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President's Blog: From the Heart

Guiding Lights

By Eric F. Spina

During Women's History Month, the University of Dayton's Women's Center is shining the light on the 2022 Women of UD: Sama Wathiq Ahmed, Yamilet Perez Aragon, R. Darden Bradshaw, Katy Jo Bull, Marie Dock, Dr. Mary Insana Fischer, Marie Schleppi Gaeke, Beth Hart, Dr. Carissa M. Krane, Dr. Allison P. Leigh, Catherine W. Mix, Katie Overholser, Shannon Penn, Alexandra Smith and Christina Smith. Here are University of Dayton President Eric's Spina's congratulatory remarks.)

Good morning!

This day is always so meaningful, but never more so than this year since we are finally gathering in person once again. It’s an honor for me to recognize the contributions of 15 extraordinary women on our campus — the 2022 Women of UD.

Thank you, Lisa, Leah, and Sue in the Women’s Center for your terrific work in imagining and creating today’s celebration.

I offer special thanks to the committee who reviewed scores of nominations and selected this year’s recipients. For the beautiful visual displays, we can thank Kathy Kargl and Glenna Jennings’ graphic design and photography classes. These students do such amazing creative work!

When I read through the nominations, I was struck by the same phrases and adjectives that appeared over and over.

Listen to some of the descriptors: Driving force. Guiding light. Tireless advocate. A beacon of collaboration. An inspiration. The nominators also described the 2022 Women of UD as reflective, authentic, thoughtful, creative, flexible, innovative, kind, dedicated, patient, steady, agile, courageous, graceful, wise, empathetic, compassionate, humble. These are the traits of leaders — collaborative leaders who work with others to champion change. Leaders who model the Marianist charism and advance the University’s aspirational values.

Against the backdrop of our uncertain times, these women rose to meet the challenges in a myriad of ways — developing creative remote programming that kept our students engaged in the classroom and community; advocating for the construction of the NPHC Legacy Terrace; changing the University’s promotion and tenure policy to more closely reflect our mission; addressing the emergency financial needs of our families.

I could go on all morning describing the work — largely behind the scenes — of these unsung heroes, but trust me when I say their contributions are moving the University forward in significant ways during unpredictable times.

As I read their names, think beyond their roles on campus to the way they lead with grace, courage, positivity, and a sense of justice:

Sama, Yamilet, Darden, Katy Jo, Marie, Mary, Marie, Beth, Carissa, Allison, Catherine, Katie, Shannon, Alexandra and Christina.

Three of our recipients are current undergraduate students. Can you imagine how they’re going to change the world?

Well, we don’t have to imagine. These students and the faculty and staff being honored today have already made a lasting impact.

I know in my heart that we are a better — and more just and resilient university — because of the way they have stepped up to espouse the University’s values and go above and beyond to make our campus community more inclusive. Today, we shine a light on these outstanding individuals and their achievements.

Congratulations to all on this well-deserved honor!

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