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Institute for Pastoral Initiatives News

Thanks for the Memories

By John LeComte

We’ve all had a person impact our life. I never expected it to happen to me while writing a blog.

I’ve been reaching out to alumni who have completed online classes through VLCFF.UDayton.edu, to grow and deepen their faith.

That’s when I connected with Teresa Harding Kennedy ’87 from Nevada.

I emailed Teresa prior to COVID-19 asking if she would tell me her VLCFF online story.

“Whatever I can do for UD, I should do!” she said. “Ironically, my diocese asked me the same question!”

Teresa has taught religion, science and math for 25 years at Our Lady of Snows in Reno, NV.  

During that time, Teresa completed twelve online courses with us, the Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation, from the popular Images of Jesus to Introduction to Prayer.

“VLCFF classes are the first online classes I have taken and it was so engaging, especially the active dialogue on the discussion board,” said Kennedy.  “Completing the courses feels like lifelong learning and not busy work.”

Teresa grew up in Arlington, Texas and Baltimore, Maryland. Being from a strong Catholic family influenced Teresa's decision to visit the University of Dayton in 1982.

“I knew as soon as I stepped on campus, UD would be my next home,” she said. “We must have looked lost walking around, because several students stopped us to ask if we needed help.”

Teresa was accepted into the honors program, majoring in Geology. She recalled some of her fondest UD memories.

Hands Across the Student Neighborhood 

“Being with friends, feeling like I was with family at UD, and making a difference. I was part of something bigger than me, complementing my values and made me the person I am today.” (pictured above: an annual UD show of unity to fight hunger)

Christmas on Campus

“I co-chaired the committee for two years and will always remember the planning and the amazing spirit it generated for the Dayton children and community.”

Delta Omega Tau

“Our focus was service to the Dayton community, including the Ronald McDonald House and SCAN (Suspected Child Abuse & Neglect) hotline.  The call to service is something that has stuck with me my entire life.

Marycrest Hall fire drills

“I remember standing outside in my pajamas in December when one student entertained us by reciting The Grinch who Stole Christmas, word for word. Soon we all joined in."

UD Basketball/March Madness

“As a freshman (1983-84) celebrating the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 in the student neighborhood was crazy!  

The Marianists

“The retreats, service projects and approach to community has made a lasting impression on me.”

My Most Influential Professor

“Fr. James Heft. Our class was debating an issue and Fr. Heft asked us to meet that night in Alumni Hall to continue the conversation. His dedication inspired me, deepened my faith and ignited my desire to continue to learn about my faith."

Following her time at UD, Teresa continued her education, earning her masters in Geology and then accepted her first job in Wisconsin in mineral exploration. There, she met fellow geologist, Larry Kennedy, married in 1993, and moved to Reno.

“That move changed my life,” she said.

Teresa couldn’t find suitable work initially but soon landed a teaching job. She has always recommended the University of Dayton to her Reno students. Finally, one decided to attend.

“Her encouraging words and passion for UD influenced me to take that leap of faith,” said Jules Curry ’20, Exercise Science/Psychology.

“Last Christmas we talked about our experiences, our favorite things and how we wanted to visit campus together.”

Curry went on to say the past four years spent at UD were the best of her life, thanks to Teresa.

Kennedy wrote, “I guess I am doing something that is meant to help or touch someone’s life in some way.” 

Yes, Teresa, you have touched the lives of many people.  Thanks for the memories.

Teresa Harding Kennedy passed away peacefully June 27, 2020 following a short battle with cancer, working until the very last day of school at Our Lady of Snows (June 10)  Thank you to Larry Kennedy for allowing me to tell Teresa’s story.  https://legcy.co/35rxI9t

You can learn more about year-round online courses with the VLCFF at VLCFF.UDayton.edu

UD alumni pay the reduced fee of $40 for a 3-week e-seminar and $50 for a 5-week e-course.

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