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Dayton Engineer

UD School of Engineering Samuel Weaver and Matthew P. Shaffer

“Danger Zone” named UD engineering class of 2026 song

By Karen Updyke, School of Engineering

Samuel Weaver (on right in photo), Matthew P. Shaffer (on left in photo), and 200 first-year engineering students signed a petition to name “Danger Zone” as their class song and accept the song's challenge: “You never know what you can do until you get it up as high as you can go.”

During their class orientation, the dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Dayton, Gül Kremer, proposed the song “One Way Ticket” for the class of 2026. Then, she challenged the first-year engineering students to find a different song that would better represent their class.

According to Kremer:

I love the “One Way Ticket” song. You can find more information on this song here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Way_Ticket_(Neil_Sedaka_song). To me, it had a wonderfully catchy tune, so much that, when I listen to it, I cannot stay still but want to move/dance myself. It projects energy. I also thought that the lyrics fit the emotions perfectly. Firstly, I see a UD engineering degree as a one-way ticket for student success. Secondly, the lyrics include heartbreak, and with this, I was channeling parents’ feelings who leave their students behind; there is of course heartbreak involved in this.

I understand that likes/dislikes in music are generational. Ultimately, the song choice came from the class. In getting there, students collected at least 200 signatures from their classmates. What a great reason to get to know your classmates, right? I bet Samuel Weaver and Matthew P. Shaffer had fun collecting the signatures.

Weaver and P. Shaffer, first-year engineering students, accepted the dean’s challenge, chose “Danger Zone,” and collected two hundred first-year engineering student signatures. You can find more information on this song here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Danger_Zone_(Kenny_Loggins_song).

During a lunch meeting with the dean, they presented their petition, noted their justifications, and their choice was approved.

Q: Why did you select the song, “Danger Zone?”

According to Weaver:

We were inspired when Dean Kremer remarked that she and the other faculty would be dedicated to helping us grow into the best of the best - the “Top Gun of engineers,” as she put it. At first, we simply thought it would be fun to change the song to “Danger Zone,” but after some consideration, we realized how fitting this song really is to the experience of many students here. New college students may feel as though they’re headed “right into the danger zone,” but Kenny Loggins assures us that this is nothing to be afraid of. In addition to its groove and catchy tune, his lyrics have great meaning behind them.

P. Shaffer continues:

When the dean set this challenge for the first-year class, Sam and I immediately thought that “Danger Zone” was the song to choose. Not only are we in the birthplace of aviation, but we are also at a school known for its ties to aviation, and as the dean made a reference to “Top Gun” in her opening speech, the Pride of Dayton marching band was playing “Top Gun” music in their lineup. The signs were pointed in one direction. Also, the song, “Danger Zone,” is representative of the college experience. It's a song about jumping off the edge and pushing yourself to your absolute limits, something many students at UD are constantly doing to find themselves and their futures. And most importantly, the song is a bit of banger. 

Q: Why did you Challenge the dean’s choice?

 Weaver:

During Welcome Weekend, when she first introduced “One Way Ticket,” there wasn’t much recognition in the audience. Matthew P. Shaffer and I, like many others, hadn’t heard the song before and didn’t feel a close connection with it. We felt that “Danger Zone” would be a better fit for us at UD. It’s a popular song from a very popular aviation film, so is there any better song for Flyer engineers?

P. Shaffer:

While "One Way Ticket" is a lovely song, we thought it would be better to have a song that people already had an emotional connection to. There is nothing objectively better about the song "Danger Zone,” we just thought that it was a better fit. Our class knows that song, and it loves that song.

Q: What was your justification?

Weaver:

We had a very nice discussion with Dean Kremer about the ways “Danger Zone” could connect with our lives on campus and into the future. We explained our point of view that this song would inspire the student body and used the lyrics from the song to justify it. For example, the themes of pushing yourself to your limits and going further than you’ve ever gone before really resonated with us. Kenny Loggins wrote, “You never know what you can do until you get it up as high as you can go.” College is a time to find who you are and push yourself. Who knows, you may end up going much further than you thought you could.

P. Shaffer:

When we met with the dean for lunch, we had a lovely conversation and showed the dean our petition. She graciously accepted the fact that the first-years wanted to change the song. We did showcase and explain why we thought the song was a better choice for the first-years.

This collaboratory effort produced a song for the UD School of Engineering class of 2026. And, Samuel Weaver, Matthew P. Shaffer and 200 first-year engineering students not only accepted the dean's challenge but also the challenge within the “Danger Zone" lyrics. 

Congratulations!

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