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Christian Service Award

Tracy Irvine Janess ’87

Tracy Irvine Janess ’87
Tracy Irvine Janess ’87

When Tracy Irvine Janess tragically lost her sister, Kristy Irvine Ryan, in the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, she decided to honor her in the best way possible — expand on her legacy to help families and children in need.

Kristy Irvine Ryan, a 1993 UD communication alumna, and good friend Meredith O’Neill Hassett, a 1993 UD education alumna, started Secret Smiles, a nonprofit organization in New York City after they identified families in need through Hassett’s students. After Ryan passed away, Janess brought Secret Smiles to Dayton where it continues to make an impact.

Since 2001, Secret Smiles of Dayton, Inc. has provided nearly 9,000 beds to children in the community who are without. Secret Smiles works with local social service organizations, schools, churches and physicians to locate families in need. It is 100% operated by volunteers and all profits are put towards beds and bedding.

Tremendous financial support from, in and around the Dayton community, and a long-standing partnership with Morris Furniture Company allows Secret Smiles to purchase beds at cost with free shipping and delivery. The organization also has strong ties with the University of Dayton by helping with fundraising efforts and identifying families in need.

Secret Smiles has impacted the lives of thousands of families in Dayton and the surrounding communities by providing a warm, safe place to sleep for children. Through its mission, Tracy Irvine Janess is successfully carrying on her sister’s legacy in the city of Dayton.


Christian Service Award
For living out the Marianist ideals in today’s society

The Christian Service Award is presented to alumni whose life’s work best reflects the unique quality of service and sacrifice to others, consistent with the Marianist identity of the University of Dayton.

It is given to a graduate who has devoted their life in service to others, who affirms the fullness and complexity of human existence, who appreciates social justice and who brings about changes that make it more possible to live the Marianist ideal in contemporary society.

This award celebrates the rare alumnus whose life is devoted to extraordinary self-sacrifice for the benefit of others. To be eligible, a person must be a degree holder from the University of Dayton. The alumni board anticipates that this award will only be given when, from the pool of nominations for Alumni Awards, an individual clearly meets the criteria for the award. Unless there is a compelling reason to warrant an exception, only one award will be presented in any given year.

Past Recipients

Ruth Beckman ’57
Tony J. Brunswick '97
Sr. Constance J. Clark '66, '68
Blane Collison '84
Peter W. Daino, S.M. '81
Paul M. Engle '43
Daniel R. Fiehrer, D.D.S. '62
Theresa Flores '07
Barbara J. Fraser '78
Richard “Dick” Glennon ’50
The Rev. J.D. Grigsby Jr. '73
Timothy M. Harris '79
Christina Herold Hill '68
William J. Hoben '50
Philip C. Hoelle, S.M. '33
Laura Jean Libertore '83
William Lorenz '84
John “Jack” Meagher ’63
Richard McBride '57
Catherine Mary O'Brien '84
Claire Tierney Pfleger '78
Richard J. Pfleger '77
Timothy F. Phillips, S.M. '69
Jim Place ’69, ’72
Toni Prasnikar Moore, PH.D. '68, '87, '99
Bill Ricco '58
Maria L. Scharfenberger '86
Michael Schulz '07
John M. Spellman '65
Sr. Rosemary Wach S.N.D. '58
Sr. Rose H. Wildenhaus, C.P.P.S. '65
Denise Zaccardi '70


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