. The great need is evangelization to bring Jesus and his message to people in a new form. Jesus said to Mother Teresa of Calcutta: “The poor don’t know me, and therefore don’t want me.” (3) One cause of illegal immigration is the disparity of wages between Mexico and the USA. The minimum wage in the U.S. is at least nine times that of Mexico. In five years an illegal immigrant can save enough money to put his kids through school and pay for a small house. I have had a lot of contact with illegal immigrants in Mexico. I celebrated three funerals of young men who died in the desert of New Mexico. I do not know how to bring about a parity of wages, but I am convinced it would greatly reduce the immigration problem.
From your experience in Rome, do you think Pope Francis will be able to make lasting changes in the Vatican bureaucracy? —JUDY MCKLOSKEY ’67, EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN.
What I understand as bureaucracy is a governing structure in which exercising and prolonging one’s authority for its own sake is a primary purpose. It seems to me that this depends on two elements: the structure of the authority and the morality of those who exercise authority. Concerning the first element, the cardinals in the consistory before the election of Pope Francis clearly gave to the future pope, whoever it would be, the task of restructuring the exercise of authority in the Vatican. For example, more dialogue between the Sacred Congregations in the Vatican, more direct access to the pope, more direct dialogue with bishops’ conferences. Pope Francis has already indicated that this is what he wants. Yes, I believe some changes will be made. The second element consists of the attitude and morality of the people named to exercise the authority in the Vatican. I have great confidence that Pope Francis will make good choices — although he has to work with what is available.
You wrote a wonderful book entitled A Manual of Marianist Spirituality. What would you share as the most salient or important point/insight in that book? —BROTHER TOM FARNSWORTH, S.M., DAYTON
Of course, I think all the points are important! However, the one that had a notable influence on me is “presence.” Presence is a conscious way of being with someone that makes a difference. Presence changes something in the person to whom we are present. If you are in a group and nothing changes in any of the group — awareness, emotions, ideas, desires — you really are not present to them. If someone enters the room where you are and nothing changes in you, that person is not present to you. Now apply this to God in your life, to Jesus or to Mary, and you will begin to notice the tremendous importance of presence. Perhaps that is why Jesus said to his Father concerning his disciples: I want them to be present with me where I am.
As you look over the many years you have been a Marianist, what stands out as the most significant/impactful events in our history? What concerns do you carry about the future of the Society and the Daughters of Mary? —VICTOR FORLANI, S.M. ’65, DAYTON
I think the most impactful change in the history of the Society of Mary (and of all religious congregations dedicated to apostolic works) has been the shift from administering and operating works (schools, hospitals, etc.) to animating them with our spirit and charism. In some ways this has been forced upon us by aging and the paucity of new members. But I believe it is much deeper than that. Our role as religious in the church is shifting. The requirement for administering or operating a school is a professional degree. The requirement for animating or sponsoring a school is sanctity — living and communicating an experience of God, of the Holy Spirit, of the Mother of God. My concern for the Society of Mary is that, in general, we still think and feel in terms of administering and operating works, and we are not yet focused as a Society on the experience and communication of our charism as our main purpose.
In today’s modern age, there are so many distractions. What practices do you find most helpful for your spirituality? —ANDREW GERBETZ ’06, PHILADELPHIA
Blessed Chaminade gave us a virtue called “recollection.” It might also be called “focus” because it focuses our attention and our energies on living the present moment. This allows us to do well what we are doing and to enjoy more fully what we are doing. Our energies are more efficient and we experience the harmony and peace of Jesus within us. Distractions are usually a question of trying to do too many things at the same time, or to live in the past or the future (which is not reality). Distractions give us a sensation of division or tension within and frustration of not completing well any of the several things we are experiencing.
For our next issue, ask your questions of Crystal Sullivan, director of UD’s campus ministry. EMAIL YOUR QUESTION TO MAGAZINE@UDAYTON.EDU.1 Comment
More seasoned Santas would be aghast to hear of the innocent mistake Bob Jones ’63 made while filling in for the legendary figure at Operation Joy, the 1962 precursor to today’s Christmas on Campus celebration.
“When I came back to the event after changing out of my Santa suit,” Jones said, “a little kid came up to me and said, ‘Santa Claus had a ring on just like that.’”
Sitting beside him as he told this tale, longtime friend — and Operation Joy chair — Judy Stonebarger Cerar ’63 laughed and said, “You’ve never told me that!”
Dayton locals Jones and Cerar (who have worked together on several Reunion Weekend committees over the years) made sure to catch up at their 50th class reunion in 2013. Flashing a cell phone picture of the two of them from that party, Jones said, “I made sure to get a picture with Judy. It’s pretty amazing, because we still talk about that first Christmas on Campus a lot.”
In 1963, Ellie Kurtz, director of UD’s student union for 30 years, recognized a good idea and built upon it, institutionalizing the night known as Operation Joy as Christmas on Campus. The event began as a way for students to celebrate the holiday with friends and their campus family before heading home for break.
Cerar says the initial idea for Operation Joy came from UD’s student council: “We wanted to do something for underprivileged children in the Dayton community for Christmas.” On that first Sunday afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m., 60 children and 15 students attended the free celebration. Highlights included singing Christmas carols, decorating a Christmas tree and presenting a gift to each child.
“It was powerful for everyone on the committee to see the kids’ genuine happiness upon receiving their gifts. Beforehand, we’d always been the recipients and, at that moment, we were
truly in a giving situation.”
The event has evolved into what is believed to be one of the nation’s largest single-day, on-campus community service events. In 2012, nearly three-quarters of the undergraduate student body took part, with many of them “adopting” approximately 1,000 local school children for the evening.
Christmas on Campus now features: a live Nativity; tree lighting; Santa’s Workshop with arts and crafts, cookie and gingerbread house decorating, and pictures; a children’s carnival; and live entertainment like dancers, bands, an improv comedy group and several character mascots. The Vigil Mass, generally that of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, closes out the night.
From dressing up as Santa Claus to emulating Mr. Claus through his actions, it’s a lesson that has stayed with Jones. He hopes to one day be chosen by the Christmas on Campus student committee to donate a large tree from his own yard as the celebration’s centerpiece.No Comments