Bob and Phyllis Favorite
Distance no problem for UC couple
When you live in State College, Pa., it’s an understatement to say that Penn State looms large over everyone and everything. You’d have to be a pretty hardy, dedicated, passionate couple of Bearcats to stand out from all those Nittany Lions.
That actually sums up Bob and Phyllis Favorite very well. They met and fell in love as students at UC in the early 1970s. Once married the fall before their 1975 graduation, they moved where work took them. Eventually that became State College. Yet the lack of proximity has never been an obstacle when it comes to being actively engaged with their alma mater.
“We were both active on campus in our own ways,” says Bob, Eng ‘75. “UC provided us with a good education, and we were fortunate to have great mentors. Because others cared, we also came to care.”
The Favorites financially support their colleges, Bearcats Athletics (UCATS and the football program’s 1200 Club) and the UC Alumni Association, of which Phyllis is a member of the Board of Governors. They travel extensively — making the day’s trip back to campus for home football games, meetings and big events, as well as attending many Bearcats road games.
“Technology has made it easier to stay in touch,” says Phyllis, Ed ‘75. “Before, as out-of-towners, it was mostly a matter of learning about UC through my brother, who is also an alum and lives in Cincinnati, from occasional mailings and the rare newspaper article. But now I’m able to be a member of the UCAA board from a distance. I contribute what I can with the hope of helping the alumni association reach more and more alumni.
“From both of our perspectives, being involved is just a decision, and then a commitment to that decision.”
For the Favorites, a big part of that lifestyle is their “UC ambassador” role, which they take quite seriously. “We promote UC whenever and wherever we can,” Bob says. “Our friends in State College know for certain that we’re Bearcats.” They are excited to gently educate others — in Pennsylvania and elsewhere — one person at a time if necessary, using Internet blogs, water-cooler talk and heartfelt conversation with fellow alumni.
Giving back in various ways is a form of repayment for how the UC experience has influenced their lives, they each say.
“We’re investing in UC,” Phyllis adds. “We don’t feel we’re special in any particular way. We just see the need for support in higher education in general. If we want students to care and become loyal alumni, we must exhibit that care as alumni ourselves. And we find we always get back more than we give.”
The Latin term alma mater translates to “bountiful or nourishing mother,” and the Favorites take that to heart, which drives their traveling, giving and volunteering in support of UC.
“We are deliberately attached to UC,” says Phyllis. “To detach and never feel that tug on the heart for our alma mater is a foreign concept to us. We liken it to switching mothers — pretty tough to do.”