- College Connections Stories
Get to know Steve Neiheisel
When first meeting Steve Neiheisel, his warmth and compassion become clear instantaneously. He is the type of person who exudes kindness. Steve is a lecturer and the director of the Nonprofit and Community Leadership Graduate Certificate Program in the Department of Political Science. This means that Steve is, as he likes to say, "Educating young leaders to change their communities for the better." The kind of passion Steve has for nonprofit work is unparalleled.
Steve journeyed a unique path to UD and his current position. He began his pursuit of education at Xavier University in Cincinnati, earning a BA in Political Science as well as an MA in Business Administration. From XU Steve went on to earn a Ph.D. in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis. While at WU, he had the rare privilege of working with former Senator Thomas Eagleton. During this time of his life he was inspired by Eagleton to become a teacher and mentor. It was because of the "influence of such supportive teachers" that Steve decided his life pursuit would be education.
"I love teaching," Steve says, and "the best part is teaching students how to improve the lives of others" he adds with a wide grin. Before coming to the University of Dayton Steve worked at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. St. Mary's is a Marianist institution and is Dayton's sister school. Steve truly teaches the importance of making an impact on the world in a pluralistic way. Non-profit work has the unique ability to be both very diverse and extremely rewarding. He prides himself on helping students to affect change in the lives of others. Students that have taken his courses are involved in non-profit work across the country. Steve strives to be the best mentor that he can be and stays in contact with his students long after the lectures ends.
When he isn't teaching Steve volunteers with the Marianist Province of the United States as Chairman on their Sponsorship Commission. "With this work we are trying to enrich and enhance the present and future of the Marianist education system," Steve explains. Basically, he is part of a revolutionary step forward in the work of the Marianist mission to ensure that they will be a lasting organization in education. Steve works with a board of other lay and religious educators to continue the Marianist mission in places like the University of Dayton.
Steve is very close to his family and is glad to be here in Dayton. The move from Texas to Ohio was a happy one for this Cincinnatian. Both Steve and his wife Marge are from the Queen City and are pleased to be back in the Midwest. His wife Marge is an M.D. They have three children - their oldest daughter Jane is in medical school, their son Steve works with a non-profit to help at-risk youth, and their youngest daughter Emily is in high school with plans to attend school in San Francisco through ROTC. They have a dog named Oso and two cats, Leche and Nala.
He loves to walk and be outdoors, which is why he loves UD's beautiful campus. He does what he calls "Urban Hiking," which means he goes to new cities and explores by walking everywhere he can. In his classes he teaches the importance of urban communities being conducive to social gatherings. Steve loves to find public spaces in cities that have the feel of community. Another passion of his is collecting rare books. He is in possession of one of the most comprehensive libraries on Cincinnati history; he also has collections including topics such as, teaching, Catholic spirituality, and Presidential works (about and by).
Steve also loves to travel. He has spent time in Italy, Greece, France, and India, but his favorite travel destination is London. He used to teach a class called Benjamin Franklin's London, in which he lectured and led walking tours through the city. He loves London because "it is so book friendly." If money were no object and time were no limit, Steve says he would go back to India and really explore. "India is an overwhelming country full of culture, color, sound, smells, and experience, I never could have seen it all," he says with a far off look. Steve seems to have a knack for exploration, which may explain why he finds Walden by Thoreau to be so inspirational.
Steve is an enthusiastic, funny, compassionate, well-read individual. He works hard and he says that, "I would consider my life to be meaningful if I am remembered as a great teacher and mentor." He aims to show compassion and support to everyone he meets and he advises anyone in doubt to "listen to your instinct, follow your heart, and pray for answers, because you will only be happy when you do what you are meant to do." This is the strong compassion that he shows to everyone, which is why the University of Dayton is pleased to have Steven Neiheisel by our side.