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Lessons Learned, Part IX

Lessons Learned, Part IX

UD Alumni March 11, 2021
A continuing reflection on life acquired in and out of the classroom — from the classes of 1978 and 2006.

To Thrive

Bev Thompson Jenkins ’78
Director of student enrichment and academic outcomes, University of Dayton enrollment management

I am part of a proud Flyer family – with my husband, Larry ’92, and daughter, Jessica ’06, sharing the unique UD experience. We have all found ways to stay connected and give back to UD. I have worked at UD for nearly 39 years serving students in various ways. Larry has connected with the School of Engineering by supporting the National Society of Black Engineers by mentoring students. Through her current job and work addressing homelessness in our county, Jessica stays connected through The Fitz Center for Leadership in Community and Serve Ohio/AmeriCorps. We all have found ways to share our gifts and talents. 

Beverly Jenkins in a black dress and pearlsAt an early age my parents taught me to be kind to people and to treat others as you would like to be treated. I try to live this mantra daily.

I give UD students this advice: Whatever you do, give it 100%. No matter the outcome, one can gain a level of peace knowing you have given it your all. I want them to appreciate the importance of always presenting their best in everything they do.

“Whatever you do, give it 100%. No matter the outcome, one can gain a level of peace knowing you have given it your all.”

I am so thankful for my group of “besties.” Any time I am with them in person, facetime or on the telephone it is always a barrel of laughs. Comic relief at its finest.

I am both surprised and amazed at how resilient our students are as they adapt to daily challenges, especially as we work through the pandemic. So many of our 18 year olds have stepped up to address the racial and political unrest that we are all experiencing. Expressing ownership in what happens today plays a critical role in their future. I am so proud of the students at UD who are working in harmony to engage in the work required as UD strives to become an anti-racist institution.

The Bible teaches us that when we die there is a place where we will be closer to God. There have been times in my life where I have challenged this question. However, I do believe in the Holy Spirit and I believe in God. I feel that one must believe and trust in something in order to get through the good times and even most importantly those difficult times.

Prior to COVID-19, I was pretty much on the go, go, go train. The pandemic has taught me to slow it down. Patience, grace and hope are my three new favorite words. I have taken a step back and find myself more focused on the now, appreciating the importance of maintaining the relationships that are very important to me.

“Patience, grace and hope are my three new favorite words.”

I am currently working with our Flyer Promise Scholars, and it’s some of the most rewarding work of my time at UD. The program gives academically gifted students who without this generous scholarship would probably not be able to afford UD. My role is to support the students as they navigate college and to help remove any barriers that might get in the way of their success. I feel so blessed to support these future leaders.

I try to live by this Maya Angelou quote: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”


Give love

Amanda “AJ” Hargadon Grimm ’06
Montessori admission counselor

I don’t envy only children. Growing up as one of four siblings, I learned how important it is for everyone to pitch in and pull their weight. I learned how different four people raised in the same house can all turn out, and that’s OK. I learned how to wear hand-me-downs and to take turns. I think a big family teaches you to share, to be flexible to others’ needs, and how to coexist with others. I also felt like with four of us there was less pressure to be perfect ­— while Mom and Dad were worried about one of my siblings, I could fly under the radar, giving some much-needed freedom at times.

AJ Grimm with her husband and four children all dressed in blue standing in the woods in autumnMy kids constantly have me laughing at their antics, their “jokes” and their contagious laughter. Yet at the same time, I love them so much that their challenges, disappointments and their sorrows make me cry. 

Stop trying so hard to impress everyone. As someone who has spent her life “people pleasing,” my younger self really could have benefitted from taking that to heart. 

“The reason we’re all here on this Earth, living this life, is to give love.”

I think the reason we’re all here on this Earth, living this life, is to give love. Not the sunshine and butterflies, happy-go-lucky love, but the real, deep, messy, sacrificial, selfless, complicated love that thinks of the other before self, that sees beyond our own narrow world view, that strives to leave this world a better place than how we found it. Love creates and fosters community, accompanies those in pain and sorrow, shares joys, leads to creativity, invention and growth. Love requires sacrifice and courage. This love models the love of the blessed trinity — communal, sacrificial and life giving. I’m not saying I’m good at it or have mastered it, but I think that’s why we’re here.

To any incoming UD freshman who is feeling scared, I would tell them it’s going to be OK. You’re going to find your people. You’re going to settle in. You’re going to love it — just give it time. 

My sister and I grew up together as best friends. She was my confidant, my shot of courage and my cheerleader. When I was in college, she became a Dominican sister and our relationship significantly changed, but we are still very close. She taught me the value in being vulnerable, the beauty of conviction and the joy that comes with letting go. She is still a source of wisdom, strength and guidance in my life. 

“Being able to return to in-person Mass has filled me with a renewed desire to grow closer to the Lord.”

COVID-19 changed so much in our world. It has reminded me that we are not in control. At first it made me feel helpless and floundering, but as I’ve continued to process it, I think it’s become very humbling and freeing in a lot of ways. There is less of this need to always have an answer and know what’s coming next. The pandemic has made me grateful for the simple, everyday routines I previously took for granted. It forced us to slow down. It has shown me how connected we are, in the sense that all of our actions and choices can impact others. The pandemic helped me realize how important my faith is to me. Being able to return to in-person Mass has filled me with a renewed desire to grow closer to the Lord. I’ve learned that my kids can suffer disappointment and come out stronger for it on the other side. I think we are going to continue to see the impact of this strange time on our world and our children for many years to come.


Edited by Jeaneen Parsons. Have a Flyer to suggest for Lessons Learned? Email magazine@udayton.edu.

Lessons Learned, Part 8