Thursday August 21, 2008

Campus Report Aug 21, 2008

The largest first-year class in four decades was welcomed by President Daniel J. Curran during new-student orientation.

Be adaptable. Accept surprises. Ask big questions. Give back.

With those words, President Daniel J. Curran welcomed and inspired the largest first-year class in four decades with advice, anecdotes and reassurance during new-student orientation Aug. 16.

"I'm sure many of you have heard the story of university orientations where a president or dean stands up and says, 'Students, I want you to look at the student on your right and the student to your left. One of you won't be here when you graduate.' That's not the case at UD," he said, giving the crowd a phone number — 1-800-UDPRIDE — to call "if you can't find the right office, if your child is down."

"We don't want students to be isolated," he said. "We don't want parents to feel they're not getting an answer."

To laughs, he recounted how he changed his college major from finance to sociology, telling parents not to be surprised if today's choice of a major changes.

"I was a first-generation college student, and my parents had certain expectations," he said. "I remember my parents' expression to this day. It was somewhere between a face of panic and pain. 'What is sociology? Can you get a job?' A relative came up to be and said, 'You're training to be a socialist?'"

In a global economy, it's important for students to study abroad, he said — from Cameroon to Tibet.

"This is the reality, no matter what major you choose," he said. "We have students go all over the world."

Curran offered a short history of the Marianists, the religious order that founded UD more than 150 years ago with faith, an uncanny ability to "read the signs of the times" and an emphasis on community building.

"The University of Dayton is known as a warm, open and accepting community. You probably realized this the first time you stepped on campus," he said. "A lot of people think community is something that you walk into. You are absorbed by the community. You simply become part of it. That's simply not the case. To have a great community, you have to work at it. ... We want you to challenge us. We want you to have passion. We want you to ask the big questions.

"We don't want you to be passive," he said. "That's not being a UD Flyer."

A UD education is more than a college degree, he told them: "Don't forget Part Two. You have to give back to society. A college education is something precious. It's something you should not hold to yourself. You have to give back. You have to help society.

"That is at the heart of our Marianist charism."

— Teri Rizvi