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Tourist attractions by talented alumni



• Cars Land at Disney's California Adventure
12-acre themed area, opened 2012, was designed and developed by four UC alumni:

  • David Van Wyk, DAAP '82, VP, Walt Disney Imagineering, Project and Construction Management,
  • Michael Browne, DAAP '92, principal project architect, Cars Land and Disney Imagineering
  • Cathy Ritenour, DAAP '95, principal production designer for Disney Imagineering, production designer for Cars Land
  • Emily O’Brien, DAAP '98, principal interior designer for Cars Land

A Cars Land is now being planned for Disneyworld.

San Francisco

• San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge

  • A brick from McMicken Hall lies in the bridge’s anchorage, engineered and built by Joseph Strauss (1870-1938), Eng 1892, HonDoc 1930

Los Angeles

• Encounter Restaurant, Los Angeles Airport, located inside a 1960s building that resembles a spaceship perched atop 135-foot high parabolic arches.

  • Ellen (Nussbaum) Guevara, interior designer principal, Disney Imagineering, designed the restaurant's interior for its 1997 opening. In 2010, it underwent a a three-year, $12.3 million renovation, earning praises from Esquire.com, Food & Wine and Frommers.com, which named it a top 10 U.S. airport restaurant. Encounter has hosted parties for John Travolta, Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton.

An interior lobby of the theater.

Dick Blinder created the Ford Center out of two old theaters. Photo/Frederick Charles


New York City

• Ellis Island Immigration Museum
• Ford Center for the Performing Arts

• Grand Central Terminal restoration

• South Street Seaport restoration

• 21 Club — Famous restaurant once frequented by Cary Grant, Aristotle Onassis, Ernest Hemingway; 21 W. 52nd St.



• Swan and Dolphin hotels, Walt Disney World

• Cinderella Castle Suite, inside Disney World's Cinderella Castle

  • Cathy Carver, DAAP '80, principal interior designer for Walt Disney Imagineering, served as lead designer on the Cinderella Suite ('07),  as well as the Royal Guest Rooms at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort ('12) and the Pirate Rooms at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort. The Cinderella Suite is only used for promotional and charity events. It cannot be rented at any price.



• Life-sized likenesses of four famous Reds, Joe Nuxhall, Frank Robinson, Ted Kluszewski and Ernie Lombardi, placed at the Cincinnati Reds' Great American Ball Park.

  • Sculpted in 2004 by Norikazu "Tom" Tsuchiya, A&S '95. In 2011, the ballpark unveiled another Tsuchiya bronze sculpture of a famous Red -- Johnny Bench. (See more photos and read UC Magazine story on Tsuchiya.)

• Reds stadium
• Aronoff Center

• Newport on the Levee
• Newport Aquarium

  • Greater Cincinnati, projects of GBBN Architects, headed by these partners:
    • Chris Beghtel, DAAP ’73
    • John Gartner Jr., DAAP ’56
    • Bob Gramann, DAAP ’66
    • Greg Otis, DAAP ’88
    • Kim Patton, DAAP ’91
    • Keven Speece, DAAP ’79
    • John Rogers, DAAP '79


• Relief sculpture of three batters, measuring 50 by 20 feet, located at the Reds stadium administration building

  • Sculpted by Todd Myers, DAAP ’97, and Paul Brooke, att. DAAP



• Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
• Cleveland Browns Stadium

  • Designed by architect Christopher Wynn, DAAP ’85


statue of Al Hirt


New Orleans

• French Quarter, Music Legends Park at 311 Bourbon Street is a pocket-sized park honoring Jazz legends.

  • Statue of jazz-to-Dixieland trumpeter Al Hirt (1999-1923), CCM ’41, HonDoc ’68, can be found there. When Hirt returned to New Orleans around 1950, he was working with various Dixieland groups and leading his own bands. In 1962, he opened a club on Bourbon Street, which he ran until 1983.
    (See his bio under musicians, TV and obituaries.)

Grand Ole Opry House at night



• Grand Ole Opry
• Ryman Auditorium

• General Jackson Showboat
• Wild-horse Saloon

  • Owned by Gaylord Entertainment, Michael Rose, Bus ’63, HonDoc ’89, chairman


• Cannon House Office Building, oldest congressional office building in Washington, D.C., outside of the U.S. Capitol Building. Completed in 1908, it is located opposite the Capitol Plaza at the junction of C Street and New Jersey Avenue. Because its last remodeling took place in 1932, so the House of Representatives is in the early planning stages for a top-to-bottom renewal of the building. (Read more and watch a video.)

  • This significant example of Beaux Arts architecture was named after “Uncle Joe” Cannon (1836–1926), Law 1858, a long-time member of the House of Representatives, who served as Speaker of the House from 1903-11.

Headshoe of Drew Weber

Spinners mascot, the Canaligator



Lowell Spinners minor league baseball team

Owned by Drew Weber, Bus '66, since 1997, the Spinners have sold out every home game in their 5,000-seat Edward LeLacheur Park stadium since the end of the 1999 season. One of their alumni is former Bearcat Kevin Youkilis, '01, who played for the Spinners for one year after graduation, then moved on to the major league teams of the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. (Read the complete feature story.)



UC alums, local design firm
play in Angry Birds Land

If you are a fan of aiming an oversized red bird at bad piggies, plan a visit to Angry Birds Land in an amusement park in Tampere, Finland – designed by UC alums.

BDR Design, founded in 1983 by Bruce Robinson, DAAP ‘73, and located in downtown Cincinnati, is home to several UC graduates active in many innovative designs. One of the firm’s projects, Angry Birds Land was built within Särkänniemi, an amusement park in Finland that features an aquarium, planetarium, children's zoo, art museum and the world's northern-most dolphinarium. Särkänniemi is the second most popular amusement park in Finland.

Stefanie Hawk, DAAP ’03, a senior designer and project director for BDR Design, was responsible for overall design coordination for the project, modelled after the popular ubiquitous smartphone game. The Finland park, opened in 2012, was listed as the first “licensed” Angry Birds Land in the world. (Another similar “unlicensed” park was opened in China in 2011.)

Other UC alums at BDR Design include Laurie Becker Eichmann, DAAP ‘99, principal senior project designer; John Schaefer, DAAP ‘13, senior project manager; and Tim Sheldon, DAAP ‘99, project designer.

Bruce D. Robinson Design Group, located on Central Parkway in Cincinnati, provides design, museum design and architectural services to an international clientele.


Museums about UC alumni

• Walton's Mountain Museum, in an old Blue Ridge Mountain elementary school in Schuyler, Va., across from the childhood home of Hamner, the "real" John Boy

  • Ike Godsey's Store, recreated rooms from "The Waltons," TV memorabilia make up this museum,  a tribute to "The Waltons" producer, creator, writer, narrator Earl Hamner, CCM '48, HonDoc '08. Open March - November.
    (See UC Magazine's extensive coverage of Earl Hamner.)

• William Howard Taft National Historic Site, Auburn Avenue, Cincinnati

  • Taft’s restored 1857 birthplace reflects family life during his boyhood, features educational exhibits and an animatronic figure of the Taft’s son Charlie telling stories; ; William Howard Taft (1857-1930), Law 1880, HonDoc ’25, the only U.S. president to have also served as U.S. chief justice.
    (Read more about the campus influence from Taft and his family.)

Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Museum

Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Museum in southern Florida

Museums led or founded by UC alumni

• Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center

  • Drew Klein, CCM ’07, became performance curator in 2011, producing one performance event a month. “We want to have a global program touching on all different continents,” he told CityBeat. (added 12-11)

• Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Seminole Museum

  • Greg Palumbo, A&S '03, became the exhibits manager at this museum in south Florida in 2007. Previously, he was the head preparator at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. (updated 7-11)

• Ball State University Museum of Art

  • Nicole Cardassilaris, GradCert (DAAP) ’02, visual resource manager and gallery associate for this museum in Muncie, Ind.; previously preparator and exhibit designer (updated 7-11)

• Cincinnati History Museum at the Cincinnati Museum Center

  • Vanessa Van Zant, DAAP '06, became director of the Cincinnati History Museum, located in Union Terminal, in June 2009. She is certified through UC’s Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program. (updated 7-11)

• Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

  • Art Cohn, A&S ’71, is cofounder and executive director of this museum dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of Lake Champlain. Located at 4472 Basin Harbor Rd., Vergennes, Vt., it houses a Revolutionary War replica gunboat, craftsmen and 150 years of maritime artifacts. (updated 7-11) (Read UC Magazine article on Cohn.)

• Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art

  • Doug Cramer, A&S ’53, founded this museum in 1979, now housed in three different facilities and accommodating more than 5,000 works. (updated 7-11)

• Cleveland Museum of Art

  • Gretchen Shie-Miller, MA (DAAP) ’96, associate registrar for loans and exhibitions at this museum (updated 7-11)

• College Football Hall of Fame

Kent Stephens, CCM ’76, is museum curator and historian of this South Bend, Ind., museum. He was previously collection manager (updated 7-11)

Warren County Historical Society Museum, Lebanon, Ohio

  • Lucy Putnam, GradCert (DAAP) ’01, assistant to the director at this museum (updated 7-11)          


Museum design, fabrication

Museumscapes, a Dallas-based company that designs, fabricates and installs original museum exhibits

  • Druce Reiley, DAAP ’75, is the director and principal. Founded in 1999, the company's clients have included New Mexico Museum of Natural History in Albuquerque, the Coronado National Forest in Tucson and the Dallas Museum of Natural History.


Museums that were run by UC alumni in November 2003

  • Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Ky., Laura Bryan, MA (DAAP) ’03, GradCert (DAAP ’03), special exhibitions manager
  • Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, Rebecca Herman, MA (DAAP) ’00, assistant registrar
  • Cincinnati Art Museum, Jennifer Wirth, GradCert (DAAP) ’01, art handler
  • Cincinnati Art Museum, Heather Braunlin-Jones, DAAP ’99, GradCert (DAAP) ’01, education coordinator and teacher services
  • Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Sandra Light, MA (DAAP) ’02, GradCert (DAAP) ’02, curatorial assistant
  • Cincinnati Fire Museum, Danielle Gentry-Barth, A&S ’99, MA (A&S) ’02, GradCert (DAAP) ’02, the museum’s first curator of education
  • Cincinnati Museum Center, Elaine Tuazon, GradCert (DAAP) ’01, reservations specialist


All Famous Alumni categories …

-- page compiled by Deborah Rieselman / updated 10-14