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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

A Place of Learning on the Path to Wisdom

Rooms in Roesch Library offer a quiet place to reflect, study and even socialize. During finals week, students used two freshly updated rooms thanks to a gift from John and Rosanne Strittmatter to honor their loved ones.

Bryan Strittmatter ’21 died unexpectedly in 2022 as his sister, Julia Strittmatter ’23, was finishing her junior year. One room is dedicated to his memory and to honor Julia, who graduated the same weekend as the dedication ceremony on May 6 this year, and the other is dedicated in memory of John’s aunt, Jean Garner Fullenkamp ’71.

Honoring them and their time at UD was important to John and Rosanne, but it was Bryan’s passing that led the family to leave a legacy that benefits students.

“Our son loved the University of Dayton. When he passed away a year and a half ago, we reached out and asked what we can do to help and leave a legacy for him,” John said. “And when the library shared their needs, we thought it was the perfect place.”

The Strittmatters’ gift of $150,000 will renovate study rooms on the fourth and sixth floors of Roesch Library in addition to the two already renovated rooms on the fifth floor.

The library has undergone renovations to the first two floors in recent years, but the top levels are a work in progress. University Libraries Dean Kathy Webb said the older rooms had outdated study tools like chalkboards and fixed tables and chairs that students didn’t use. 

Now, with the gift, the rooms will reflect the needs and wants of today’s students, including chairs and tables with wheels, new whiteboards and brighter paint.

“The impact of this gift is significant,” Webb said. “Last academic year, our 54 team and study rooms were reserved over 41,000 times. Students use them for group projects, studying, interviewing for jobs, attending classes remotely or simply as a quiet distraction-free space to get their work done. The Strittmatters’ support allows us to do what we do, but do it better and faster.”

During the dedication ceremony, Webb acknowledged in her remarks how the three alumni valued the library’s importance to their respective paths at UD. The litany, offered by Assistant Rector Father Joe Kozar, S.M. ’69, also stated, “Let this space be a place of learning on the path to wisdom.”

Bryan’s path is now a legacy, one that offers a refuge to students in rooms tucked away in the nooks and crannies of the library, with windows overlooking the concrete paths that he walked as a student.

“When Bryan first decided to come here on a visit, he brought my husband,” Rosanne said. “My husband told him, ‘You have to get your mother to come out here.’ So we flew out, came in for the tour, and I said, ‘Well?’ He goes, ‘Mom, I've already decided. I'm going here.’ And I said, ‘Then what did I come out here for?’”

Bryan’s answer was simple. “‘I wanted you to see what I loved.’”

Now every student who sits in one of the rooms will see what he loved.

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