Sharon Davis Howard ’78 grew up in West Dayton, one of five children. As a young African American girl, she heard the University of Dayton’s perception amongst those in her community — that UD was not open to her. But Howard knew better. Her father, Prince Davis Jr. ’53, a music education graduate, encouraged her that there was a place for her in the UD community.
"He was the face of UD to me," she said. "Because my dad was an educator, education was always valued in our household.”
In April, the University announced Howard as president-elect of the UD Alumni Association. During the next two years, Howard will be working to connect with alumni as they transition from students to active members of the alumni community. She said she felt this role was something she was "supposed to do" because of all UD has given her.
Following in her father’s footsteps, she chose to attend Dayton, majoring in communication and becoming a Flyer cheerleader. Throughout her career in television and communications, she has committed herself to nonprofits she believes in. UD is no exception.
Howard said she has watched as each University of Dayton president has made UD a place that is welcome to everyone. "That’s why I continue to serve UD," she said.
As president-elect, she said she hopes to work on welcoming alumni from diverse backgrounds to the table, especially Black alumni who she is passionate about engaging with more.
Howard said UD has a specific legacy associated with it that doesn’t necessarily involve alumni of color historically. "I want to reach those alumni who don’t fall into that bucket," she said. "I’ve said service is the price you pay for the space you occupy. These groups want to be engaged, and I want to work to make that happen."