Community leader, humanitarian, and former University of Dayton president Brother Raymond Fitz, S.M., will be inducted into the Dayton Walk of Fame with six other honorees at a luncheon on Sept. 20.
“I believe the Walk of Fame honor is in recognition of the work I have done to help the greater Dayton community to address issues of injustice, especially those that have an impact on children and families,” Fitz said.
Fitz served as the president of UD from 1979 to 2002, making him the longest-serving president in UD’s history and one of the Dayton region’s most respected leaders.
“When I look back over my time as president, I feel the most satisfaction in the way the campus community worked together to realize our vision of being a national leader in Catholic higher education,” Fitz said. “We were able to work across the boundaries of the different units of the university to create an education experience for students that was exciting and incorporated important themes of Catholic and Marianist education.”
Some of Fitz’s accomplishments at UD include quadrupling the annual operating budget, growing the university’s endowment value, doubling university sponsored research, improving the technical infrastructure and creating the innovative humanities-based general education curriculum, among other accomplishments, according to current university president Daniel Curran.
“He is beloved on campus and in the Dayton community,” Teri Rizvi, the associate vice president for university communications, said. “He’s pragmatic, compassionate, humble and tenacious, which are all traits that served the University of Dayton well during his presidency.”
The influence of Fitz’s leadership was not limited to his role as UD’s president, but is extended to his work then and now with the local Dayton community. He works to address issues such as child protection, urban education reform and neighborhood redevelopment, according to Curran.
For the past ten years, Fitz has been the Fr. Ferree Professor of Social Justice. This role includes helping students and faculty to advance urban justice, especially from a Catholic social justice perspective. He also helps faculty integrate the Catholic social tradition into all aspects of the undergraduate and graduate curriculum.
“In the urban justice front, I have been teaching undergraduate courses that get students involved in the issues of urban justice, and on the Catholic social teaching front, I have been organizing faculty seminars,” Fitz said.
Carol Sampson, the director of community development at Wright Dunbar Inc., said the company hosts the Dayton Walk of Fame Program annually. She said this organization is the catalyst and facilitator for urban community and economic revitalization of the historic Wright-Dunbar District and the West Third Street corridor. The Walk of Fame is located on the sidewalks in this area.
The independent selection committee chooses honorees based on factors such as the content of the nomination, the impact and contribution of the candidate, other information about the candidate, date of the nominee’s submission and eligibility, and the balance of considered candidates, according to Sampson.
“Improving the plight of children and families in our community has involved the collaboration of so many generous and dedicated people; I was very surprised and humbled by the recognition,” Fitz said.
For more information about the Dayton Walk of Fame induction, contact Teri Rizvi at 937-229-3241.