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President's Blog: From the Heart

'The Experience Changed My Life'

By Shaq Tensley

Shaq Tensley ’15, a product manager for Eaton Corp. in Newport News, Virginia, gives back to his alma mater as a member of the day10 young alumni group and a Flyer Champion volunteer who shares his UD experience with accepted students who are considering making UD their home. As the University of Dayton launches One Day, One Dayton on April 6, Shaq borrowed my blogging pen to describe why he’s volunteering to help the University attract an ambitious 4,000 gifts over 24 hours.

I’ll never forget that muggy August morning in 2011 when I packed up my Chevy Cavalier and hopped on I-70 East from Indianapolis to begin life at the University of Dayton.

I was filled with a plethora of emotions: nervousness, anxiousness, and excitement were among those, but one feeling that was noticeably absent was “doubt.” After my campus visits and interactions with faculty, staff, alumni, and students, I knew UD was the place for me!

My time at UD, while not perfect, was nothing short of amazing. I enjoyed it so much that I took a victory lap upon graduation. From my first year in Founders Hall to my final semester on Brown Street, I could write a Harry Potter-sized novel documenting all the special moments.

My most vivid memories come from playing football at UD. Those Tuesday night practices, the 6 a.m. workouts and two-a-day practices in the heart of summer all culminated in winning seasons each of my four years. Playing at Dayton instilled in me just how important preparation is, and it’s something I have carried with me to this day.

The Office of Multicultural Affairs, now known as the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center (MEC), also holds a special place in my heart. From providing students with care packages during finals week, offering open tutoring sessions with professors, and holding celebrations highlight the different cultures represented at UD, MEC embodies that sense of community that makes UD special. Witnessing first hand how community can positively impact people mentally, emotionally, and spiritually — and lead to improved performance and well-being — I have been intentional about creating a sense of community whenever I can.

I’m not sure who convinced that 18-year-old kid to study mechanical engineering at UD, but I am forever grateful for that decision. UD did a fantastic job preparing me for success at the professional level. Whether it was hosting an info session with a Fortune 500 company, conducting résumé reviews or providing opportunities through the Minority Engineering Program, my School of Engineering experience played a large part in my success today.

I received financial support to pursue my dreams. The high-quality experience I had at UD was made possible because of generous donations.

I challenge the Flyer community to rally together on April 6 and make #1Day1Dayton a record-breaking year to ensure that current and future UD students have the opportunity to experience all that makes UD so special. The experience changed my life.

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