A back arrow

All Articles

My Flyer Family: It took a little convincing

My Flyer Family: It took a little convincing

Samuel Girouard ʼ14 July 08, 2022

UD wasn’t on the top of Samuel Girouard’s college list. But the 2014 graduate tells how the entropy of family and the Flyer Faithful led him — and so many Girouards — to Dayton. This personal essay is part of a series the University of Dayton Magazine is presenting online called My Flyer Family.

Back in the third grade, I remember my family and I eating Milano’s take-out on Humanities Plaza, a classic UD activity. We were on campus for my cousin Emily Girouard's ʼ15 first communion, and I got the complete UD experience by walking through campus and the neighborhoods, as well as Milano’s. 

A multi-generational family stands in front of a UD house.
The Girouard family

For my sister Claire Girouard ’15, this was the moment she knew she would continue a family tradition and go to UD. For me, it took a little more convincing.

UD was not at the top of my list of colleges, perhaps in a rebellious fashion. I knew my dad, Brian Girouard ’84, my uncle, Dave Girouard ’82, my aunt, Ruth Girouard ’82, and my cousin, Matt Girouard ’13, had all gone to UD, and I originally planned to break away and move in a new direction. 

Despite my interest in other schools, I could not escape UD’s grasp. My family would tell stories of their times at UD, and we frequently cheered the Flyers on in basketball. This would lead to an atypical college visit when I went to Villanova for an early action trip with my mom (who happens to be UD basketball’s biggest fan despite not being an alumna). I did the campus tour and their events but decided not to remain on campus the first night. 

What did I do instead? I drove to Atlantic City in the pouring rain to watch the Dayton Flyers play Xavier in the Atlantic 10 Tournament.

Needless to say, I still had an affinity for UD, despite my fruitless attempts to break away.

My family’s love for UD began in a similarly coincidental manner. UD was not the first choice either for my uncle Dave, who had his heart set on Notre Dame. He was not accepted into Notre Dame, so he went to UD. Despite a successful first year at UD, he re-applied and was accepted into Notre Dame for his upcoming sophomore year.

However, in a twist of fate, my uncle had a bleeding ulcer around finals week and had to be hospitalized. His mom came to visit, and the Marianists took wonderful care of her. They brought her to and from the hospital, made her dinner, and provided tremendous support. 

The Girouard family poses at an alumni event.
The Girouard family

My uncle’s friends also visited him and even wrote him letters, helping him realize how much he would miss UD if he left. He decided to stay, inspired my dad to go to UD, and the rest is history. He even met his wife Ruth, a fellow 82 graduate and daughter of Robert Fremgen ʼ51, after graduation.

Over three decades later, I, too, found myself in a hospital bed as a UD student. I was afflicted with appendicitis around Halloween of my freshman year. My aunt and uncle visited me right away, and I could not imagine being at another school, far away from home, where I would not have a family who could immediately support me through such a challenging and frightening time.

Parallel UD experiences is a recurring theme in my family. I lived in Founders Hall my freshman year, just like my cousins Danny Girouard ’19, Matt, my dad and my uncle. 

Flash forward to my senior year: the Dayton Flyers men’s basketball team made their Elite 8 run, one of my favorite memories from UD. As I watched the game with tons of friends at my house and celebrated in the streets until the early hours of the morning, I could not help but think of my dad, who also celebrated Dayton’s Elite 8 run as a senior exactly 30 years beforehand.

Dayton basketball will always be a source of happiness and wonderful memories for my family. We have gone to Orlando, Maui and many other places to cheer on the Flyers in tournaments, and we love all getting together to appreciate something so dear to our hearts. 

We have even started our own “alumni weekend” tradition, where my friends, family members, and even the families of our friends will stay on UD’s campus in February and go to a game together. We have amassed 30 to 40 people for this tradition and hope to continue it as long as possible.

It is traditions and memories like these that inspire me to continue to include UD into my life. The best aspect about my UD experience was the people I met and the supportive friends I made along the way.

I keep these friends close in my life, and I try to visit UD when I can and help fellow Flyers. As a double major in finance and marketing, I greatly appreciated the Davis Center because my real-world finance experience from UD helped to advance my career, and I am using that appreciation to give back to current Flyers. 

Wedding party holds up and poses with a Dayton Flyers flag.
The Girouard family at a family wedding.

Current UD students will reach out to me to find employment opportunities, help with interviews and résumés, and advice, just as I reached out to experienced UD alumni when I was a student. I have even advocated for intelligent and hardworking Flyers when they applied for jobs in the company I work for, so I support fellow Flyers to show my gratitude for the Flyers who helped me. 

This summer, my family will gather together once again at our lake cabin where we will have a sports-themed boat parade. Of course, our boat is going to be decked out in Flyer memorabilia to show our love for UD.

UD means the world to my family, and I am so proud to have made the decision to attend UD and hold such love in my heart. Even my wife Morgan has completely embraced UD’s culture. When I think of what the future holds, I think of my 1-year-old daughter, who will be able to choose her own path and maybe even further my family’s legacy of love.

Samuel Girouard ’14 is a private banker with J.P. Morgan who lives in Grayslake, Illinois. This story is reported as told to Rebecca Sutton ’25.

My Flyer Family: Let her eat cake