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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Flyers — and Friends — for Life

A lot can happen in 50 years, good and bad. And in the five decades since the self-dubbed UD 4-14 Gang graduated from the University of Dayton in 1972 they have been right by each other’s sides.

Their friendship started in 1968 when Carolyn Milillo, Patricia Dignam Azar, Ann Meidt D'Agostino, Maureen Cunningham Herwood and Gail Donley Mulkeen met on the fifth floor of Marycrest during their first year at UD. The group stuck together all four years, eventually living together at a since-demolished home at 414 Lowe Street — hence, the UD 4-14 Gang — their senior year.

After graduating, the women saw each other for big life moments like weddings during the first few years. But, as they found themselves busy building careers and raising families, they decided they needed to make more of a commitment to their friendship. That meant getting together in person at least every two years.

Sometimes those reunions came in a city where one of them lived or at a vacation destination. Sometimes it was during Reunion Weekend.

“It’s great to come back and reminisce,” said Herwood. “You get to see the old and new buildings. You can clear your mind of the current days and remember what your friendship is all about.”

Over the years all of the women have leaned on their friendship when things got tough. Like in 2011 when they gladly changed their plans to spend more quality time with Mulkeen before she passed away. And again in 2020 when a global pandemic forced them to cancel plans for a collective 70th birthday party.

“I forget who suggested it,” said Milillo. “But, when it was clear we weren’t going to be able to get together in person, we started meeting every week on Zoom.”

This Reunion Weekend, set for June 10-12, the women will reunite face to face. They have plans to travel from their homes back to Dayton and stay at a hotel downtown to sit and talk together for the first time in years. Herwood will make the longest trip. She and her husband currently live in California.

“Not knowing what to expect becomes the surprise itself,” said Herwood. “It’s totally unexpected and a good experience.”

And for the members of the UD 4-14 Gang, this reunion might just be the ultimate trip down memory lane as they are inducted into the Golden Flyers.

“I can’t believe it’s been 50 years. It’s crazy. But I loved my time at UD. It was a special time,” said Milillo.

“UD teaches you to look beyond yourself, and being in a community teaches you to be a good neighbor. That impacts the rest of your life,” said Herwood. “It feels good just being back at UD.”

Reunion Weekend is open to all Flyers, so 2022 might be a great year to start a similar tradition with your UD roommates and friends. Register before Friday, June 3, when prices increase.

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