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11 moments that made UD what it is today

11 moments that made UD what it is today

Staff April 18, 2023

From a school for boys, the University of Dayton has grown into an educational powerhouse where students build community and the city cheers on basketball. 

Father Leo Meyer1 – March 19, 1850 
Marianist Father Leo Meyer purchases land that will become the University of Dayton with a St. Joseph medal and a promise to pay $12,000 to the landowner. John Stuart, whose infant daughter had died in a cholera outbreak, and his family wanted to return to Europe. 


St Mary's Hall2 – 1870 
St. Mary’s Hall is built. At five stories, it is the largest building in Dayton and earns the nickname “Zehler’s Folly” for the school’s president, Father Maxim Zehler, S.M. In 1973, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 



Sign saying "University of Dayton Established 1850" behind a bed of tulips

3 – Sept. 7, 1920 

St. Mary’s College changes its name to the University of Dayton. 




4 – 1935 
With the opening of the Women’s College, UD becomes one of the nation’s first Catholic universities to admit women on an equal basis with men. 


5 – 1949 
UD’s first sponsored research project — $10,200 to analyze data on aircraft wear and tear — leads to the creation of the UD Research Institute. The University now brings in nearly $200 million in sponsored research annually. 


6 – 1950s 
The University first purchases a home in the neighborhood adjacent to campus. Today, UD’s intentional learning-living neighborhoods include 420 University-owned houses. 



sp23_pt_king.jpg7 – Nov. 29, 1964 
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at the University of Dayton Fieldhouse. In 2016, UD dedicates a monument to King’s visit, signifying that civil rights is a daily movement. 



basketball players8 – March 18, 1967 
The Flyer men’s basketball team wins its first-ever spot in the NCAA Final Four by overcoming a 10-point deficit late in the second half to beat the Virginia Tech Hokies 71-66 in overtime. After the game, UD Director of Athletics Tom Frericks ’53 is reported to have said, “We just built an arena tonight.” The 1967 Flyers went on to the NCAA championship game, a 79-64 loss to Lew Alcindor and UCLA. Construction of UD Arena begins in November 1968. 


Brother Raymond L. Fitz9 – May 18, 1978 
Brother Raymond L. Fitz, S.M. ’64, is named the 17th president of the University of Dayton. He serves 23 years, longer than any other president. 




NCR building with flags out front10 – June 13, 2005 
UD purchases 50 acres from NCR Corp. A second purchase in 2009 that includes the former NCR headquarters connects the core of campus to the Great Miami River and opens opportunities for expansion in the arts, education, health sciences, athletics, research and industry partnerships. 


11 – Aug. 23, 2021 
Classes start at The Hub in the Dayton Arcade, positioning UD as an anchor institution in downtown Dayton revitalization and a leader in educational innovation. 

All cheers