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Why we soar: Choosing community

Why we soar: Choosing community

Debbie Juniewicz ’90 June 07, 2024

From prospective student to alumna and recruiter to donor, one word connects the many University of Dayton roles embodied by Peg Rzetelny Hambrick ’70.

Peg Hambrick stands in a green garden
Peg Rzetelny Hambrick ’70

“The word that keeps coming to mind when I think of choosing UD, working at UD and supporting UD is ‘community,’” Hambrick said. “My husband Don and my non-UD friends are amazed at the bond UD alumni have. If we run into people who are UD alums — whether Class of 1970 or 2007 or 2023 — we greet each other as family. As one of my friends said, ‘UD alums are everywhere.’”

It’s a bond that’s foundational to the Hambricks’ decision to support UD’s We Soar campaign through a gift to benefit current and future students.

Her connection to UD began in 1965 when a then-junior from Elyria (Ohio) Catholic High School first stepped foot on campus in search of a university to continue her education.

“The number of Catholic co-ed universities was accelerating in the late sixties, so I had some choices, but as soon as I visited UD, I knew it was ‘the one,’” Hambrick said. “I recall my tour guide saying ‘hi’ and waving to many of her classmates as we looked around campus, and I was thinking, ‘people are connected here.’”

Hambrick’s connection didn’t end when she earned her bachelor’s degree in secondary education in August 1970 — in fact, just the opposite. While she was applying for teaching jobs in and around the Washington, D.C., area, an unexpected opportunity arose.

“As one of my friends said, ‘UD alums are everywhere.’”

“The provost, Father Charles Lee, and the director of admissions, Brother Ralph Mravintz, devised a student recruitment strategy which included hiring additional full-time admission recruiters,” she said. “I was hired as one of the recruiters, and my assignment was to recruit at community colleges east of the Mississippi.”

Hambrick logged 60,000 miles each year, traveling from city to city recruiting associate degree graduates to transfer to UD for a bachelor’s degree.

“Selling UD wasn’t hard for me, it’s such a great university,” Hambrick said.

As Hambrick’s career developed, she left UD but joined organizations that brought her back to campus to recruit students for graduate programs and other professional positions. She also volunteered on reunion committees and served on the business school’s advisory council.  

“I may have left UD, but it never left me,” she said.

“I may have left UD, but it never left me.”

Hambrick, who went on to earn a master’s degree in public administration, was intrigued by the DC Flyers Program when she and her husband were introduced to the summer internship program by former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, now a distinguished research associate at the University.

“I have been active in local government issues and worked for profit and not-for-profit organizations,” she said. “My husband is a management professor, and we have been around college campuses for 50-plus years. Management, public policy and college students are part of our DNA.”

Hambrick and her husband — who she considers an honorary Flyer — chose to support the program that enables students to explore careers in Washington, D.C., through summer internships and experiential learning opportunities.

“Governing a diverse nation like ours takes a lot of skills including acumen, which comes with exposure to real-life experiences,” Hambrick said. “We want the best and the brightest to have an opportunity to gain those experiences and become our future leaders.”  

photo courtesy Peg Hambrick

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