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Nothing, and Somethings

Nothing, and Somethings

Michelle Tedford '94 June 05, 2019

There is something inviting about an empty chair.

And a bit unnerving.

Until recently, grabbing a coveted seat next to a window in Roesch Library or a rocking chair in Kennedy Union was unthinkable. As the spring semester wound down, students in their fervor to finish strong escaped the distractions of their dorm rooms in favor of a quiet spot or cubby where they could cram with classmates.

Now, I can sit wherever I want. And it just feels wrong.

For 16 years, the inevitable end of the traditional academic year has caught me off guard, despite it being marked in bright blue on my calendar. The excitement starts as a low hum around the Stander Symposium and grows in volume and pitch as we head into final presentations and exams. By graduation, it’s a raucous roar, accentuated by the cheers of family of our newest forever Flyers.

And overnight, just like that, everyone disappears.


I should be used to it by now, but it always throws me, that first time I emerge from the office and pass the empty gazebo on my way to the abandoned plaza.

Natalie Schulte noticed it, too. A junior communication major, she grabbed her camera and began documenting the spaces left behind. “It is always a sad feeling to leave a place you’ve called your home for the semester,” she writes in her UD Magazine online photo essay “Empty Chairs.” 

In this issue of the magazine, space and place take center stage. Our cover feature brings you inside a local architectural wonder. With UD as an anchor tenant, the revitalized Dayton Arcade will soon be filled again with the excitement of a city on the cutting edge of innovation, with our faculty and students at its heart. (Click to read "Rebirth of the Arcade.")

We also journey this issue into a black hole. Members of the faculty ponder what happens to our dreams when a theory becomes reality captured in burning orange and black. (Click to read "Darkness Unveiled.")

Staring into nothing and imagining all the somethings is a skill we stoke here at UD. It’s found in the businesses our students create, the art they make, the inventions they dream and the partnerships they cultivate. It’s also evident in the 64 blank pages we begin with each issue, only to have all their good ideas overflow from the print issue and onto our redesigned blog (take a look: udayton.edu/magazine).

With summer upon us, we give ourselves permission to slow down just a bit, to breathe and see in a way the distractions of other seasons do not afford. So pull up a chair and read awhile. We’ve got some prime seats just itching to be filled.