Although the residents of 124 Evanston might not have kept their house as clean as they should have, the mess didn’t stop them from becoming life-long friends, said Nick Hummel ’02.
Hummel lived at 124 Evanston with Tom Zientak, John Surso, Lou Cioffi, Aaron Sorrentino and Jay Harrison — all members of the Class of 2002.
“We thought the house was awesome, after having to live off-campus in Irving Commons for our junior year,” Hummel said. “The house had three bedrooms, one bathroom, a kitchen, a dining room, a living room and, most importantly, a front porch. We were also able to use the basement when we were there and turned it into a VIP lounge with shag furniture and vinyl records on the wall.”
Hummel explained that one night, while he and Zientak were asleep, their roommates decided to cover the whole downstairs of the house — floor, furniture and walls — in tin foil.
“Being a house of six guys, it stayed like that for about a week before someone decided to clean it up,” Hummel said.
Another moment that Hummel and his roommates remember is being together in the house on Sept. 11, 2001.
“We can remember watching the news as things unfolded that morning and listening to the sonic booms of the jets being scrambled from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,” Hummel said.
The residents have continued to stay in touch since their time at UD.
“We grew to be best friends, best men in each other’s weddings and godparents to children. UD was great, and we try to get back as often as possible,” Hummel said, adding that he recently attended a UD basketball game and visited with the current residents of 124 Evanston.
“Most of my best memories of UD involved the guys in that house,” Hummel said.
Suggest we take a tour of your old house.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pat McGann ’98 has teamed up with the Chicago White Sox to produce “The Cycle,” a weekly podcast. The comedian will host the hour-long show throughout the 2016 season, interviewing former players and others related to the franchise. McGann, who has made appearances on late night talk shows, believes teaming with the White Sox gives him a ready-made audience as well as a topic he’s interested in. “Being a lifelong White Sox fan, it is really cool. I want to talk about things they are not talking about in press conferences.”
Listen in at bit.ly/UDM_TheCycle.
—Shelby Quinlivan ’06
Margo Orlando Littell ’99
Margo Orlando Littell published her debut novel in June 2016. “A poem I heard during a poetry class more than 20 years ago wound up becoming the epigraph of this book. I began writing short stories during my time at UD and then wrote novellas at Columbia University.” In 2011, she turned one of her novellas into a full-length novel that would become Each Vagabond by Name. “I’m driven to write about characters who are rooted to a place and who, even if they succeed at leaving, feel pulled toward home for one reason or another.” The novel recently received the University of New Orleans Publishing Lab Prize. Visit her website at margoorlandolittell.com.No Comments
A University of Dayton education can take you far — including all the way to the top of colleges and universities around the nation. As we continue to celebrate historic presidential transitions on our campus, we look to our alumni who have made an impact in higher education.
Know of alumni we missed? Have more you can add to their stories? Send us information on presidents — past and present — and we’ll add their information to our honor roll. Email email@example.com.
Donald Birx ’90 became the 15th president of Plymouth State University in July 2015. Plymouth State is a residential university located in Plymouth, New Hampshire, with an enrollment of approximately 4,200 undergraduate students and 2,100 graduate students. Prior to his career in academia, he worked for 19 years at Systems Research Laboratories Inc. in Dayton, where he advanced from senior systems engineer to vice president and team leader of technology and new ventures. He is co-author or author of more than 20 journal articles. His primary academic research interests are in the areas of automated decision making and event prediction. He holds a doctoral degree in electrical engineering from the University of Dayton.
Ollie “Lee” Coggin ’90, in August 2010, became Muskegon campus president of Baker College of Muskegon in Michigan. Baker college is the largest independent college in Michigan. He began his career at the college as an instructor. Prior to his role as an educator, Coggin was a prosecuting attorney in Ohio’s Athens and Erie counties. He received his law degree from the University of Dayton in 1990.
Bonnie Coe ’00 became president of Central Ohio Technical College in 2004. She was presented the Excellence in Higher Education Leadership Award by the American Council on Education Women’s Network-Ohio in 2015. She places great value on her role as a mentor to students, saying, “I didn’t achieve this level of success on my own. Both men and women opened doors for me and they role modeled for me. As I get closer to retirement, I’ve become obsessive with trying to help other people because other people have helped me.” She received her doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Dayton in 2000.
Richard Creehan ’81 served as the ninth president of Alderson Broaddus University in West Virginia from 2011 to 2015. The university grew in student population from 500 to just more than 1,200 in his four-year tenure and was also named its region’s Success Story of the Year in 2014. Creehan graduated from the University of Dayton in 1981 with a master’s degree in educational administration.
Michael Grandillo ’86 became the first lay president of Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan, in 2015. The university was founded by the Felician Sisters 78 years ago. He told the Detroit News, “I want to wake up every day to live up to the sisters’ values, serve those students and make sure they are prosperous in life.” Grandillo has 35 years of higher education experience, served on the Tiffin City (Ohio) Council four times and was appointed by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown to his commission to screen candidates for federal appointments. Grandillo used to serve as president of Lakeland College in Wisconsin. He is a 1986 graduate of the University of Dayton, having earned a master’s degree in college student personnel.
Gary Haight ’70 was the president, from 2007 to 2010, of Menlo College, a private, nonprofit school that focuses on business education with a strong liberal arts emphasis located in Silicon Valley, California. Haight says that it was not his dyslexia or hearing impairment that caused him difficulty in early education, but rather his proclivity to left-handedness. “Back then we all were required to write right-handed,” he recalls. “I couldn’t do it. Whenever the nuns turned their back to me, I would switch. But I couldn’t hide the evidence. One day a teacher saw the ink smudges on my left wrist and knew I had been writing with it.” Despite failing first grade, Haight went on to earn an MBA and doctoral degree. He graduated from the University of Dayton in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in management.
David Harrison ’84 became the fifth president of Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio, in July 2010. Under his leadership, the college was named an Achieving the Dream college, a program that is aimed at helping first-generation students, students of color, and low-income students. Harrison has focused on student success and attainment, workforce innovation and civic engagement during his tenure. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Dayton in 1984.
John Lahey ’68 has been the president of Quinnipiac University, located in Connecticut, since 1987. Since taking office, the university has grown its enrollment by more than 350 percent and expanded its physical plant from 100 acres to 604 acres. He serves as a director of Yale-New Haven Hospital and has been a member of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee for more than 25 years. He devotes his time to educating others on the historical implications of Ireland’s Great Hunger. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Dayton.
Richanne Mankey ’97 became the first female president of Defiance College in Ohio in January 2016. She’s held leadership positions at the college level for nearly three decades. In 2011, she became a founding member the Women’s Leadership Institute through the Western New York Consortium for Higher Education, and she also participates in national discussions about issues relating to women in higher education. She received a master’s degree in social agency counseling from the University of Dayton in 1997.
Roderick McDavis ’71 became Ohio University’s 20th president in 2004. With a main campus in Athens, Ohio, OU serves 39,201 students. He is also OU’s first African-American president and the state’s longest-serving president at a major public university. Under his leadership, OU named three academic colleges on campus and created two extension campuses in Dublin, Ohio and Cleveland. He received a master’s of science in education from UD in 1971.
Scott Miller ’84 has led four colleges or universities as president in his career in academia. Since 2015, he has been the president of Virginia Wesleyan College. He was named, in the 2004 book The Entrepreneurial College President, as one of the 17 most entrepreneurial presidents in the nation. He has previously served as president for Bethany College in West Virginia, Wesley College in Delaware and Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee. He earned a master’s degree in educational administration from the University of Dayton in 1984.
Brother Bernie Ploeger S.M. ’71 has been the president of Chaminade University in Hawaii since 2009. Chaminade University is one of three Marianist universities nationwide, the other two being St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and the University of Dayton. Ploeger also serves on the board of trustees at the University of Dayton. Brother Ploeger took first vows in the Society of Mary in 1967. He served at UD as its vice president for administration/senior vice president for administration from 1986 to 2001. He earned his bachelor’s degree in math from the University of Dayton in 1971.
Thomas Sullivan ’69 was president of Cleary University from 1989 to 2014. Cleary, founded in 1883 as the Cleary School of Penmanship, is a Michigan-based independent, nonprofit business university. It s MBA program became accredited under Sullivan’s leadership in 2000. He told the Ann Arbor News, ““People motivate themselves. Give people opportunity to understand their role, make decisions and serve their customers. That produces joy in work — motivation naturally follows.” He received a bachelor’s in English from the University of Dayton in 1969.
David Pauldine ’79 was the president of DeVry University from 2006 to 2014. DeVry, founded in 1831, now has 55 locations around the country. Pauldine focused his presidency on maintaining academic quality and providing graduates with the skills and knowledge to meet the needs of employers. He is chairman of the board of the Association of Private Sector Colleges & Universities (APSCU) and serves on the board of DeVry Brasil. Pauldine earned his bachelor’s degree in communication arts from the University of Dayton in 1979.No Comments
Jen Aprahamian ’06 believes that “every woman deserves a great #girlsquad.” However, she and a friend found that making new girl friends was a challenge once they left college. After using dating apps to try to reach out to other women to become friends, they realized it was time to make an app for that specific purpose. Hey! VINA is the result. On the app, women create profiles and can match with other women in the area who have similar interests. After that, they are encouraged to meet up and let the friendship grow. As the co-founder and CTO, Aprahamian has seen the app go viral and continue to grow. At the time of the launch, the app was available in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City, and Aprahamian said they are adding new cities as more women sign up on the free app.No Comments
These Flyer alumni have moved out of the UD bubble and into the sprawling Dallas/Fort Worth area. “Our community is friendly, active and incredibly welcoming,” said community leader Julia Prior ’10.
It’s not all cowboys and barbeque — North Texas is a bustling metropolis with Fortune 500 companies and a diverse population from all over the world, she said. But location still matters. Much like the loyalty of residents to Stonemill Road or Woodland Avenue, these Texans are loyal to their municipality. “You won’t find someone with a Plano address telling people they live in Carrollton, even if the two are right next door,” Prior said.
DayMag asked: What’s your favorite Texas-sized Flyer moment?
“I would say a collection of moments — basically every UD basketball game-watching party. There are not a lot of UD alumni in Texas, much less in Dallas/Fort Worth. We turn out in force to support our team, however, whether it be a blow-out victory, a squeaker or a shocking defeat. My most recent memory is the Feb. 27 game against Rhode Island. The restaurant thought it could get away with one server at 11 a.m. on a Saturday. It thought wrong. Go UD.” —Shaun Hassett ’09
“As of two weeks ago, I have a new favorite Texas-sized memory: My son has decided to join the Flyer family and is officially a Dayton Flyer, Class of 2020.” —Erin Reilly ’97
“My favorite ‘Texas-sized’ Flyer moment was when I attended the Dallas Mavericks game with the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter. It was an incredible event, and I was so shocked to see as many Flyer alums as I did. It was fun to meet new people from this area and attend an exciting game. Being
so far from UD has been hard, but attending events like these and making connections with fellow Flyers has made it better.” —Katie Giacomini ’15
UD Rescue Squad student volunteers and alumni speak fondly of the camaraderie and joy of helping others.
The same can’t be said for the organization’s aging squad house.
Since 1994, 214 Lawnview Ave. has been the base of operations for the squad.
Formerly student housing, the tan-colored, two-story house with white trim has two small upstairs bedrooms for overnight duty crews and a single, cramped bathroom on the second floor that is reached by a narrow, winding staircase.
Kim Sherman ’13 recalled crew members falling down the “very loud, creaky, steep steps” while dashing downstairs at night to respond to an emergency call.
The first floor features a tiny kitchen that Sherman described as “chaos” if more than one person tries to cook a meal at the same time. There’s also a small living room with an old, overstuffed sofa where students study and watch Netflix while waiting for emergency calls. The dining room becomes a game of musical chairs at shift change, and the laundry room doubles as file storage space.
UD Rescue frequently holds its crew meetings in the adjacent, heated ambulance garage, built in 2008, because of the lack of space in the squad house.
Squad members have a “love-hate relationship with the house,” said junior Neil Glenn, a premed major from Dayton.
“Everyone loves being here, mostly for the people,” Glenn said. “It definitely serves its function, but other than that, I think it’s hard to say much else about it.”
But help is on the way.
“The house has always been small, and it has always been old, and it is just time to replace it,” said Maj. Randy Groesbeck ’98, director of administration and security for the Department of Public Safety and the organization’s adviser. “It is far too small for what the Rescue Squad is currently doing.”
Work has begun on a new squad house, which will cost an estimated $400,000, including construction and furnishing.
University trustee John M. Forte ’64 has pledged to match all donations up to $200,000.
Forte, president of Miami-based Forte Properties, said he was so impressed by a Rescue Squad presentation to the board of trustees that he visited the squad house in May 2015. There, he discovered their working conditions were, as he said, “deplorable.”
“These poor students had to live in these conditions while they’re out trying to save lives and do their studies at the same time,” Forte said. “I thought that they needed some help, so I tried to put something together to get them a new facility.”
Unibilt Industries of Vandalia, Ohio, will build the new house and has committed $25,000 to the project. Unibilt Chief Financial Officer Gregory S. Barney is a Flyer — Class of 1987 — and the parent of a current civil engineering student.
In addition, several anonymous donors have contributed to the campaign, but more funds are needed.
The new, 2,241-square-foot squad house will offer three bedrooms and three full bathrooms, including one on the first floor that can be used as a decontamination area. In addition, the two-story house will feature a large gathering space, office and study areas, and a covered walkway to connect it to the ambulance garage.
“Aside from the comfort, it’s a proper headquarters for a service such as this,” Groesbeck said.
In midwinter, workers began preparing the old house for demolition, and the squad has been relocated to Lawnview Apartments for spring semester. Plans call for construction to begin in May. It will be operational by August for the start of the fall 2016 semester.
“I am very excited for next year just because I see all the things that we already do in a space that I feel is very limiting for a lot of things that we could be doing,” said squad chief Jonathan Melendez, a senior premed major from San Juan, Puerto Rico. “I think this is really going to increase our boundaries next year.”
To support the Rescue Squad house, visit alumnicommunity.udayton.edu/rescue-squad or contact Todd Imwalle ’84, senior director of development, at 937-229-5460.No Comments
Since 1992, the UD Rescue Squad has saved lives — and launched students’ medical careers
When senior marketing major Sean Ferguson was struck by lightning last April while walking across a campus parking lot, an ambulance crew of trained student volunteers raced to his aid.
They most likely saved his life.
The UD Rescue Squad was on the scene within minutes, took over from the bystanders who were administering CPR, and coordinated with the Dayton Fire Department to transport Ferguson to Miami Valley Hospital.
“There are individuals who are alive today who wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for the presence of that rescue squad on our campus,” said Maj. Randy Groesbeck ’98, director of administration and security for the Department of Public Safety and the student organization’s adviser. “Their calls range from minor illnesses to life-threatening events, and they’ve resuscitated a number of individuals who otherwise probably would not have made it.”
Since it was founded in 1992, the squad has attracted more than 500 student volunteers, responded to thousands of emergency calls, and opened the door to careers as health care and public safety professionals.
Public safety student security cadets who saw a need for a rapid Emergency Medical Services response crew on campus started the organization. They used a donated University van stocked with medical supplies as their ambulance and a side room in the public safety building as their headquarters.
By 1993, the group had seven trained emergency medical technicians who responded to calls in a 1978 Chevy ambulance. That same year, the first EMT class sponsored by public safety started with nine undergraduate students.
Founding squad member Merritt Colton ’93 recalled his crew as a “ragtag” group of students who were just trying to figure things out.
“Originally, we started at Gosiger Hall,” Colton said. “The ambulance was parked outside, and we had to run an extension cord to the back and put a space heater in to keep stuff from freezing.”
After graduation, Colton became a paramedic. Today, he is a Dayton Fire Department captain whose fire district includes the UD campus. He regularly sees the Rescue Squad on its runs, which lighten the number of minor injury calls for his EMS crews.
“Now we look at them — they’re a top-notch, well-equipped organization,” Colton said. “They really are an asset to the University and even to the city of Dayton.”
During the past three decades, the squad has been honored with national awards from the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation. UD Rescue Squad was named Collegiate EMS Organization of the Year in 1999 and 2003. The squad also won Collegiate EMS Week Celebration of the Year in 2010, 2012 and 2013.
UD Rescue Squad has been recognized five times by the foundation’s Striving for Excellence program, including the current three-year certification through 2018.
The squad is one of 56 campus-based EMS organizations in North America to provide ambulance service, said Scott C. Savett, vice president of the foundation, which represents about 250 campus-based EMS groups in the U.S. and Canada. Only about 20 percent have an ambulance; the others respond by using golf carts, sport utility vehicles, cars or bicycles, or on foot.
“I can say without hesitation that UD Rescue is one of the finest organizations under the NCEMSF umbrella,” said Savett, who has visited the squad several times since assuming his role in 1997. The passion and dedication that has earned such accolades is evident in the student squad today.
A student-run volunteer EMS organization with a state-certified basic life support ambulance located on campus, the rescue squad provides free pre-hospital care and transportation for all medical and trauma emergencies on campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the academic year.
The squad’s current ambulance, dubbed Squad 1, was purchased in 2012 by the University. The box-like white vehicle is emblazoned with the UD chapel logo and a bold, red stripe down the side that spikes sharply toward the rear like a heartbeat monitor.
Groesbeck said the squad averages more than 400 ambulance runs each year during the eight months it is in service.
During the fall 2015 semester alone, the rescue squad responded to 315 emergency calls and transported 224 students, faculty, staff or visitors to area hospitals, said senior Patrick Dugan, a premedicine major from Noblesville, Indiana, who serves as the squad’s assistant chief of operations. Those runs included six possible heart attacks.
Emergency calls to public safety are dispatched to the UD Rescue Squad, which is alerted by a loud tone that sounds throughout the squad house. Calls to 911 from cell phones are sent to Montgomery County dispatch, which can turn a call over to public safety if the emergency is appropriate for squad response.
Each year about 50 student volunteers participate on the squad, but only after they undergo rigorous classroom and practical training during the fall semester of their sophomore year to become nationally certified EMTs.
Students in the EMT-Basic class initially learn CPR and use of automated external defibrillators for the health care provider and are trained to drive the ambulance. New members then begin working weekly shifts with the squad to gain experience. They continue taking four-hour EMT classes two to three nights a week, including labs and lectures.
“It is really great to be able to learn in the class and then transition into seeing it hands-on as we go on calls with them,” said sophomore Julia Ripepi, a pre-physical therapy major from Cleveland who completed the class in November.
A new group of EMTs is added each year, with 20 new students taking the class.
UD Rescue Squad always has three certified EMTs on duty to make up a crew.
Squad members are required to volunteer for at least 24 hours of duty each month. Typically, students work several two- to four-hour shifts weekly, arranged around their class schedules. Each month, they also work overnight shifts that span 11 hours on weeknights and 18 hours on weekends.
During those overnight shifts, students eat, study and sleep in their cramped, aging squad house at 214 Lawnview Ave. (Read more on the rebuilding of the UD Rescue Squad house.)
Many students average between 500 and 1,000 volunteer hours during their three years on the squad, but about one-third graduate with “well in excess of 2,000 hours each,” Groesbeck said.
That remarkable devotion to service inspired senior Jonathan Melendez to join the squad. A premed major from San Juan,
Puerto Rico, Melendez exudes passion for the organization. He is UD Rescue Squad’s chief, the top officer.
“That really touched me, because for me that’s one of the reasons I picked UD, because I felt very at home here — I felt like people really helped each other out,” Melendez said.
“I felt like this group of students, we kind of represented that, just giving away a lot of our time volunteering to help our community in a very unique way.”
Melendez said the experience has affirmed his decision to become a premed major and pursue a career in the medical profession. “I think there are a lot of ways you can impact the world, but for me, that’s kind of my place,” he said.
Earning a place in medical school involves service and clinical care hours, in addition to a strong grade-point average, said Kathleen Scheltens, director of UD’s premedical programs. Volunteering for UD Rescue Squad is common for premed majors because they gain patient care skills and experience that prepares them for careers as doctors, nurses, physical therapists and other medical professionals.
Melendez, for example, has interviewed and been accepted at Ohio State University, Boston University and the University of Central Florida. He said his experiences as an EMT and leader have been an integral part of his interviews.
Kim Sherman ’13 credits the squad for her discovery of her career path as a physician assistant in emergency medicine. She learned about the profession from an upperclassman while working an overnight shift.
Some physician assistant programs require as many as 2,000 hours of patient care. Said Sherman, “[T]hanks to my EMT-B training and volunteering with the squad, I was able to apply to any school.” She completed her master’s degree in physician assistant studies from Ohio Dominican University in December.
“My experiences with Rescue Squad were absolutely phenomenal,” said Mary Salimbene Merriman ’09, an epidemiologist at the Union County Health Department in Marysville, Ohio. She said UD Rescue boosted her confidence and helped solidify her career goal of working in the medical profession.
Tyler Britton ’11 supervises a hematology/oncology clinic at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston that sees hundreds of patients daily.
“What I experienced behind the double doors of the squad ambulance with two other classmates is not a far cry from the much larger team I work with now,” Britton said. “The principles of teamwork, best care and altruistic dedication are consistent, and to experience that with the UD Rescue Squad is something I am very grateful for, and it excels my work daily.”
While there have been many memorable and satisfying experiences for the squad, it’s clear that last April’s run to rush Sean Ferguson to Miami Valley Hospital will stand out in its history.
A three-member duty crew had just transported another patient and was in the hospital ambulance bay when they heard about the accident, recalled junior Chris Reyes, who was on duty at the time. The UD dispatcher radioed the crew to ask if they were able to respond to Ferguson. Reyes quickly threw the cot in the back of the ambulance, which raced to the scene with lights and sirens.
Meanwhile, senior Nathan Steinbrunner and five other off-duty crew members were meeting at the squad house garage. They heard the radio call, piled into a car and sped to the parking lot near Kettering Laboratories to help deliver aid.
“Incidents like this are very rare and very uncommon for us to ever get,” said Steinbrunner, a chemical engineering major from Versailles, Ohio. “But in all the instances, even though we don’t see situations like this frequently at all, we are still able to deliver the appropriate patient care.”
The squad members placed Ferguson on a backboard, obtained his vital signs and then transferred him to the Dayton Fire Department ambulance for transport, with Crew Chief Mariah Jutte ’15 riding with them back to the hospital.
After intense treatment and therapy, Ferguson returned to campus in the fall and received his degree in December at UD’s 166th commencement exercises.
Along with senior Matt Lickenbrock and Steven Pope, the bystanders who administered CPR, the Rescue Squad was honored in December at the 10th annual Miami Valley Crime Stoppers Awards banquet.
Reyes, a biology major from Elida, Ohio, said the day the squad responded to that parking lot with speed and professionalism was his proudest day as a Rescue Squad member.
“I would honestly trust all of my UDRS peers with my life,” Reyes said.
Dave Larsen is a former staff writer at the Dayton Daily News, where he covered higher education, film, popular music and technology over his 25-year career.
Rushing to help others can lead to interesting career paths. Here are some chosen by Rescue Squad alumni:
Aeromedical evacuation officer
Molecular genetic technician
Gynecologic oncology fellow
Zoo security officer
Director of athletic communications
Funeral director & embalmer
Deputy fire chief
This year is my first as a University of Dayton alumna, and after experiencing five St. Patrick’s Day celebrations surrounded by a sea of green Flyers lining Lowes Street, I felt a certain ache about being away from “home” this year. But I would soon be surrounded by more Flyers than I ever would have found on campus.
Shelby Quinlivan ’06, a co-worker and possibly the biggest Flyer fanatic I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, agreed to join me on the trip to St. Louis to see the men’s basketball team make its third-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. We hit the highway for the six-hour drive.
As our journey progressed west, we saw the fleets of Archie’s Army on I-70. It seemed that every car on the highway was adorned with #FlyerFaithful bumper stickers and decals — and even a car painted “LOWD and proud.”
It was like playing the license plate game, but looking for anything and everything UD.
A sea of red awaited our arrival in St. Louis. Dancing around the alumni pre-game celebration on Friday morning at Ballpark Village, a dining and entertainment district downtown, I met people who had arrived from both coasts and all parts in between.
Lori Hausfeld said she travels from her home in Florida to UD Arena for all the men’s basketball home games. The tournament was no exception. “It’s like a big reunion,” she said, glancing around the room filled with alumni. “It’s like a family.”
With the sounds of Willie Morris and the Flyer Pep Band filling the air, another grad told me he could only stay for a day because he had to return to California for his 8-year-old’s soccer game. The energy in the room was #loUD and #proUD as Flyers chanted a rounding “O-O-O-O-N.”
The journey, unfortunately, would end for the Flyers that day. After a strong first half with just a 2-point deficit at halftime against Syracuse, the Flyers couldn’t repeat their wizardry of 2014 and 2015 to advance to the next round. But the game was not absent of magic. Toward the game’s end, the Scottrade Center erupted in applause. I turned to the man next to me to ask what was going on; he told me the seniors were being applauded off the court. Without prompting, the Flyer Faithful were on their feet. The final score was not on our side — 70-51 — but there was no absence of pride for how far this team had come.
After the game, we made our way back to Ballpark Village to grab a bite and reunite with fellow Flyers. We saw one wearing a Flyer sweater vest and Xavier cap. “I went to undergrad at UD got my masters from Xavier,” he said. Another Flyer/Musketeer said he went to UD but had since moved to Cincinnati and was looking for any and every way to show his Ohio pride while in St. Louis.
When Shelby and I headed home Saturday morning, we once again played our license plate game, knowing now that the people in those cars were the same ones we’d cheered and chanted with in St. Louis. I-70 had become our Lowes Street.
As the University’s social media strategist, Michaela Eames ’15 tells the UD story often in 140 characters or less. For the last two years — one as a student and one as a full-time staffer — she’s shared the excitement of UD’s NCAA Tournament runs with thousands of Flyer Faithful who’ve liked, retweeted and shared her words.