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Lessons Learned: Golden Flyers

Lessons Learned: Golden Flyers

Our Alumni December 02, 2018
And we’ve saved the best for last. These Flyers are called “golden” for a reason. It’s not just that they’ve graduated more than 50 years ago, but that they have lived lives of integrity and intensity, yielding nuggets of life polished to a shine. We present to you lessons learned from our Golden Flyers.

Class of 1968

Billy Mayo
Retired Director of Recreational Sports, Dayton

Tom Frericks, my Aunt Cora and my Uncle Curley were such positive role models. They encouraged me to find my passion in life, stick with it and always work hard.

Billy Mayo ’68My parents taught me to be independent. I needed to take care of myself because no one was going to do it for me.

Failure is not an option. You can always learn something from it.

Knowledge comes from education and life experiences.

When you find that person that you connect with and are deeply in love with, then sharing your lives together brings an unexplainable joy. I met my wife, Lori, at UD. We’ve learned that making a marriage work takes team work, communication, give and take, and some sacrifices. It is more than worth it when you are with the right person.

Choose kindness. Pay it forward, help others and give back. That’s the philosophy to live by.

I grew up in poverty. If not for the athletic ability that God blessed upon me that brought me to UD on a football scholarship, I may not have escaped that cycle of poverty that traps so many. I believe that scholarship along with the love and support of wonderful people and a lot of hard work saved my life from turning out much differently. I am truly a blessed and grateful man.

Toni Prasnikar Moore
Educator, Kettering, Ohio

Don’t try to be a perfectionist. Nobody can be. My first year at UD, I was told, “Don’t worry about grades, enjoy college.”
I learn and perform best when I’m having fun.

Toni Moore ’68Going to the NCAA tournament in 1967 and the NIT in 1968 as a cheerleader was like an out-of-body experience. Get in a zone. Become egoless.

We may feel we have to explain things. Sometimes we can’t.

Most problems don’t have to be solved on the spot.

Life takes you places you never expected. As a college student, I knew for certain that I never wanted to become a schoolteacher. Circumstances intervened, and I took on a short stint as an elementary school teacher. I loved it. I felt like St. Paul must have when he got knocked off his horse. Teaching has been the perfect life’s work for me. It is a reminder that God’s plan is better than ours.

When your kids do something wrong, don’t send them to their rooms. Make them go to the grocery store with you. In the car, you might have a conversation.

We need to learn to follow our hearts.

Good ice cream can solve just about any problem!

Class of 1967

Sue Ellen Anderson Boesch
Artist and Volunteer, Kettering, Ohio

One of the most important decisions in life is who you marry.

Sue Ellen Boesch ’67I lose interest in things too quickly, so my friend once told me, “Don’t quit — see it through.” I learned that one experience does lead to another ... in time.

My cat, Myrtle Mae, brings me great joy. (Don’t tell my grandkids.)

If you give of your time and talents, you receive so much more than you ever thought possible. You gain new friends, new pleasures and an abundance of grace.

Faith is one of the ways we know there is a God. It’s a great gift.

You should be a listener and a talker — both in equal parts.

Don’t worry so much about everything. It gets you nowhere and ruins your happiness.

A good book is a true delight.

Friends make you a better person.

Tolerance and forgiveness are crucial.

When you get older, you can see life in all its stages. It gives you a better understanding of being human. What others think of you is not so important because you come to realize your days are limited and you know yourself better.

The best place in the whole world is with family.

Class of 1964

Raymond L. Fitz, S.M.
Community Builder, Dayton

By disposition, I am good at goal setting and action planning. I have learned that, if I want people to be excited by and committed to these goals and plans, they need to be involved in creating them.

Ray Fitz ’64That involvement requires establishing places and times to have difficult conversations about important questions.

Questions related to mission and an institution’s changing environment are often complex, admit of a variety of perspectives and evoke strong emotion. So, in approaching them, first listen to a diversity of perspectives. Suspend judgement.

Work on understanding the ex-periences, perspectives and logic of others. Ask them questions so you can empathically understand their answers. Let your colleagues ask questions that test your own experience, perspective and logic.

Only after deeply listening, craft a possible answer. Do it in a way that lets others know you understand their possible answers. Use what you have learned from them.

Try to weave different answers into a richer, more complete answer. Listen some more. A consensus answer can create excitement and commitment.

Difficult conversations are often messy, but they are necessary to move forward constructively.

Class of 1963

Linda Arvin Skuns
Retired Educator, Dayton

My mother would often say, “That’s about enough of that,” which really does fit a lot of situations.

Linda Skuns ’63A home filled with books can tell you a lot about the personality of the occupants.

Always remember, one choice can alter your life and make all the difference.

Even after years, old friends can pick up where they left off without skipping a beat.

Sometimes it’s good to maintain a little mystery.

A perfect day is spent with a good book and then a UD basketball game and dinner at the Pine Club with friends.

Handwritten notes are a treasure to hold and thank you notes can never be too effusive.

For some words of wisdom, you can’t go wrong with Shakespeare: “Brevity is the soul of wit.”

My favorite place on UD’s campus is walking up to the chapel with a view of the gazebo, where I got engaged.

The happiest times of my life were the 53 years I spent with my husband, George.

When looking back at life, I guess we all hope we’ve earned the respect and love of others.

A sense of humor and a Maker’s Mark Manhattan can get you through a lot.

Class of 1963

Charles Wolan
Retired Engineer, Niederwil, Switzerland

People buy a house, not a home. A home is a dwelling where families live together in love and peace. When I dream about family, I dream about my brothers and sisters when we were young, eight children in a very big house in Cleveland, Ohio.

Charles Wolan ’63Growing older each day is a gift. Recently I made a copper plaque for an old people’s home with the inscription at the bottom which read, “Do not regret growing old — it is a privilege denied to many.”

In 1960, I had a brain operation to remove a tumor, which was quite large. It made me a stronger person to accept the fact that we have no control over certain events.

Discipline can save your life; this is a lesson I learned during my time in the Navy during World War II in the Pacific and the Philippine Islands. I also learned how to live so close with so many other characters.

It brings me joy or pleasure knowing I made someone laugh during hard times.

I joined the Marianists because I was fascinated with their emphasis on teaching and forming young people. I also find marital life very fulfilling, especially regarding our co-creation of two beautiful, intelligent daughters.


Class of 1955

Bob Daley
Journalist, Dayton

Partisan politics is a tough game — not for the faint of heart. But if good people shy away from public service they leave it to the less worthy.

Bob Daley ’55UD students literally open doors for us old folks. UD alumni figuratively open doors for UD grads.

All men and women are created equal. The rich get richer, and the devil take the hindmost. Racial problems are a stain on all of us.

Chocolate peanut butter ice cream is further proof that there is a God.

Times change. Values don’t.

Like commercial airplanes sometimes, the #MeToo movement is
a late arrival.

Marriages may or may not be made in heaven. But pledges brides and grooms make to each other are forever.

Public discourse needs to be civil.

Without question, the news media is a highly valuable, necessary in-situation in our democracy.

When discussing colors — painting the living room walls, designing family Christmas cards, or just about anything — the prudent man defers to his wife’s wishes.

Listening to Johnny Cash sing “This Ragged Old Flag” will bring a tear to the eye of an old soldier every time.

My wife cringes when I put ketchup on filet mignon.

Class of 1954

Don Donoher
Coach, Dayton

When my parents drove me to campus in September 1950, I learned how welcoming the Marianist family is. We were greeted by the late Father Francis Friedel, S.M., a saint if there ever was one. He took me under his wing. On occasion, I visit the graves of other Marianists at Mount St. John, men who touched so many lives so many ways.

Don Donoher ’54Afternoons as an undergrad, I walked from St. Joe’s Hall to the Fieldhouse, brand new my freshman year. On my floor in St. Joe’s were Chris Harris, Chuck Noll, Pete Boyle, Monk Meineke and Tom Frericks. In the Fieldhouse, we learned life lessons from the great Tom Blackburn, a tough man and what we needed.

I felt my future was in education; but, with my brothers being priests and teachers, I was targeted for a career in business. So I majored in business, and, after the Army, went into sales for several years. Then Tom Frericks opened the way for me to teach and coach at Dayton Chaminade while going to UD to gain certification.

I should have originally majored in education and history. I had wanted to teach and coach. Finally, I did.

Follow your passion.

Class of 1953

Irene George Gilleland
Retired Laboratory Scientist, Dayton

My mother worked outside the home as well as rearing four children. She “showed” us rather than “giving” advice on how to live.

Irene Gilliland ’53Kindness comes when we least expect it and in small doses. Do kind acts that are not planned, just spur-of-the-moment and for unknown recipients.

The education I received at UD prepared me for my profession, for which I am thankful. I worked while going to school and it was a valuable lesson — if you work for a goal and accomplish that end, it makes you feel good.

The best thing I ever ate was anything sweet! I love baking and make my own pie crust from scratch.

Love is a word used often and seemingly without much meaning. An individual must truly feel love and then express it with gratitude.

Patience comes hard to me. I have experienced a couple of long illnesses and had to learn patience as getting well quickly was not on the horizon. It is what it is and I thank the good Lord for my health as it is today.

A nun at hospice told me that one should enjoy each day as it may be our last.

There is more than one college in Ohio, but there is only one University of Dayton — Go Flyers!

Class of 1943

Paul Engle
Retired Manufacturing Engineer, Harrisonburg, Virginia

I went to UD at the tail end of the Depression, and I hitchhiked from UD back home almost every afternoon. It was a struggle every day but I kept walking with my thumb up. Sometimes I was lucky, and sometimes I pretty much walked all the way to the Greene County line.

Paul Engle ’43A happy marriage is the No. 1 requisite of a happy life.

I’m not as combative as I used to be. I try to accept things the way they are and don’t try to change the things I can’t.

I want my great-grandchildren to know about my military service, not that I’m terrifically proud of it or that it was memorable, but that the World War II generation is becoming something of an endangered species, and we have stories to share.

Ever since I was a youngster, I read about places in the world and I hoped I would see them sometime. And I have seen a lot — Switzerland, Malaysia, Indonesia, South America, Iceland. I’d tell others to do everything they can to get to know other cultures.

The answer to the meaning of life starts somewhere with religion. One of the creeds says life is to worship God and treat others as yourself.


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