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We are Students First

Over the course of the year, donors contributed to a wide range of student-focused programs and activities. Such giving provides students with countless paths for growth and shows that our alumni and friends put students first.

Targeted Gifts

When donors set up a scholarship or award, they can tailor the gift to their interests, sharing a passion with like-minded students. Such targeted gifts allow students to hone in on a specific career path while still at the University. One example is the Lowell and Mary Catherine (Cay) Shea Hellervik Undergraduate Research Award.

Cay HellervikCay Hellervik ’64 worked with juvenile offenders for 15 years, serving as director of the program for the most serious male offenders at the Hennepin County Home School in Minneapolis. During the beginning of her time as director, she grew frustrated in the position, but then discovered and applied a cognitive behavioral “errors in thinking” approach that proved very effective for helping juvenile offenders.

This experience prompted Hellervik and her husband Lowell to support student research in juvenile justice. Their undergraduate research award is annually gifted to four students whose projects focus on subjects such as cognitive behavioral therapy approaches and the value of restitution projects for juvenile offenders. Hellervik also takes an active role with the award, meeting with recipients to discuss both their research projects and the insight she gained from her own work with juvenile offenders.

Caitlin FerrisAward recipient Caitlin Ferris ’15 explained the impact of the award on her educational experience: “When I applied for this award, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life after I graduated. Through the research, internship and work that went into the project, I realized I wanted to work with juveniles and find new ways to help them turn their lives around.”

She also noted the impact of Hellervik’s hands-on approach to the award. “I had someone besides my adviser who believed in the work I wanted to do and really cared about what I was looking into. To experience that sense of community coming directly from a donor really makes you feel like you are a part of a much bigger picture; you know there are alumni out there who care about the students as well as the development of the University.”

More than Recreation

The University is home to more than 240 recognized student organizations, which cover the gamut of student interests. Donor support fuels many of these organizations, providing students with opportunities to pursue their interests while connecting with other students and enriching their experience at the University.

One such organization is the University of Dayton lacrosse team. The club team carries a tradition of success, including the title of reigning Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association Division II champions and a recent No. 1 national ranking in Division II.

How did they get so successful? Team president and offensive midfielder Tyler Mikolajewski ’15, ’16 credits their team cohesiveness and strong alumni support and involvement. He said, “The lacrosse team truly embodies the definition of the word ‘team.’ We were totally selfless; we didn’t care who scored or who did what. Everyone played an integral part in our success.”

Lacrosse TeamIn regards to alumni support, Mikolajewski said, “We have a strong alumni group that really supports us, and we still consider them part of our team. Alumni have taught us so much and have laid the foundation and brought us to this point. As an insight into how much they mean to us, every year we host an alumni vs. current team game, which is the first game of the season. Each year, 55 to 65 alumni come out.”

Such hands-on support is vital to the lacrosse team’s success — as is financial support. Fees to play can run high with the team traveling to tournaments all over the country. And if the team makes it to the national tournament, the cost per player increases by $500 to $600, not including travel expenses.

Helping students with these costs is vital because club sports and other student organizations are much more than recreational activities to students. “When you hear ‘club,’ you think of people who don’t try hard and who are just out there to have fun, but this is quite the contrary at UD. Our teams put in so much effort, and for lacrosse we play the best competition we can. We don’t practice or lift as much as varsity programs, but the same effort and heart is there, trust me,” Mikolajewski said.

Mikolajewski’s words show the passion students develop for these organizations — and just how important it is for us to put students’ interests first.


Donor Relations

Daniel J. Curran Place 5th Floor 
300 College Park  
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 7052