May 24, 2011

UC Alumni Recruitment Team Wants You!

How will I pay for college? What is it like living in Cincinnati?  Where can I get a job after I earn a degree?

High school juniors and seniors across the country are asking themselves these questions and UC alumni are helping them find answers through the University of Cincinnati Alumni Recruitment Team (UCART)!

For years, alumni have volunteered to work with the Office of Admissions to represent UC at various college fairs and recruitment programs all over the country through UCART. This year, 9 UCART members attended over 30 college fairs in Chicago, St. Louis, Southeast Michigan, and Columbus to speak with parents and students about what UC has to offer.

This year, a UCART website and on-line training program were developed, making it easy for alumni across the country to complete the training when it was convenient for them, regardless of where they live or their ability to come back to campus.

Jeff Hopkins ’88 volunteered for the first time this year in Chicago “to direct his pride in and enthusiasm for UC into something that will benefit both UC and those who choose to attend.” Jay Wright has volunteered over the last 5 years in Detroit, Michigan because he says, “It is an unselfish way to pay UC back for all the benefits we received. Second, it is a way to renew your ties to the University and all the other alumni in your area.”

When asked why he continues to serve as a UCART member, Alan Robbins ’76 who enjoys volunteering along with his wife Marla, who is also a UC alumna, for 3 years in St. Louis said, “It’s about giving back and wanting to see the University create a foothold in this city. St. Louis students travel more than 5 hours to attend other colleges and universities, so why not the University of Cincinnati with its broad offerings and excellent programs?”

As a UCART representative, you are able to truly help students who are in the midst of making a decision that will help shape their life. Jon Bloom ‘81 volunteers in Columbus, OH and said, “I absolutely encourage other alumni to get involved in UCART. It’s a great way to give back to the University and I really enjoy it. Many of the students I meet are incredibly bright, successful and articulate. UC would be a better place if many of those students attended.”

The impact our alumni have on the lives of students across the country is incredible! A UCART member in the north and west suburbs of Chicago for eight years, Tom Vick ’69, recalls a time when someone came up to him at a gathering and said, “I know you don’t remember me, but I would really like to thank you for directing my daughter to consider architecture at UC.” The daughter was finishing her first co-op experience and loving her time at UC.

Greg Hopton ’82 finds connecting with high school students in the Detroit Metro to be a very rewarding part of the experience. Greg has had success in reaching out to other parents who graduated from UC and finding that their children were considering becoming Bearcats also.

Becoming a UCART member is a no cost, no obligation way to give back to your university and is the perfect opportunity for young alumni to get involved in their communities.
If you'd like to get involved, please contact Shayna Royal, Admissions Officer or call her at 513-556-2308.  Find additional information about the UCART program here:

May 23, 2011

National Mall Home to Bearcat Kickball

DC Bearcats Official Team Photo
Front - Michal Hammond; Back (left to right) - Tim Lolli,
Sean Huff, Adam Thurn, Caroline Page, Todd Damren
Their randomly assigned brown team colors haven’t kept them from showing off their red and black on the kickball field. In fact, according to DC alum and team captain Caroline Page, the “DC Bearcats” kickball team has found an alternative for proudly displaying their Cincinnati pride – “We all just wear our UC baseball caps instead!”

This spring marks the team’s first season together and despite their 2-4 record in the DC Thunder Spring League, the budding team has found the league’s rewards extend far beyond a winning record. “We all knew each other from Cincinnati and decided this would be a great way to meet new people and spend time together each week,” said Caroline. “It’s a good excuse to get together and share our mutual love for UC with people from all around the country.”

Catch the “DC Bearcats” in action every Saturday afternoon on the National Mall. Better yet, if the nice spring weather has you missing the good ole’ days of UC intramurals, visit the DC alumni page or contact fellow alum Caroline Page to join the roster.

And for all of you other Bearcats sitting inside reading this post on a beautiful, sunny day, put your Bearcat game faces on and start a team in your city!

May 20, 2011

2011 UC Relay for Life raises more than $124,000!

UC kicked off its ninth annual Relay for Life late Friday, April 30, with 1,865 participants crowding on to McMicken Commons.  This year's Relay featured an "Around the World" theme with each participating team representing a different culture.  Together, the 165 teams raised more than $124,000 for the American Cancer Society.

One Relay participant, Courtney Divincenzo, a third year Pre-Law major, explained why she decided to be active with Relay for Life.

"I, like many others, have been affected in some way by cancer," says Divincenzo.  "This past summer my grandfather passed away from cancer. This year I relayed for him.  In the past I have relayed for my Aunt and friends who had passed away from cancer and those family and friends who have overcome cancer and are now survivors."  When asked what her favorite part of Relay is, there is no hesitation for Divicenzo. "The Luminaria Ceremony; I feel that this part of the event brings everyone together who has been affected by cancer and shows that we are not alone in the struggles that come along with cancer."

Why do you support Relay for Life at UC or in your city? Tell us what motivates you!

May 19, 2011

CCM Drama Showcase kicks off in LA with UC Alumni

The CCM Drama Showcase was created to highlight senior CCM drama students in a variety of acts for casting agents and producers in the Los Angeles area.  This annual event kicked off on April 25 with a special sneak peek for UC Alumni.  Students acted their way through a variety of acts, both comical and serious.

These drama seniors come from a wide variety of backgrounds.  Some are Cincinnati natives who have attended local performing arts schools, while others hail from small towns dotted across the Midwest and east coast.  Each performer offers a unique set of skills, blending to create one dynamic performance.

The CCM Drama Showcase's official debut was on April 26 with industry professionals, casting agents, and producers in attendance.  CCM alumna and professional actress Diana Maria Riva was also in attendance to cheer on the seniors and offer them some friendly career advice.

We wish all of the featured seniors the best of luck and a prospering career!

May 17, 2011

Catching Up with Alex Meacham, Part 2

How did your fascination with Air Jordan shoes begin?

It all started when I was around 11 or 12 years old.  I have always been a huge Michael Jordan fan, and like so many other kids I believed that by owning those shoes, I could "be like Mike" and become better at basketball.  Many basketball players these days - Lebron James, Kobe Bryant - are popular, but are nowhere near the greatness or influence of MJ.

The shoes also have served as a great conversation piece. They have brought me a lot of attention and popularity with students and others.  My life has been about meeting people, and making connections, and the sneakers serve as an ice breaker.

You maintain an official relationship with Air Jordan. How has that worked?

The Air Jordan process started in ’99 – at the time, we were sponsored by brand Jordan. One day the team told us that a brand representative was coming to talk with us, and in through the door walks Gentry Humphrey, who was the director of the brand. Since I was already a big fan, I knew who he was and was really excited to have him here talking to us. Over the next hour or so, he essentially held a focus group with us: what do you like, etc. When we were done, I introduced myself and that began the relationship which led me to the process of being involved with Air Jordan. I went out a few times a year, learned more, became friends, and they knew I was passionate. 

One of my favorite shoes is the Jordan Air 5. Now when I wear the Jordan 5’s, I wear them with white laces – something no one else does because they are an all-black shoe. So one of the guys asks me at Air Jordan why I go with the white laces? After some conversation, he followed up with me a few months later with a new prototype based on the white laces and the other style points I told him about, and it just grew from there.
It was a great feeling in October 2010 to actually get the shoe I helped develop. Just like it was a dream for me to run on the court at Midnight Madness, it was a dream realized to hold a shoe I helped create.

So what happened after college basketball?

I remember my final meeting with Coach Huggins, he said, “You’re not going to the NBA – you’re not going overseas to play professionally. You’re going live, work and be a part of this community, you need to know the people who are influential in this city. People will know who you are since you played here, but you need to know who they are – it’s very important to treat people right and leverage your connections." He was right; I’ve met so many great people at the University, and I owe a tremendous amount to those who helped me.

After UC, I coached basketball at Walnut Hills High School for two years – and learned I had a passion for working with young people in basketball and in life. That experience was a springboard to start Shining Star Sports, a non-profit organization that helps build men and women into tomorrow’s leaders through the game of basketball. We put them on teams based on age, send them around the country to play AAU basketball, one-on-one instruction and coaching, and through this process, my staff and I have helped kids in a way that they wouldn’t have received otherwise. We help prepare them for life when the ball stops bouncing.  Our ten year anniversary was in April 2011.

In a way, I represent UC and I take pride in that and conduct myself in the proper way.

Do you have any advice to UC alumni and students?

The time you are at UC, be good to the people you meet, and realize there are a lot of people there to help you – such as teachers and administrators. Use them. Make connections. There are so many people who have come out of the University who have done great things in the community – get connected with them. Try an internship or something like that. I interned at 700 WLW and I got to know a lot of media people, and it’s great to leverage those connections. Figure out how to get in the door, but also be ready to make an impact once you’re in – and that’s the education piece of things.

Take advantage of the resources around you. Everything I’ve done in this life goes back to my mother and father putting me in good positions, the great influence from my brother, and of course the opportunities I had at UC. Lean on those people and let them help you.

We thank Alex Meacham for sharing his story! 

Please share your thoughts below.

May 16, 2011

Catching Up with Alex Meacham, Part 1

Photo Credit: The Enquirer/Cara Owsley
UC alumnus and former basketball player Alex Meacham, started collecting Air Jordan sneakers when he was only 11 years old – and now holds a collection of more than 350 pairs!

His story received quite a bit of media attention. We caught up with Alex shortly after the media blitz to learn more about his collection. We were fascinated by the stories a he shared about his time at UC, his current work, and his advice for students and alumni. The second part of our interview with Alex  will be posted tomorrow! 

What made you want to attend UC?

I grew up on campus essentially, because both my mom and dad worked at UC when I was a kid. Because I was here so much seeing them, I got to know lots of different people and became familiar with the University before I was even in high school. Our family also went to a lot of basketball games, and I absolutely loved the atmosphere in Fifth Third Arena.

Starting around 9 years old, my dream was to attend UC and play basketball here. When I told other people I wanted to be on the basketball team, most of them laughed, or said I couldn’t do it. So I learned to keep that dream close, not tell a lot of others who may try to talk me out of it, and work extremely hard to get better and stronger every year.

You made the basketball team as a walk-on under Bob Huggins. What was that like?

Before I could try out or do anything like that, I first had to talk to Coach Huggins, and I was pretty nervous because he was one of the most well-known people in the city. I went to his office and said, “What do I need to do to play here?”

Coach Huggins said that I first needed to clear myself academically and physically, and then we would talk about my role and taking the next step. I think he thought it would take me a few weeks to get all the administrative stuff done, so I left his office around 2 pm. I came back at 5 pm with everything I needed in hand, and he was pretty surprised, because I’m sure a lot of people tried to talk to him about being a part of the team. That aggressiveness and work ethic was tremendously important, and it probably helped me make a good impression with him right off the bat.

After I had been cleared to play, I started working on improving my game. I attended open gyms with guys like Ruben Patterson, Terry Nelson, and Kenyon Martin, and I couldn’t even get in the games at first because they were so good. The team already had 10 guys and I was the 11th, and I was resigned to accept that I may only be a sub or bench player, if that.

So one day, someone sprained their ankle or got hurt, and I thought this might be my chance – but those guys were looking for anyone but me to come into the game! “Is anyone else around?” they asked and joked. Finally, I got a chance. I was extremely nervous and didn’t play too well but I felt like I had arrived.

Then I went down to the weight room to work on my conditioning. I got on the scale and weighed around 152 pounds. The strength coach looked at me and said, “Son, you’ll never play at UC.” My head sort of dropped because I thought my dream was over, but he said, “Son, when you leave here, you’ll weigh 196.” And I thought, I’ve never been able to gain weight or build substantial muscle – but I followed his program and worked hard – and ended up leaving the program at 198 pounds. That was another reason I feel I made the team: I may not have the skills that some of the other guys did, but I would work as hard as possible to get better.

How did you find out you made the team?

Well, after a few weeks of practices and weight room visits, it was finally time to begin the season with Midnight Madness, but they still hadn’t told me if I had made the team. They just told me to show up and see what happens. So I didn’t tell anyone about it, because I didn’t know if I’d actually make it or not! Only my mom, my brother and my roommate Sam knew I had been working out with the team, and so we all kept it quiet in case things didn’t work out.

That night, I walked into the locker room, and they have two sets of names on the board based on who was going to work out in front of the fans. My name wasn’t on there, so I thought it wasn’t going to happen and I didn’t make it. I tried to stay positive as we went out on the floor to do some sort of introduction, but I was pretty upset I didn’t see my name listed.

Little did I know that when we went back in, my name indeed was on the board, and they gave me a jersey and all my other supplies to play, right on the spot!

I couldn’t believe it, and to this day, there has been nothing like running through those doors of the locker room out to the floor for Midnight Madness knowing I was part of the team. Words can’t even describe how I felt running out on the floor. And since I hadn’t told anyone about it, I kept getting calls in the days that followed from people asking why I didn’t tell them I was doing this! But it goes back to the dream I had at 9 years old and keeping it away from people who would try to talk me out of playing basketball for UC – and realizing that dream in real life was awesome.

Look for more from our interview with Alex tomorrow!

May 12, 2011

wine me, dine me's Guide to UC Eating

I started at UC right at the tail end of a lot of classic UC dining.  In 1999, Inn the Wood was still around, Mr. Jim's was going strong, and the Catskeller was still a dark, dank basement.  Unfortunately, all of those places are gone now-- with the exception of the Catskeller, which lives on in a new incarnation in Tangeman Center.  So you're back on campus, and you want a taste of your college life.  Where do you go?  You can stick to campus if you want-- but if you branch out just a little, you can grab many of the tastes that you're familiar with.

Mr. Jim's:  I can't tell you how many times I had hash browns from Mr. Jim's in the morning, usually out of "the bubbles" that appeared on campus in the early 2000s. Once the "bubbles" disappeared and the Tangeman Center reopened, Mr. Jim's disappeared-- a sad day for every UC student.  If you want that steak fried with dipping cheese or those fabulous hash browns, a quick trip over the border to Indiana will take you to Mr.Jim's in West Harrison, Indiana.  They have an expanded menu, and are open all Alumni Weekend long.

Inn the Wood:  Two words: potato crisp.  I was devastated when Inn the Wood was torn down because I couldn't get my potato crisp-- a staple of "drunk food" for every UC alum of a certain age.  If you party a little too hard this weekend, you can pop by Keystone Bar and Grille in Covington for brunch, which features the Inn the Wood potato crisp (and it's just like you remembered).

Catskeller: The Catskeller, for my money, is one of the best-kept secrets on UC's campus.  No longer just a place to hang out, it features a nearly-unrivaled craft beer menu (most of which run around $3.50-- a steal), solid sports bar-style food, and a great range of activities, including a Bell's Brewery tasting on May 18th and featured acoustic music on Thursdays.  They're open 11-Midnight on Friady and 12-7 on Saturday so you can grab a brew in between activities.

You really want to go someplace that hasn't changed since you graduated.  I know, nostalgia is a powerful thing.  Here are a couple of options:

Christy's: If I had a nickel for every night I played darts (badly) and imbibed (really badly) at Christy's, I'd probably have a lot less student loan debt.  Christy's, the basement portion of Lenhardt's, is still going strong, You can still order from the Lenhardt's menu, drink, and play darts-- and if the weather's nice, head out to the biergarten.  It's pretty much exactly the way you remember it-- the faces may have changed, but yet, they're still the same.

The Mad Frog:  With Sudsy Malone's long gone and Short Vine just starting a resurgence, The Mad Frog hasn't changed much at all.  Still a diverse venue for many local musicians, and still salsa on Sundays.

Sitwell's: Depending on when you graduated, this is either totally different or very much the same.  If you graduated in the mid-to-late 00s and never set foot in the old place, it's still exactly the same: same menu, same drinks, same spotty service.  If you graduated in the late 90s, it moved up a block or so from the dank basement, and lost only a small amount of its charm.  You can still get your Malabar and Mexicoco any day of the week.
Skyline: It's a Cincinnati institution, and it's still there, open late on Ludlow Avenue.  It's had a bit of an exterior facelift, but the friendly, quick service and Cincinnati classic coneys and 3-ways are here to stay.

Tell us, in the comments, about your UC food memories, and for other dining options, check me out at  I'd love to hear from you, and see you around campus during Alumni Weekend.

Julie Niesen Gosdin ('05, A&S) is not only a food blogger, but a member of the McMicken Alumni Board and UCAA YP Board.  She holds an M.Ed. from that other school in town, but she promises her loyalties lie with the Bearcats (at least when they're winning). You'll find her around UC's campus involved-- well, more than she was involved in as a student.  Check out her Cincinnati food writing on wine me, dine me or in The Cincinnati Enquirer.

May 10, 2011

New York (Bearcat) State of Mind

Shadaia Gooden, CEAS ’02, is one of the leaders of the UC Alumni Association’s New York alumni network and the Proudly Cincinnati Campaign Committee for New York. Here she talks about her UC experience and how she helps other New York alumni connect with their university.

On fellow Bearcats finding each other so far from campus:
“People who have been out of school for awhile and live somewhere else just want something to reconnect with. Any Cincinnati connection will strike a chord. ‘Oh, you went to UC? So did I!’ No matter what their UC experience has been, they still have that in common, which offers a new opportunity to re-engage in some way.”

On engaging a variety of alumni:
“The New York region is so large and people are so spread out. There’s so much diversity here — so many things that take people’s time and attention. A UC athletics event may draw a group of people, but many others aren’t interested in that. We try to find some balance in our events and activities to reach as many alumni as possible.”

On discovering each alum’s potential connection point:
“Everyone is so different — who they are, what they want. When I talk with people, I speak from my own experience, my love for UC, and memories of my time there. Sharing that enthusiasm often gets them reminiscing, and pretty soon they might want to get more involved with the local alumni network. There’s a strong group of alumni in New York, so there are lots of opportunities.”

On the origin of alumni involvement:
“Developing a strong alumni base starts freshman year or earlier — from your first interactions with the university. I was fortunate. I came to UC from Youngstown, and was driven to become very involved in many on-campus activities, from athletics to service organizations. My UC experience has a lot to do with my efforts to remain involved. Being around other alums reminds me of my experience and keeps it more alive for me.”

On the benefits of her own involvement:
“The most rewarding part is getting to meet so many people. We already have UC in common, which opens the door to wonderful connections I’d never make otherwise.”

On specific opportunities for alumni to connect and support UC:
“There’s a lot of potential with the UC Alumni Association’s 1819 and UC Where You Are initiatives. The 1819 opportunity is great for our alums who haven’t been very engaged with UC, but are open to taking a small step forward and supporting the university. UC Where You Are can help ‘make’ a UC community no matter where you live. It’s perfect for alumni who are relocating or just trying to make connections with other Bearcats in their area.”

To learn more about the UC Where You Are opportunities in the New York area, contact Shadaia Gooden at 610-209-1984 or

May 6, 2011

DAAP Student Describes Her Co-op and Study Abroad Experience in Washington, D.C. Video Tour

Before coming to college, I never thought I would say in just four short years I:
  • Participated in eight design studios with significant professionals
  • Studied and researched abroad in seven different countries
  • Have not lived in one place for more than 12 weeks—having the opportunity to explore new cities, different thinking, and experiencing countless opportunities to network.
I received the UC International scholarship for study abroad. This monetary assistance allowed me to partake in cultural ceremonies and rituals unique to Indonesian culture, in order to successfully research the effects of tourism on local culture.

The research and study abroad programs at UC allowed me to diversify my interests, bringing me to my passion of international affairs and global humanitarian aid.

My resume speaks for itself on why I love UC. I'm Victoria Fromme, senior urban planning student in DAAP and I am Proudly Cincinnati!

May 3, 2011

Chicago Alums: Giddy-up for Bearcats at the Track!

Need a cool place to watch the Preakness with your buddies? Want to catch some live racing too? Come out to the 3rd annual “Bearcats at the Track” event, taking place Saturday, May 21 from 12-6 PM at Arlington Park Racetrack!

Catch up with old friends and make new ones under the exclusive University of Cincinnati Alumni Association tent while watching a live simulcast of this year’s Preakness Stakes!

There will be live horse racing throughout the day as well as a family-friendly, picnic-style gathering – so bring your favorite food and non-alcoholic drinks to share! Food and drinks will also be available for purchase at the track.

The Chicago Alumni Network will be spreading the word about 1819, UC’s alumni giving initiative that has already increased our alumni participation rate in just a few months! Admission is $18.19 for alumni and friends in honor of this strong start, and we hope to see even more alums get involved while kicking back at the track. Children 12 and younger are $14.00.

To register, please click here.

Questions? Please contact Eli Amstader or call 708-209-7501.

Help us make this year the most successful Bearcats at the Track event yet – hope to see you there!

May 2, 2011

Mentoring Provides Valuable Opportunities for Students

Josh Woeste, a Cincinnati native currently in his third year as an account major at the University of Cincinnati, credits the relationship he has with his mentor for changing his future. “My mentor was able to tell me so much that can only come from real life experience and was able to give me hands-on opportunities to see and practice the advice she had given me,” he said.

Josh was part of a pilot class at UC, offered exclusively to sophomores, junior and senior Kolodzik Business Scholars. One mandatory aspect of the class, Business Professionalism, was to participate in a mentor-mentee program that matched students with experienced professionals based on their background, interests and skills.

“I have been told all along that building a network is one of the biggest keys to success,” said Josh. “I saw this class and the required mentor-mentee relationship as a prime opportunity to network with someone who is a successful professional in the field which I hope to pursue.”

Ashley Walker, Program Coordinator in Career Services at UC’s College of Business, was responsible for pairing interested students with available mentors. “In Josh’s case, we had a student who, was looking to learn more about the accounting field and different career paths within the profession,” she explained. “So we paired him with a mentor in the accounting field who could share insights and professional skills that would add to Josh’s in-classroom experiences.”

For Josh, that meant being paired with Jackie Neumann, a UC graduate and director at Deloitte and Touche’s downtown Cincinnati office. Josh said, “I have always hoped to someday work for a Big 4 Accounting firm, but I always assumed I would have to get through school, get a job and build experience, and then look to apply for a job at a Big 4.”

But Josh’s relationship with his mentor changed all that. While shadowing Jackie one day, Josh ran into a UC student doing his co-op at Deloitte. When he found out Josh’s own co-op had fallen through, he offered to pass along Josh’s resume… which eventually landed Josh an interview, and later, an offer for a fall 2011 co-op experience.

“This definitely changed the trajectory of my career,” Josh noted. “I feel like I am leaps ahead of where I would have been otherwise. Over the next two years, I plan to focus on being successful with Deloitte and, hopefully, will be ready to advance within in the company after graduation.”

In addition to landing a co-op, Josh’s relationship with Jackie has also led to value opportunities that he may not have had the opportunity to experience without the Business Professionalism class. “I honestly feel like the information and knowledge I have gained from my mentor–mentee relationship cannot be obtained in the classroom,” said Josh. “I have been able to build a small network of professionals outside of my teachers and classmates. 

“You can be told how to act in school, but there is nothing compared to real life experience,” he continued. “Through the mentorship program, I feel like I was placed in situations I have never before experienced and now know how to be a professional. I feel like these experiences will definitely place me a step ahead in my future job hunt.”

As a result of the experiences of Josh and the other students in the pilot program, the Business Professionalism class will become a full-time addition to the UC course catalog this coming fall quarter. It will be available to any business student. Josh said he plans to encourage other students to participate in the class.