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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Donor Investments Paying Off

When Bill ’81 and Becky ’81 Hilbert established their scholarship in 2006, they wanted to open UD’s doors to promising students from communities near and dear to the couple, like Bill’s hometown and their current residence: Erie, Pennsylvania. 

Kendal Schaetzle ’17 was one of these students, receiving the William M. Hilbert, Jr. and Rebecca Meek Hilbert Scholarship all four years at UD. Five years since her graduation and one thing is for sure: The Hilberts’ investment in her paid off.

Early Adversity
Schaetzle grew up in Erie and attended Mercyhurst Preparatory School before going to UD — and met a string of adversaries while at Mercyhurst. A thyroid cancer diagnosis and a torn ACL resulted in three surgeries within 10 months, and Schaetzle’s hopes of a college soccer career, and corresponding athletic scholarships, were dashed. But instead of wallowing in self-pity, Schaetzle took these challenges head-on — and found her calling. 

“I did a lot of self-reflection and decided that I wanted to go into medicine to help others, like doctors had helped me,” she said. More than a decade has passed since her health scare, and she is thankfully cancer free — and on course, entering her last year of medical school at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.  

A Service Mentality
Schaetzle’s path since Mercyhurst is a perfect reflection of UD’s Catholic, Marianist mission, every step embracing servant leadership and community impact — and the William M. Hilbert, Jr. and Rebecca Meek Hilbert Scholarship helped make her trek possible. 

She credits her time at UD with fostering that mindset and path. “UD definitely helped prepare me to get into medical school with the courses — and also with the service activities,” she said. While earning her biology degree at UD, she volunteered with Reach Out, a Dayton-area clinic for the underserved; served as a River Steward at UD’s Rivers Institute; and participated in Global Brigades, an international nonprofit that teams with colleges to send undergrads with health care aspirations to developing nations — she served in Nicaragua twice through the program. 

After graduating, Schaetzle served in AmeriCorps, working at Church Health, a medical nonprofit that provides medical and dental care to those in need, among other services — and then went on to medical school. She is also a member of MGY, a global health organization through which she recently traveled to the Peruvian Amazon to help train over 30 community health care workers.

Passing Along the UD Experience
Schaetzle’s story is just one of many success stories tied to the Hilberts’ scholarship, which helps the couple pay forward their own UD experience — while marrying their love for UD with their care for the Erie community. The Hilberts own Reddog Industries, a longtime Erie manufacturing business, while serving on several local boards and providing financial support to local organizations. They are stewards of the Erie community and, much like Schaetzle, they credit UD with helping them develop the mindset to be in that position. 

“The University of Dayton changed our lives, made us better people,” Bill said. “It is a place that transforms people — helps them become true servants to the community and to those they love and care for.”

Schaetzle certainly confirms the Hilberts’ view of UD — and the positive impact of their decision to establish their scholarship years ago — with her plans to bring health care to the underserved. “So many people in our states, country and world don’t have access to adequate health care,” she said. “I want to help improve that.”

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