Christian Service Award

Christian Service Award

For Living Out the Marianist Ideals in Today's Society

The Christian Service Award is presented to alumni of the University whose life’s work best reflects the unique quality of service and sacrifice to others, consistent with the Marianist’s identity of the University of Dayton.

It is given to alumni who have devoted their life in service to others, who affirms the fullness and complexity of human existence, who appreciates social justice and who brings about changes that make it more possible to live the Marianist ideal in contemporary society.

This award celebrates the rare alumnus whose life is devoted to extraordinary self sacrifice for the benefit of others. To be eligible a person must be a graduate of the University of Dayton with an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree. The Alumni Board anticipates that this award will only be given when, from the pool of nominations for alumni awards, an individual clearly meets the criteria for the award. Unless there is a compelling reason to warrant an exception, only one award will be presented in any given year.

Ruth Beckman ’57

Associate Degree, Executive Secretarial Studies

A Tireless Fighter for the Poor in Columbus, Ruth Beckman ’57

A Tireless Fighter for the Poor in Columbus, Ruth Beckman ’57

As a teenager, Ruth Wyen Beckman survived a devastating accident when the car in which she was a passenger got hit by a train. She survived, though her friend did not.

“It was a life-changing moment,” she said. “I knew I had so much to be thankful for and I was looking forward to finding ways to be grateful and give back in some way.”

And given back she has.

For 34 years, Beckman served as director of the Joint Organization for Inner-City Needs, a nonprofit organization funded by the diocese of Columbus (Ohio), the city of Columbus and from donations. The organization provides assistance for the homeless or poor.

Assistance includes food, clothing, rent, utility payments, medicine and travel funds, plus help providing a proper funeral and burial to the homeless.

It was eye-opening, Beckman said, to discover that many of the poor and homeless do not have birth certificates or family to look after their affairs. Beckman said all humans deserve respect for their basic needs.

“We can’t judge people or anyone. Look into someone’s eyes, listen to their heart and don’t judge. It’s about love, respect and the care you give someone,” Beckman said.

During her time as director, the organization grew from serving three clients a day to routinely serving more than 100 clients a day.

“You must find the good in everyone,” she said. “What you get out of it is so much more than what you actually give.”

Past Recipients

Toni Prasnikar Moore, PH.D. '68, '87, '99
Michael Schulz '07
Tony J. Brunswick '97
Sr. Constance J. Clark '66, '68
Blane Collison '84
Peter W. Daino, S.M. '81
Paul M. Engle '43
Daniel R. Fiehrer, D.D.S. '62
Theresa Flores '07
Barbara J. Fraser '78
The Rev. J.D. Grigsby Jr. '73
Timothy M. Harris '79
Christina Herold Hill '68
William J. Hoben '50
Philip C. Hoelle, S.M. '33
Laura Jean Libertore '83
William Lorenz '84
Richard McBride '57
Catherine Mary O'Brien '84
Claire Tierney Pfleger '78
Richard J. Pfleger '77
Timothy F. Phillips, S.M. '69
Bill Ricco '58
Maria L. Scharfenberger '86
Michael Schulz '07
John M. Spellman '65
Sr. Rosemary Wach S.N.D. '58
Sr. Rose H. Wildenhaus, C.P.P.S. '65
Denise Zaccardi '70


University Advancement

Daniel J. Curran Place
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 7055
About Us