Your Kelley Confidante: ‘Dear Professor …’

Professor Dayton sings IU fight song with Kelley students

Before starting my IU career, I was plagued by doubts of whether I would connect with my classmates or have an impact in a predominantly lecture environment. Like many, I believed the highlight of my classroom experience would be when a generous professor decided to end class early. However, while opportunities bring people into Kelley, it is ultimately the people who make Kelley such a supportive community.

This community is fostered by our incredible faculty, especially Professor Keith Dayton. From Honors Marketing to Information Systems, Professor Dayton teaches many classes. I had the privilege of learning about Cuba through his Global Business Analysis class. In this class, he demonstrated how applicable our coursework can be in the real world. With that, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Professor Dayton for having such a profound impact on my experience here at Kelley.

To Professor Dayton,

The commitment and intentionality you have for your work is absolutely inspiring. At such a big school, you’d expect your relationship with your professor to remain within the confines of course material. Yet the passion you foster for community and coursework brings life to your classroom! Thank you for taking the time to get to truly know us as both people and students and never failing to offer your experienced insight.

Professor Dayton speaking at IUDM 2022

Your work with Indiana University Dance Marathon (IUDM) is inspiring. While your donation was more than appreciated, as we were fundraising for Riley Children’s Hospital, I teared up when you took the stage during our 36-hour dance marathon. Of course, I should not have been surprised that your commitment to the student community supersedes the role of donor. Seeing you present awards and celebrate the student leaders of our IUDM family at the marathon was incredible. I can’t tell you how much it means to see your professor engaging in a cause so near and dear to the hearts of the student body. Your generosity and love for the student community is absolutely heartwarming.

I also wanted to tell you how much your support of my role as a Princess for the Indianapolis 500 meant to me. After I explained why I would be absent from class, you went out of your way to research the program and wanted to discuss my involvement. Although this might have seemed like an inconsequential gesture, I appreciated how you made time to proactively engage in my life when you have hundreds of students. Thank you for caring, and for letting me miss class a few too many times so I could make it to the race track!

I will also never forget how you saved the day and wrote me that last minute letter of recommendation at 10 pm. Because of you, I was able to study abroad! You are always so willing to help me figure out my next steps. For a confused 21-year-old, that’s a big deal. Whether you are connecting us with new opportunities or sharing your insight, you really are a man of the people!

Professor Dayton, you truly embody what it means to be a proactive and compassionate educator. I am forever grateful for your mentorship and guidance. You are such a gift to your students!

To the greatest warrior, thank you.

Maddie Heath

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