Friday March 16, 2007

A Heritage Worth Celebrating

The University of Dayton's new Heritage Center will be dedicated and blessed at 3 p.m. on Monday, March 19.

The University of Dayton's new Heritage Center will be dedicated and blessed at 3 p.m. on Monday, March 19, the 157th anniversary of the purchase of the land on which UD was built.

Located next to St. Mary Hall in a turn-of-the-century brick building that most recently housed the campus post office, the Heritage Center is filled with artifacts, photographs, narratives and multimedia displays. It gives visitors a firsthand look at UD's history and development since its founding in 1850, serves as a stopping point during campus tours for prospective students and sparks nostalgia among alumni returning to their alma mater.

Among the artifacts in the Heritage Center: the original bureau the Rev. Leo Meyer, S.M., used as an altar when he celebrated the Feast of St. Joseph on March 19, 1850, after purchasing the land on which UD was built.

The Heritage Center "shows that UD's history is part of a continuum, that the past is connected to the future. We owe it to ourselves as a University community to say that what we inherited is largely the product of many generations of good work before us," said Dick Ferguson, executive director of the Fitz Center for Leadership in Community and an aficionado and storyteller of UD's history. Ferguson wrote the history on large panels that trace the development of UD through war, social changes and evolving campus and student life through the decades.

A $200,000 gift from UD's National Alumni Association helped fund the Heritage Center. It is staffed by volunteers from the Golden Flyers, an organization of alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago, and retired faculty and staff.

Linda Berning, president-elect of the National Alumni Association, will emcee the program. The ceremony will include brief remarks by UD President Daniel J. Curran and Ferguson; a blessing by the Rev. Paul Marshall, S.M., rector; a ribbon cutting; and tours.

For a look at the Heritage Center, click here.