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Faith-Infused Lives

Cole Hepp ’20 grew up in a loving household that wasn’t very religious, but he always felt a calling. “Since a young age, I’ve been looking for a way to fulfill and give of myself,” Hepp said.

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In seventh grade, an open house at a Catholic high school in Noblesville, Indiana, put him on the right path. “I really felt like I belonged … that smaller community where people care about each other was something I wanted to be a part of.”

He sought out a similar environment for college — and found it at the University of Dayton. Since arriving, he has grown in his faith, converting to Catholicism and becoming involved in Campus Ministry.

“Campus Ministry has provided me a means to explore my identity and a home where I know I can always go, but it also sends me out and informs my goals and future aspirations,” Hepp explained. Majoring in education, he hopes to teach and minister in a high school after further studies in theology or pastoral ministry.

Campus Ministry has provided me a means to explore my identity and a home where I know I can always go, but it also sends me out and informs my goals and future aspirations.

Cole Hepp ’20

Rooted in Your Generosity

This year, Hepp had ample opportunities to deepen his faith, thanks to the Ruth Wagner Ipavec Campus Ministry Endowed Fund, established with a gift from the Clarkes — a family with newfound, but strong, ties to UD: four siblings have enrolled at UD within the last three years.

Their generosity directly impacts students through programs like the new peer discipleship ministry program within Residence Life Ministry. In the program, students train to guide fellow students in their faith. Hepp received the training and now mentors Garrett Paulson ’21.

Through daily prayers with designated Scripture readings, Hepp and Paulson deepen their relationship with Christ. Then, once a week, they discuss the readings. “We have lunch or dinner, or maybe just go on a bike ride or hang out,” Hepp said. “We always tie it back to the readings.”

Hepp hopes the program grows. “It’s a cool way to take a friendship you’ve developed outside of Campus Ministry and have real conversations about faith and how it plays into our lives,” he said. “It’s something a lot of students would enjoy — just a great way to stay rooted in faith.”

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