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Alumni Connection

Alumna speaks at UC Convocation

Smriti Srivastava, Eng '04, spoke for all UC alumni in welcoming the largest class of incoming freshmen in 16 years at Convocation ceremonies in Fifth Third Arena in September.

Fewer than two years after being crowned UC's Homecoming queen, Smriti Srivastava shared some Bearcat-for-life perspectives with incoming freshmen. In 2003, she was crowned along with Homecoming king Rob Reinerman, Bus '04.

Smriti Srivastava shared some Bearcat-for-life perspectives with incoming freshmen.

Representing the UC Alumni Association, Smriti, the '03 Homecoming Queen and a current Procter & Gamble employee, asked her future fellow alumni to consider the journey they were beginning and the lifelong ramifications of selecting UC. "To some degree, everything you do from now on will be based on how UC affected and prepared you," she said.

"In four or five years, depending on your particular major, you'll be back in this building to receive your degree. You'll be a changed person.

"And on that day -- if not before -- you will realize that your 'UC experience' is not about four or five years. It's about your entire life. You are a Bearcat, now and forever."

Few alumni could have told new students how much UC has to offer better than Srivastava. One year earlier, the former Cincinnatus Scholar was receiving the UC Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence, based upon her academic achievement, proven leadership, citizenship and service to the university and community.

"Welcome to the family. We are all UC."

In 2003, Srivastava was crowned along with Homecoming king Rob Reinerman, Bus '04.

A partial list of her UC accomplishments include founder and president of the UC Asian American Association, the student who conceptualized the UC Worldfest Ball, a participant in Walk As One, Habitat for Humanity and WalkAmerica, as well as a member of the UC Racial Awareness Program, Student Government, Student Activities Board, Student Alumni Council, CWEST Leadership and Golden Key National Honor Society.

Consequently, it was with genuine ownership that she told the students:

"Welcome to the family. We are all UC."


Q&A with Alumni Association President Bob Dobbs

Bob Dobbs, Bus '76, MBA '88, came to UC in the fall of 1972 and played on UC's first varsity soccer team. Now a vice president for Fortune 500 company American Financial Group in Cincinnati, Bob was elected president of the UC Alumni Association's Board of Governors in '04 to lead a board of 46 volunteers working on behalf of more than 200,000 alumni worldwide.

Bob and Kim Dobbs, Ed '78, have made UC a central part of their lives. photo/Dottie Stover

Bob and Kim Dobbs, Ed '78, have made UC a central part of their lives. Photo/Dottie Stover

Q. Why the passion for UC?

A. UC became "home" upon arriving from upstate New York, and being an athlete strengthened the bonds. I made lifelong friends here. I earned two degrees, and I've seen their value increase dramatically over the years. In fact, I owe my current position to them. And a blind date at Homecoming in '74 led to my marriage to Kim (Ed '78) and my wonderful family.

Q. What has surprised you since becoming president?

A. The pace of positive change via the UC|21 academic plan has been much greater than I'd expected. People realize the next 20 years will present new challenges, and UC is acting accordingly. Plus, the value of stretch goals in this process has become quite evident.

Q. What do you wish more alumni understood about UC?

A. The value of their degrees has never been higher. We're building a tremendous foundation of excellence. The university is pursuing big goals for the right reasons. It's about the long term and the big picture.

I also hope alumni recognize that academics and athletics don't constitute an either-or proposition. I was a UC varsity athlete, as were my two sons. I'm a UCATS member. I was privileged to serve on the search committee for the new athletics director. I see the commitments being made and the balance being sought. UC is about excellence in both areas.

Q. What are UC's greatest challenges in engaging alumni?

A. The new UC story is compelling, and we must do a better job of sharing it. Greater communications will lead directly to greater alumni engagement.

Q. What is the alumni role in ongoing university advancement?

A. Alumni engagement is essential in UC's journey from "great" to "premier." Alums can participate in the UC Alumni Recruitment Team (UCART) to help attract the best and brightest students, recommend students to our admissions staff, send their "legacy student" to UC and make use of the Demakes Legacy Scholarship Program for children and grandchildren of alumni. Alums can also become involved in student-focused initiatives to show the next generation of lifelong Bearcats that we care about their education and UC experience. The list is as long as you want to make it.

Q. What is your favorite place on campus?

A. Tangeman University Center, both as a student and an alum. I especially loved the old bridge, yet the changes to this wonderful building have made the new TUC and MainStreet a congregation point for today's students. I also love the brand new Gettler Stadium because of my ties to the soccer program.


Students and alumni benefit from UC credit card program

by Keith Stichtenoth, associate executive director, UC Alumni Association

UC credit card program

Managed jointly by the UC Alumni Association and the university, the UC MasterCard fund has allocated more than $1 million to a variety of initiatives that support student recruitment and retention, as well as alumni engagement. "The UC MasterCard Grant Fund has greatly assisted us in implementing and executing a wide array of effective programs for recruiting and retaining students," says Tony Perzigian, senior vice president and provost.

A sampling of projects the Fifth Third UC MasterCard has funded follows:

  • New technology that will let students receive messages on their cell phones from Blackboard, their online source for academic-related communication
  • Textbooks for a group of African-American students committed to teach math and science in urban schools after graduation from the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services
  • UC Center for Exploratory Studies, which helps undergraduate students select majors
  • UC Alumni Recruitment Team (UCART), the nationwide network of alumni volunteers who play key roles in recruiting students
  • Awards for marching bands in the UC Homecoming parade, which adds pageantry and helps recruit students by giving hundreds of high school band members an up-close look at UC
  • Efforts to bring southwest Ohio's Science & Engineering Expo for middle- and high school students to the Uptown campus
  • Freshman Convocation and Commencement ceremonies
  • Legacy scholarships, rewarding outstanding lineal descendents of alumni
  • LeaderShape, an in-depth student leadership development course supported by the alumni association
  • Student group activities, from promoting Greek life to funding RallyCat trips to away games
  • College initiatives that foster greater alumni engagement

Despite the size of the UC MasterCard, it has a disproportionately large impact on UC's success.


UC Alumni Association