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$454 million kicks off historic campaign

The largest fundraising effort in UC's 189-year history, an ambitious goal of $1 billion, was announced on Oct. 25, 2008, at the public launch of "Proudly Cincinnati: Tower of Strength, Rock of Truth – The Campaign for the University of Cincinnati." More than 1,100 donors, volunteers, faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends celebrated the goal of raising private support for a variety of needs and initiatives by 2013.

With UC's Fifth Third Arena awash in a sea of red and black, the evening featured the university's most iconic and passionate advocates -- men and women anxious to talk about the many reasons they believe in the goals of the campaign and why they truly are "Proudly Cincinnati." Some highlighted UC's bold beginnings as a municipal university, offering access and opportunity to generations of students. Others focused on UC's strong record of success and innovation in teaching and research, pointing to historic achievements like cooperative education, the first oral polio vaccine and the development of the first antihistamine, Benadryl. Some candidly reflected on what UC has meant to their personal and professional lives and why they answered the call to be involved in this campaign.

Balloons fell from the rafters and the marching band led the crowd in "Cheer Cincinnati" as current students joined multiple generations of Bearcats in celebrating their university and envisioning its bright and vibrant future.

Why a campaign?
UC and other higher learning institutions routinely seek private support to sustain and improve their programs. So why is a fundraising "campaign" different?

Campaigns provide universities with an opportunity to articulate their visions for the future and communicate those visions to donors. For "Proudly Cincinnati," President Nancy Zimpher and university leaders have developed six areas where UC can improve and set the standard for teaching, research and service in the 21st century. The campaign provides an opportunity for academic and university leaders to match their specific needs (scholarships, endowed chairs, programmatic support, etc.) with the larger, institutional vision that guides the university so donors better understand how their support can make a difference.

Additionally, "Proudly Cincinnati" will provide increased regional and national exposure for the university, extending its message to a new stratum of individuals, corporations and foundations -- a key component of meeting such an ambitious campaign goal.

Until Oct. 25, 2008, the university was in what's known as the "quiet phase" of the campaign, when UC's most loyal supporters are asked to lead the way by pledging their support before the campaign is publicly launched. A core group of UC's supporters -- the university's Board of Trustees and the UC Foundation's Board of Trustees -- responded. The combined commitments of these men and women totaled more than $84 million to meet a variety of needs and initiatives. This support is the campaign's nucleus fund and serves as a strong endorsement of the campaign and the university's mission.

Since the quiet phase began on July 1, 2005, a variety of donors committed a total of nearly $454 million through October 2008. Such robust support, organizers hope, will resonate with prospective donors and illustrate that giving to UC is a wise investment in the future.

Momentum into the 21st century
The campaign also allows the university to accelerate the positive momentum that has been building for years. The Campus Master Plan revitalized campus while UC|21, the academic vision for the university, has yielded the most academically talented freshmen class in the university's history and has improved the student experience, resulting in higher retention and graduation rates. New interdisciplinary collaborations in medicine, design and engineering are showing tremendous promise for future discoveries, and researchers are just scratching the surface of what may be possible in the next five to 10 years.

For these reasons and more, now is the time to play a part in the University of Cincinnati's future.

Now is the time to take UC to the next level.

For our students. For our city. For us all.

Proudly Cincinnati.

Proudly Cincinnati campaign overview

Timeframe: July 1, 2005 – June 30, 2013
Goal: $1 billion
Raised prior to public campaign launch: $453,783,107

Campaign Website
Campaign press release and video

Proudly Cincinnati volunteer leadership

Convening Co-chairs
Otto Budig Jr. (Bus '56), Budco Group
"Buck" Niehoff (JD '72), Peck, Shaffer & Williams

John Barrett (Bus '71), Western-Southern Financial
Stanley Chesley (A&S '58, JD '60, HonDoc '93), Waite, Schneider, Bayless & Chesley
C. Mack (CCM '82)
Yvonne (Ed '56) & Oscar Robertson (Bus '60, HonDoc '07), OR Solutions
George Schaefer Jr. (HonDoc '06), Fifth Third Bancorp (retired)
S. Jay Stewart (Eng '61), Autoliv (retired)
Richard Thornburgh (Bus '74), Corsair Capital
Margaret Valentine (A&S '71, Ed '72), Valentine Research
Edward Wedbush (Eng '55, HonDoc '00), Wedbush Morgan Securities
Steven Wilson (A&S '66, MBA '68, HonDoc '06), Nielsen Co. (retired)
Anthony Zingale (Eng '80), Mercury Interactive Corp (retired)
David Dillon, Kroger Co.

Nancy Zimpher, president, University of Cincinnati
Jeffrey Williams (DAAP '75), chairman, Board of Trustees, UC Foundation
Jeffrey Wyler (Bus '65), chairman, Board of Trustees, University of Cincinnati

James Kautz (A&S '53, HonDoc '95)
Ellen Rieveschl (A&S '68)