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In the proud Dayton tradition… nepotism explains a lot

In the long stream of comments demanding the exorcism of the V from the new UD logo, a hint of how a Philly firm continues to do work for the University of Dayton. Turns out that UD, or should I say, VD, president Dan Curran has gotten his son hired by the fine folks at 160 over 90.

Photo of Aidan Curran, son of UD President Dan Curran [1]

Aidan Curran, son of UD President Dan Curran

Aidan Curran
Associate Producer at 160over90

Greater Philadelphia Area Marketing and Advertising

Cox Media Group Ohio

University of Dayton

– Present (3 months)Greater Philadelphia Area

Assist the Executive Producer and Producer when helping clients with brand concepts, casting for film, casting voice-over talent for radio use, video/music licensing, project cost breakdowns and location scouting. Clients I have been on projects for include: Philadelphia Eagles, University of Florida, AAA, Under Armour, Park University, Chesnut Hill College, Wilkes University, Temple University

via Aidan Curran | LinkedIn [2].

This is the same kind of BS that got us the very expensive “Get Midwest” dud campaign, when the Dayton Development Coalition hired our congressman’s wife to do the marketing on a no-bid contract.

Or how Dan Foley, son of a judge, gets to be a county commissioner. Or how Frances McGee-Cromartie, daughter of a former Dayton mayor, gets to be a judge and her husband gets to be the head of building inspection. It’s how we have 3 generations of Ritchies in the Dayton Waste Department- even if one can’t hold a driver’s license. It’s how Rhine McLin got to be a state rep- then mayor and now sits on the Board of Elections getting paid $20K a year for 2 meetings a month. It’s how Nan Whaley got on the Board of Elections for a short stint at age twenty-something. It’s how Phil Plummer got to be sheriff and Dave Vore before him, and Steve Dankof got to be a judge. It’s how Mike Ervin’s daughter got a job in the City Planning department despite cutbacks, and how Russ Joseph got his brother elected to the city commission. It’s how a recovering alcoholic  a concert promoter with zero experience got to throw a music festival, with the city’s support, and walked away from a pile of bills. It’s how UD gives GE a sweetheart deal and the Dayton Public Schools don’t get to collect taxes. It’s how Bev King in the Board of Elections got her rapist brother hired, and the list goes on, and I’m just getting started…

Somehow, people in power in Dayton think it’s their god-given right to take care of their friends and family first instead of their duties to represent the community.

Other than for the obvious reason, Brother Ray Fitz would have never, ever, let there be a hint of nepotism happen under his watch.

To be fair, 160 over 90 has for some odd reason been UD’s “agency of record” for the last 6 years. The first I’d heard of them was last year when they came up with the lame bicycle giveaway [3]. Instead of investing in a campus bike share system to tie into the upcoming City of Dayton bike share- the brilliant minds from Philly thought that giving away $600 bicycles to students about to spend about $45K a year was a great marketing idea. Of course, banks used to give away toasters to people who opened new accounts. It’s also been claimed that the VD logo has been in process for 18 months, and is being paid for by alumni. No one has identified the alumnus or the contract amount. This project started before kid Curran got the new gig.

The alumni have been flooding the school in protest ever since the new logo hit the Interwebs. In a short conversation with Eric Rickabaugh today, who designed the last hated logo, which almost everyone now prefers to the new VD logo- he said that UD had large committees to appease then, and he was early in his career of doing university rebrands. Now, he knows how to avoid these kinds of uprisings, by involving stakeholders in the process. He’s mildly amused by the circus around the new mark. Other schools are having much more fun with it. If the administration needs any better reason why to ditch this mark faster, from the Xavier boards [4] came this gem:

A T-shirt design from the Xavier fan site mocking the new UD logo [5]

Is a Catholic University ready for years of this kind of abuse over a logo?

The Dayton Business Journal ran another one of their unscientific surveys on the new logo [6]: where over 80% dislike it so far, and another 10% don’t know yet- with 460 votes so far (which is high for them, unless it’s one of their “best of” polls which are routinely gamed)

Even the Flyer News ran a letter severely criticizing the new mark [7], the process and questioning why a Philly agency got the nod.

On the official UD Facebook page, there is now a comment suggesting that the university is reconsidering the mark. However when the President’s son is part of the equation, people will be stepping very carefully around this live hand grenade.

The passion of the Flyer Faithful is truly overwhelming. We have heard and read all of your comments and emails about the new athletics logo. Today, athletics is continuing to answer phone calls and emails, and hopes to respond as quickly as possible. Because of the volume of Facebook comments, not everyone will be personally addressed.

via University of Dayton [8].

And while the comments and reviews of the agency on Facebook posted by incensed alumni, ultimately, the university presented what the university picked and approved.

The question is will anyone get fired over this design debacle? And how long will UD let this circus continue over a badly designed logo?


09:30 22 July- just realized that 160 over 90 self published a book “Three and a Tree”- “How to Take Down Bad University Marketing One Cliché at a Time” – or in this case “How to take down a university with bad marketing one VD logo at a time.”

If’s for sale on Amazon [9]– but, what’s most interesting is there is Dr. Curran endorsing the book on the front of the webpage [10] for it:

“If everyone throughout our university isn’t speaking with one voice our message can’t be heard. The processes outlined in this book served us well as we transformed our school into a branding powerhouse.”

Dr. Daniel J. Curran, President, University of Dayton

Most University Presidents know better than to get entangled in anything except the business of running their university. Apparently, this is a lesson Dr. Curran hasn’t learned yet.

Also- a similar story about Dr. Dan’s kid appeared on another site- The Blackburn Review [11] about the same time.  A Linkedin Search of 160 over 90 staff show Aiden Curran to be the only UD Alumn employed there.

The petition to “put the U back into the UD logo [12]” is closing in on 1800 signatures.

Aaron Glett redid the UD logo [13]

A redesign offered by Aaron Glett for UD

Aaron Glett  did a tweak to the logo- and put the “U” into the wing. Not only will this slight modification end the VD- but the “TT” is now evident in the squiggle between the letters- the “True Team” that Coach Miller loves.

The university should pay Aaron, add some more black paint to the court- redo the merch- and figure the VD stuff will be collectible and move on.

Here it is. A local guy- solved your problem- imagine that:

another update- 5 Aug 2014

Someone has made a fake movie trailer- this won’t go away:

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Can we admit it’s hard to tell when it’s pure nepotism and when second- or third-generation public figures benefit from the political organizations and connections that their parents put together?

That said, yes, when the university president’s son is employed by the firm that got the no-bid contract, the smell is kind of bad.

Deputy Dan

Nepotism and cronyism keeps me in my job and very busy. I don’t want them to change because the calls for service will decline in Montgomery county. Democrats are always great for police work (other than getting laid off when they spend to oblivion) because unemployments is high, entitlements are high, residents are high… hell its the trifecta for me.

Dave C.


A website set up like the family trees generated by Ancestry.com et al. Click on a name, and you get a list of relatives involved in the local power structure, contracts received ( bid and no bid), reciprocal deals with cronies, smelly political appointments, tax dollars wasted by the individual, etc.

I don’t know how to create this, but maybe somebody out there does. Sounds like Esrati has LOTS of raw data.


Dayton Gem

It would be great to have a list of everyone that works for the county and city through nepotism. Steve “hairclub” Harsman, our blundering BOE director has an exwife, his son and his son’s girlfriend all working for the county. We really should add all of it up. I think if the public saw what dirtbags like the Ritchie’s and Harsman’s take from the taxpayers in salary and benefits they would revolt. Sadly, as we know the DDN does it’s job to be part of the problem.

Dave C.

My guess is that whoever gave me the thumbs-down will figure prominently in the DAYTON INCESTOPEDIA.


Ok, David, you’ve made it pretty clear that you have some sort of ax to grind over this. Hope you were just having a bad day when you wrote this. The University of Dayton probably started working with 160 over 90 when Sundar Kumarasamy came from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia (same university Dr. Curran came from) to UD as the Vice President of Enrollment Management. Clearly the President and Board of Trustees have been impress with his work since he has been promoted to Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing. As you mentioned, 160 over 90 has been working with the University of Dayton for a number of years now, so if the University is happy with their work, why would it be a surprise they continue to work with them? Is Aidan Curran working for a private advertising agency that his father’s university does business with really in same realm as the public servant examples you listed? Also, let’s not forget that in many of those instances, the voters are to blame as well. Calling someone out as a recovering alcoholic in a public forum seems a bit tasteless. The previous athletic department logo was absolutely atrocious. To even suggest that this logo is worse causes me to question your credibility in the creative arena, but I suppose it is subjective. The new logo was shared at alumni events prior to the unveiling to overall positive feedback. To suggest that the logo should have been “designed by committee” with more input by everyone-and-their-mother isn’t the answer (just see the previous logo). You should know just as well as anyone that a in a creative process, trying to appeal to and appease everyone’s wishes usually results in an even weaker product. Are you really using online comments and polls to gauge the true perception of people’s opinion? Is that what voters should do when you are running for office? Aren’t the “Negative Nancies” always going to be more vocal in a situation like this? A lot people don’t like change, simple as that. Based on the online reactions… Read more »


I love the smell of nepotism in the morning. What other than nepotism (maybe cronyism?) factored into the Montgomery County Commissioner charged w/DUI, complete with police video documenting the event, being allowed to keep her job. (An Ohio State Supreme Court Justice fell from grace for the same offense.) But wait, there’s more: A few years later, one of her cronies writes a sweet letter and Voila!, she becomes a DDn Top Ten Woman.

Dave C.

Matt Luongo’s father was a local CEO – I think it was LM Berry. Dad’s name carries some weight, and certainly did not hurt when it came to garnering support for the failed Downtown Dayton Revival.

This seems like “soft” nepotism to me. Perhaps not overt nepotism, but a part of the equation nonetheless. And it wound up hurting our community.

Perhaps a father-son entry in the DAYTON INCESTOPEDIA.

Dave C.

Isn’t that what we all expected UD to say?

At the end of the day, hiring a client’s kid will probably preserve and expand your relationship with that client.

I guess UD thinks we’re all dumb enough to believe otherwise.

The DAYTON INCESTOPEDIA needs an introductory chapter: Nepotism and Cronyism- Best (worst) Practices and Case Studies


Where can I buy one of those t-shirts?