Aug 31, 2011

Watch UC Football with Alums in D.C.

Penn Quarter Sports Tavern
Photo credit:
Calling all UC alumni living in Washington, D.C.! Join fellow Bearcats at the Penn Quarter Sports Tavern to watch each UC football game this season. The Tavern is now the "official" UC alumni spot in D.C.

Penn Quarter Sports Tavern will hang the UC flag outside/inside the bar, offer drink/appetizer specials, and give UC alumni their very own space on the 2nd floor to watch the games. And for every UC alum you bring with you to the Tavern, you'll get a raffle ticket to win a UC-related prize! Many thanks Penn Quarter for their support of UC Alumni in D.C.!

Join us this Saturday, Sept. 3 to watch the Bearcats take on Austin Peay at 7 p.m.!

Summer Send-Off Welcomes Newest Central Ohio Bearcats

Increasing numbers of Columbus high school grads are heading down I-71 to Cincinnati for a great college education. Many members of the newest class recently participated in the largest UC Summer Sendoff ever in Central Ohio.

The August 24 Summer Send-off brought together 130 incoming freshmen and parents from the Columbus area, joining about 15 Central Ohio alumni who formally welcomed them to the UC family just weeks before their official campus move-in. The event was held at the Dublin headquarters of Ashland, Inc.

Besides greeting old and new friends among their Columbus-area peers, students and parents heard from UC Alumni Association Executive Director Myron Hughes, Proudly Cincinnati Columbus Campaign members Scott Simmers and Bob Mayer, and current UC Student Body Vice President Michael Linger. The common message: You made a great college choice, there’s a long and strong connection between UC and Central Ohio, and we’re thrilled to welcome you to the Bearcat family.

Pizza and ice cream was followed by a raffle, where four lucky freshmen won $250 gift cards to the UC Bookstores and another received a UC hat signed by Football Coach Butch Jones.

About 6,000 alumni live and work in Central Ohio, making it one of the largest concentrations of Bearcats anywhere outside of Cincinnati. The regional alumni network is one of the UC Alumni Association’s most active in the U.S.

Aug 26, 2011

President Williams Speaks in Cleveland Next Month

Before being named President of the University of Cincinnati in 2009, many people first learned about Gregory H. Williams by reading his gripping memoir, Life on the Color Line: The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was Black.  Because of his unique perspective and powerful life story, President Williams has been invited to the City Club of Cleveland to participate in a Friday Forum on Post-Racial America, which takes place Friday, September 9 at noon.

From the event website:  The election of President Obama in 2008 led many to ask if America had finally transcended its racial divisions. The term “post-racial” emerged – suggesting our nation had become color-blind. University of Cincinnati President Gregory H. Williams, the author of a best-selling and award-winning memoir, Life on the Color Line: The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He Was Black, will examine these issues through the eyes of someone who has often found himself in the middle. President Williams grew up until the age of 10 believing he was white. After the revelation that his father was half black, he began a remarkable journey along the color line that opened his eyes to the reality of racism, poverty, repression and struggle in 1950s and ’60s America.

The event is open to the public and tickets can be purchased by clicking here or by calling 216-621-0085. For more information, visit the City Club of Cleveland’s website by following this link. The event is part of the 2011 KeyBank Diversity Thought Leadership Series.

Limited tickets are available, so make your reservations now and be there for a memorable discussion!

Aug 25, 2011

Chicagoans for Cincy Support UC's College of Engineering and Applied Science

Artist Rendition of Learning Center Coffee-Cafe
Approximately 300 miles from their alma mater, at the W Hotel in downtown Chicago, a group of UC alumni and supporters gathered for breakfast at the Wave restaurant. This group of alumni along with the Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS), Carlo Montemagno, his wife Pam, and Senior Director of Development at CEAS, John Lagow, discussed the Proudly Cincinnati campaign for the college. The alumni in attendance at the breakfast were Denny DeMoss (’77), Bob Fealy (’73), Blake Layda (’99),  Chris Mekus (’72), Spes Mekus (’72), and Bob Schneider (’70).
Artist Rendition of Learning Center Mainstreet Corridor

Dean Montemagno reported that CEAS has helped raise close to $23 million since the launch of Proudly Cincinnati.  Two priorities of CEAS are building a Learning Center and creating an Honors X Engineering Program. The new Learning Center will be located on the eighth floor of Rhodes Hall.  It will include two reconfigurable classrooms, three “project” rooms, space for small group and individual study, space for tutoring and advising, faculty offices, entry lobby, info center, and a coffee bar. The Honors X Engineering Program will have an accelerated curriculum and enhanced co-op experience, allowing high caliber students to graduate in four years, instead of five.

Artist Rendition of Learning Center 8th Floor Plan

Chicagoans for Cincy! leader, Bob Fealy has been instrumental in raising $6.9 million toward the $10 million goal; $1.8 million has been raised specifically for CEAS with a college goal of $2.75 million.  Bob’s generous support and leadership has encouraged other UC grads to join his mission of supporting current and future UC students.

Sharing Bob’s passion to give back to the college is Denny DeMoss, who received a BSNE in Nuclear Engineering, and subsequently an MS degree from the University of Illinois.  While Denny was an undergraduate, he co-oped with Sargent & Lundy, where he is currently Senior Vice President and Project Director.  Denny, along with another Chicago UC alum, Tom Behringer, set up a Sargent & Lundy Scholarship fund for UC Engineering students.

Blake Layda, present at the breakfast and a member of Chicagoans for Cincy!, has generously created an endowment fund with his college roommate, John Wagner.  Blake graduated with a BSCE in Civil Engineering from UC, where he participated in co-op and was a competitive swimmer.  Blake presently is Vice President and National Director of Commercial Real Estate at Jones Lang LaSalle.

Chris and Spes Mekus are co-owners and Managing Principals of Mekus Tanager, Inc., and have been supporters of UC for over 20 years.  Even though they are both graduates of DAAP, Chris with a BArc in Architecture, and Spes with a BSDe in Interior Design, they are on the CEAS Advisory Council and are supporters of CEAS.

Bob Schneider was also in attendance for the breakfast.  Bob graduated from the College of Engineering with a BSME in Mechanical Engineering and then went on to earn a JD in Law.  He and his wife Janice, also a UC graduate, now live in Chicago where Bob is a trial lawyer, partner, and head of the Intellectual Property Department of Chapman and Cutler LLP.

Check out more opportunities to support CEAS and participate in Chicagoans for Cincy!

The Path Not Traveled

Phil Kanet, University of Cincinnati Alum and University of Cincinnati Foundation Director of Communication, recently reflected on his life and experiences at UC.

A recent birthday found me reflecting on where things stand in my life – career, family, etc. All those questions about where the 35-year-old me stacks up against what the 20-year-old me figured I would be doing and even what the world looked like then versus now.

At some point along that stream of contemplation, I remembered a very specific piece of career advice that one of my professors at UC divvied out. It was my senior year and I had a healthy amount of electives to fill out my graduation credit requirements. The topic of copyright law came up, specifically as it related to the music industry that was just starting to see the effects of file sharing, streaming and online piracy. His advice envisioned the future of music in holograms --- that is, multi-dimensional performances right in the comfort of one’s living room. See also Star Wars or Trek.

His specific advice? “If you’re currently sitting there wondering what to do with your career, go to law school and specialize in hologram copyright law – you’ll make a ton of money!” While I otherwise have enormous respect for this professor (who shall remain nameless) and must acknowledge that we do live in a world where 3-D televisions for the home are only a trip to Best Buy away – I think it’s safe to assume this professor’s last name wasn’t Nostradamus.

Sure, it’s human nature to wish we would have taken a few different steps along the way. But at least I didn’t latch on to that advice and incur the expense of a law degree only to sit here 15 years later and wonder why I’m not sitting on a pot of gold via trekky projections of Lady GaGa falling off her piano or Caleb Followill melting down.

Can anyone else top this tale of misinformed career advice? What about the opposite? Did you have a professor give you spot-on career advice you wish you would have followed in hindsight?

Aug 17, 2011

Chicago Hosts Summer Send-Off Events

Going to a college over five hours away can be scary for an 18-year olds who has never had to live on their own.  This is why a Summer Send-Off event is held every year, so incoming UC students from the Chicago area can meet one another before fall classes start.  In a school of over 41,000 students it is nice to know a familiar face.

This year there were two Summer Send Off events held.  The events were the same, just at two different places and two different times, so incoming students from the Chicago area and their parents had the best chance of attending.  The first gathering was held on Thursday, July 28 at the home of UC alumnus Jeff Hopkins.  The second was Saturday, July 30, at the home of Bob and Kathleen Kaska (Kathleen and her daughter are UC alumni and her son is a current student at UC).

The gatherings were not only a chance for incoming students and parents to meet other families, they also helped the students learn a little about what to expect when they get to Cincinnati.  They were able to talk to alumni and current students as well as feast on Graeter’s Ice Cream, from the famous Cincinnati establishment.  There was also a raffle held for the incoming students where a few lucky winners walked away with UC Bookstore Gift Certificates and other great prizes.

Chicago is a hidden jewel when it comes to UC supporters who take care of their own, and organizing this Summer Send Off event is a great example.  There are over 4,000 UC alumni in the Chicago area, yet fewer than 20 students from the Chicago area will be freshmen at the University of Cincinnati.  Congratulations to the incoming class of 2011; the next few years will be ones that you never forget!

Aug 12, 2011

UC Alum Finds Home (Away From Home) With Chicago Cubs

Inspirational. Awe-inspiring. Storybook. Those are just some of the words one might use to describe UC alum and Bearcat baseball standout Tony Campana’s rise to the big leagues. But even those lofty adjectives may not fully do his story justice.

Growing up in Kettering, Ohio, near Dayton, Tony was like any other kid. He loved sports, especially baseball, and frequented Reds games at Riverfront Stadium with his family (though he was a Cleveland Indians fan at heart). But at the young age of 7, Tony was dealt a curve ball – when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The chilling diagnosis required immediate surgery to remove a tumor, followed by eight months of intense chemotherapy. Campana has said that he sometimes pulled out clumps of hair to entertain friends and really had no idea how dire the situation was. But thankfully, after ten years of checkups and tests, doctors were confident the disease was in remission and considered him fully cured.
Tony stands at second base after his
first major league hit against the
Reds at Great American Ball Park.

That wasn’t the only hurdle Tony had to overcome on his way to the top. His small, wiry frame and focus on speed and defense was a stark contrast to the trend in the big leagues – as sluggers like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds re-wrote the record books and fed fans’ love of the longball.

In fact, Tony’s high school coach wasn’t sure he would land on a college team; but he ended up finding a home down the road at the University of Cincinnati. During his time as a Bearcat, Tony honed his game and demonstrated the value of speed and strong defense, breaking UC’s all-time single-season record for stolen bases with 70 in 2007 and establishing a new record for career steals with 104.

He was a BIG EAST first team selection during his senior season in 2008 and showed enough promise to be drafted by the Chicago Cubs. After playing in the minor leagues for nearly four years, Tony got the call all minor leaguers dream of: he was finally going to play for the Cubs, and even better, he was going to make his Major League debut against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.
Campana is congratulated by
teammates after getting his first
career home run.

Tony had his own fan club amassed behind the Cubs’ dugout that night, and was even picked up from the airport by his mother. He also had to turn off his cell phone because he was getting so many calls wishing him good luck.

After entering the game as a pinch runner in the 7th, Tony stepped up to the plate in the 8th inning. Though he thought he’d be nervous, he locked in and smashed an RBI-double for his first major league hit, putting the Cubs ahead in the game and sending his fan section into hysterics.

Even though the Cubs ended up losing the game, Tony had a moment he’ll never forget. And Tony has since gotten revenge on the Reds, roping a line-drive to the wall in Wrigley Field that turned out to be his first Major League home run – inside-the-park of course – and the difference in the game as the Cubs beat the Reds 4-3 on August 5.

So even though many Reds fans consider it treason to root for the Cubs (they are in the same division after all), don’t be surprised to see more Cubs jerseys around Cincinnati as Campana continues to defy the odds and establish himself as a rising star. And hopefully, UC alumni in Chicago will cheer extra loud for a fellow alum whose grit, determination and perseverance makes us all Proudly Cincinnati.

Aug 9, 2011

Ohio Networking for Bay Area Bearcats

Pete's Tavern
Younger alumni who live far away from Cincinnati generally want two things from their UC alumni experience:  1) Stay connected with the university in some way, and  2) Network with each other for personal and professional reasons. Events that meet both goals are a home run — even if they take place beside the ballpark instead of inside it.

The UC Alumni Association co-organized an Ohio college networking event and Happy Hour for YPs on July 28 in San Francisco. About 35 Bay Area alumni from UC, Dayton, Miami and Xavier attended and had a great time. The location was a place called Pete’s, which is literally across the street from AT&T Park, the San Francisco Giants’ home stadium.

Having Southwestern Ohio in common, those in attendance could easily talk about “back home” and their college days, including the rivalries between schools. And since they’re also part of the Bay Area community, alums find great benefit to expanding their own networks in this way.

The idea of a multi-university alumni event like this isn’t new; the UC Alumni Association partners with its counterparts at Ohio schools to do these events in other places when possible. And it’s a great way to help alumni realize that ongoing involvement with UC can take many forms; what’s important is to simply participate.

Wherever you live, check out the list of regional alumni networks across the U.S. and jump in! Just click here to learn more.

Aug 5, 2011

UC alumnus makes lemonade out of lemons

Clark Beck "turns lemons into lemonade."

"There are so many things you can't control in life, so you just have to play the hand you're dealt and trust that being positive and persistent will pay off in the end."

Now an accomplished engineer living in Kettering, OH and proud UC alum, it's evident Clark's positive and strong-willed approach to life did, in fact, pay off. But the road to success certainly wasn't an easy one for Clark, who graduated in UC's first class of African American Engineering students in 1969. More than 40 years later, he looks back at UC as the "something better" that came along after so many other doors were closed on him.

After earning a math degree from the Virginia Union University, Clark's repeated rejection from engineering programs near his home in Indiana only intensified his ambition to pursue his dream.  He eventually found himself in the office of UC's Dean of the College of Engineering, where he was admitted into the mechanical engineering program, despite being told he'd likely "catch hell" as one of the first African American students in the program.

At times, Clark wonders how he made it through those days. He struggled through an intense engineering program with few friends, a weak support system and undesirable, yet more affordable, living conditions off- campus. Finding a co-op job was a difficult trek too, but he eventually landed a position with the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base two weeks prior to the deadline – an opportunity that paved the way for the rest of his career.

Today, Mr. Beck’s grandson Emory is following in Clark's footsteps, pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering , but at a completely different UC than Clark experienced forty-plus years ago. Emory lives on campus. He has friends, roommates, and a huge support system through the Darwin T. Turner Scholars Program and Emerging Ethnic Engineers (E3) Program - both of which were not available to Clark.

“UC has grown leaps and bounds since I was in school,” Clark says, “Not just academically and physically, but intellectually. UC has made tremendous changes – all for the better – and I’m proud of that.”

“I’ve always looked up to my grandfather as an engineer, as a person, especially intellectually, and I wanted to follow in his footsteps,” Emory says. “I’m even working at Wright Patterson and plan on working there as an engineer for my career.”

Tell us what you know about turning lemons into lemonade! What was your biggest educational challenge and how did you overcome it?

Aug 1, 2011

What do the Star Wars LightSaber and Social Business practices have in common?

Ah, the Star Wars LightSaber. Obi-Wan Kenobi described it best when he said of the mythical formal weapon of Jedi knights, “More skill than simple sight was required for its use. Anyone can use a blaster or a fusioncutter—but to use a lightsaber well was a mark of someone a cut above the ordinary.”

One could say the same of Social Computing, an approach to business that combines social behavior theories and computational systems. According to Forrester Research, companies must be a cut above the ordinary in order to be successful.

“To thrive in an era of Social Computing, companies must abandon top-down management and communication tactics, weave communities into their products and services, use employees and partners as marketers, and become part of a living fabric of brand loyalists.”

That’s exactly what University of Cincinnati alum Tony Zingale CEO of Jive Software, is setting out to do. Not unlike his favorite science fiction gadget, this UC Foundation Trustee and supporter of UCAA’s William Howard Taft Society is taking Social Computing to the next level. He’s harnessing the innovation of social networking, collaboration software, community software and social media monitoring to add value the enterprise. (And no, we’re not going to mix metaphors by referencing that other little Enterprise…)

As a testament to Zingale’s status as a “cut above the ordinary,” Forbes Magazine recently interviewed the technology juggernaut as part of an ongoing series about the leaders behind social businesses. The interview covered the disruptive nature of social business (“It changes how we work to be more collaborative and puts us in touch with our community base.”) and how technology is evolving to improve business values and customer satisfaction.

“We believe that the future of work is personalized by delivering the right information to the right person at the right time,” he says in the article. “Our challenge is to take the systems of record in place, integrate them in the social ‘stream’ to bringing context, and liberate the content that matters to the worker to get the job done.”

Congratulations to Tony Zingale, University of Cincinnati alum, for being a Social Business Jedi and leading the charge in this exciting field! To read Zingale’s profile in Forbes, please click here.