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Christian Service Award

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.

John “Jack” Meagher ’63

Bachelor of Arts, History
John “Jack” Meagher ’63
John “Jack” Meagher ’63

During his senior year of high school in Brooklyn, N.Y., John “Jack” Meagher says he was “this close” to signing up to be a Marianist brother. But chose to attend UD instead.

Meagher graduated in 1963 as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. He earned a law degree from the University of Cincinnati before serving in Vietnam.

He said he credits his mother, Ethel, for instilling faith in him at an early age. But, he admits he began to question that faith after returning from Vietnam.

“It was only with the help of others, especially Thich Nhat Hahn, a Vietnamese monk, that I regained a belief in Christian ideals that influence my everyday life today, including professionally,” Meagher said.

When Meagher returned to Dayton, he worked as a trial lawyer, then a Dayton Municipal Court judge and finally a Montgomery County Common Pleas Court judge for 20 years. The system was an honor to work in, he says, because he felt he was administering justice with compassion.

Meagher continues work to help Vietnam veterans share their voices and heal their wounds. He also works with Project RENEW in Vietnam to clear unexploded ordnance. His generosity to the University of Dayton Human Rights Center helped launch the Vietnam Legacies Project, which explores the war’s lasting consequences.

He encourages the next generation to learn from the past, “You need to be self-motivated to learn about Vietnam, so it doesn’t happen again. We need to take responsibility for the harm we did and continue to ask our government to acknowledge it and make amends.”

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
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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