Wednesday May 3, 2006

Pomp, Circumstance, Fulbrights

The class of 2006 includes Fulbright Scholars and Ohio Regents fellows. Spring commencement is slated for Sunday, May 7, when the University of Dayton sends 1,550 newly minted graduates out into the world.

Fulbright awards will take two University of Dayton graduating seniors to Germany and Morocco next year, while Ohio Board of Regents Graduate and Professional Fellowships will ensure that two other UD graduates can continue their studies in Ohio. In all, UD will award degrees to 1,550 students at spring commencement at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 7, at the University of Dayton Arena.

Daniel J. Curran, University of Dayton president, and Steve Hileman, vice president of academic affairs for UD's Student Government Association, will offer remarks. The class of 2006 arrived at UD during Curran's first year as president and witnessed the completion of three major student facilities -- ArtStreet, Marianist Hall and RecPlex -- and UD's recognition as a top-tier national university.

"We've all shared the astonishing sense of community here at UD. This community was built by the love and passion students have for our institution," said Hileman, who's graduating with a bachelor's degree in operations management and has accepted a job as an account executive with Total Quality Logistics in Cincinnati.

Betsy Garnett has won a Fulbright teaching assistantship and will spend the next academic year helping to teach English at a high school in North Rhine-Westphalia in western Germany. Suzanne Valade's Fulbright grant will take her to the Arabic Language Institute of Fez, in Morocco, and then to Darna House in Tangier, which assists street children and helps women build literacy and marketable skills.

Garnett, who is graduating with a B.A. in German and a B.S. in foreign language education, has studied in Marburg, Germany, through UD's summer program, and in Munich during her junior year, through a program associated with Wayne State University.

"The bug gets inside you. I knew I wanted to go back to Germany," Garnett said. As a student-teacher of German at Kettering Fairmont High School this past semester, Garnett said she embeds cultural information into her lessons. Garnett, who is from Hilliard, Ohio, plans to teach German after her Fulbright year.

Valade, an international studies and French major, studied in Morocco in 2004 through UD's summer study abroad program and wrote her senior thesis on the reform of women's legal status in Morocco. "I liked the Moroccan culture, the music, the food and the way everyone is so warm," she said.

She hopes to improve her proficiency in Arabic and to use part of her year to produce oral histories of the people at Darna House. "Academically, I was surprised how quickly I took to the Arabic language. It just clicked with my brain," said Valade, who is from Farmington Hills, Mich., and is considering continuing Arabic studies in graduate school. She can envision a career as an interpreter, and noted with a laugh, "maybe the government will grab me."

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright Program is the largest U.S. international exchange program offering opportunities for students, scholars and professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching and teaching in elementary and secondary schools worldwide.

Two University of Dayton graduating seniors have been awarded Ohio Board of Regents Graduate and Professional Fellowships for achieving academic excellence in their undergraduate studies. The fellowships provide a $7,000 stipend toward two years of graduate or professional study at any Ohio post-graduate educational institution.

In the fall, Tiffany Richardson, an international studies major from Marion, Ohio, will begin law school at The Ohio State University Moritz School of Law. Habib Srour, a pre-med major from Centerville, will begin medical school at The Medical University of Ohio in Toledo.

Richardson, influenced by a summer immersion trip to Cameroon, plans to study international law. "When you see someone's rights violated, it makes you want to do something about it," she said.

Srour believes his undergraduate courses have prepared him well for the challenges of medical school, he said. "More than anything this shows that what I've done here at UD has made a difference," he said. "It is good to see that society rewards working hard and being diligent in your pursuits."

The Board of Regents began this program because talented students who complete graduate study in Ohio are more likely to remain in the state and contribute to the state's economic and social viability than those who leave the state to pursue graduate studies.

Contact Steve Hileman at (419) 733-1776; Betsy Garnett at (614) 406-3423; Suzanne Valade at (248) 553-9020; Habib Srour at (937) 885-9025; and Tiffany Richardson at (740) 360-4624. Headshots are available.