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Flyers for Life

Peer-to-Peer and Flyer-to-Flyer

By Phil Doepker ‘67

Author Bio
Profession: Mechanical Engineering
Favorite UD home: University Hall at West Campus and Stuart Hall
UD role: I was a professor in the School of Engineering and helped with the creation of the Innovation Center before retiring in 2011. I now help sponsor and mentor projects for the capstone design classes and serve as a UD peer-to-peer ambassador. This summer I will become the Golden Flyers chair. 

As a peer-to-peer ambassador, I serve as a link between UD alumni and what is happening on campus. 

The most important thing as an ambassador is communication. You need to be able to communicate and understand people’s needs. When I contact someone, I want to know what they need from the University of Dayton, if anything, and understand what part of UD they most care about so I can tell them how their gift will make an impact.

The peer-to-peer program allows me to make connections across the UD community, and sometimes I can even open doors for other opportunities to support the University. For example, I’ve had several peers contact me seeking new or recent graduates that are a match for job openings in their companies. My focus is to strengthen the ties between the University and our graduates.

I personally know all the people that I contact. When I was initially contacted about being a peer-to-peer ambassador, I was asked to contact 25 people. That ultimately ended up being closer to 60. If I had stopped at 25 or 30, I would have really missed some golden opportunities. 

When I first contact peers, I tell them what my role is and that we have some goals. One is to communicate with them regarding what is going on at UD, and another goal is that I want to know what my fellow Flyers are up to. I also talk about the importance of donations.

I tell my peers that they can give to help students, faculty and staff in the area of the University they are most passionate about. In the past year, I’ve helped raise over $20,000 by having conversations with my fellow Flyers and showing them what even a small gift can do.

Because I was in mechanical engineering, I am passionate about giving to that area, and so that’s how I share the idea of giving back to UD with others. I remind graduates that in 1997, we enrolled about 60 students. Since then, that number has grown to over 200 incoming students, which means more faculty and staff are needed to teach and keep the class sizes reasonable. My peers can help by donating to the School of Engineering or, more specifically, to a department or center like the Innovation Center. 

I also tell my peers about the power of scholarships. We have various scholarships for various departments, some in the name of a faculty member. In many cases, those scholarships need additional funding so they can be awarded to students. When I retired, the School of Engineering established a scholarship in my name. It took nearly six years to be fully funded and initiate awards to students.

Our family has three generations of Flyers. My wife and I met at UD and all of our children have graduated from UD. Our daughter-in-law and one granddaughter also graduated from the University, and another granddaughter is currently majoring in Human Rights. At my retirement dinner, our oldest granddaughter said she saw what I was doing and decided to become an engineer herself. Two of our children also spoke and said they saw what their dad did and didn’t want any part of engineering. No matter what their career aspirations, UD has been a part of all of our lives. That’s why I want to support UD in any way I can.

Learn more about the peer-to-peer program and how you can raise awareness about the importance of giving back to the University.
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