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Recruits the Brightest Minds

studentWhen Eric Harper ’11 graduated from high school in 2007 with a 4.0 GPA and numerous academic accolades, he had many offers from public and private universities, and he chose the University of Dayton.

“I was looking for the best place to go — especially a place with those intangibles that are hard to define,” Harper said. The University of Dayton was the perfect fit.

“UD had everything I was looking for, and the Berry Scholarship made it possible. I probably would have had to go somewhere else if the scholarship hadn’t come through,” Harper said.

A transformative gift from John W. Berry Sr. in 1996 made possible the scholarship offer, drawing a promising student like Harper — and hundreds of others — to the University of Dayton. Now, the Berry family is furthering their father’s legacy with a $5 million commitment with the same goal: to attract high-achieving students to UD.

“We want to make sure that people have the opportunity to get a good education,” said John Berry Jr. “And give the means to bring accomplished students to the University of Dayton.”

With the establishment of the Berry Family Scholarship, John, his wife Shirley and brother Chuck are doing just that. Like their father, they are providing scholarships to honors students, enhancing the Honors Program and ensuring that academically gifted students will make the same choice Harper made 12 years ago.

At its inception 40 years ago, the Honors Program assisted approximately 200 students; thanks in large part to Berry family support, nearly 1,400 current students are pursuing honors diplomas — in a variety of majors. Having so many gifted students across campus greatly enhances the academic environment at UD, which draws in more students as well. Harper’s younger sister Carol Ann Schwiebert ’13, a Berry Scholarship recipient herself, can attest to that.

“When I went to visit Eric and heard about his experience, I wanted the same thing for myself,” Schwiebert said. “As a highly motivated student, I was looking for the academic rigor the program provides.” The siblings thrived at UD, Schwiebert in education and Spanish and Harper in chemical engineering. Both completed undergraduate theses, and went on to graduate school. Currently, Schwiebert works in higher education, while her brother is a postdoctoral researcher at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Thanks to Berry family support, more students like Harper and Schwiebert will find a home at the University of Dayton — and help foster academic excellence for generations to come.


of the 2019 incoming class are in the Honors Program.


is the average ACT/SAT score for 2019 first-year students in the Honors Program.


of 2017-18 Honors Program graduates reported placement in graduate school, employment, service or the military.


Annual Giving

Daniel J. Curran Place
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 7054