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2020 Joe Belle Memorial Young Alumni Award

2020 Joe Belle Memorial Young Alumni Award

For volunteer service to students and early career achievement

Joe Belle made significant contributions to the University of Dayton's Catholic and Marianist character through his exceptional caring about people.

The Joe Belle Memorial Young Alumni Award is designed to recognize young alumni who carry that same spirit and have shown great promise and accomplishment in their chosen profession, service to their community or service to the University of Dayton and its mission. To be eligible, candidates must have graduated from the University of Dayton within the past 10 years.

Clementine Bihiga ’09

Clementine Bihiga ’09
Clementine Bihiga ’09

At the age of 8, civil war and genocide in Rwanda forced Clementine Bihiga and her family to flee their home. That war would, in three months’ time, kill almost a million people. She and her family lived as refugees in multiple camps and settlements before coming to the United States in 1999.

Clementine has turned the harrowing experiences she endured — both in Rwanda and as a refugee living in this country — into a calling, a calling to persevere, to never give up and to be a positive voice for change. Clementine’s young life is one of inspiration — motivating others, striving to see oneself not as a victim but as a victor, not hopeless but hopeful.

As part of her journey, Clementine wrote Happily Broken: Discovering Happiness Through Pain and Suffering as a testimony to choosing our pain to inspire others, and not to break us.

Today, Clementine, a John Maxwell Speaker, Trainer and Coach, is sought after as a public speaker, author and community organizer. Her Clarette Refugee Fund (named after a stillborn daughter) provides educational opportunities to refugees and promotes the value that refugees bring to our society.

Clementine is also the founder of Global Impact Academy, a leadership academy which aims to speak hope, coach greatness, teach courage and train leadership to youth and businesses around the nation and all over the world.

Past Recipients

Matt Maroon '06
Sean Young '12
Mandy Brogdon '04
Maura Carew '04
Thomas J. Dharte '05
Justin Forzano '08
John Gravier '08
Laura Schmitz Keefe '05
Michael L. Lofton '05
Molly MacCready '08
Adam G. Molina '00
James "Scott" Murphy '01
Nicole Miller Olszewski ’08
Daniel Rajaiah '13
Jeffrey P. Rombach '02
Chris Schmidt '99
Michael Vehar '05, '09
Rashad M. Young '98


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