Dea Neff ’85 Reddell (right) pictured at MU with her sister, Dawn Morrow, and her husband, Randy.

Former student-athlete makes long-awaited return

The love of running gave MU graduate Dea Neff ’85 Reddell an opportunity she hadn’t had in years.

Dea had always wanted to give MU’s alumni cross country race a shot. The Springfield, Ohio, native had been a cross country and track and field student-athlete for former head coach John Schultz in the early 1980s but, with changes in her life and years of living in Texas, she hadn’t been back to campus since.

“I figured now was a good time, as my daughter is in her final year at the University of Texas, my husband had never been to Indiana, and we were wanting to see my family in Ohio.” said Dea, The Reddells had recently sold their medical equipment business, so the timing of a trip to Indiana “just worked out,” added Dea, who returned to North Manchester Aug. 22 for the alumni meet.

“I wanted to show my husband and daughter where I went to school,” Dea said. “It’s such a pretty campus, which is one of the reasons I chose coming here over Anderson (University),” she added. When she got the invitation letter in the mail and found out that alumni runners get a head start in the race, she decided that “this would be a pretty good chance.”

Dea turned in a strong finish, winding up in the top 10 of the alumni portion of the race. Cheering her on was her personal fan club that included her husband, Randy; her daughter Olivia; her daughter’s best friend; Dea’s mother, stepfather, sister and brother-in-law; and her college roommate. Dea also got to visit two of her basketball teammates and another dear friend during the visit to Manchester. It brought back a lot of memories.

“There are a lot of similarities (between then and now),” she admitted. “I lived in East Hall, the PERC (Physical Education and Recreation Center) is still here with a few changes and so many things are still as I remember them. I did love the old Oakwood, but the new one is very nice, too. Indiana hasn’t changed too much, either.

“(Manchester University) was a good choice for me,” she added. “I wanted to pursue my cross country and track and field competition career and find a good education program, and they had both. With the education background, I was able to have a wonderful career as a school teacher,” she added.

Sadly, Dea’s husband died unexpectedly shortly after their visit to MU. But that, she says, makes memories of the day that much more special. “I am so happy that Olivia and Randy were able to see the beautiful place where I went to school.”

By Mark Adkins
Sports Information Director