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University of Dayton: Student Life

A Brief History of Student Life

From simple Marianist farm to the vibrant modern campus, student life at the University of Dayton has always remained a core focus.  Starting in the early years of the school, the students, though few in number, kept busy maintaining the farm alongside the Marianist brothers raising livestock, plowing, and harvesting wood.  As the school grew, so too did the desire for more diverse pasttimes, and within twenty-five years, a large Play House was built to accomodate student activities.  The first student publication, the Exponent, began as a literary magazine in 1902, and evolved into a newspaper.  The World Wars brought changes to campus life, and the students of those eras formed more organizations and activities, taking more active roles in campus and community life.  Dances, shows, religious ceremonies, and many other events became a staple of college life, some fading, more emerging, producing the modern University of Dayton student life.  Today, students are involved in fraternities, sororities, honor socities, club sports, and professional societies, as well as media, special interest, academic and service clubs. 

For more information...

Visit the University of Dayton Archives to gain access to information on

  • Office of Special Programs (new student orientation progams, freshman guides, campus orientation report, orientation news, President's Welcome Mass and Convocation, Blue Crew, Family Weekend, Parents Weekend and Green Book, Parents Survival Handbook, and Family Guidebook)
  • Commencement (including correspondence, awards and honors, speeches, lists of graduates, and commencement programs dating back to 1898) 
  • University Arts Series
  • Student rosters (1851-1950; various rosters, 1851-1917, 1919-1944, 1954-1999. The collection includes handwritten lists of students, student accounts, and lists of students leaving for vacations)
  • Delta Sigma Pi
  • Phi Alpha Theta Honors Society
  • Video including: Ellie Wiesel Speech at UD, Distinguishing Speaker Series, and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Event
  • photographs


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