n Friday, Jan. 17, members of the university community gathered to celebrate the creation of the Sheumaker Rome Scholarship Endowment by Fanny (Baltazar) Sheumaker, BA ’88 MBA ’91, and Phil Sheumaker, BA ’90 MBA ’93. Their gift comes in the year that the university will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Rome Program. The university sent its first students to Rome in the fall of 1970 and will mark the anniversary with special programming at the Fall 2020 Alumni and Family Weekend.
President Thomas S. Hibbs, Ph.D., BA ’82 MA ’83, reflected on St. John Henry Newman’s trip to the Mediterranean, including Rome and Sicily, made with the idea of encountering the spaces about which he had been reading in books such as The Iliad, The Odyssey and The Divine Comedy. The trip was an occasion for Newman to think about the ways in which travel can provide an education that complements the reading of books.
“For Newman, the most important thing was that we not become mere tourists in our travels, that we not just fill our minds and imaginations with ideas and images without taking our bearings in relation to our own learning and in relation to the places we visit,” said Hibbs.
Alumni Endow Rome Scholarship,
t UD, we similarly use travel to complement books. Our students, like Newman, are not simply tourists; travel is a part of their curriculum and their education. Moreover, along with the formal education students receive while in Rome, they contemplate their futures and the ways in which this education can shape these futures.
“I think our vision for the Rome campus is certainly that students should fill their minds with texts and with ideas and images, but also that they should have occasion to think about and ponder their own callings, the way in which their education can form them as professionals, as citizens, as members of families and churches,” said Hibbs.
However, Hibbs acknowledged, there is a gap between what we want students to do and what they and their families are able to afford. This gap, unfortunately, is growing. That is why scholarships such as the one provided by the Sheumakers are so important.
“We're grateful to you as alumni of the university and for your commitment to our students and to the Rome Program, which allows us to underscore the importance of the Rome Program and the importance of our needed funding to make sure that students can go,” Hibbs told the Sheumakers before introducing Provost Jonathan J. Sanford, Ph.D.
“When I first came to UD as dean of Constantin College, I was amazed at the way in which the Rome Program is the core of the Core,” said Sanford, referring to how the university’s Core Curriculum culminates, for most undergraduates, in the Rome semester. Sanford went on to share remarks sent from Rome by Vice President, Dean and Director of the Rome Campus Peter Hatlie, Ph.D.
“In the world of Italian study abroad, some of the earliest and still best programs were Harvard and Syracuse in Florence, Johns Hopkins in Bologna, and Cornell, Temple and Loyola Chicago in Rome,” wrote Hatlie. “Running shoulder to shoulder with these pioneers was a young and ambitious university called the University of Dallas, which sent its first group of students to Rome in the fall of 1970 and remains one of the oldest, largest and most prominent study abroad programs anywhere.”
According to Hatlie, approximately 10,000 UD students and staff have participated in the Rome Program over the past 50 years.
“For a vast majority of these individuals, the Rome experience was eye-opening and transformative in personal, spiritual and career terms,” he said. “In addition, as hundreds of alumni have reported to me personally over the years, UD Rome was one of the most important events of their lives, shaping their very identity and outlook on the world.”
wo of these alumni are Fanny and Phil Sheumaker, who both went to Rome as UD undergraduates and were shaped by their experiences there. When the Sheumakers recently reviewed their charitable giving and sought to concentrate their efforts on specific organizations and causes, choosing UD as one focus was an easy decision; they each have two degrees from here and were married in the Church of the Incarnation on the Irving campus. Fanny Sheumaker is a 2018 Satish and Yasmin Gupta College of Business Hall of Fame inductee as well as a member of both the National Alumni Board and the Gupta College’s Women in Business Advisory Council.
The focus on Rome specifically was Fanny Sheumaker’s idea because of the deep impact her Rome semester had on the course of her life. She had planned to transfer from UD after Rome, but as it turned out, her experiences that semester made her want to stay at UD, which she did not only for the completion of her bachelor’s degree but also for an MBA.
“My husband, Phil, and I have been incredibly blessed since graduating from
UD. We believe that our UD education was instrumental to our career successes, and we want to give back to the school in some meaningful way. We have in the past and will continue in the future to participate in broad fundraising such as the Cor Challenge, but I wanted to support in particular the Rome Program,” said Fanny Sheumaker. “My semester in Rome was
one of the most incredible experiences of my life; I will forever love my group of
The Sheumakers went to Rome at different times but both had transformative experiences. Their daughters, who both attend other universities, have also had or will have study abroad experiences, but as Phil Sheumaker explained, UD’s Rome Program is unique.
“It's different where they're going to school than here at the University of Dallas,” he said. “At UD, you go to your campus with your friends, your classmates, your teachers. And it is your curriculum that is integrated into the experience; it is a continuation of your experience here in Irving. And that integration is very different from other places.”
The Sheumakers realize, however, that the additional cost of a semester in Rome is often prohibitive for some students.
“The reality is cost may prevent some students from participating in the Rome semester,” said Fanny Sheumaker. “Our aim was to establish a scholarship to help students who wanted to attend the Rome Program but might otherwise not be able to afford it.”
They want the deep value of their own experiences to extend to the lives of current and future UD students, enabling these students to someday share their own stories and adventures as Fall, Spring or Summer Romers.
“With this endowment, we want to help others who might not otherwise have that experience,” added Phil Sheumaker. “We wanted to see what we could do to try to make it more possible for more people. So hopefully this endowment can start things along those lines. And we'll see where it goes from here.”
“I’m grateful to Fanny and Phil for making the wonderful experiences they enjoyed in Rome possible for future generations of UD students,” said Jason Wu Trujillo, Vice President for University Advancement. “I’m especially pleased we are able to announce such a generous gift for Rome at the start of the Rome Program’s 50th anniversary year.”
To invest in any of our endowed scholarships, please visit our existing endowed scholarships page. To create your own endowed scholarship, please contact Kris Muñoz Vetter, Assistant Vice President for Development, at email@example.com or
Fanny and Phil Sheumaker with Provost Jonathan J. Sanford and President Thomas S. Hibbs
Due Santi, Italy
The Eugene Constantin Campus
UD's Roman home is situated in the locality of Due Santi, an area in which it is said Saints Peter and Paul stopped to rest on their way into the city.
Florence is the birthplace of Dante Alighieri, author (and narrator) of The Divine Comedy, which students read in Literary Tradition II.
The Divine Comedy
In Homer's Odyssey (read in Literary Tradition I), Odysseus must make his way back home to his kingdom in Ithaca; his wife, Penelope, and son, Telemachus, await him there.
In Homer's Iliad (read in Literary Tradition I), the Greeks (led by Achilles and Odysseus) journey to Troy to win Helen back from Paris and the Trojans in a decade-long war.
(1/24) The first group of UD students arrives in Rome in the fall of 1970.
(2/24) The School Sisters of Notre Dame’s Generalate House was the Rome Program’s first campus.
(3/24) Fall ’84 Romers get a special audience with Pope John Paul II.
(5/24) Romers visit Piazza Navona’s Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi in the 1980s.
(6/24) In 1989, Romers attend an audience with Pope John Paul II at his papal palace in Castel Gandolfo.
(7/24) Students harvest grapes in 1993 (a year before the dedication of the Due Santi campus).
(8/24) Spring ’94 Romers Dante Quercio, Dianna Carboni, Al Noble, Becky Marhelewicz and Lara Lambert capture the moment in Florence.
(9/24) Helen Lasseter, Jessica Stubblefield, Missy Simone, Alison Gower, Sybil Catherine Novinski and Matt Feldhaus celebrate the June 1994 dedication of the Eugene Constantin Campus.
(10/24) Fall ’00 Romers get into the spirit of the Greek Olympics.
(11/24) Rome assistants Luke Speier, Allie (Bird) Speier, Rachel Armour (now Nashville Dominican Sister John Thomas), Terry Landry and Christine Randazzo (now Madre Christine of the Society of the Sacred Heart in Florence) gather by the campus forno in fall 2001.
(12/24) Spring ’02 Romers pay close attention in class.
(13/24) Sometimes class takes place in the Roman Forum, and you can pretend to be a Roman of the past.
(15/24) 2018 Romers gather around the St. Francis statue across from St. John Lateran in Rome.
(14/24) Fall ’13 Romers squeeze in a "football" game as a storm rolls in.
(16/24) A 2018 Romer muses on ancient history in the Colosseum.
(17/24) It's a beautiful day in Athens for class at the Parthenon for spring ’18 Romers during their Greece trip.
(18/24) Spring ’18 Romers rejoice in the majesty of nature at Clovino Beach in Greece.
(19/24) Spring ’18 Romers keep the tradition of celebrating the Greek Olympics at the Circus Maximus in Rome.
(20/24) Spring ’19 Romers are mere feet — that is, meters — away from Pope Francis.
(21/24) Romers enjoy a traveling classroom.
(22/24) 2019 Romers visit Santa Pudenziana.
(23/24) Spring ’19 Romers race in Olympia, Greece, the site of the first Olympics.
(24/24) Romers also experience Mass in a variety of locations, such as on Mount Parnassus near Delphi, Greece.
University Celebrates 50 Years in Rome
(4/24) Fanny Sheumaker was a fall ’85 Romer; she is pictured here with her Rome class.
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