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President's Blog: From the Heart


By Eric F. Spina

As I take in the breathtaking beauty of the sun peeking over the chapel as I walk to my office, I sometimes pause and imagine what could be.

I envision a future where every talented student who desires a University of Dayton degree can pursue it — without worrying about debt. I have faith that will happen.

Some might describe this as a fanciful exercise, an unreachable goal, but just imagine what can happen when the financial barriers vanish. Peruse the digital Igniting Our Mission: 2018 Impact Report, and you’ll catch a glimpse of that future unfolding through the eyes of today’s UD students.

Juan Villegas ’21 is one of our Flyer Promise scholars — a group of high-achieving, highly motivated students making a difference on campus. Thanks to a scholarship through the Tweed Family Foundation, he’s earning a mechanical engineering degree with the intent on making a difference in the developing world.

Lindsey Bronder ’20, who received a Sisters of the Precious Blood Scholarship, wants to use her education degree to help vulnerable children in danger of falling through the cracks in the educational system.

Through generous scholarships from Bill and Ann Schuerman and Steve ’86 and Molly ’83 Cobb, first-year students Travis Rallings and Brevin Perry are living on campus, instead of commuting. The lessons learned outside the classrooms and labs are so valuable on our highly residential campus, where we purposely blur the lines between learning and living.

Christian Cubacub ’20, a computer engineering major from Honolulu who received an Emerson Helix Innovation Scholarship, perhaps sums up best the emotional power of philanthropic support: “There’s truly a unique beauty about someone investing in you because they believe in your potential.”

These are just a few stories about how our 13,263 donors last year are moving the University forward by investing in life-changing scholarships as well as experiential learning opportunities, endowed faculty positions, and other initiatives. In all, alumni, friends, foundations, corporations, organizations, parents, faculty, staff, and students stepped forward with nearly $37.4 million in cash gifts. I’m so grateful and humbled by this generosity.

It may come as a surprise that nearly 90 percent of all private support to UD comes from individual gifts under $1,000, validating that every gift of any size adds to the value of a UD degree. And every gift gives a boost to the momentum that is carrying our beloved University to a remarkable future — one where we open our doors to all talented students who can contribute to the excellence of UD, not just those who can afford it.

I hope you'll join us on April 10 for #1Day1Dayton — our first “giving day” in which we hope to attract at least 1,850 gifts over 24 hours from UD champions on campus and around the country. You’ll hear more details about this fun, memorable effort in the coming weeks.

You can become part of a growing movement of selfless visionaries who are paying it forward by making a UD degree accessible for deserving students, and then ensuring that the experience they have in and out of the classroom is second to none.

Tell us your story. Was your life as a student changed by the generosity of others? I also encourage alumni and friends to show their deep love for UD by becoming ambassadors. Learn more here.

Let’s raise our sights. Let’s help more students afford a transformative education. Let’s imagine together what could be.

Previous Post

Dancing for the Kids

I didn’t have to dance my way out of a makeshift “jail” in Kennedy Union ballroom during last year’s Flyerthon. I just had to post bail (!), but being “locked up” gave me a chance to glimpse the love and compassion of University of Dayton students as they literally danced the night away.

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Next Post

Closing the Gap

Many colleges and universities have been slow to remove barriers to a high-quality college degree for talented, low- and moderate-income students. At the University of Dayton, we’re squarely focused on ensuring access for talented students no matter their ZIP code.

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