More Than an Education

Wed-to-wed stories are common at any college, and the University of Dayton is no exception. Our alumni community abounds with couples who trace their roots back to residence halls and porch hangouts — and who give back to the University that gave them so much. Two examples? The Toias and the Pettys.

Young Alums Finding Success — and Fostering It In Others

Adam and TaneshaTanesha '11 and Adam Petty '11 both had various options for law school, but ultimately chose the University of Dayton. Tanesha's choice hinged on the amount of scholarship money offered and the appeal of a two-year program. Adam was intrigued by these features as well and found himself hooked after a campus visit. "Once I visited, sat in on a class and met the people, I knew it was the place to be."

Their choice led them to educational experiences that launched noteworthy careers — and to each other. They met in 2009 at the University, became engaged soon after graduating in 2011 and married a year later.

Since graduation, the Pettys have established successful careers in the U.S. Army — Adam as a commissioned officer, working as a prosecuting attorney in the Judge Advocate General's Corps, and Tanesha as a civilian, working in the Office of Soldiers' Counsel. Adam was formerly stationed in Ft. Meade, Maryland, where he was deployed to Afghanistan for a year, serving as a defense attorney. Presently, he is stationed in Ft. Stewart, Georgia, where he and Tanesha both work.

The Pettys feel grateful for the education they received at the School of Law, as well as the experience they had on campus, which opened these career opportunities for them. Tanesha noted, "UD was good to us. The staff at the law school — they were so supportive. It was a very caring, nurturing environment."

Adam and TaneshaTheir gratitude prompted them to give back to the University in the form of an annually funded scholarship. "We felt like it was the right thing to do," Tanesha said. "We are in a position to do so thanks to everything that we were able to gain at UDSL."

Tanesha noted that an annually funded scholarship allows them to be impactful now. "We're doing well, but we're not at a point where we're ready to make an endowment. It allows us to be able to balance our financial situation with our desire to give."

Their scholarship provided support to School of Law graduate John McManus '16, who has already proven himself worthy of the award. During law school, he was an exemplary community leader, acquiring a seat on the Dayton Board of Education and on the board of directors of a Special Wish Foundation in Dayton, as well as serving as executive director of his own charitable organization, the Sunlight Project, which provides assistance to the elderly and people with disabilities.

Despite being in the workforce for a short time, the Pettys are striving to make giving back an important part of their lives. For both Adam and Tanesha, these values were instilled early. In regards to her roots, Tanesha explained, "My granddad is a Baptist preacher, and he would always quote the Scripture about 'to whom much is given, much is required,' and that absolutely stuck with me as I got older. When you have been given things and afforded opportunities, I think it's only right to put those things back into the universe."

Delivering an Impact for Decades — Together

Kathy and BobNot many marriages can credit their beginnings to a psychiatric hospital — unless you're Bob '69 and Kathy '70 Toia.

The University of Dayton alums met at the former Dayton State Hospital as Flyer students while staffing a recreation room for a service event. The chance meeting vaulted the pair to their walk down the aisle; they married soon after Kathy's graduation. Forty-six years later, the bond that took hold through the University is still thriving — as is their love of service work.

Over the years, the couple has supported community youth in a variety of ways, volunteering at area elementary schools and preschools and working with young children at Cox Arboretum. In addition, they babysit their young godsons on a regular basis and stay in touch with the students Kathy taught over the course of her 35-year teaching career. The couple regularly attends the high school and college graduations, weddings and baby christenings of Kathy's former students.

The couple is grateful for the University's role in bringing them together. "We owe so very, very much to UD. It was our home, our family and it continues to serve as a source of great pride for us as alums," Bob said. "It was where we were able to pursue our educational passions. It was where we found each other. When we see all the progress made with the expansion of campus, all while maintaining its Catholic and Marianist DNA, it is simply awe-inspiring."

Kathy and BobThe affinity that the Toias feel for the University, along with their quest to support youth, has translated into annual scholarship support. In addition, the couple has established an estate gift, which will eventually endow the scholarship, continuing the couple's impact indefinitely.

"Since we do not have children of our own, we decided to 'adopt' a student each semester by sponsoring an annually funded scholarship," Bob explained. "We wanted to get the ball rolling now rather than later, given that we hope to be around for several more years before the estate gift results in scholarships being granted."

Their current student is Katie Fasoli '17, a biology major who aspires to attend medical school after graduation. Beyond all that the scholarship provides financially, the Toias provide hands-on support as well. Fasoli said, "The Toias are two very inspirational people. They have quickly become my mentors and biggest fans. We are in constant communication through email, and we get lunch every so often to catch up."

Whether making a difference for decades or giving back early in their life's journey together, these Flyer wed-to-weds certainly set an example for all of us.

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Donor Relations

River Campus 5th Floor 
300 College Park  
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 7052

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