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Lessons Learned: 1999-1990

Lessons Learned: 1999-1990

Our Alumni December 02, 2018
Wit and wisdom from alumni from the Classes of 1999-1990

Class of 1999

Laura Moore Carter
Small Business Owner, Dayton

Faith is everything. This is best taught by example, not words.

Laura Carter ’99As an artist, the creative process is enjoyable. It’s not necessarily the outcome but the steps taken and the things you learn that make it so satisfying.

Failure is terrifying. I can read inspirational quotes all day long about how failure isn’t a bad thing, but it just frightens me.

Wasted time is when the greatest memories are made.

My father-in-law, Denny, recognized that I was at the end of my rope in the months before opening my business. He said, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.” Those simple but true words have kept me going.

Morning people seem so cheerful and smart and energetic. I so wish I was a morning person.

My son’s laughter — that genuine kind when something has truly struck him as funny — is music to my ears. I like to imagine that God sees us that way too. His favorite thing is to see us laugh.

When I’m cooking, I don’t do measuring. The term “ish” is a big part of my life, and it’s worked just fine so far.
If you don’t have anything left to dream about, you aren’t living.


Rodell Mollineau
Political strategist, Washington, D.C.

Watch your carb intake; metabolism has a way of slowing down.

Rodell Mollineau '99I think it’s important for students to start thinking about a plan for their life, but I think they also need to realize life changes so much in your first five, 10, 15, 20 years out of college.

If you pay attention to the details, if you take care of the small stuff, the big stuff takes care of itself. A lot of people focus on the big stuff, but if you’re doing the small stuff right, the big stuff all falls in line.

I think it makes you a more well-rounded, informed person the more you understand where other people are coming from and what makes them tick.

You wake up every morning knowing it’s going to be hard but also knowing you’re doing something you love and that it’s giving your life meaning.

You have got to be willing to make some mistakes, which is fine: You know makes you a better person as long as you learn from those mistakes.

My time at UD gave me the confidence to do whatever it is that I was going to do.

Class of 1998

Sean Hargadon
Editor, Evanston, Illinois

Life’s too short to worry about what other people think. You be you.


When I was a kid, I hated running. Now, I can’t imagine life without running. When I’m in a good run-ning groove, I take better care of myself. I eat better, sleep better. I’m a better husband and parent.

No phones at the table.

My relationships with Marianists have shaped my life. Brother Charles Johnson pushed me to be more self-confident. Father Ken Templin made it cool to praise Jesus. And I wrote one of my first profiles about Father Pat Tonry, an epic storyteller, and he became a close family friend and celebrated our wedding.

Take a moment each and every day to look into your children’s eyes.

My grandfather taught me three important lessons: First, it’s OK to sing. Second, never, ever put your fingers in the pickle jar. And, third, when playing cards, keep your bony hands above the table.

Sustain your close friendships.

Take vacations.


I’m not confrontational, but having sons has taught me to respond when that voice inside says to speak up and take action. They’re watching. If I don’t speak out or stand up, they won’t know how to.

Nan Whaley
Community leader, Dayton

I think failure is exciting, I think failure is when you learn. Failure gets a bad rap.

Nan Whaley '98I remember looking at my husband on election night and saying, “Do you believe I’m the mayor of Dayton?” and he says, “No.” And I said, “Me neither.”

The cardinal sin in our family is to be lazy. My mom and dad worked hard — sometimes two and three jobs. So my brother and I work all the time and we love it, we just love it.

I really only cook three times a year, Thanksgiving is the big one — it’s my husband’s favorite holiday. I like doing the turkey; it’s not hard, it just takes time.

Marriage is something you work on every day, it’s not something that is ever finished. You have to continuously take care of it.

I used to play viola when I was in college, but the college Democrats had their meetings the same night as rehearsal and I chose the party. But I still like to sing in the car and sing in the shower.

Faith is really about centering yourself. It gives you the confidence that everything is going to be OK. 

Class of 1997

Richanne Mankey
College President, Defiance, Ohio

Some people are good at making plans because they know what they want to do, but I embrace ex-periences as they are happening.

Richanne Mankey ’97I hope young people leave the door open to opportunities so they can put their passions to work at age 18, 25 or even 50.

Watching my two grandsons develop their own personalities is a wonderful experience. 

Listen without being judgmental and try to stress excellence, not perfection. That’s how we learn from our mistakes.

I don’t believe any one person has all of the answers nor understands the many facets of the challenges we face.

Leadership means developing trust and doing so involves listening, hearing, engaging and inspiring others to envision a future that includes everyone.

To actively seek a culture of engagement requires us to have difficult conversations with each other. That means we must move beyond not rocking the boat to digging into underlying issues and assumptions. 

While I believe in deep thinking and contemplation, sometimes we lose an opportunity if we don’t speak up in the moment.

My favorite African proverb is, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Class of 1996

Jessica Gonzalez Uhlig
Hispanic Outreach and Marketing Manager, San Antonio, Texas

The Marianists make a different, more wholeheartedly spirited community and faith-centered college experience. I used to tell students you don’t just graduate from UD with a piece of paper, you graduate as a good and fulfilled human prepared for whatever field you end up going into.

Jessica Uhlig ’96I call every job a ministry. It is a blessing to be able to translate and share the Spanish language with my ministry.

I grew up in Puerto Rico — bring on the heat. But the heat in Texas is very different; it’s a very hot dry. No tropical breeze down here.

I am a people person, and my work comes to life when I connect with people. I love what I do and I get excited about it every day.

You have to find time and make it for yourself.

When life and work get a little chaotic, I need to take quiet and reflective time. I see God in nature. I often stop in the middle of the trail to breathe, meditate and say a few prayers. When I’m in nature, I am in community with God.

It is a gift to be able to walk with students as they discover the beauty of the options college gives them and see the "aha" moments they go through when they realize they have a choice to make college the best time of their lives.
I miss the fall weather in Dayton.

Class of 1995

Michel Leroy
Photographer, New York City

I’ve never had a bad job. There were tasks that were monotonous, but I gained perspective from those experiences and that drove me to be the business owner and entrepreneur I am today.

Watching my little daughter figure something out, on her own, is one of the most joyful experiences in my life. It gives me perspective and hope.

The greatest leaps forward happen when you own your own risk and lean into it.

My grandfather told me when I was in high school, long before I really understood what he meant, to concentrate on what’s important not just what’s urgent. As a business owner it has taken me years to strike a balance between pressing deadlines and the big picture strategies that really matter.

One of the biggest obstacles I continue to overcome is getting out of my own head and seeing things as they are, not just as I would have them be.

I’d tell today’s students that UD is the perfect place to expand your frame of reference and establish the academic and personal habits that will serve your entire life, so dig in, stick with it and enjoy the adventure.


Art Conn
Wardrobe Stylist, Los Angeles

I think people would be surprised to know I have RuPaul’s number in my phone ... but wait, maybe it would be Nancy Grace’s instead.

Art Conn ’94Life has its way of doing its own thing. You have to be flexible and bend.

Is heaven real? It’s a difficult question to answer. But, I think that if someone truly believes something to be real, then it is real for them.

\My job is definitely a passion for me. At first, I think to myself, “I’m not saving lives here, I am making people look pretty.” But then, there is this huge psychological element to making people feel good and confident and beautiful. I’m helping people feel good about themselves.

Always be 5 minutes early — guide to life for everything.

Fear is part of daily life. You have to be able to move through it.

The irony of life is something to laugh at. It’s not something you should let bother you.

Love has meant being selfless and wanting another person to be happier — not at your expense — but to put someone else first. It’s like this: It’s letting someone eat the last piece of pizza.

Sarcasm helps me get through the day.
Be open to all people and exper-
iences. Always say “yes.”

Class of 1993

Jennifer Mantle Perez
Dietitian, Centerville, Ohio

I started my career as an accountant. Working in the field for five years helped me realize that, even though I was great with numbers, my true passion was in people not numbers. I had an interest in wellness and prevention, so I researched a few different career options and talked with people in the field. Ultimately, I chose nutrition and dietetics.

Jennifer Perez ’93I always say that my three kids are my biggest challenge and my biggest joy.

My mom and dad influenced me the most. By their actions, my parents taught me the importance of God and prayer and family. They also taught me that I am loved.

Family makes a place a home — everyday life of being together. Books, toys, video games, home-work, food, couches, kitchen table, artwork, sports equipment — it’s our hub for activity but also our safe place to be.

I’m fairly obsessed with Disney World vacations.

Nobody knows all the answers; don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Twenty years from now, I will be 67! I can’t quite picture that yet. I hope to be living a happy, healthy life with my husband.


Class of 1992

Laura Doherty
Recording artist, performer, Chicago

In this world, there’s room for everyone, so be authentic even if people think you’re weird and quirky. Everyone is weird and quirky.

Laura Doherty ’92Sing along: “You can always make a friend in this world, you can always make a friend. No matter if you’re 5 or 46 or 10.”

I had never thought of this until someone pointed it out to me: Not everyone shares your point of view or your value system.

If you work from home, get dressed. Don’t work in your pajamas.

If you’re in a job where you manage people, don’t take things personally. Always believe people are doing the best they can, and be more patient.

Tell people you love them. Saying it doesn’t have to mean you’re in a huge commitment. I think we’re sometimes afraid to say how we feel, but if you feel it, tell them.

Sometimes it’s just a random thing that gets you to a totally other place in your life. Sometimes you’ll be sitting in an airplane talking to a stranger and what they say will change your mind about a big decision in your life. You'll often listen to a person more because they don't know your story and have an objective point of view.


Yvonne Thevenot
Educator, Activist, North Bergen, New Jersey

My dad emphasized I can do anything I put my mind to and be anyone I wanted to be. He’d say, “The world won’t just give you something — you have to set up a path and a plan and go for it.”

Yvonne Thevenot ’92I would want my grandchild to know I like to laugh and have fun. I hope it’s a girl, named Yvonne.

You can always learn something from those who have less experience than you.

I would tell my college self to not put a lot of stock on outward beauty. I would concentrate more on what is on the inside.

Everything is aligned for me now. The difference is, now I choose the life I’m living. I’m happier. Not rich, but happier.
When I lay my head down forever, I want to know that I had a positive impact on my students’ lives and that I did help create change in the education space.

I require my teachers to call our students scientists, or codesters, or engineers — based on the class we’re teaching. When we do this, I notice our students’ way of being change. I see their confidence building from this identity.

Class of 1991

Kristina Kerscher Keneally
Senator, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

We live in a community, not in a market or an economy. All of us are responsible for a community that includes all of us. A community is at its best when it supports its most vulnerable members.

Kristina Keneally ’91Our body and our conscience need daily exercise. One thing we can freely give away every day: gratitude.
It is what it is. Wishing things were different is time wasted. Instead ask: What do we do next?

I find it helps to write out a person-al mission statement: a statement of my values and beliefs, of what I want to achieve.

In politics (and life), if you are heading for a backdown, get there as fast — and as humbly — as possible.

A smile never goes astray.

Happiness doesn’t come from externals — job, status, money — but from being content with yourself. Happiness is having some-thing to do, someone to love and something to look forward to.

The darkest days of my life, after my daughter Caroline was stillborn, were terrible. I know now that it changed me forever: it enlarged my sense of love and loss, and it gave me courage and a strength I never had before.

Class of 1990

Ann Hudock
International Development Executive, Bethesda, Maryland

Once you reach 50, you learn the secret of life: Do what you want to do, not what you should do. You only learn this at 50 because up until then a lot of life is meeting commitments and expectations other people have for you. By 50, vegetables are something you want to eat rather than should eat.

Ann Hudock ’90If you can shine a light where you see darkness and never let doubt and cynicism find you, then you will have a meaningful life.

Always give people informational interviews. Some day they will be in positions of influence.

If you can find the extraordinary in the ordinary, you will find happiness. Not sure how to do that? Look at a spider web. Or watch an ant colony.

Wear bright colors on a rainy day. It cheers people up.

When you are sad or feeling sorry for yourself, find someone who needs help.

Faith, family, friends are the only things you need.

Expanding your mind will expand your universe. Read a book. Travel.

My mother taught me that a parent should never pick their child’s spouse or career path.

Never underestimate how fabulous a new pair of shoes will make you feel.

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