For many of the decades he has spent at UC, Hand was the great and mysterious “Oz,” who Grace described as the enigmatic figure behind official campus notices that announced weather closings, crime bulletins and campus accomplishments.
In the past several years, however, Hand’s man-behind-the-curtain persona began to evolve, and he surfaced more than ever. He has increased his career-long enrichment of UC students and their lives through more face-to-face involvement with their organizations –– especially LGBTQ, Roar, the Greek organizations –– and being the grand marshal of MainStreet Stride.
Hand is our key informant and a denison of UC culture
Hand’s enlightenment of UC history through the dedicated talks he gave in the MainStreet Cinema, Grace explained, are today a vital part of our learning about this university. Grace also stressed how beloved Hand is in the UC Archives and Rare Books Library. “Not just because he firmly believes in our resident ghost, but because he has contributed so much to our work,” Grace added.
“It was Greg who did the thorough research and writing about the origins of the Bearcats and who uncovered why our colors are red and black and who discovered that the first Ph.D. awarded by UC went to Herbert Cooper Wilson who was a student working in our famous observatory in the 19th century,” said Grace. “And even today, it is Greg who continues to do the research on the first woman graduate, Winona Hawthorne, in 1878, and our first African-American graduate, Henry Malachi Griffin, in 1886.”
“Along the way, he has taught me so much about dealing with the media –– what is news, what can become news, both good and bad and how to recognize the difference,” said Grace.
Grace referred to Hand as a renaissance man because he knows so many things about so many subjects, minus the subject of sports.
“When Greg and I wrote the history of UC basketball several years ago he had to be immersed in the sport, and I had to serve as the teacher/coach in a very small way, but the instruction took,” Grace said. “To this day Greg knows exactly how many halves are in a basketball game and how many points a 3-point shot is worth.”