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ReadSeeHear This: Black Elk Peek- A history

12:55 PM  Sep 4th, 2017
by Gita Balakrishnan

A book by Bradley D. Saum ’88

The history of Black Elk Peak — previously known as Hinhan Kaga and, more recently, as Harney Peak — remained segmented and scattered throughout the shadows of antiquity, until now. Saum chronicles the stories that are intrinsically linked to the highest point in the Black Hills of South Dakota. “Black Elk Peak is truly a natural, historical and cultural gem,” Saum said. “I wanted to capture all the history associated with this peak and share my appreciation with others.” The history includes stories of the great Sioux holy man Black Elk and an account of  Gen. George Custer summiting the peak during an 1874 expedition, among other historical moments. The book is published by the History Press.

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UD Magazine editor Tom Columbus stands in front of window.

Conversations

2:36 PM  Sep 1st, 2017
by Michelle Tedford ’94

This summer, I marked my 15th year as an editor for University publications. And I still can’t write columns like my colleague, Thomas M. Columbus.

As I’m sitting at my desk not writing this column, I am instead re-reading the book we created for Tom on the occasion of his retirement in 2010. It contains columns from his years as founding editor of University of Dayton Magazine and its predecessor, University of Dayton Quarterly. In the book entitled Amazing Grace, there’s a story of a sandwich handed out to the homeless, of math as taught by the Cleveland Indians, and of the death of his son, Ben, on the soccer field.

But these stories are not reports on food, baseball or tragedy. They are the beginnings of conversations about compassion, curiosity, faith and love, ones best shared over a drink with friends. With each issue, he invited himself into your homes, and you welcomed him as you sat on your couch or at the kitchen table and read. I am fortunate that, 50 years after he came to UD to teach English, Tom continues to come to UD, now as a part-time contributing editor to this magazine. And we continue to have those conversations in person. Last month, it was over morning coffee and orange juice as he leaned in my doorway and discussed banana distribution in New York City. Yesterday it was about his eldest grandchild attending college and the card — and money — he gave her to help manage life’s tollways.

The initial topic does not matter. It’s what the conversation reveals that does.

That’s one of the many things I’ve learned from Tom through the years, starting with my days in this office as a student writer who believed she knew so much. What I have learned since is that I actually know very little, and that that is something to embrace. When you don’t know, you ask. When others talk, you listen. When no one talks, you let silence fill the space until it erupts in a whisper of truth you never knew existed and about which you could have never known to inquire.

I cannot write columns like Tom Columbus, but I am getting better at writing columns like me. What I lack in grace I make up for in sincerity. So, Tom, thank you for 50 years of service to UD. You are among the most faithful Flyers I have known. Let the conversations continue.

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From anything to art

10:20 AM  Aug 22nd, 2017
by Tom Columbus

“Social media takes over our lives,” said visual arts professor Jeffrey Courtland Jones. “We can spend more time on it than we do talking to each other.”

He recalled one day he and his wife were sitting on a couch at home, each working on a laptop. “And,” he said, “we texted each other rather than talk.”

People using social media also, he said, “tend to collect ‘friends’ much like my 10-year-old son collects Pokémon cards. We have some ‘friends’ we never interact with, whom we really don’t know.” He noted he would see an artist’s work and “friend” him. Among his friends, the number who really weren’t friends grew.

In 2014, Jones decided that “I wanted to know the people who came across my screen daily.” He did that through a project he called Fiction (With Only Daylight Between Us) which featured 50 artists from around the world. The words in the project’s title are abridged song lyrics from the band The xx.

“Conceptually,” Jones said, “it is about ‘imaginary’ friendships that exist on social media (“Fiction”) and the physical distance of each participant (“With Only Daylight Between Us”).

The exhibit, shown locally and online, was, Jones said, “experimental and super cheap. It was also a lot of fun.”

So he decided to do it on a larger scale; the result was Fiction (With Only Daylight Between Us . v2). He asked 200 of his Facebook friends to send him something. That something was simply an 8.5-by-11-inch black-and-white JPG or PDF, he said, “of anything they wished that had some sort of relationship to their artmaking practice. I told them it could be an image of their current work, a scan of a page out of their sketchbook, or even a receipt from Starbucks, where they stopped to get coffee on the way to the studio.

All 200 he asked said yes. Responses came from 16 countries.

Besides  Jones, artists in the show with UD connections include full-time faculty members (R. Darden Bradshaw, Julie Jones, Kyle Phelps and Joel Whitaker), adjunct faculty (Nicholaus Arnold and Ashley Jonas), staff members (Michael Conlan and Geno Luketic), a student (Alexandra Morrissette ’17) and alumni (Maxwell Feldmann ’15, Rachel Hellman ’99, Courtney Hoelscher ’16, Amy Sacksteder ’01 and Seth Wade ’15).

How the images are displayed has varied from gallery to gallery. One arranged all the images in one large rectangle; each day, however, a different single image was moved to the opposite wall. The exhibition has been seen so far in five cities in the United States as well as cities in England, Germany and Australia. It will travel later this year to Brooklyn, New York.

Of the artists in the show who were friends-but-not-really-friends, Jones said, “Now I’ve become real friends with them and have collaborated with some; I’m currently doing projects with people in Australia and Germany.”

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Alumni profile: Action!

9:33 AM  Aug 16th, 2017
by Molly Blake ’96

When Mark Iacofano ’84 was a kid, he dreamed about playing major league baseball.  He lettered his junior and senior year on UD’s varsity baseball team but lacked a few of the key skills that he would need to make it in the majors.

“I couldn’t hit, and I couldn’t run,” Iacofano said. “But I was determined to at least have a career in the sports industry.” 

He moved behind the scenes, so to speak, and worked his way up from directing and producing small college football games to iconic games like Michigan’s The Big Chill, the Frozen Diamond Face-off, gold medal Olympic hockey games, and countless professional and college hockey, baseball, basketball and football games.

“I want to make sports shows great for the people who can’t be in the arena or stadium,” said Iacofano, who expertly stitches together camera shots, graphics, replays, promotions and player storylines to create a seamless experience for the fan sitting on the couch at home. 

“I never want to disturb the flow of the game,” Iacofano said. There are pre- and post -game shows too that often last late into the night. Iacofano stays until the bitter end.

An MLB game, for example, involves upwards of 30 people who all take their cues from Iacofano, a 20-time Emmy award winner. Golden statues aside, producing and directing a February 2017 basketball game between Dayton and St. Joseph’s from UD Arena was “a surreal experience I won’t soon forget,” said Iacofano. 

The self-described Flyer Fanatic hadn’t been back to the Arena in 33 years but, Iacofano said, it was worth the wait. Especially when Tony Caruso, UD’s equipment manager and Iacofano’s former baseball coach, gave him a personal courtside tour during warm-ups.  A consummate professional, Iacofano stayed impartial during the game but admits to celebrating later.

For a guy whose career revolves around watching sports, “it was definitely a bucket list moment for me,” he said.

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Full life, full heart

1:16 PM  Aug 9th, 2017
by Jessica Barga

For Alanná Gibson ’14, pursuing a passion isn’t something that’s scheduled, a box to check off once a month. It’s woven into the
everyday fabric of her life.

It’s the jewelry business, La Bia Rose, she began with a friend, dedicated to creating pieces that promote body positivity, celebrate multiculturalism and give back to local women.

It’s in the way she volunteers with the Rosella French Porterfield Foundation, an organization focused on literacy that’s currently on a mission to give away thousands of free books to children, youth groups and schools.

And it’s in the way Gibson, who received a master’s in English from UD, has tutored children for Youth on a Mission Ministry for the past five years.

What does she have to say about her array of community involvement?

“I’ve just been living life and helping people,” Gibson said.

But her commitment to service hasn’t gone unnoticed: On March 22, Columbus, Ohio, print and media design company RWHC awarded Gibson its 2017 Social Change and Community Philanthropy Honoree award. The accolade also came with an unexpected recognition from the Ohio House of Representatives commending Gibson for her work. Chandra Reeder ’87, RWHC’s owner, nominated Gibson for the award after a more than 10-year professional relationship; fittingly, they met when Gibson, then just 10 years old, was selling handmade dolls at a local event.

Reeder notes Gibson’s impressive family resume as well: R.E. Shurney, Gibson’s great-grandfather, worked at NASA during the mid-20th century. Among his contributions was the invention of tires used on the space buggy for the Apollo 15 mission in 1972.

“Alanná has selflessly demonstrated her commitment and dedication and used her creative energy to make an impact in the community in which she lives by taking a stand to raise awareness, fight for and create solutions to address social injustices in her community,” said Reeder, also noting Gibson’s tireless work ethic and Christ-centered focus.

For Gibson, the award was something she hadn’t anticipated: “Winning was a complete surprise. I never do anything for recognition … I’m very much a behind-the-scenes person,” she said. “I’m not used to getting attention for the work that I do. I just felt gratitude — that someone is paying attention.”

When she’s not busy with other projects, Gibson performs with MadLab, a theater group in Columbus, and Aharen Honryu Keisen Wa No Kai, an organization dedicated to preserving the culture and dance of Okinawa, Japan.

It’s also clear that Columbus itself, the town where she grew up and now resides, is another of her passions: “I always call it my headquarters. It has a lot going on, but people are still very friendly. It’s very diverse; it’s amazing that I can do all these things here,”
she said.

Doing all these things, indeed. For Gibson, it’s exactly how she wants to live and inspire others.

“I do this because it’s part of me and I love doing it. You never know how your passion will affect someone else,” she said.

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A Flyer with hope

10:04 AM  Jul 31st, 2017
by Jeaneen Parsons

Separated by nearly 2,000 miles, two sisters — both diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer — had not seen each other in 13 years. And with limited resources, a reunion seemed impossible. A single plane ticket closed the gap between Alabama and California, and the siblings were able to spend the holidays together one last time.

“Their story really touched my heart,” said Susan Wehr Worline, a 2004 graduate with a master’s degree in educational administration. “Family is so important. I have a sister, and if I couldn’t see her at a time of crisis because of a lack of funds it would be very difficult. That’s one reason I started Flying for Hope, to give people with financial challenges the opportunity to be with their loved ones in times of crisis.”

The original impetus came from a Facebook post. Her cousin had a plane ticket he couldn’t use and offered it to Worline, who suggested he donate it to a local hospice organization. As the business director at a Chicagoland hospice, she had seen many patients with family who could not afford the travel expenses to visit during their final days.

Her suggestion made it possible for a young college student to spend several days with her grandmother before she passed away. That was 2012.

Since then, Flying for Hope has provided flights and bus or train tickets to dozens of people who would have otherwise missed the opportunity to attend a funeral, spend time at nursing facilities or hospice, or have the ability to give care and comfort to family members.

In the early days of Worline’s organization, the Chicago Tribune did an article about a man from Texas whose trip to Chicago to visit his dying mother was made possible by Flying for Hope. The attention launched the organization to new heights in support of their motto: “Giving Hope to Families in Crisis – Changing Lives One Flight at a Time.” Word of their services began to spread, and requests for help starting pouring in.

Today, the nonprofit organization has more requests than it can accommodate, with more coming in daily. It keeps expenses low with an all-volunteer staff working pro bono.

“We support our mission through donations, community support, sponsors and local business partners coming together,” Worline said.

Now in its fourth year, the Spring Fever Gala (www.flying4hope.com/events) is the largest of those events. For the second year in a row, fellow UD alumnus and CBS Chicago reporter Dave Savini ’89 will serve as emcee for the event. Sponsors also make it possible to fill smaller requests that aid people in the local community who have transportation or mobility issues.

Other fundraising activities throughout the year also help grant requests, as well as the donation of frequent flyer miles or travel points. “We don’t want to turn anyone away. It is so hard knowing the situation they are in,” Worline said.

One of those individuals was Iraq War veteran Robert Dudley. He wanted to attend the funeral of his father, Robert Sr., who had served in Vietnam, and make sure he received a full military honors service. “Robert wanted to lay the American flag on his father’s coffin, pay his respects and say goodbye, but he didn’t have the money to get there. We provided a flight from Wisconsin to North Carolina, and Robert was able to ensure his father had the kind of funeral he deserved,” Worline said.

When asked if there was a particular case that has impacted her significantly, Worline offered the story of Trisha from Poughkeepsie, New York. Trisha’s dad had terminal cancer and lived in Arizona, and she wanted to spend time with him before he died. “We got her there and she spent a little over a week with him,” Worline said. “On her plane ride home her father passed away. Trisha thanked me for the gift of time with her father, and it changed how I viewed things in my own life, allowing me to reevaluate what is important. Time is a precious gift. We just have to stop for a moment once in a while to embrace the time given to us.”

Flying for Hope works to offer that precious gift to as many people as possible.

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Just being Chris

9:21 AM  Jul 25th, 2017
by Gita Balakrishnan

Sitting on a train, traveling across the country, Chris Rolfe felt the physical and emotional symptoms of more than half a year slowly dim. His stress took a small reprieve and hid away in some corner of himself. He recalls looking out the window and simply enjoying his surroundings and the company of strangers around him. In that moment, he relished the chance of just being Chris.

Just being Chris was unfamiliar territory for the Flyer soccer star turned pro. Since April 2016, Rolfe has struggled to come to terms with a debilitating concussion that effectively changed the course of his soccer career.

His journey has taken him through frustration, denial and anger, and now acceptance has slowly found its way to him.

“There was this voice inside of me — probably the same one that turned me into the soccer player that I am — that said, ‘Get over it. Let’s go. What’s happened has happened and you can’t control any of that now, so let’s move forward, let’s make it better, and let’s do the best that we can do and make the most of what you’re given in the future,’” Rolfe said.

Although that future is uncertain, Rolfe’s determination is not.

Since he was 7, soccer has been Rolfe’s world. A Kettering, Ohio, native, he went to Kettering Fairmont High School where, in only three years, he set the goal-scoring record.

He played at the University of Dayton from 2001 to 2004, where he set the school record for career assists (25) and was named an NSCAA All-American. In 2010 he was inducted into the Ohio Soccer Hall of Fame for his accomplishments in college.

Rolfe was drafted his senior year in the third round of the 2005 MLS SuperDraft by Chicago Fire and scored 30 goals in his first four seasons with the club. He was the team’s leading scorer in 2005, 2008 and 2012 and was the league’s runner-up rookie of the year in 2005.

In 2014 he was traded to D.C. United, where he thrived and was the team’s leading scorer and MVP in 2015.

As many of his friends say, in 2016 Rolfe was probably in the best physical shape that he’d ever been in as a professional athlete.

The team’s general manager Dave Kasper released a statement in September 2015 saying, “His ability to create and score goals has been vital to the team, and he is among a group of important veteran leaders in the locker room.”

But during a rainy, wet Chicago day, his training, physicality and leadership skills would all be tested for the unforeseeable future.

During the 32nd minute of an April 2016 match against Chicago Fire, Rolfe was putting pressure on Fire player Rodrigo Ramos near midfield.

D.C. had been favored early in the game, but the opponent seemed amped up.

As Rolfe intensified his defensive pressure, Ramos inadvertently elbowed him in the nose. It was a rough hit, Rolfe admitted, but he remained in the game, the competitor that he is, never imagining the injury could be serious.

Then, during halftime, Rolfe started noticing differences in the light patterns on the field. And even though the ground started to feel like it was moving underneath him, he stayed on the field until he was subbed out in the 72nd minute due to obvious symptoms noticed by the D.C. staff.

When he got to the locker room, he knew something was wrong.

He wasn’t able to focus — as if in a fuzzy dream world.

Looking at the light was excruciating. 

His head hurt.

After speaking with medical staff, Rolfe was diagnosed with a concussion and was out for the rest of the season.

In the months since, his symptoms have been constant companions: Headaches. Extreme light sensitivity. Unsteadiness. 

He describes the effects in his left eye as “bolts of pain going through the back of my eye into my head and back into my temples.”

Days and months drag on.

“I noticed problems with everything I did,” Rolfe said, noting he had difficulty concentrating and found it hard to filter out external and peripheral stimuli and noise.

Rolfe said he initially didn’t realize the severity of his injury, having recovered from concussions in the past.

“I’m used to playing with pain,” Rolfe said. “We joke that the only day you feel great is the first day of preseason, and after that you’re hurt. So I’m used to dealing with that stuff.”

In 2006 he had two concussions five days apart, and in 2014 suffered a devastating arm injury. But this injury has been more long-lasting.

Rolfe said the symptoms were at their worst one week after the hit, after gradually increasing in severity over the first seven days. But it wasn’t until the initial symptoms began to subside in mid- to late summer 2016 that he realized he was in bad shape.

“I didn’t even realize how severe my symptoms were. There was a moment in June or July that it started to become a reality. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t leave the house. I would have to get a taxi, then keep my eyes closed in the backseat so I didn’t get sick when I got to where I was going,” he said.

In an emotional Washington Post article, he detailed going to the grocery store to buy an item but feeling overwhelmed by stimuli and struggling to find his product despite trips up and down the same aisle for several minutes.

As a professional athlete, Rolfe is a self-admitted overachiever and, although he was benched for the remainder of the 2016 season, he continued to work on the sidelines, going to practices, trying to work out and train. But in late September, Rolfe said he “hit a wall.” 

Unlike past injuries, where training would help him get better, working out this time seemed only to exacerbate the symptoms. 

“Whenever I tried to exercise, the symptoms would compound and become worse day by day,” Rolfe recalled. “If you try and strengthen your legs, you go to the gym, hit it hard and sure, your legs hurt, but you recover and get stronger. But it’s been the complete opposite with the brain and so it’s been counterintuitive to all of the rehab I’ve done for my career in the past.”

In November 2016, when D.C. United was knocked out of the playoffs, Rolfe decided he needed to get away.

He was tired of feeling bad. Tired of hurting. And tired of being stressed about recovery on an unknown timeline.

He made the decision to reset and booked himself a 22-day cross-country train trip — Chicago to San Francisco down to Los Angeles and back to Chicago.

There were stops in Denver; Aspen, Colorado; and Flagstaff, Arizona.

And in the last week of his trip, Rolfe began to feel normal — he didn’t think about the symptoms or the concussion and he was enjoying himself for the first time in eight months.

There were 10- to 12-mile hikes. For once, he said, he relented control of his surroundings and his symptoms seemed not to affect him as much.

“I had a train schedule, and I stuck to it. I let go of trying to have control of things for the most part and I just tried to enjoy being in that moment. I tried to enjoy the scenery and I enjoyed my meals with these random people who were sitting at the table with me in the dining car.

“I was not thinking about my head. Not worrying about what career was next. Not worrying if I was not going to play soccer ever again. Not worrying about what the fans thought about it or what my teammates thought.

“I was really able to get to the bare bottom of controlling my own life and letting go,” he said.

When the trip ended, the symptoms did return, but it didn’t matter as much because Rolfe had changed. And in that change, there has been personal growth and inspiration. His plans are simple: He says he wants to get his life back.

“It’s hard for me because I’m a goal setter and I like to know how to get from point A to point B. There have been plans, but I need to allow myself to be more fluid with what I do while I’m in rehab,” he said. “For me, it’s getting my life back, healing my head, returning to fitness and figuring out my soccer career.”

He notes that it’s also time for him to decide what comes next, since any athletic career has an expiration date. At 34, Rolfe acknowledges that even with a full recovery, he may only have a handful of years left in pro sports.

Although Rolfe kids when he says he doesn’t “have a lot of skills that translate to another occupation,” he has the traits that can make anyone successful.

“That’s the best thing about the competitive nature of what I’ve done and the team sport aspect of it,” he said. “I have a lot of great takeaways from what I’ve been doing.”

His determination is unquestionable. Always trying to improve, Rolfe has created what he calls “brain games.” Each morning, he recaps the day before: every detail, times he went places, people he was with, what they talked about, what he ate.

And why?

“I’m not sure what the science would say about that, but I believe it’s been beneficial,” he said. He also practices yoga and meditation along with physical therapy sessions.

While he wishes the injury never occurred, he finds goodness in everything that happens to him by acknowledging that the event has forced him to think about himself outside the soccer field. For now, he is officially on the 2017 D.C. United roster but cannot yet practice with the team.

His new journey may lead him to non-soccer options in the near future that would likely include work in financial planning and wealth management thanks to his new UD finance degree, which he received this May after putting his studies on hold in 2005.

“It’s forced me to take a look at who I am and what my identity is because, for 27 years now, I’ve been ‘Chris the soccer player,’ and if you want to go broader, ‘Chris the athlete,’” he said.

But ever the optimist, Rolfe is excited about his future, whatever that may be.

“It’s been great in that regard because I’ve now been forced to think deeper about who I am and the kind of person I want to be and what I now want to have define me,” he said.

And with a cautious but motivated smile, he added, “Now I have a chance to kind of dictate the next moniker to go along with who I am and what I’ll be known for going forward.”

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Alumni profile ’93: Ready for her close-up

8:54 AM  Jul 18th, 2017
by Jeaneen Parsons

As president of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Susan Zech ’93 has seen many thespians preparing for close-ups. The boutique college with campuses in New York and Los Angeles counts among its alumni Robert Redford, Grace Kelly, Lauren Bacall, Kirk Douglas, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain, to name a few from its 132-year history.

“I consider it a privilege to lead an institution I so wholeheartedly believe in,” Zech said. “It’s a joy to do work that honors an important legacy and advances a mission I really care about. Actors are vital to our civilization. Art heals. Inspires. It holds a mirror up to society and helps audiences understand the human condition. What could be more thrilling?”

Zech wears many hats — strategist, problem solver, consensus builder and mentor — and credits UD’s Learn. Lead. Serve.
maxim as a central philosophy that has shaped her leadership style. “It’s funny how what resonated for me then has remained important over the years. As I’ve matured in my role, I’ve discovered more about leadership being rooted in service,” she said.

The Academy attracts a global student body representing nearly 40 countries and all 50 states. Zech says this diversity enriches the learning process both professionally and socially for students.

When not commuting between the two coasts for work, Zech spends time with family and friends. “There’s no place like New York. I’ve also found it’s important to find a beach, lake or mountaintop from time to time to recharge.”

So, would Zech ever utter that famous line from Sunset Boulevard, “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up”? Not likely.

“I have the greatest respect for actors. They are among the most courageous souls on earth. I get to contribute in a meaningful way to the development of young actors, but my calling is not to be on stage,” Zech said.

Filmmaker Cecil De-Mille, Academy Class of 1900, found many others who would.

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Celebration, vision

1:53 PM  Jul 10th, 2017
by Michelle Tedford

The celebration started and ended with a focus on students, just as it should.

This April, during a jubilant four days, the Univer-sity inaugurated its 19th president, Eric F. Spina.

After a joyous Mass celebrated by Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, it was time to tour student talents — from a cappella singing by the Audio Pilots to to community building with a Walnut Hills Neighborhood picnic. Spina and his wife, Karen, got into the fun, acting out scenes from a living scrapbook with members of the improv troupe On the Fly.

His participation was an extension of the admiration he’s shown for UD students since he joined campus July 1, 2016.

“You never cease to amaze me,” he said. “You are our inspiration and our promise to the world.”

Spina’s optimism for the future and the impact UD students, alumni, faculty and staff will make in the world guided the program for the celebration.

During panel conversations Monday, April 3, professors in math, education and engineering shared a table where they discussed how their disciplines contribute to shared community solutions. Such cross-collaborations will be an intentional part of the University’s vision moving forward.

The innovation theme continued through Tuesday, April 4, when a keynote address and panel discussion focused on opportunities to create distinctive futures.

“Not everyone can be an inventor, creator or discoverer,” said 44-year IBM veteran Nicholas Donofrio during his address. “But everyone can be an innovator.”

With an eye toward ingenuity, the installation ceremony incorporated elements of both tradition and whimsy. Faculty and representatives of other universities marched into UD Arena to formal brass music, and at the conclusion danced and clapped their way out to jubilant tuba music alongside members of the Dayton Contemporary Dance Co. In between, the audience of more than 1,100 heard voices of the community, including those who shared what makes this “Our UD.”

For Dominic Sanfilippo ’16, it is “realizing that our big, complicated world is made more joyful and more just by sharing stories, taking risks and finding our voices together.”

Two former UD presidents — Brother Raymond Fitz, S.M., and Daniel Curran, both of whom remain active on campus — took the stage to embrace their newest counterpart before Spina shared his vision.

“I remember all the voices I have heard on campus, in alumni communities around the nation and in Dayton gatherings as we shaped our aspirational strategic vision to be ‘THE University for the Common Good,’” Spina later said. (Read more on the vision, Page 27).

The Celebration of the Arts performance was that evening, followed the next day by Stander Symposium presentations. The students — through grace, wit, sweat, inquiry and resolve — shared with the community the best of their education.

It was a celebration rooted in the optimism and vision of an ambitious president, in the transdisciplinary collaborations of faculty and staff, and in the impact students will make in the world as they strive for common good through a UD education.  

“I’m still clapping,” Spina said after the performance. “And can’t wait for next spring’s encore.”

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A very, very fine house it will be

4:24 PM  Jun 15th, 2017
by Thomas M. Columbus

Amenities. Accessibility. Air conditioning. And a very cool look.

As well as a lot of infrastructure that fans won’t see.

Over the next three years, a $72 million project will transform one of the nation’s most iconic sports venues, the University of Dayton Arena.

The 2017 phase of the project will include a new four-sided, center-hung video board, LED ribbon boards on the fascia of the Spectrum Flight Deck and suites, new 100- and 200-level seats, and updated and additional American with Disabilities Act seating. Upgrades to the audio system and broadcasting infrastructure, initial work on platforms for four new terrace suites, and upgrades to the dewatering pumps are also planned.

A new concourse and new 300- and 400-level seats will come in 2018 as well as several upgrades to the infrastructure, including new court lighting and improved Wi-Fi. The corner video boards will be moved and turned toward the 300/400 level. Restrooms, concession stands and merchandise locations will be added and upgraded.

The concourse and 300- and 400-level seats, restrooms and concession stands will be completed in 2019. New club seats will appear between the 200 and 300 levels; terrace seats, in the four corners. The exterior will see a new design with upgraded lighting; the interior will be climate-controlled.

Funding will come from philanthropy (spurred by several multimillion-dollar lead gifts), corporate sponsorships, external private and business partnerships, ticket revenue and general University support.

In a message to the University community, Eric Spina, president, and Neil Sullivan, vice president and director of athletics, wrote, “We do not plan to seek any governmental funding for the project. We expect the fundraising will have little, if any, impact on our high-priority academic

goals because of the difference in individual donor interests. No donors will be steered away from other funding priorities to support the Arena project.”

Game schedules will be maintained throughout the three-year renovation, during which time the 10 millionth fan to watch a Flyers men’s basketball game at the Arena will walk through the doors.

And as the renovation comes to a conclusion, it will be time for the venue that has hosted more NCAA men’s basketball tournament games (117) than any other to celebrate its 50th birthday.

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