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Dayton Engineer

Tall buildings, big dreams

By Michelle Tedford

His family — on campus and at home — are essential to Francisco Negrete's education.

There was magic in the air when he visited with family members living in Chicago. For Francisco Negrete, the downtown skyline was a magnificent spectacle. His love of architecture led Negrete, now a junior, to study civil engineering.

"I just always loved seeing tall buildings and wondering how they get built," he said.

Negrete said he applied to UD because of its excellent engineering program, but it also helps that the University is a 15-minute drive from his family’s home in Kettering, where he’s lived since he was in kindergarten. Attending UD as a commuter student means he’s home for family get-togethers every Sunday.

Commuting also helps UD fit into his family’s budget, along with a merit scholarship funded by David Poff ’72. Enhanced access to a UD education for talented students is a top priority for the University’s comprehensive campaign, We Soar.

The professors make a UD education stand apart from others, Negrete said. In a course he took spring semester, Negrete did poorly on his first test. “Then I started meeting with the professor after almost every class,” he said.

The extra help paid off. Not only did he improve on his second exam, but Negrete was among the students the professor asked to stand, so the class could recognize those who had improved the most. “I just felt really touched by that,” he said.

Negrete, who is a student in the Multi-Ethnic Engineers Program, said he makes the most of his time on campus, including playing intramural soccer and being involved in organizations. As a member of the Society for Hispanic Engineers, he helped host a fall sugar skull-making event to share a tradition around Dia de los Muertos, a holiday popular in Mexico, where Negrete was born.

In Mexico, Negrete said his parents had limited opportunities for education — his dad went to high school; his mother, elementary school. Negrete and his two younger siblings grew up knowing their parents would do everything possible to ensure they could attend college.

There is pressure in that expectation, Negrete said, but there’s also motivation. It helps that he’s met students through UD’s Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center who share similar experiences. He remembers a year or two ago looking up to the MEC juniors and seniors for support and guidance. Today, he says he’s happy to return the favor and help younger students succeed as he has.

“They are my familia on campus,” he said. 

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