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President's Blog: From the Heart

We're Bringing UD to You

By Eric F. Spina

Over my four years at UD, as I walked through campus on impossibly gorgeous spring days, I have often found myself pausing to watch our student tour guides lead families past the chapel, the historic buildings, the residence halls — and toward a decision.

“Yes, this place feels right. It feels like home.”

No one demonstrates the University of Dayton experience better than our students, who exude so much confidence, optimism about their futures, and passion for our Flyer community. Today, with campus visits canceled and the enrollment deadline stretched to June 1, these same students have teamed with admission and financial aid counselors, faculty and deans to bring the campus to prospective students and their families — virtually. From their own homes throughout the nation and world, they’re building relationships, one live chat at a time, one virtual coffee hour after another.

“We want to work with families to make them feel most at ease and most excited about their college-choice decision,” said Jason Reinoehl, vice president for strategic enrollment management. “We work with each and every family every step of the way and, in doing so, we’re truly replicating the feeling of being home on our campus.”

In a student panel last week five student ambassadors, logging in from different cities, fielded dozens of questions from more than 50 prospective students. Their smiling faces appeared as thumbnails in a gallery, yet their authentic love for their UD experience filled the screen. For 90 minutes, they offered their observations about majors, study-abroad trips, homesickness, the sunsets from Stuart Hall and the breakfast pizza in Virginia W. Kettering dining hall.

“Is it better to room with a friend or go with a random roommate?” one asked.

Lindsay Hampo, an electrical engineering major from Ann Arbor, Michigan, didn’t know her first roommate: “It was amazing for me to branch out. We were each other’s first lifeline.”

“What’s your honest opinion of CORE and the living learning communities?” another queried. Danielle Villhard, a visual arts major from Saint Louis, responded, “You have your study groups built in literally where you live.”

And the unspoken question on probably everyone’s mind, but bravely voiced by one prospective student: “How hard is the transition from high school to college?”

Special education major Megan Sneider, a self-professed “homebody” who was initially nervous about leaving her Cincinnati home, said her RA became like a second mom. Marketing and communication major Sarah Bertrand laughed, saying, “When I went home to Indianapolis on breaks, I started referring to UD as home. My friends here became my family. We miss that more than anything right now, and I can’t wait to get back home.”

That’s the way I feel, too. I can’t wait to welcome future Flyers home.

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