Grace McGinley has more than one reason to celebrate. The 22-year-old from Indianapolis became a University of Dayton graduate the same weekend she published a book.
When McGinley was a freshman at the university in 2019, she began taking photos of the sheet signs hanging from the roofs of houses in the student neighborhood. The day she moved to campus that year, she said she and her parents would “die laughing” at some of the sheets hanging up. Simple painted sheets helped her feel at home on campus, she said, and that really put the project in motion.
“I was really, really scared coming to college and given that I was the oldest sibling in my family, I just didn’t really know what college was going to bring,” McGinley said. “Just the neighborhood itself and Dayton in general felt so welcoming, and from the beginning, I was like ‘Okay, wait. This is where I’m meant to be.’”
She wasn’t sure a book would come of the project when the COVID-19 pandemic began, but McGinley started focusing more on making that happen when campus gradually returned to normalcy in her junior year.
After sifting through the UD archives at the campus library where she worked, McGinley said she gained more confidence in the book and the purpose behind it. The archives told the stories of campus throughout moments in history, with sheets painted in reaction to everything from major world events to a winning season of Flyer basketball.
“I think the sheets embody more than just a sheet hanging from a house,” McGinley said. “They embody the community, the support and really the overall culture of what Dayton is all about, which is being together and enjoying things that are unique to us as a university.”
McGinley brought the book idea to university administration, which she said was fully on board with showcasing the collection of sheet signs. She also decided the book would be an act of service for the Flyer community. All first-year profits go toward University of Dayton tuition assistance.
“My excitement grew for the project when I decided that 100 percent of the first year’s profit would be going to financial assistance,” McGinley said. “My mission was to give back to the school and make my mark and make a mark for other people as well.”
There is a whole process to making a sheet sign, according to McGinley, who took part in the creation of several during her time living in the student neighborhood. The planning, painting and pinning process served as a bonding moment between her and her roommates.
“Sheets of UD,” the resulting coffee table picture book, has already become a hit around campus and with the UD alumni community, McGinley said. People come up to her or connect with her on LinkedIn to share their support and excitement for the book. While talking about the whole process of making the book, a classmate passed by and offered his congratulations to her.
A limited quantity of books are available to purchase online for $30, and shipping is free. Customers can save 10 percent using code “sheetsofud” when purchasing two or more books.
For more information or to purchase “Sheets of UD,” visit https://sheetsofud.com/.
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