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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Listen. Learn. Lead.

Sharon Howard ’78, director of site communications for Premier Health, will be the next president of the University of Dayton Alumni Association.

Howard will lead the alumni association board of 17 who are working with the University in the community to support enhanced lifelong learning opportunities, business and personal networking, nationwide student recruitment, and Flyer fun through social gatherings and service events after graduation. Howard is taking the wheel from Jen Weed ’95, vice president for learning, competency and knowledge products at CalCPA.

“I hope to be able to continue the legacy of all of the previous presidents who came before me,” said Howard. “I hope to be able to partner with fellow members to continue to drive that bus down the street,” said Howard. “We want to make a big impact.”

UD has always been a part of her life — her father was an active alumnus, too. Prior to accepting this volunteer leadership role, Howard has served on Reunion Weekend committees and the alumni association board. She has also helped as a peer-to-peer ambassador and has brought her professional talent to volunteer for several special projects, most recently as the moderator for a popular panel featuring three University of Dayton presidents (Brother Raymond L. Fitz, S.M. ’64, Daniel J. Curran, and current President Eric F. Spina — watch the panel).

“Sharon is a dynamic professional communicator with a lifelong connection to UD,” said Anita Brothers, executive director of alumni relations and engagement. “Her leadership will be invaluable as we continue to build unity, and support and engage our entire Flyer family.”

Howard is especially hoping to welcome more diverse alumni to the table as they transition from students to active members of the alumni community.

“I think some people organically get that transition, but for some seniors, it’s not so organic. Sometimes you have to meet people where they are,” said Howard. “I would like to see the alumni base broaden across the spectrum. We have to make sure that we are doing everything we can to engage all of our alumni.”

One skill that helps Howard connect with people is active listening — a communication skill that was emphasized by Florence I. Wolff, a UD professor who had a reputation as being tough and demanding, but would become a mentor and friend to Howard.

“I had heard all of these horror stories about her. She’s hard. She’s relentless,” said Howard. But she ended up in Wolff’s class, and what did she find out? “She was relentless. She was hard. But oh my gosh was she good! To this day, I am disappointed that I missed two years of having the opportunity to take classes from her.”

As the next University of Dayton Alumni Association president, Howard will put those active listening skills to work as she helps guide UD and its alumni forward in community.

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