Since November 2015, senior Adrienne Mauri has been feeding the Marianist brothers of 100 Chambers St.
As a dietetics major, Mauri has learned about food quantities, temperature and safety. As a cook, she has learned to navigate the extensive spice rack at the brothers’ home.
“Cooking was just a big part of my childhood and something that, in my family, we would do together,” Mauri said.
Three to four times a week, Mauri visits the Marianist brothers to prepare dinner for them. She puts together a protein, a vegetable, a starch and a side salad for their meal. Her planning process sometimes includes recipes she’s pulled from Pinterest, while other times she said she just “wings it” with whatever the brothers have in the kitchen.
Despite the experience she’s had with cooking, Mauri was hesitant to take the position as she had never cooked for so many people before. Depending on who is living in the house at the time and whether or not they have company, Mauri may cook for anywhere from three to 15 people.
“I just want to make sure that they’re all happy and that every-body’s needs are being met,” Mauri said.
The house on Chambers represents different cultures, including brothers from places like India and Haiti, which also teaches her to formulate a more inclusive menu. The brothers, she said, are always gracious and receptive.
“She does a very good job with spaghetti and meatballs,” said Brother Bob Hughes, S.M. “She makes her own sauces to go with chicken. They’re always different and very good.”
Mauri said she’s glad she took a leap and accepted the responsibility because she loves her time spent in the kitchen.
“It’s been really relaxing for me,” Mauri said. “It’s like a type of therapy. I truly believe that food and cooking are an art form. It’s a way to relieve stress.”
The experience has made her consider incorporating cooking skills in her future career. Her ultimate dream is to own a healthy restaurant.
If you’re up for a stroll into the future, walk into any laboratory on campus.
The spirit of discovery is palpable — and builds on a rich history of creativity and innovation at the University of Dayton.
On my first day as president last summer, I toured engineering labs, talking with students and faculty about advanced materials and vision-guided robots. Their passion moved me. Their work amazed me, and it continued to do so all year, whether in a tour of the materials division in the University of Dayton Research Institute or listening this summer to the Berry Summer Thesis Institute students present their research.
In the pages of this issue, you’ll find stories of discovery that changed humanity for the better — from rare earth permanent magnets in electronic devices to space food, from better black boxes to Claritin, an allergy medication. Our alumni, researchers, faculty and students have a track record of conducting research for the common good.
We’re unlike other major research universities. The vast majority are focused almost exclusively on discovery-driven research, hoping to achieve impact in future years. Here, we encourage the full spectrum of scholarly approaches, from fundamental to highly applied, because we want to advance the state of the art and quickly solve today’s problems.
It’s precisely this mix of pragmatic and inspired innovation that has elevated our national research stature. Pop quiz time:
Who now ranks ninth in the country for sponsored research at private universities without
Who ranks second nationally for federally sponsored materials research and development?
And for bonus points: Who tops all Catholic universities and all in Ohio for sponsored engineering R&D?
If you guessed your alma mater, you’re right.
Our annual sponsored research volume hit another new record this fiscal year, growing 10 percent to $135 million.
But beyond the numbers and the rankings, our research portfolio speaks volumes. We’re developing real solutions that have a real impact on society. That’s why students are cultivating an urban farm in East Dayton and designing a high school 8,000 miles away in Malawi.
Our research keeps our faculty at the leading edge of change and informs classroom teaching and learning. It impacts regional and national economic development. It allows us to provide valuable experiential learning opportunities to undergraduates and superior training to graduate students.
The stories in this issue and on “Momentum,” a new interactive website, speak to our ingenuity, curiosity and innovation.
I invite you to take a glimpse at udayton.edu/momentum — and step into the future.No Comments
In 1942, German U-boats were picking off Allied supply ships crossing the Atlantic, putting the blockaded British in dire straits and ravaging the Allied fleet. Polish mathematicians, followed by British engineers, had worked on the intelligence project known as Ultra to decrypt enemy messages. But their success was stymied by the sophisticated German naval code, and the U.S. Navy decided to embark on its own codebreaking effort. This story originally appeared in the Autumn 2004 UD Quarterly.
Among the greatest enemies of German U-boats during World War II was the ingenious mind of 1929 UD graduate Joseph “Joe” Desch and the codebreaking machines he designed, assembled a mile from campus in NCR’s Building 26 along the Great Miami River.
It’s a surprising tale even to many war scholars. That’s because, for 50 years after the war, no one working on the top-secret project uttered a word.
Now, their stories of loyalty, invention and sacrifice are being revealed to a national audience through the April 2004 release of the book The Secret in Building 26 and the documentary Dayton Codebreakers, being released this fall. It’s a familiar tale of Dayton ingenuity and hard work, with roots in a Midwestern sensibility and Marianist education that provided Desch with the tools to crack the code.
An impossible task
In 1942, German U-boats were picking off Allied supply ships crossing the Atlantic, putting the blockaded British in dire straits and ravaging the Allied fleet.
Polish mathematicians, followed by British engineers, had worked on the intelligence project known as Ultra to decrypt enemy messages. But their success was stymied by the sophisticated German naval code, and the U.S. Navy decided to embark on its own codebreaking effort.
Enter Joe Desch and Dayton’s National Cash Register Co.
Desch had been building a reputation for himself since he joined NCR in 1938. In an effort to speed the calculations of NCR’s cash registers, his engineering team created the first electronic counter that could log a million counts per second. His work foreshadowed the coming computer age, and the Navy wanted to use that technology to break the German code, known as Enigma.
The intellectual, physical and spiritual struggles that ensued during those 14 months were as monumental as the innovation, and they only started to be revealed in the last 15 years. Debbie Desch Anderson, who was born in 1950 and didn’t know during her father’s lifetime of his war contributions, responded to a challenge her father issued before his death in 1987.
“Dad used to say, ‘Honey, you’ll never figure out what I did,’ and that was the wrong thing to say to me,” says the 1971 UD graduate. “He underestimated me.”
Her task, at times, was almost as daunting as her father’s. During a 1993 visit to Washington, D.C., she went to the National Security Agency with an armload of classified documents she found among her father’s possessions. Seeking answers, she instead endured hours of questioning and the ultimate confiscation of her records.
In 2001, at the National Archives in Washington, Anderson found a memo signed by her father’s hand.
“I started crying, because he’s a historical figure, and he’s my dad,” she says.
Through her research, Anderson learned that the Navy pushed repeatedly for an all-electronic decipher machine, while Desch insisted that an electromechanical hybrid could do the same job and take less time to produce. It was an intellectual struggle that wore on him, further strained by the moral obligation he felt to the men who were dying on warships, waiting for intelligence that would allow them to evade the U-boats.
But Desch was prepared to fight for his electromechanical hybrid and succeed. He had behind him an army of 600 WAVES — Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service — to assemble the deciphering machines, called “Bombes,” and an engineering staff of 24, whom he managed with deftness and grace. Edward DeLaet, an engineering technician, remembers how Desch handled one of the numerous demands placed on him by the Navy. For the documentary, DeLaet recalls Desch saying, “They just gave me another impossible job. Impossible jobs I can do; it will just take me a little longer.”
Breaking the German Engima was a herculean task. When Desch worked on Ultra, the Germans had progressed from a three-rotor to a four-rotor encryption machine. The alphabetized rotors and plugboard settings — which transposed individual letters, further confusing the message — were changed daily. The German code clerk chose which four letters were to appear through small windows next to the rotors. These letters indicated the initial rotor settings for any given message, and the code clerk changed those settings with every message he sent. The resulting message looked like a string of completely random letters to anyone not knowing the day’s settings.
To understand how difficult it is to arrive at the right combination of rotor and plugboard positions to decode a message, Wittenberg University physics assistant professor Dan Fleisch related it to the number of atoms in the universe. The number of possible combinations for the Enigma machine was 10 to the 145th power, compared to 10 to the 81st power, the number of atoms in “all the 50 billion galaxies,” Fleisch says.
“Imagine trying to find one specific atom out of all the atoms in all the stars in all the galaxies in the universe,” he says in the documentary now being completed for public television. “You are trying to find that one that represents the setting of the machine on that day. It is an impossible task unless you have some advantage other than simply trying all the possible sequences.”
The machine to do it was dubbed the “Bombe,” possibly after a frozen dessert fancied by the original Polish codebreakers. Just as Desch required an army of workers to build the machine, Anderson needed a host of scientists, historians, intelligence agents and Bombe workers to fit together the pieces of Desch’s life and tell the story of Dayton’s codebreakers.
Cradled in creativity
To understand Desch, Dayton Codebreakers roots him firmly in his Kirkham Street house wedged among three rail lines in the Edgemont neighborhood that sheltered Italians, Jews, Germans and African-Americans.
Anderson says her father may have caught the creative genius from his father, one of a long line of wagon makers, or was thrust into it by his mother, a German immigrant who insisted on a Catholic education for her son.
“Living on the West Side and being exposed to all the different populations, the different businesses, gave him the confidence and even the imagination” he needed to invent, she said.
As a teenager, Desch taught himself how to blow glass to create vacuum tubes. He would order so many unusual chemicals for experiments that, one day, a chemical company representative showed up on his parents’ doorstep looking for the chemist “Mr. Desch.” His parents directed the man to the boy in his basement lab.
The documentary also sets Desch in a city that fostered great minds and unusual solutions to extraordinary challenges. Desch lived only blocks from where the Wright brothers were testing airplane water landings on the Great Miami River and just across the river from NCR, where John Patterson created new models for business and hired men who would go on to found or lead IBM, Delco, Packard and Standard Register.
It was a combination of a Midwestern work ethic and ingenious know-how that cultivated such inventors, said Paul J. Morman, a UD history professor with a special interest in regional innovation early in the century.
“There’s something about the Midwest that fostered a creative genius that was willing to rethink problems in a fundamentally different way and could do so without established wisdom saying, ‘That’s not the way you do it,’” Morman says.
In the documentary, Anderson describes her father as humorous, opinionated, stubborn and charming. Even as a child, the traits that defined the man she knew were evident. He thrived at Emmanuel Elementary School, where the Marianists stressed quality and creativity with an ethical base. Despite an episode in which he slugged a Marianist who disagreed with him on a math equation, Desch attended UD’s preparatory school on scholarship and gravitated toward an experimental field of electrical engineering, studying toward a bachelor’s degree under Brother Louis Rose, S.M.
“He was Dad’s engineering professor, but it was a brand-new field, and they were learning together,” Anderson says. “The whole love-of-learning thing was part of Dad’s personality, but it was further developed while he was (at UD).”
Desch developed a special relationship with other young Marianists, including Brother Lawrence Boll, who taught Shakespeare, and Brothers Ulrich Rappel and William Bellmer, who shared Desch’s love for science. Anderson says her father would meet with them after school hours to “goof off” and experiment with ham radios.
While he held only a bachelor’s degree, Desch was folded into circles with some of the brightest minds in the nation. Anderson’s mother would tell the story of attending a function at MIT, where he would be introduced as “Dr.” Desch.
“They couldn’t understand that someone so brilliant had only an undergraduate degree,” Dorothy Desch would say.
The highest credit
Desch taught one term of physics at UD before moving on to work at Frigidaire, and then at NCR. Wartime interrupted his cash register work, and the Bombe became one of more than a dozen war assignments for Desch.
The Bombe proved a messy, hot, cranky challenge with a tight timetable. Desch’s service to the Navy began on March 9, 1942. He endured long hours, a severing of ties with his German relatives and constant personal surveillance, including officers assigned to live in the two-bedroom home Desch shared with his wife.
By May 28, 1943, his first two Bombe prototypes — dubbed “Adam” and “Eve” — registered “hits,” highlighting the encryption pattern that could be used to decipher all intercepted transmissions on that day.
The Bombe was taller than a person and twice as long, a cast iron and steel machine with miles of wiring attached to thousands of vacuum tubes. It would whir and grind as it spun out the possible letter combinations, joining with other Bombes on the floor to create a deafening noise.
Shirley McKenzie Anderson (no relation to Debbie Anderson) was one of the WAVES stationed in Dayton. She later traveled to Washington, D.C., to operate the machines.
“It was a clanking sound, with all those machines going at different times and clanking at different times,” she says for the documentary. When the Bombe would hit a pattern that made sense of the code, “it was crash, boom, bang,” she says, reversing itself and halting at the combination where the hit was made.
Desch’s engineering team and the WAVES constructed 121 Bombes and sent them by rail to Washington, D.C. Of those 121, only one machine remains intact, housed in the NSA Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Md.
The Bombe’s contribution to the war is hotly debated, but Baylor University associate professor of history Eric Rust gives the Bombe project the credit he believes it’s due. The son of a German U-boat officer and a former member of the German military who has experience with Enigma encryption technology, Rust calls the Bombe’s effect “tremendous.”
“The Dayton operation gave the Allied side, especially Americans, a tremendous advantage by saving the Allies time, by not wasting resources on operations that would have otherwise not been necessary had there been no Enigma intercepts,” says Rust, who is featured in Dayton Codebreakers. “It saved personnel and it saved lives because fewer were exposed to the dangers of the war.”
Based on the combined efforts of the Bombes operating in Washington and the Ultra project in England’s Bletchley Park, Rust says that up to 54 U-boats were destroyed.
Desch’s contributions were also noted by President Harry S. Truman, who signed Desch’s 1947 National Medal of Merit citation.
“By his brilliant originality, superb skill and immeasurable perseverance, he contributed essentially to the effectiveness of important technical developments of great significance in the successful conclusion of the war,” the citation reads. “Mr. Desch’s technical skill and fine professional judgment reflect the highest credit upon him, and upon the scientific tradition of the United States.”
Such glowing words grace a piece of paper yellowed with age and once forgotten. It’s a story that’s no longer top-secret, ready to be classified among America’s greatest success stories.
Michelle Tedford inherited her love for military history from her father, Clint Tedford, the first to tell her the story of the 1835 Toledo War.
Seven years ago, I bought a terrific grill, the Weber BabyQ.
“I am not comfortable with that name at all,” my son Joe, then 11, said as he helped me assemble it. He was right — they definitely should have focus-grouped that one.
But it had the most wonderful cast-iron cooking surface, and because it used those camp-sized propane canisters you can buy at the grocery, I never had to carry a full-size tank home in the car, praying the entire time I wouldn’t get rear-ended and blow up an entire city block.
One day last spring, I grilled some chicken breasts on it. When I took them off the grill and turned off the gas, however, the fire kept on burning.
“No problem,” I thought. “I’ll just close the lid, and it will go out.”
A few minutes later, when I went back outside to put the grill away, it was a blazing inferno. My mind raced. As much trouble as my repair-ridden house had been, I did not want it to burn down. I had to act fast.
The first order of business was to carefully disconnect the gas canister. Next, I needed to put the fire out. I went inside for a large glass of water — but I stopped myself. This was clearly a grease fire. Everyone knows you don’t put water on a grease fire.
But what do you put on a grease fire?
I searched my memory, and suddenly, I pictured it clearly.
“Flour,” I thought. “You smother a grease fire with flour.”
Which was perfect, really. I didn’t have a fire extinguisher, but by golly, I had flour — five kinds of it. I was a little concerned that the cast-iron grate would block most of it from falling onto the fire … but if I used enough, surely it would work.
Except I was wrong — in the heat of the moment, I’d forgotten the lesson I’d learned every single time I’d tried to bake brownies: FLOUR BURNS. It wasn’t flour they used in that demonstration. It was baking soda. (This is no longer recommended, by the way.)
The problem was getting worse by the minute. The fire continued to rage, and thick smoke from the burning flour was now filling the neighborhood. The time had come to call for help.
Since this was clearly not an emergency, I did not dial 911. I looked up the regular number for the fire department. Of course, calls to this number ring directly to 911, because what fire isn’t an emergency, and what city has a special dispatcher just for non-emergency fires?
“Oh, hi,” I said. “This is not an emergency. My little grill is on fire, and I can’t put it out. I tried flour, and that just made it worse. Can you tell me what I should do?”
“What’s your address, ma’am?” the dispatcher asked. I gave it to her.
“I’ll send someone out,” she said. Seconds later, I heard the siren.
“Oh, my gosh … that’s for me,” I gulped.
The fire department is approximately 45 seconds away. And it wasn’t just any siren. It was the hook-and-ladder. Several firefighters got out in full gear. They almost seemed disappointed when they saw the BabyQ.
“We saw the smoke, and we could smell it all the way from the station,” one said.
Within a couple of minutes, the flames were out. They were really nice about the whole thing.
“I swear this won’t happen again,” I said, embarrassed. “Would you like some chicken?”
They didn’t. I thanked them and promised to clean my next grill regularly.
I am now the proud owner of a terrific new grill. It’s exactly like the old one … except for the name. It’s now called the Weber Q1000.
It goes great with my new fire extinguisher.No Comments
The ongoing discussion of school lunch shaming — throwing out the trays of children unable to pay — dredged up a long-ago childhood memory. Ike and Mamie occupied the White House, the Rosenbergs were already executed, and nobody in Washington was cozy with the Kremlin. I’d just started first grade, and it was Fun Day at my small elementary school. Rows of squirmy children assembled in an auditorium with a raised stage at one end. Later that year I’d make my debut there, playing a singing crippled boy. When I got healed at the end, folks reached for their handkerchiefs, though attentive relatives noticed my crutch shifted sides during the performance.
A teacher read us Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Match Girl.” I cried as the little girl in the story tries vainly to warm herself with her dwindling stock of unsold matches, with each new flame bringing flickering warmth and fleeting visions. The most poignant for me was her dead grandmother beckoning to her.
I loved my Grandma, and as a boy on the Iowa-Minnesota border, I knew bitter cold. The same church bell I’d eventually be big enough to ring had called Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family to worship the previous century. Her blizzards were my blizzards.
Our Fun Day entertainment included Heidi, the only film in the school’s library, a fragile copy of the Shirley Temple classic. Heidi was a cherished annual event. As years passed and the aged celluloid perished, scenes often ended abruptly. Clara’s miraculous recovery from her wheelchair took increasingly less time.
Before the film started an older boy was selling fresh-popped popcorn. I eagerly joined the line. When my turn came, I was crushed to learn that hot buttered popcorn cost a nickel. Like the little match girl, I had no money. No nickel, no popcorn. It was a rough introduction to finance.
This was my own fault; I forgot to bring home the fragrant mimeographed note reminding us to bring a tiny bit of cold cash for Fun Day refreshments. We weren’t rich, but there was always money for things we needed, mainly books, books and more books. Eventually I’d have piano lessons, too, from a “fancy” college teacher 16 miles away.
Soon I’d be older, more confident. Mom would become PTA president, and I’d be secretly proud that she was smarter and prettier than anyone else’s mother. Eventually I’d understand about money, and she wouldn’t need to tie my lunch coins in a knotted handkerchief so I wouldn’t lose them.
But that day in 1959 I was still 6. All I knew was that everyone else had popcorn and I didn’t because I had no money.
My teacher, spotting me huddled against a wall, swiftly came to my rescue with a nickel produced from her large purse. Nearly six decades later I remember her act of kindness to an unhappy child. Thank you again, Mrs. Fawcett.
Though things have changed since that day, much remains the same. Those piano lessons paid off, and now I’m the “fancy” university teacher people drive to see. My debuts in Carnegie Hall and 36 countries were with Steinways instead of a crutch. But I still like popcorn, cherish the memory of my Grandma and tear up at sad stories. I forget to take notes home, too, though nothing’s mimeographed anymore. My popcorn fiasco didn’t teach me anything, except how crushing it is to be the one with none.
Remembering Mrs. Fawcett reminds me how much I owe to the wonderful teachers who shaped and inspired me. Several narrowly escaped the Holocaust; they survived to teach with a passion that showed us what really mattered. Attacks on the teaching profession pain me. Are all these critics self-made? Some of the hardest-working and most generous people I know on this planet are teachers. Thank you all.
Hungry children remember more than you might think.No Comments
Among a dozen sleeping bodies, I awake to cold and rain. Peter, our leader, will soon say, “Let’s get some breakfast going and row to shore for the marathon run.”
Tea, granola and honey on a 20-foot open boat will be followed by a 7-mile run on a rocky trail around our island base camp. We are nearing the end of a monthlong sailing experience in 1975 at Hurricane Island Outward Bound School in Maine.
A young teacher on my high school staff told me about Outward Bound schools and their theories about learning from the experience of overcoming obstacles in natural settings such as sailing and backpacking.
At age 42, I had a doctorate and a career as the principal of a 2,000-boy high school. But now I was in a competitive situation full of 20-somethings. Many were experienced sailors; I did not know the difference between port and starboard.
I was learning — about adjusting to wind and weather and 20-somethings and about encountering myself.
Water — fog, rain and waves — was the constant that month. We daily moved from one island to another, sometimes sleeping on the boat. It was never hard to fall asleep.
Outward Bound was about learning from experience. There were no books or lectures. The instructor said as little as possible. The experience took place in a group setting because the theory is that the truth is in the group, in the community — and all are responsible for finding it.
Years later, while biking, I stopped at a meadow to admire a mare and a colt. I noticed that, although the mare followed the colt everywhere, she just let it wander around finding its own path except when it ventured near to me. Then the mare chased it off in another direction away from the danger of my presence.
I tried to convince students that this was a symbol of my teaching style; I am afraid they did not understand my method. When I would later ask them about my style of teaching, all they could say was it had something to do with a horse.
My Outward Bound experience convinced me that the greatest service a teacher can do for students is to let them find their own paths in their own ways, to intervene only when their wandering in one direction is not working.No Comments
Have you ever had one of those days when you woke up in a bad mood and you knew you were not going to be fun to be around? Steve McElvene never did. In fact, Big Steve was the guy who changed your mood on those days. Big Steve was always laughing and making others laugh.
Of course, it was fun to watch his growth as a basketball player; there was no doubt he was going to be a special player. But the best thing about Big Steve was that he was a special person.
All throughout campus, people knew Big Steve. He was hard to miss at 6-foot-11; but had he been 6-foot, people would still know him. He never met a person he wasn’t willing to talk to. Talking to Steve for even 10 seconds meant you were either going to laugh or he was going to flash you his big smile. You’d think there would be some students who wouldn’t picture themselves hanging out in the dorms with a 7-foot basketball player. But there was Big Steve hanging out with anyone and everyone who wanted to be around him.
He was famous for screaming during his NBA 2K video game matches in Marycrest residence hall. Steve was never very good at video games, but he’d never turn down a game. Then there was the time Steve and two of his friends held up traffic in front of Caldwell apartments because they had to finish their dance routine. Steve loved dancing and, as with everything else, did not care if others thought he was good or not.
Steve was just about spreading joy. The basketball team believed Big Steve was at his best when he was around us, but Steve’s love and memory can be shared with everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him.
Some of the best Big Steve stories do come from him on the basketball court. After sitting out his first year, Steve was enormously excited to play in his first game; his entire family came to Dayton to watch him. Steve had transformed his body to the point where he was an entirely new player. Early in the game, Steve scored his first career basket and proceeded up the court while looking and shouting toward his family. While he was doing that, the player he was guarding ran down the court and scored. Steve was just so excited to be playing basketball.
Once, at an open gym, Steve was talking about how he was going to dunk on guys and called out people who got dunked on. Kendall Pollard then dunked all over Steve. That did nothing to stop Steve from talking trash though.
Flyer Fans may want to forget the Advocare Invitational against Xavier, but Steve made it memorable for the team. Coach Miller emphasized to us that Xavier would run a certain play to get a dunk to start the game. In typical Steve fashion, he let the team know that no one was going to be dunking on him. The first possession for Xavier ended with Steve being dunked on.
That game did not go well for any Flyer. There were many long faces afterward; Steve was one of them. The team didn’t talk about that game until a few days later in the locker room when Steve made a joke about Kendall getting dunked on. In an instant the room was filled with loud voices and laughter pointing out to Steve that it was him who got dunked on.
I think Steve knew it was him from the beginning; but, knowing our team needed something to get our spirits up, he was perfectly fine being the butt of the joke. Steve just wanted to play basketball with his brothers and make people happy.
The way someone lives a life can teach others important lessons; Steve’s was no different. He taught us how to be truly selfless and that the only way to be truly fulfilled in life is to have an impact on the other people around you. We should all ask ourselves if we are making an impact on our community. It doesn’t have to be by being the personality Steve was; an impact can be made in a multitude of ways.
Scholarships are one such way. Ann Kremer had never met Big Steve but, as an avid Dayton Flyers fan, was inspired by what he stood for, both on and off the court. After his death, she wanted to keep his spirit alive. Through the Naum Family Foundation, Ann established a scholarship at UD, what she calls “the first big step” in creating a legacy for Steve’s name.
She said she hopes her gift “will inspire others touched like I was by this remarkable young man to think about how we too can make a positive impact on our UD community.”
For me and my teammates, Steve’s passing from a heart condition was sad, but it inspired us at the same time.
We, his teammates, can remember Steve by living life to the fullest and chasing our dreams. Steve had big dreams of playing in the NBA. As his teammates we must pursue our dreams with the same work ethic and drive that Steve used to become a college basketball player.
More importantly, we must pursue our dreams with Steve in our mind and hearts. Because he can’t, we must. We are our brother’s keeper.
Big Steve inspired others
Steve McElvene holds the Dayton Flyers men’s basketball program’s record for blocked shots in a season. But he also, even after his death following that impressive freshman season, has a hold on the memories and dreams of those who knew him. Teammate and friend Jeremiah Bonsu ’17 was one of those touched by Big Steve… and he continues to be.
McElvene’s example also impressed Ann Kremer. She wanted to ensure that it would be an inspiration for future students. So she established a scholarship in his memory. And with the help of others also touched by McElvene’s vibrancy and generosity, Kremer hopes to see Big Steve’s spirit continue to enrich Dayton Flyers for a long time to come. The Steve McElvene Memorial Scholarship will be awarded to a Flyer student-athlete, manager or trainer who has financial need and exhibits the characteristics that Big Steve did — working hard in sports and in academics, acting as a good teammate and embracing life with enthusiasm.2 Comments
by Emily McAlesse
We floated atop the Yangtze River alongside cliffs where monkeys run wild and goats trek up their faces. The blue water reflected the rusty colored cliffs of this magnificent wonder. The air was so fresh that one breath in and you feel the energy filling your lungs and your soul.
Nine River Stewards joined Chinese tourists in viewing this natural wonder of China, one of the waterways that helped us learn more about social, cultural, political and economic forces that shape this country.
China conveys a culture that wants to do things big. And when I say big, I mean BIG. That thinking can be seen in the design and planning of the Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze. It is the largest hydroelectric dam in the world, but it can also be described as the most controversial dam in the world. Completed in 2003, this dam forced 1.3 million people to move because of rising water levels and flooded 13 cities, 140 towns and 1,350 villages.
Along with us on our floating classroom was professor Wang Yipei from Renmim University of China, who for 17 years has been documenting life in the river valley. He stressed to us to dig deeper into what the people have lost. It wasn’t just their homes; they lost their spiritual connection to the land where they lived and their ancestors are buried.
The boat stopped at a cultural site called Fengdu Ghost City, advertised as one of the few remaining religious sites along The Three Gorges. After we were grouped with the other English speakers, our guide walked us to the entrance where 7-foot statues stood guard. The guide described how these warriors protect the ghost city. Some of the statues there had been relocated here from places now under water; others were recreations. Dr. Dan later challenged the group to consider how the scene has been adapted for tourism.
Our tour guides talked of the damming and flooding with pride for this grand innovation. But we learned that within China, there is not widespread knowledge of the environmental impacts or the challenges people faced. Some people had to swap rural lives for homes in skyscrapers. I began thinking of all the ways that waterways impact a society. As a sociology major, I help research Dayton’s immigrant population, but I had never stopped to consider internal displacement. As a River Steward, I also thought about our push for renewable energies. As China is becoming a leader in renewable energy, part of that is from hydropower, which initially sounded good to me. Now I know there are pros and cons to each development decision, which will make me look more closely at the projects happening to my neighbors upstream and downstream as I paddle along the Great Miami River watershed.
My study abroad experience in China smashed all the preconceptions I’d had about the country. Everything I read and heard had told me China was crowded and polluted, that I wouldn’t like the food or understand the traditions. Still, I cautiously accepted the invitation to apply to study there. This was an opportunity to compare how China and the United States manage waterways and regulate the governments and industries that use them. After meeting the country’s citizens, floating on its canals and visiting its temples, I learned my preconceptions were wrong.
Like so many other UD students who have studied in China, the River Stewards used the University of Dayton China Institute in Suzhou as our base. This was a great advantage for us. We took orientation classes and got acclimated to the city. In class, we presented on the books we had read prior to traveling to China, including on China’s green revolution and the economy of water.
One of the greatest assets of the institute is its staff, who work with our faculty to ensure we feel welcome. They are also there to help those of us unaccustomed to international travel. When the money machine ate my bank card, Dong Zhang, the institute’s director of student programming, responded to my plea over WeChat and picked me up at 7 a.m. to help retrieve it.
While in Suzhou, we stayed in apartments where UD students attending the China Institute typically stay, as well as students attending other universities around the area. I became friends with students from England, Germany, France and other places around the world. I learned about their studies and their perspectives on China. And it was really awesome to have those apartments as a home base that we could return to after long days of venturing out.
One weekend, we traveled with the other students from the China Institute to a place that would become my favorite town. It was a water town, one of many ancient places built along the waterways around Suzhou. Our first glimpse of Zhouzhuang revealed rows and rows of colored windmills hanging from clothes line throughout the town. Every two or three streets would be separated by a canal, along which you could visit silk shops, jewelry makers and ice cream vendors. It was breathtaking.
Before going to China, I didn’t have any desire to go to China. Now that I’m back, I want to speak out and encourage every student to go. How can you not be passionate about the culture, the institute staff, the fashion trends? I’d go back in a heartbeat. China not only left a lasting impression but also proved to be a beautiful, green country filled with kind and generous people.
The Grand Canal is so long, we flew from one end to see the other. It begins in Beijing, where we saw a stagnant body of water walled in by stone upstaged by the bustle of Tiananmen Square. It ends in Hangzhou, where smaller waterways branch off among neighborhoods and people still travel and trade by water.
The Grand Canal, which became unified during the Sui dynasty of the seventh century, is the longest canal in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was originally built to connect the emperor’s city to others for trading and communication. Cities along its more than 1,100 miles have recently become tourist destinations, bringing business to its residents. Just north of Hangzhou, where the canal meets the Yangtze River, the waterway runs wide and barges still haul coal and other goods.
As River Stewards, our mission is to educate the community about the importance of our watershed and natural resources. When we went to China, we wanted to observe the Grand Canal at several locations to see how the people there interact with their water systems and resources and compare that to what we see in Dayton.
Chinese people have developed a unique and beautiful relationship with the canal, building water towns along the edges. In Old Suzhou, which has been called the Venice of the East, its residents hang laundry from lines above the waterways and vendors serve stinky tofu. To connect with the water, its citizens just open their doors or sit along their terraces. Old Suzhou is also a popular tourist destination. When you take a ride in an old-fashioned gondola-shaped boat, you can hear the people singing ancient songs and observe diners sitting in cafes under the light of red lanterns.
In Dayton, we have a very different relationship with the Great Miami River. Much of the shoreline is paved with bike trails and public parks, as well as business and industry. People must travel from their homes to experience all that the river has to offer. As a River Steward, I strive to connect the residents of Dayton with their aquatic neighborhood by providing opportunities to paddle, learn and grow.
As Stewards, we explain the history of our watershed through exhibits in the RiverMobile. So we were excited to learn about a special project at the University of Dayton China Institute in Suzhou, which is along the Grand Canal. Chen Jing, a professor at Nanjing University teaching at the China Institute, is working with UD and other universities to preserve and display the history of the Grand Canal. She showed us ancient maps of the canal that had been painted onto scrolls. CJ and her photographers recreated these maps with current photographs of the sites to demonstrate the development and modernization of China’s cities. I’m excited we’ll get to help with this interactive presentation to be featured on campus in Roesch Library this October. It’s one of the ways we can bring the lessons we learned back from China to share.
I first went to China in spring 2016 to spend a semester at the UD China Institute. As a computer engineering major, I was there to take mostly engineering classes. But I had also just completed my first semester as a River Steward, which really shaped how I viewed my study abroad experience. In Suzhou, you pass waterways everywhere, including on your walk from the student apartments to the China Institute. They are hard to miss. As a River Steward, I wanted to learn more about how the Chinese use their water systems and protect their water.
I decided to focus my study on Lake Tai, the third largest lake in China. It borders large cities like Suzhou and dozens of smaller cities and villages that are home to chemical processing factories that use lake water. Pollution gets dumped back in the lake, as does agricultural runoff from the lowlands that stretch to the South China Sea. Both contribute to blooms of blue-green algae that kill fish and make the lake smell.
This summer, I got to return to Lake Tai. When the Rivers Institute bus stopped by a bridge near Wuxi on the northeastern edge of the lake, we saw Lake Tai’s vivid green water that smelled of dead fish and sewage on one side of the bridge. On the other side was Lihu Bay, with bright blue waters and natural vegetation. At one time, it had also looked green and sickly. Dr. Dan and Dr. Wang arranged for government officials to tell us how they cleaned the bay. First, they walled it off from the lake with the bridge. Then they required industry to relocate away from the water’s edge and planted natural vegetation to slow and filter runoff. Dredging cleaned pollutants from the muddy bottom, while the existing water was cleaned and flushed with water from cleaner sources.
After the presentation, the Stewards wondered, “What’s next?” We were skeptical that the intensive and costly
cleanup of this one bay could be replicated along more than 200 miles of shoreline through multiple jurisdictions.
But we also wondered what was next for us. What role and responsibility do we have as River Stewards? As with any challenge, we apply the breadth of knowledge and experience present in our interdisciplinary cohort. And we listen to the community to determine how our resources can contribute to a community-based solution.
Along with our director Leslie King, Dr. Dan and Dr. Wang, we are now discussing how the Stewards might participate in water quality monitoring at Wuxi. Having the China Institute as a base opens up the possibilities for participation in a variety of projects, whose results we could apply in our own backyard. I know if any one of those projects offers a way for me to combine my computer engineering education with
water quality, I’ll happily head back to China for the third time.
Ashley Clevenger looked at the reflections of a hundred colored spinning pinwheels and saw in the rippling waters a mirror to an earlier time.
The junior exercise physiology major was standing in Zhouzhuang, a river town about a half-hour drive from the University of Dayton China Institute in Suzhou Industrial Park.
In Suzhou, glass skyscrapers rise from the lakeside, while multiple lanes of traffic rush across bridges linking the ultramodern city with the countryside.
In the river town, ancient stone buildings flank waterways on which citizens navigate pole-propelled boats as they head to work, to market or to meet a friend for tea.
How quickly one can go from present and future to past, all along China’s Grand Canal.
This was one of the lessons sociology professor Dan Curran wanted Clevenger and her fellow River Steward classmates to consider during their summer study abroad in China. The University president emeritus, along with Rivers Institute Director Leslie King and China Institute Dean Weiping Wang, guided the nine students during their summer studies. It was an opportunity for a comparative study of water use, protections and policies in China and in Dayton, where the Stewards are known for their community-based approach to water education and action.
With the China Institute as their base, the students learned about both ancient and modern Suzhou and how it has developed thanks to the canal that winds through its borders. They also traveled across eastern China, visiting both ends of the Grand Canal — Beijing in the north and Hangzhou in the south — as well as other pivotal water sites, including the famed Three Gorges Dam.
“The beauty of this place is something that can never be captured in pictures,” she said.
Curran, whose academic study of China spans more than three decades, had been to the gorge before some of the villages were submerged under a hundred feet of water as it rose behind the world’s largest dam. But still, he said, the perspective of the Stewards changed his perspective on the dam and the course. An engineering major shared his views on the construction of the dam, while a geology student provided a lesson on rock formations and how using the tree line — the altitude of a mountain beyond which trees rarely grow — can reveal the extent of the river’s rise.
“It was an advantage having multiple sets of eyes looking at the landscape from multiple perspectives,” Curran said. “They look and said what was of interest to them, and they shared what would be of interest to other students who will follow them.”
Curran is incorporating their ideas into the course Socioeconomic Change in China: A Case Study of Suzhou and Its Waters, which he is again teaching fall semester in Suzhou.
Now back on UD’s campus, the Stewards continue to find themselves immersed in China’s waterways. They will serve as ambassadors for a new multimedia exhibit Heritage Today: The Grand Canal of China, to be presented in Roesch Library Oct. 23 to Dec. 1.
The exhibit will include a wrap-around map of the canal with ancient and modern images superimposed along its pathway. On display will be eight plexiglass models of canal towns and cities in Jiangsu Province, with layers showing the evolution of the cities through time. Visitors can view an English-language documentary on the canal, see a reproduction of an ancient scroll and try out a demo version of the forthcoming Grand Canal database.
But it’s more than an opportunity for the Stewards to share their knowledge of the UNESCO World Heritage Site with the UD community, Curran said. The exhibit is part of a larger Grand Canal project, led by the China Institute, to reclaim moments of history while also revealing the voices and experiences of the people who currently live along the canal. It includes vast data collection, photos, videos, oral histories, reproductions of ancient paintings, and the development of an interactive website that will make the data available to scholars in both Chinese and English.
The multimedia database of living cultural heritage will also allow users to contribute their own data and stories to the site, said Wang, who has a particular interest in bridging academics with ordinary people and merging history with present-day practice.
“The project is not just for academics, it’s not just for scholars; it’s for the community,” Wang said.
Created in partnership with Nanjing University, Nanjing University for the Arts, Tsinghua University and Nanjing Museum, one of China’s largest museums, the Grand Canal project reflects a historical and cultural contribution that sets UD apart from other American universities, Curran said. The project’s first phase, including the interactive database, is expected to be complete in 2018.
It is the global importance of water that ties together the students, professors, course, waterways and continents.
King stressed the comparative nature of water studies — of how an understanding of cause and effect in local contexts can result in sustained research and community-led, student-based international projects. For example, the Stewards visited Lake Tai, which experiences annual toxic algae blooms, and talked to officials about clean-up strategies. That led to conversations about opportunities for the students to conduct future water monitoring as well as for officials to come to Dayton to learn from the Stewards about community-based approaches to water education and remediation.
“It’s about creating more opportunities for the students by using the strengths and assets of the University,” King said.
The comparative nature of experiential learning also unveiled the similarities between Dayton and Suzhou and the efforts to make the invisible visible again. In Dayton, that includes awareness of the buried valley aquifer, the source of the region’s clean drinking water. In China, it means reclaiming the Grand Canal’s heritage as well as understanding its role in modern society.
“The Grand Canal has been a resource for so many people,” Clevenger said of the waterway which began construction in the fifth century B.C. for the transportation of goods and troops to support the emperor. “These hidden places have much to reveal about history.”
For Clevenger, Zhouzhuang became her favorite part of her summer experience. She plans for those lessons to take her far, perhaps someday back to China to learn more about its water ways.
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For Justin Bayer, a visit to the University as a high schooler changed his life in more ways than one.
Even though the University wasn’t part of his collegiate list as a high school student, his campus visit changed everything — both academically and professionally.
“My junior year in high school, UD wasn’t even on my radar. After probably the fifth time my guidance counselor encouraged me to visit, I finally did,” he said.
It was the campus visit that propelled Bayer, then a student at Archbishop Moeller, to make the University his new home.
“That was the turning point for the rest of my life,” Bayer, a Cincinnati native now living in New Orleans, said.
The visit had such an impact on him that nine years after graduating he developed his own startup company, Welcome To College, to help make the campus visit an even better experience.
Welcome To College has created ambassador management software that helps colleges ignite meaningful connections with prospective students before, during and after the college visit experience. Students can learn about the school before they arrive and begin forming relationships with the tour guides via online interactions.
Welcome To College also provides consulting, training and analysis for clients. More than 50 universities, including the University of Dayton, use Welcome To College to enhance the college visit experience.
“It’s been the classic roller coaster ride. We’re still in the bottom of the first inning of the Welcome To College journey,” Bayer said of his future goals.
He added, “It’s all about being surrounded by people who believe in you. Without my wife’s full-time support and help from many others along the way, I couldn’t have done this.”
Despite the hard work of founding a startup, Bayer says he wouldn’t trade what he does for anything.
“I don’t think I’ve been put on the planet to do anything but what we’re doing right now,” he said.