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Trivia quiz about the University of Cincinnati

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WHILE NOTHING IS TRIVIAL about the University of Cincinnati, try your hand at these 25 UC trivia questions. Don't be nervous. We won't record any grades.

If your competitive side is gnawing at you, however, you can keep track of your correct answers as you go along, and we'll whip out the grade book at the end.

1. What are the names of the two stone lions that stand in front of McMicken Hall and are among the most popular symbols of the university?

  1. Ren and Stimpy
  2. Felix and Oscar
  3. Frick and Frack
  4. Mick and Mack

        GO TO Answer

Answer: 4 -- Mick and Mack have guarded the front lawn of the university since 1904. They are copies of statues that stand in the Loggia del Lanzi in Florence, Italy.


2. Herman Schneider, one of the most important figures in UC history, is best known for what?

  1. Opening the first McDonald's restaurant on campus
  2. Being the founder of co-op education
  3. Composing the UC alma mater
  4. Inventing Cincinnati-style chili

GO TO Answer

Answer: 2 -- Herman Schneider was the founder of co-op education, which allows students to gain valuable work experience while attending college. UC has the oldest and second-largest co-op program in the country. Schneider served as dean of the College of Engineering, then president of the university.

Other choices: UC did open the first McDonald's on a college campus in 1973, but Dean Schneider had passed away decades before that.


3. Which popular television family was conceived by a UC alumnus?

  1. The Waltons
  2. The Bradys
  3. The Simpsons
  4. The Munsters

GO TO Answer

Answer: 1 -- The Waltons. Earl Hamner, CCM ’48, HonDoc ’08, created the series based on his own experiences growing up in Virginia. He also wrote "Twilight Zone" episodes, wrote the screenplay for the original "Charlotte's Web" film and produced the 1980s series "Falcon Crest.


4. UC graduate Charles G. Dawes composed the music to the 1958 hit song, "It's All in the Game." He was also known for all of the following distinctions except one. Which one is bogus?

  1. Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
  2. Dean of the College-Conservatory of Music
  3. Vice president of the United States
  4. U.S. ambassador to Great Britain

GO TO Answer

Answer: 2 -- Charles Dawes (1865-1951), Law 1886, was never dean of CCM, but he did attain all the other distinctions. One of the best known statesmen of the 1920s, he served as the 30th U.S. vice president, 1925-29, and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1925.

His death warranted front-page coverage in the New York Times.

5. George Rieveschl, working as a faculty researcher at UC, discovered the world's first antihistamine, which is still in wide use today. The name of that drug is:

  1. Benadryl
  2. Listerine
  3. Contac
  4. Bactine

GO TO Answer

Answer: 1 -- George Rieveschl discovered Benadryl while doing research in 1946. The drug continues to be widely used for a number of varied conditions today, and Rieveschl was named to the International Science and Engineering Hall of Fame in 1995.

6. The origins of what government agency can be traced back to UC?

  1. The Secret Service
  2. The National Weather Service
  3. The Internal Revenue Service
  4. The Central Intelligence Agency

GO TO Answer

Answer: 2 -- The National Weather Service can be traced back to Cleveland Abbe, director of the UC-owned Cincinnati Observatory. He initiated a program in which trained observers around the country telegraphed weather data to him at the oObservatory in the 1860s, a path that would eventually lead him to becoming the forefather of the National Weather Service.


7. To honor UC's academic traditions, a brick from the original McMicken Hall was used in the construction of:

  1. The Empire State Building
  2. The Library of Congress
  3. The Gateway Arch
  4. The Golden Gate Bridge

GO TO Answer

Answer: 4 --Joseph Strauss, Eng 1892, HonDoc 1930, was the visionary designer of the Golden Gate Bridge, an engineering feat that many of his contemporaries thought impossible at the time. Strauss ceremonially placed a McMicken brick in the bridge's south anchorage.


8. Which of the following movies did not film on a UC campus?

  1. "Little Man Tate"
  2. "Fresh Horses"
  3. "Rain Man"
  4. "Eight Men Out"

GO TO Answer


Answer: 3 -- "Rain Man" may be the movie most easily identified with Cincinnati's "Hollywood on the Ohio" movie boom of recent years, but it used no UC locations.

Other choices: Filming on campus were "Little Man Tate," 1990; "Fresh Horses," 1987; and "Eight Men Out," 1987.


9. Legend has it that one of the most prominent figures of the 19th century once read every book within UC's College of Applied Science library in the span of one year. Who was that individual?

  1. Andrew Carnegie
  2. Alexander Graham Bell
  3. Thomas Edison
  4. Ulysses S. Grant

GO TO Answer

Answer: 3 -- While still a young man, Thomas Edison spent a year in Cincinnati as a telegraph operator and spent time reading at the Ohio Mechanics Institute library, the forerunner of the College of Applied Science, which is now the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Statistics show, however, that for him to achieve the feat, he would have needed to average six books a day and know five different languages.


10. Which of the following UC alums has not won a Grammy Award?

  1. Al Hirt
  2. Tennessee Ernie Ford
  3. David Canary
  4. Kathleen Battle

GO TO Answer


Answer: 3 -- David Canary, A&S '60, never won a Grammy, but he did win five Emmy awards and 16 Emmy nominations for playing twins Adam and Stuart Chandler on 664 episodes of "All My Children."

Other choices:

  • Al Hirt, CCM '41, HonDoc '68, a legendary Dixieland trumpeter, won a Grammy for a non-jazz instrumental ("Java") in 1963 and was nominated for 20 more Grammys.
  • Tennessee Ernie Ford, att. CCM '30s, won a Grammy Award in 1964 for his album "Great Gospel Songs."
  • Opera singer Kathleen Battle, CCM '70, MM '71, HonDoc '83, has won three Grammy Awards — one in 1986 and two in 1987.


11. UC alum William Howard Taft served as the 27th president of the United States. What other political position did he hold?

  1. Secretary of State
  2. Speaker of the House
  3. Chief justice of the Supreme Court
  4. U.S. vice president

GO TO Answer

Answer: 3 -- Taft is the only person to serve as both U.S. president and chief justice.


12. What musical instrument was invented by UC alum Winston Kock in the 1930s?

  1. Electronic Organ
  2. Banjo
  3. Autoharp
  4. Electric Guitar

GO TO Answer

Answer: 1 -- Winston Kock, Eng '32, MS (Eng) '33, HonDoc '52, invented the electronic organ as his electrical engineering undergraduate thesis. Baseball games just wouldn't be the same without it.

Other choices: Theodore "Ted" McCarty (1910– 2001), Eng '33, helped develop the electric guitar while president of Gibson Guitar Corp. from 1950-66.


13. UC medical researcher Albert Sabin helped save thousands of lives around the world with what accomplishment?

  1. Development of an oral polio vaccine
  2. Discovery of penicillin
  3. Invention of the first heart defibrillator
  4. Leader of the fight against smallpox

GO TO Answer

Answer: 1 -- Albert Sabin is known worldwide for developing the oral vaccine to battle polio. From 1939-69, Dr. Sabin was successively associate professor of pediatrics, professor of research pediatrics and Distinguished Service Professor at the  College of Medicine and the Children's Hospital Research Foundation.


14. The UC Medical Library holds the world-record for the most overdue book. How long did it take for the book to be returned?

  1. Six months
  2. Five years
  3. 50 years
  4. 145 years

GO TO Answer

Answer: 4 -- 145 years. In 1823, James Curie checked out "Medical Reports of the Effects of Water, Cold & Warm, Remedy in Fever & Febrile Diseases." His grandson, Richard Dodd, returned it to the UC Medical Library on Dec. 7, 1968.


15. An out-of-the-ordinary occurrence set UC's 1947 homecoming celebration apart from all the others. What was it?

  1. A male student ran for homecoming queen, and won.
  2. The Bearcat mascot was injured by the opposing team's quarterback during the homecoming game.
  3. A hailstorm forced the cancellation of the homecoming parade.
  4. A twin brother and sister were selected homecoming king and queen.

GO TO Answer

Answer: 1 -- An ex-serviceman who lived in UC's temporary housing following World War II ("Vetsville") won the queen's crown.


16. The UC men's basketball team holds the NCAA record for the most overtime periods in a single game. How many was it?

  1. three
  2. seven
  3. five
  4. eleven

GO TO Answer

Answer: 2 -- Seven overtimes. The Bearcats set that record during a 75-73 thriller in which they beat Bradley Dec. 21, 1981.


17. The University of Cincinnati’ has an annual financial impact on the economy of Ohio that is estimated to be how much?

  1. $457 million
  2. $750 million
  3. $999 million
  4. $1.52 billion

GO TO Answer



Answer: 4. $1.52 billion, thereby generating $11.71 for every dollar invested by the State of Ohio. Data from “The Future Starts Here: The Role of Research Universities in Ohio’s Economy” (Appleseed, 2006).


18. Which UC Hall-of-Famer played for the 1964 U.S. Gold Medal Olympic Team?

  1. Connie Dierking
  2. Jack Twyman
  3. Oscar Robertson
  4. George Wilson

GO TO Answer







Answer: 4. George Wilson was an Olympic gold medalist in ’64. He played pro ball for Cincinnati, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle and Buffalo until 1971.

Other choices: Oscar Robertson, Bus ’60, was on the 1960 U.S. Gold Medal Olympic Team. He was the nation’s leading scorer in each of his three UC varsity seasons, played for the Cincinnati Royals and the Milwaukee Bucks and was named to the national basketball Hall of Fame. Jack Twyman, another NBA Hall of Famer, was UC’s first All-American (1954) and played professionally until 1966 for Rochester and the Cincinnati Royals. Connie Dierking was in the pros until 1971 (Cincinnati, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Syracuse). All four earned MVP and All-American honors at UC.


19. Which TWO black Americans have buildings on UC’s main campus named in their honor?

  1. Education professor Vera Clement Edwards
  2. Jennie Davis Porter, the first black woman to earn a doctorate at UC
  3. Darwin Turner, academic writer/critic and youngest UC graduate
  4. Sports legend Oscar Robertson

GO TO Answer



Answer: 1 and 3. The Edwards Center’s offices and garage were completed in 1992. Turner Residence Hall was dedicated in 2002.

  • Vera Clement Edwards, M (Ed) ’31, D (Ed) ’54, was an African-American educator who documented intercultural problems, worked with delinquent children and was active with the Children's International Summer Villages since its inception in 1951.
  • Darwin Turner, A&S '47, MA (A&S) '49, HonDoc '83, is UC's youngest graduate, earning his first degree at age 16. In writing 20 books, the African-American scholar become a renowned for African-American literature.

Other choices: The other two people are real, but their buildings are not.

  • In 1928, Jennie Davis Porter became the first African-American woman at UC to earn a PhD (and only the fourth in the nation to do so), as well as the first African-American principal for Cincinnati Public Schools.
  • Oscar Robertson, Bus '60, HonDoc '07, is UC's finest basketball player in history, setting multiple scoring records that remain unbroken. The Big O followed his outstanding college career, 1957-60, with a 14-year Hall of Fame NBA career and was named Player of the Century by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.


20.  Which of the following musical acts did not appear on UC's campus in 1970?

  1. John Denver
  2. Grateful Dead
  3. Blood Sweat and Tears
  4. Paul Simon
  5. Fifth Dimension
  6. Herbie Mann

GO TO Answer




Answer: No. 4. Paul Simon appeared in the Shoemaker Center in 1991. The rest appeared in 1970 in either Wilson Auditorium or the UC Fieldhouse.


21. What is the original title of the University of Cincinnati school song?

  1. “Alma Mater”
  2. “Cheer Cincinnati”
  3. “Hail Cincinnati”
  4. “A Varsity Song”

GO TO Answer



Answer: 4. Although “Alma Mater” is the name given to the school song in a 1927 UC songbook, the same tune was called “A Varsity Song” in a 1917 book. Otto Juettner, a native of Germany and an 1888 graduate of the medical college, composed the melody and wrote the lyrics while a student. He also composed Xavier University’s school song while he was an undergraduate there. “Cheer Cincinnati” is the university fight song.


22. UC alumni invented or developed all items on the following list except one. Which one is bogus?

  1. pentium chip
  2. Preparation H
  3. compound microscope
  4. electronic watch
  5. Frisch’s tartar sauce
  6. Pringles potato chips
  7. frozen orange juice concentrate

GO TO Answer



Answer: 6, Pringles. Although former UC astronomer Paul Herget (1908–1981), A&S ’31, MA (A&S) ’33, PhD (A&S) ’35, HonDoc ’78, developed Pringles' stackable chip shape for Procter & Gamble, he did not invent the chip.

Other choices: George Sperti (1900-91), Eng ’23, was a UC researcher who developed Preparation H and frozen orange juice concentrate. John Leonard Riddell (1807–65), att. Law 1826, invented the first microscope to show stereoscopic, three-dimensional images through a single lens. John Hall, Eng ’61, developed technology that led to the world's first electronic watch. Mel Schulman (1921-2003), A&S ’47, developed that tasty Frisch’s tartar sauce. And the pentium chip was created by Vinod Dham, MS (Eng) ‘77.


23. What alumni connection is common in the following movies?

  • "The Polar Express"
  • "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"
  • three “Star Wars” films
  • three “Pirates of the Caribbean” films
  • three “Indiana Jones” films
  • two Jurassic Park” films
  • “E.T.”
  • "Forrest Gump"
  1. Each movie had an alumnus instrumental in creating the visual effects.
  2. Each movie featured an alumnus actor.
  3. Each movie had a score composed by an alumnus.
  4. Each movie had an alumnus working in makeup.

GO TO Answer



Answer: 1. Two alumni were vital to the special effects in all those movies. Charlie Bailey, DAAP '71, was the chief model maker at Kerner Optical and Industrial Light and Magic, handling "E.T." and all the movies listed in duplicate. The rest were in the hands of Debbie Denise, CCM '73, visual effects executive producer and executive VP at Sony Pictures Imageworks (previously head of production at Industrial Light and Magic). Read more about Denise and about Bailey.

Other choices: UC does have alumni composing scores and doing makeup, incuding the following:

  • Brad Look, M (CCM) '88, won an Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Makeup for a Series for his work in "Star Trek: Voyager." He has been nominated nine other time. His film work has included movies for Star Trek, Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean.
  • Randy Edelman, CCM ’69, HonDoc '04,  was a composer for "The Last of the Mohicans" and "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor." His music was also heard on the '02 and '08 Olympics coverage.


24. Alumna Libby Holman was known as the “first great white torch singer” on Broadway and in nightclubs. Which of the following is NOT true about her?

  1. Earned a fine arts degree at UC
  2. Adopted the “Moanin’ Low” blues as her signature song
  3. Helped finance Martin Luther King’s visit to India to meet Ghandi
  4. Insisted on using only the best microphones

GO TO Answer



Answer: 4. Holman, A&S ’24, never used a microphone in performances, claiming she didn’t like “anything mechanical.”

25. “Kiss me, my fool!” is a movie line made famous by which of these stars who attended UC:

  1. Sarah Jessica Parker
  2. Hugh O’Brian
  3. Theda Bara
  4. Dorian Harewood

GO TO Answer



Answer: 3. Theda Bara, att. 1906-08, known as Theodosia Goodman at UC, originated the movie image of a cruel temptress (the “vamp”) in her 1915 silent film “A Fool There Was.”

Other choices: Dorian Harewood, CCM ’72, has more than 146 film credits, including his role in the 1978 miniseries “Roots.” Hugh O’Brian, att. ’42-43, was Wyatt Earp on 1950s television. Sara Jessica Parker, CCM Prep School, is best known for “Sex and the City.”



Now grade yourself, and see how you did.

  • 1-6 correct -- You've been sleeping in class
  • 7-13 correct -- You may bleed red, but you're lacking the black
  • 14-20 correct -- Obviously a Bearcat scholar
  • 20-25 correct -- An honorary degree may be in your future


— compiled by Deborah Rieselman and Mary Niehaus