2016 Impact Report

    An Unexpected Path — and a Big Impact

    At the University of Dayton, our Catholic, Marianist spirit transcends the classroom and extends into all facets of the institution. Why? How? Faculty and staff who truly want to make a difference in our students’ lives — and in our world.

    Binod Kumar has been a part of the University community since 1980, when he joined UDRI as a senior research engineer. During the ensuing years, Kumar proved himself to be a notable hire, initiating and developing multiple contracts, and writing more than 100 research publications and 15 patents. Binod KumarIn 2014, Kumar retired from UDRI, but not before finding another path at the University — a path that took shape long before his retirement, with a trip to his home in India.

    In 2002, Kumar visited his family in northeast India near the Nepal border. During his stay, he noticed the extreme amount of violence terrorizing the area; kidnapping, rape and murder were commonplace. Almost by fate, Kumar’s visit included a trip to the nearby remnants of an ancient civilization, a place where the philosophy of nonviolence began.

    “Nonviolence began here?” Kumar found himself wondering. “It’s so violent right now. What happened?” These thoughts stuck with Kumar long after his return to Dayton, fueling a desire to explore the roots of this sort of violence and how to foster nonviolence in its place. And so Kumar sought to fund a research and educational program to address these issues. Kumar said, “My initial thought was to fund a program in India, but I realized that the corruption over there was so entrenched that whatever money I gave to them would not be spent in a proper way.”

    Then a way forward came to light. “There was a luncheon at Kennedy Union, and I was sitting at a table with Brother Ray [Fitz] and a few others, discussing my interest in nonviolence. Brother Ray listened and said, ‘Why don’t you do it here, at the University of Dayton?’ And that’s how it began.”

    His quest began in 2005, with the creation of an endowment to fund nonviolence education at the University. The fund brought in various speakers over the years, namely scholars and practitioners devoted to promoting nonviolence. Kumar was lightly involved, but given his work at UDRI, he did not have much time to offer. All of that changed upon his retirement.

    In summer 2014, Kumar devoted his time in support of the endowment’s work — which eventually led to much more. He now serves as a human rights fellow at the University’s Human Rights Center, which is home to the endowment. StudentsKumar developed a curriculum for a nonviolence course that he currently teaches, continues to bring in distinguished speakers and launches other initiatives aimed at conveying the value of nonviolence in relation to human rights campaigns.

    As Kumar explained, “If we want to protect human rights, we need to understand what is at the root of given instances of violence and then what can be done to foster nonviolence. Education is the most important part of it. That’s what I’m thinking about; that’s what I’m working on every day.”

    And what he’s working on — and investing in — changes the way students see the world, encouraging them to embrace a philosophy of nonviolence as a means to achieve social change. Student Catherine Sulecki ‘17 took Kumar’s nonviolence class on a whim and found it to be one of her favorite classes.

    She said, “I’m studying political science, so I was really amazed when we studied the differences between nonviolent and violent protests against governments. It was clear that nonviolent actions were more successful and beneficial to society as a whole. This was something that I had never really thought about studying, but once I gained this knowledge I found myself applying it to most of my political science classes.”

    Changing the mindset of students like Sulecki — and working toward fostering a more peaceful world — is all in a day’s work for Kumar. It’s just one inspiring story among many in the workplace community at the University of Dayton.

    2017 Impact Stories

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    • Message from Dr. Spinaspina_200x180.jpgA message to alumni, parents and friends from Eric F. Spina.
    • Impact of Endowed Fundsimpact-student_280x290.jpgThe University of Dayton endowment creates a base of perpetual support for the mission of the University.
    • The Most Meaningful Impactmeaningful-court.jpgAt the University of Dayton, a gift's impact often goes far beyond bricks and mortar.
    • Answering Curran's Call to Actioncurran-call-main_400x375.jpgDaniel Curran imprinted his bold vision on every University program and initiative, including a signature program of his legacy, the Human Rights Center.
    • A Valuable Partnership Supporting a Growing Needpartnership-main.jpgFor decades, the University of Dayton has been at the forefront of advanced research and technology.
    • Giving Coaches What They Need to Succeedcoaches-main_350x285.jpgAll athletic programs rely upon the quality of their facilities to attract top talent and compete on a national level.
    • More Than an Educationmore-main-adam-tanesha.jpgWed-to-wed stories are common at any college, and the University of Dayton is no exception. Two examples? The Toias and the Pettys.
    • The Gift That Gives Backgives-main_400x346.jpgGifts of all kinds change lives at the University of Dayton, including gifts of time.
    • A New Home for a Vital Campus Programhome-main-520x505.jpgAlmost a quarter century ago, University of Dayton Emergency Medical Services took shape, and it has evolved into a vital - and life-saving - campus presence.
    • An Unexpected Path - and a Big Impactpath-main-300x300.jpgAt the University of Dayton, our Catholic, Marianist spirit extends into all facets of the institution.
    Preview the article here by hovering over the article title in the list
    A message to alumni, parents and friends from Eric F. Spina.


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