Apr 7, 2011

Up Close with our UC Day Alumni Honorees – Meet Chicago’s Dave Watkins

Congratulations to Chicago Alumni Network leader (and regular UC Where You Are blog contributor) Dave Watkins! He’s this year’s winner of the UC Alumni Association’s Distinguished Service Award, which will be presented June 9 as part of the UC Day Celebration at the Kingsgate Marriot on UC’s campus. (Event registration is now open, and a complete list of award winners is available here.)

Dave was nominated for his tenacity and patience in establishing a considerable alumni presence in Chicago. His efforts have turned into the model for building a successful, engaged network of alumni. Chicagoans for Cincy is now the fifth largest contingent of Bearcats outside of Cincinnati!
Distinguished Service Award Winner David Watkins (pictured on the left)
tailgating with fellow UC alums at a Chicago Cubs game

“I’m honored to be recognized by the Alumni Association for my activities in Chicago. It means a lot to join the ranks of previous award winners like Bob Dobbs, Glenn Sample, Russell Myers, and many other UC legends.  This accomplishment wouldn’t be possible without the great folks I’ve worked with over the years, people like Bob and Rose Fealy, Eva Maddox, Chris and Spes Mekus, Mark and Mary Kay Mitters, and so many others. This award isn’t just for me; it’s for all Chicago alumni who have gotten involved to support their alma mater and connect as alumni and friends.”

When Dave first started working with the Alumni Association more than 15 years ago, he literally started from the ground up – sometimes holding events that would attract only a few people. Dave’s nominator, friend and fellow Bearcat Markus Kremer, notes that this passion existed far before he began building the network:

"As soon as I met Dave back in 1987 I realized how much he cared for the University.  Dave considered it a privilege to provide support to the University while in school.  That same level of caring, if not more, has been carried through to his alumni years.  He continues to develop meaningful relationships with alumni in the area and always makes himself available to other alumni who visit, live, or work in the Chicago area.  Dave sets an example for other network leaders and alums with his continued efforts to support and promote the University of Cincinnati at all times.”

You might even say that Dave's enthusiasm has had a ripple effect with other Bearcat networks across the country. Case in point...Markus was so inspired by Dave's spirit of volunteerism that he took it upon himself to revitalize Milwaukee's Bearcat network after making it his new home in 2006. The network now boasts several big events a year to keep its more than 800 UC alumni connected.

Got your own great Dave story to share, or want to congratulate him yourself? Weigh in by commenting below! And keep an eye out for more about our UC Day Award Winners before the big day June 9th!


  1. Dave is clearly a unique alumnus! I had the privilege to get to know him and admire his love for and devotion to UC. Miss seeing you, Dave!

  2. Hope everyone who knows and loves Dave will come out for the UC Day Celebration on June 9 at the Kingsgate Marriot. Register here: http://www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=946944

  3. I manage the Alumni Recruitment Team (UCART) as an admissions officer at UC and am so lucky and thankful to have Dave on our team! He has not only helped to make the UC alumni experience richer for Chicago alumni, but he has spent time spreading the word to hundreds of future Bearcats from the Chicago-area by representing the Office of Admissions at college fairs.

    Congratulations, Dave! We are so grateful for all you do! You are so deserving of this award!