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President's Blog: From the Heart

Inspiring Greatness

By Eric F. Spina

Is it any wonder that our students believe they can change the world? They’re walking in the footsteps of those who are doing just that.

The 2020 Alumni Award recipients are visionary and selfless. Above all, they’re believers in what is possible when you chase your dreams. As I gaze at the list of recipients, I’m struck by their stories of impact.

Take trustee emeritus Bill Crotty ’52, recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award and one of six exemplary alumni who will be honored during live virtual events this fall. The retired CEO built Van Dyne Crotty, Inc., the family’s business, into one of the premier uniform companies in the country. A storyteller by nature with an entrepreneurial spirit and a deep love for family, he’s helping UD students write their own business success stories through the L. William Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

I remember listening intently to Terri Lee Freeman ’81, recipient of the Special Achievement Award, during her talk in the KU Ballroom two years ago. “(Dr. Martin Luther King’s) message is relevant today because he has demonstrated the sacrifice that is required to make change. His work was not rhetoric. He was not a dreamer; he had a dream, but his work was real,” the president of the National Civil Rights Museum told us. That describes this impressive leader, too. She’s a public intellectual and a changemaker who has spent her life bridging differences and finding common ground.

Our Special Service Award recipients, Dr. Doris Drees ’54 and Lynton Scotland ’84, are selfless leaders. A four-sport athlete (yes, *four* sports!) who later taught phys ed and coached nearly every women’s sport, served as women’s athletics director, and was inducted in UD’s Athletics Hall of Fame, Doris pushed to elevate women’s sports to varsity status. We were one of the first universities in the country to do so, and that pioneering move paved the way for greater opportunities for today’s female student-athletes. Lynton, chief procurement officer at W.L. Gore and Associates, was recently named one of the “100 Most Influential African Americans in Corporate America” by Savoy Magazine. One of our most engaged alumni, he rolls up his sleeves and gets to work in ways that matter, whether advising the University as a trustee emeritus, serving as a member of the campaign cabinet, launching an ETHOS project in his native Dominica, or helping recruit underrepresented students.

Dick Glennon ’50, a highly ethical and successful business leader, will receive the Christian Service Award for living out the Marianist ideals of leadership and service that we cherish. A trustee emeritus, he has quietly supported Catholic education in the Dayton community, including establishing the Glennon Symposium in the School of Business Administration that attracts nationally renowned speakers recognized for their business ethics.

Finally, I am so inspired and in awe of Clementine Bihiga ’09, recipient of the Joe Belle Memorial Young Alumni Award. She is a model of perseverance, courage, hope — and a testament to the human spirit. At the age of 8, she fled with her family out of war-torn Rwanda to various refugee camps and settlements before they made their way to the U.S. in 1999. She tells her story through her memoir, Happily Broken: Discovering Happiness Through Pain and Suffering, and in talks around the country. Everywhere she goes, she motivates others to be resilient and live purposeful lives.

Each of our honorees lives a life of great purpose. They inspire greatness.

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