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Inside Uptown & 'Round About

$1 billion campaign launched

Meeting an ambitious goal -- to be "the finest public urban research university on a world stage," as UC President Nancy Zimpher puts it -- requires equally bold means to get there. Thus, the UC Foundation launched its campaign to raise $1 billion in private support over the next five years.

Only 65 higher education institutions have become involved in campaigns of that size in the last decade, according to the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Named "Proudly Cincinnati: Tower of Strength, Rock of Truth," the campaign was launched in late October 2008 at an event featuring the governor, Olympic gold medalist and alumna Mary Wineberg and a host of other celebrities.

"This campaign will create a margin of excellence," said Zimpher. "We've spent a lot of time getting our goals in place. We have a strategic plan, and we've made progress relative to recruiting a wonderful student body. Our academic and research ambitions have never been higher. Our commitment to the community is squarely in place, and I think everyone would agree that this is a destination campus.

"Now we are ready to say to our diverse constituencies, 'Help us get to the next level.'"

Olympian Mary Wineberg returns to UC

For the last few months, Mary Wineberg, Ed '02, has been a frequent guest of honor on campus. In October, the 2008 Olympic track-and-field gold medalist appeared at Homecoming. Two weeks later, she was a featured speaker at the Foundation's campaign launch, where she wore her gold medal [at right]. In December, she delivered the Commencement address and received the UC Award for Excellence in recognition of making a significant contribution to the university's purposes and ideals. When not running, Mary mentors youth and serves as a UC assistant coach.

Recent grants, gifts to UC

$2 million -- To the UC Barrett Cancer Center at University Hospital to help accommodate more patients through a facility renovation; from Western & Southern Financial Group.

$1.7 million -- For research to improve the odds of the nation's 350,000 dialysis patients having vascular systems that will properly accommodate dialysis access; from the National Institutes of Health, awarded to the UC nephrology division and the Cincinnati Dialysis Access Research Program.

$1.3 million -- To identify ways to curb violence against direct-care providers in emergency departments; from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, to the College of Nursing.

$1 million -- To form a new online degree program that would give Head Start educators greater flexibility in earning associate degrees for teaching infants and toddlers; from the Office of Head Start, to the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services.

$2.7 million in property -- To give UC ownership of the house that has served as the university president's home since 2004; from Board of Trustee member Buck Niehoff, JD '72, and his wife, Patti, who previously donated use of the residence. (The university has hosted more than 100 dinners and receptions at the residence, which is located adjacent to the College of Applied Science and features a panoramic view of the river and downtown.) (Read more about the gift.)

President Barack Obama brought his campaign to campus

Barack Obama chose the University of Cincinnati as one of his final campaign stops before the presidential election in 2008. More than 27,000 filed into Nippert Stadium Nov. 1 to hear him speak. It was Obama's second visit to campus, as he also packed Fifth Third Arena in February. 

Miss America sang at Homecoming

Last year's Miss America Kirsten Haglund returned to UC for Homecoming Oct. 11, 2008 to serve as the parade grand marshal and sing the national anthem. Haglund took a year off from her musical theater studies at UC's College-Conservatory of Music to reign as Miss Michigan, then another year to serve as Miss America. While in town, she visited two area high schools to speak to teenage girls about anorexia, a personal struggle.

UC makes national news

  • CNN.com shared another success of UC's Ohio Innocence Project when it reported on the release of Ohio inmate Robert McClendon. Imprisoned on a rape charge in 1990, he gained his freedom last year after UC law students convinced the court to grant a DNA test.
  • Washington Post turned to UC's earworm expert James Kellaris from the College of Business to answer why certain songs get stuck in our heads. Kellaris' research reveals that certain people are more susceptible to sticky songs than others. Turns out women, musicians and worriers are all prone.
  • Fox News, United Press International and other major media outlets reported on research by anthropology professor Ken Tankersley, Ed '78, MA (A&S) '82, whose work supports the theory that a giant asteroid or comet exploded over Canada at the end of the last Ice Age.
  • Discovery News wrote about the findings of UC's Suzanne Boyce from the College of Allied Health Sciences who found that a lack of sleep alters speech to such an extent that sleep-deprived people sound almost drunk.
  • U.S. News & World Report quoted UC's Michael Benedict, MD '94, who led research about the effectiveness of workplace weight-loss programs around the world. Participants, he says, are able to lose modest amounts of weight, but studies are unclear if they keep it off.
  • New York Times interviewed UC law professor Verna Williams about first lady Michelle Obama, a close friend of hers and former Harvard Law School buddy.
  • ABC News, Boston Globe, Newsday and many other national outlets carried news about UC research related to the 2008 presidential election, particularly the projections of the Ohio Poll by UC's Institute for Policy Research.

Medical Breakthroughs at UC

Fernald revised: UC researchers have uncovered a second source of radon exposure at the now-closed Fernald uranium processing plant located near Cincinnati. That source -- six silos filled with uranium ore in the production area -- resulted in relatively high levels of radon exposure to 12 percent of the workers previously thought unaffected.

The mystery of peanuts: Researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and UC have teamed up to answer a long-held allergy question: "Why the peanut?" Collectively, they have received $5 million from the National Institutes of Health to determine which peanut protein or combination of peanut proteins can cause an immune system reaction.

Focus on the brain: Patients will benefit from a hefty investment in brain tumor research at the newly established Brain Tumor Center at the UC Neuroscience Institute. University Hospital, UC and several neuroscience-related physician practices and the community are expected to pledge $26 million over 10 years to fund the center dedicated to clinical care and research.

Dangerous plastics: UC researchers continue to discover reasons why hard plastics could be bad for your health. Laboratory research on bisphenol A, a chemical used to create polycarbonate plastics, indicates it can leach into food or beverages and suggests it may reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy and increase the risk for metabolic syndrome.

Military medicine: A combat zone is no place to linger -- especially for injured soldiers. But UC trauma experts say avoiding a "second hit" -- such as a serious infection or pneumonia -- is critical. They'll use a $2 million grant from the U.S. Air Force to figure out the best timing for aeromedical evacuation of traumatically injured patients that minimizes additional harm.

Big mom, big baby: Pregnant mothers should think twice before taking the idea of "eating for two" literally. UC researchers say doing so could cause babies to become too large, leading to increased risk for injury at delivery and susceptibility to obesity and diabetes later in life.

Stroke research: Illustrating once again that stroke is a major area of UC expertise, neurology and emergency medicine faculty have received $4.8 million in grants to investigate the condition. In separate studies, UC researchers will use functional magnetic resonance imaging to identify changes in the brain linked to language functions after stroke and test two drugs to treat acute ischemic stroke.


Lessons from music legend Wynton Marsalis

College-Conservatory of Music jazz students played with legendary jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis at a master class in fall 2008. Pictured are pianist Allen Braman, bassist Maurice Ellis and drummer Martin Diller. Wynton Marsalis is the first jazz musician to win a Pulitzer Prize and the only artist to win Grammy Awards for both jazz and classical records.

UC helps communities across the country

Professor helps Kansas town clean up act
Soon, young graffiti artists in Emporia, Kan., may be sentenced to wipe clean their own artwork. The measure is part of a proposal developed by John Wright, UC associate professor of criminal justice, to help the town deal with juvenile crime. Off-duty Emporia police officers and college students would supervise the offenders in the program, which could include lessons on the detrimental effects of graffiti and criminal damage on a community.

DAAP student designs Alaskan community center
Aaron Cooke, an architecture student in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, is using his master's thesis to help the western Alaskan village of Newtok, threatened by ongoing floods, to move safely to higher ground. Cooke, an Alaskan himself, is designing an emergency shelter that will eventually serve as a community building, featuring a clinic, a laundry facility and a temporary school.

Co-op student pedals New Orleans bike maps
DAAP student Lauren Rae Sullivan is helping to steer New Orleans bicyclists in the right direction. During a co-op in the Big Easy in summer '08, Sullivan, an avid cyclist herself, launched NolaCycle, a project to provide residents with maps of the safest bicycling routes in the city. Working with local volunteers to canvass neighborhoods, gather road-quality data and educate would-be cyclists on safety around New Orleans, Sullivan hopes the project will encourage more people in the city to get "out of their cars and onto bikes," she says.

Three more Bearcat champs in 2008

The UC volleyball team won its first Big East Conference regular-season championship this year, making it the second regular-season championship a UC sports team had won since joining the Big East in 2005, with the first going to the men's soccer team in '06.

UC football gave athletics its third Big East title with a 2008 season that saw only one conference loss and a Bowl Championship Series berth.

UC's waterskiing team, in its first trip ever to collegiate nationals, left the competition in its wake to become Division II champions. The event, held in Phoenix, Ariz., also saw UC become the first team from the Midwest to win a D-II championship. UC's team of men and women out-skied the University of Michigan, Texas State University and Texas A&M to take the top spot in the competition.

165 new Steinway pianos for CCM

The College-Conservatory of Music became an "All Steinway School," a distinction shared by the world's top conservatories, when it purchased 165 new Steinway pianos to replace aging instruments. Eighty of the handcrafted pianos, each of which takes a full year to build, were delivered en masse in November 2008 and temporarily stored in the Cohen Family Studio Theater. The total order, funded through multiple endowment accounts, will be filled by summer '08, making CCM one of the largest repositories of Steinway pianos outside the company's New York factory. The purchase is considered an investment in quality, as well as a sound financial move, because Steinways appreciate in value significantly.

Glenn Sample

Glenn Sample

Longtime Bearcat Glenn Sample dies

Glenn Sample, former player and head baseball coach at UC, passed away in November 2008 at age 77. Sample played baseball and football for UC, becoming an All-American linebacker in the '50s. After graduation, he coached UC's baseball team to four NCAA tournaments and two Missouri Valley Conference titles, earning more wins than any other coach in the university's history. He was a staple at Cincinnati Reds games, where he served as an official scorer for nearly 30 years. (Read his obituary.)

New academic calendar and programs

UC to move to semesters
UC will adopt a semester calendar in fall 2012. The University System of Ohio wants to move the state's 14 universities toward a common academic calendar to provide smoother student transfers. Three other state universities operate under quarters: Ohio, Wright State and The Ohio State.

In 1964, UC converted from semesters to quarters when the Ohio Board of Regents requested it. A UC taskforce is planning the next conversion in a way that will not cost current students more money or time to complete degrees. Total estimated conversion costs are $7.05 million.

New public health degree
The University of Cincinnati has started the first public health degree track in the region, aimed at keeping employees in the field and residents out of the hospital.

"It's a tremendous need in a time when the threats to public health are growing more dramatic in nature," program director James Boex told the Business Courier. Although the master's program's first class has 10 students enrolled, officials hope to increase that number to 50 per year. About 25 faculty members teach in the program, which is based in the College of Medicine but supported by faculty throughout UC's Academic Health Center and the university.

New neuroscience undergrad major
The College of Arts and Sciences rolled out a new undergraduate neuroscience major in fall 2008, giving students a simpler and more direct path to becoming a neurologist or researcher. The program also provides opportunities for undergraduate research with the Genome Research Institute and exposure to a variety of areas in the field. Students cap off their education with their own research project.

Museum certificate first in Midwest
In an effort to prepare students to organize art and museum exhibits as professionals, DAAP is now offering a certificate in museum and critical curatorial studies. The program is the first in the Midwest to offer a dual-study track -- one for art history and the other for fine arts students. Kim Paice, assistant professor of art history, says the certificate is modeled after such influential curatorial studies programs as those offered by the Royal College in London and the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program.