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College of Arts and Sciences Newsroom

College Alumni Honored

The University of Dayton celebrated three College of Arts and Sciences graduates who have devoted their careers to educating and entertaining children at the University's 2017 alumni awards Saturday, Sept. 9. They were among six alumni honored at the 50th anniversary awards ceremony.

The College's honorees were John Gravier ’08, Molly MacCready ’08 and Jonathan Judge ’93. They were joined by John Beran ’74 and ’79, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the School of Engineering, and Christina Herold Hill ’68, a School of Education and Health Sciences alumnus.

Joseph Desch ’29, research director of a World War II project to design and manufacture the U.S. Navy’s version of a cryptanalytic machine to read messages encoded by the German Enigma machine, was posthumously honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Hosted by the Alumni Association, the awards were presented at a dinner ceremony at River Campus that included remarks by University President Eric F. Spina. Music for the dinner and an Alumni Center reception was provided by department of music professor Eric Street, assistant professor James Hiller and professor Susan Gardstrom.

Gravier, who holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, received the Joe Belle Memorial Young Alumni Award for volunteer service to students and early career achievement.

Gravier spent three years with Teach for America, a nonprofit that works to expand educational opportunities for children facing the challenges of poverty. During that time, he helped improve his school’s rating from an F to a C, and won Teacher of the Year at age 24. After completing his Teach for America service, he began teaching at a New Orleans school that is part of the Knowledge is Power program network of college preparatory schools in low-income communities. As director of the Dolores T. Aaron Academy, Gravier helped move that school from an F+ rating to a C within three years.

MacCready, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology, also received the Joe Belle Memorial Young Alumni Award. She established the Child Restoration Outreach Support Organization, a Chicago-based nonprofit the provides educational and other support to Ugandan children and their families to help them become productive individuals, households and communities. A study abroad experience there during her junior year inspired her work. While there, she said she was struck by their need and obstacles to learning.

Judge, who holds a bachelor’s degree in communication, received the Special Achievement Award for distinction in professional or civic activities. He has enjoyed a remarkable career as a television director and producer, including directing movies and shows for Nickelodeon, Disney and Comedy Central. His work includes the Nickelodeon programs School of Rock, The Thundermans, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, Bella and the Bulldogs and 100 Things to Do Before High School.

Judge received the 2014 Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Programs and the 2006 British Academy of Film and Television Arts’ award for Best International Children’s Show for Nickelodeon’s LazyTown.

The Alumni Association started the alumni awards program in 1967 to recognize and honor University alumni whose accomplishments exemplify what it means to learn, lead and serve.

To nominate an outstanding alumnus for the 51st anniversary alumni awards in 2018, please visit the website at

- Dave Larsen, communication coordinator, College of Arts and Sciences

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