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Marketing students start their own company

Scholarship provides powerful opportunities

LaVandez Jones, Bus '08, may be the next Donald Trump some day, just without the catchphrases and the conspicuous comb-over. Not only has Jones studied global business issues in China and Europe, but the junior marketing and finance student has teamed up with another College of Business student to create their own investment company.

LaVandez Jones and Mike Chikeleze

Jones also received a Darwin Turner Scholarship provided by alumnus C. Mack, CCM '82. Mack (left) spent time on campus as a UC Alumni Master. He also serves as a trustee of the UC Foundation. Accompanying Mack is Mike Chikeleze, associate director of administration at the College of Business. Photo/Dottie Stover

Already on the road to a promising future, Jones quickly admits none of it would have been possible without UC's Lindner Honors-PLUS scholarship program, which brought him here.

Honors-PLUS had so many positives when he was looking at business schools that the decision to attend UC was an easy one. "I knew UC had a strong co-op program. I knew I'd have the ability to network and make connections with people in the business world. So UC was my first choice when it was finally time to apply."

Honors-PLUS was founded in 1997 with support from Cincinnati business leader Carl Lindner Jr. The scholarships are special, in part, because each Honors-PLUS student receives a merit scholarship sufficient to cover all in-state academic and general fees. The program also involves students in travel and study abroad to give them exposure to global business concepts and practices.

Getting accepted into this competitive program was a godsend for Jones in many ways. "I was thrilled," he remembers, "because I knew I needed help paying for college. I got that help and so much more. I also got to stay in my hometown, close to my friends and family."

As part of his educational track, Jones will be studying abroad in China this year, and he spent this past summer studying in Europe. "It was a great experience. I studied European law, European marketing practices and the dynamics of monetary policies in European countries. I also was able to attend a seminar at the World Trade Organization and study at one of France's premier business schools, Audencia in Nantes."

LaVandez Jones

LaVandez Jones will earn his degree in finance and real estate from the College of Business in 2008. Photo/Dottie Stover

Jones currently works as a client service research analyst intern for BASES, a global consulting company headquartered in Covington, Ky. This co-op assignment isn't his first foray into the business world: He and partner Stan Wells (another Honors-PLUS scholar) have established their own business, JonesWells Investment Group, LLC.

As Jones describes it, "Our goal is to establish a strong securities fund that will grow into an asset pool capable of financing real estate acquisitions. Right now, we're focused on learning as much as we can and making some smaller acquisitions, but our long-term goal is commercial real estate development."

No matter what path Jones chooses when he finishes at UC, he'll be prepared to hit the ground running. "One of the goals of the Honors-PLUS program is for students to be able to make an immediate impact in their careers," Jones explains. "With the education and experience I've gained at UC, I'll definitely be ready to do that.

"I'm very thankful for the opportunities I've been given. I've seen how scholarships have the power to change people's lives. This one has certainly changed mine."

New VP explains 'mystery magazine'

I am Mike Carroll, the new president of the University of Cincinnati Foundation. My thanks to all of you for helping make this university the best it can be.

Michael Carroll

Michael Carroll is UC's vice president for Development & Alumni Affairs and president of the UC Foundation. Photo/Dottie Stover

If you just began to receive "University of Cincinnati Magazine" this past fall, we hope it's something you find valuable and enjoyable. "UC Magazine" represents the finest of our university. We congratulate all the magazine staff on the awards of excellence they received in late 2006 from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

In order to get the word out about UC as broadly as possible, the University of Cincinnati Foundation has collaborated with the UC President's Office and University Relations to put copies of this publication into the hands of all university donors. It's important for all of us to know where we've been and to see where we're going, to tell the "UC story" to others who may not know.

Every day, we see the impact of alumni who dedicate their time, talents, enthusiasm and financial support to make UC a better place. What they do is essential, and we're proud to share some of their stories with you -- stories about alumni committed to their alma mater and about the students who entrust their futures to the University of Cincinnati.

De-mystifying the 'UC endowment'

One of the most important financial underpinnings of the university is also perhaps one of the least understood -- UC's $1 billion endowment.

Ranked 54th in the U.S. among all colleges and universities and 17th among U.S. public institutions, the endowment contributed nearly $50 million to the university's budget last year, helping to address the state's flat funding of higher education. Yet the impressive numbers often cause people to ask why we can't spend more of the funds.

Timothy Johnson

Timothy Johnson has a tremendous legacy at UC. Photo/Dottie Stover

It's a question that frequently comes to finance professor Timothy Johnson, who has helped oversee the endowment for 30 years. President of Johnson Investment Counsel and a College of Business professor since 1970, Johnson has seen the endowment's value grow from $80 million in '76 to more than $1 billion today. He recently answered some common questions about the endowment.

"The University's Endowment is a collection of individual funds," Johnson explained, "set up by donors or by the university. These individual funds are bound by strict parameters (called gift agreements) that dictate how each fund can be used.

"Donors and the university jointly agree on exactly what they want the contribution to support. Once the agreement is signed and the fund is established, the university can use the funds only for the purposes named in the agreement."

Today, the UC endowment comprises about 1,500 individual funds. "The money from these funds is pooled and invested in a variety of stocks, bonds, real estate and other alternative investments," Johnson said.

"The investments earn a return from both income and price appreciation. Part of the return is paid out yearly to be spent on the fund's designated purpose.

"This is how an endowed gift can produce funds in perpetuity and grow over time to maintain an inflation hedge. The university never technically 'spends' the endowment. Rather, UC spends the return that the endowment creates from investments."

The University of Cincinnati has a spending policy that dictates how much of the investment return can be paid out in a given year. Johnson said, "Currently, each fund pays out 5 percent of its average market value over the past 12 quarters. When investments are doing well, more will be paid out because the average market value will be higher. The spending policy also insulates the fund from hardships in the market and from inflation."

One of the most common questions Johnson has heard over the years is "Why are college endowments relied upon as a measure of the institution's vitality?" He explains, "Basically, the larger the endowment is, the more the university can do. UC has the 54th largest endowment of any university, public or private. That speaks volumes about the strength of this institution -- both in the short-term as well as the long-term. This is because the endowment aims to provide income in perpetuity, so people can reasonably conclude that the money will be there in the future."

"Endowed funds pay for many of the special programs that make good universities great. Scholarships, professorships, endowed chairs, research and special programs are all made possible with endowed gifts. Any college can have a quality program, but universities with large endowments can have the extras that make those programs outstanding.

"Here's another way to think about it," he added. "UC's endowment is valued at about $1 billion. Five percent of $1 billion is $50 million. So the UC endowment provides the university with $50 million every year for the things I just mentioned."

Johnson said there has been pressure in the past to spend a higher percentage of the endowment when money is scarce. "People have suggested we use the endowment to alleviate short-term setbacks. But when they consider how the endowment generates yearly income, they realize it would be short-sighted and would reduce the purchasing power for future generations."

Johnson speaks frequently with large potential UC donors, who sometimes have reservations about providing endowment funds to the university. "One of the most frequent concerns I see is that donors want to know that their gift will make a difference and be used for what was intended. As I said, once a gift agreement is signed and a fund established, the university must honor that agreement by law.

"Potential donors also want to have faith that the university will invest that money wisely, so gifts continue to provide income for their areas of choice long after the gifts are made. UC has a very sound investment policy that is driven by diversification and sophisticated asset allocation. If you look at our past performance, the investments have outperformed their 30-year market benchmarks. Our history shows that you really can feel confident creating or donating to a UC endowed fund."

So how important is the UC endowment to the university? "The main thing I tell potential donors is that this university wouldn't be what it is today without a healthy endowment.

"UC does so much good for the students who attend, as well as for the community in general. Your legacy would be supporting those positive efforts for many generations. It really is one of the most meaningful and well-stewarded gifts you can make."


University of Cincinnati Foundation

Recent major gift commitments to the University of Cincinnati

The Kaplan Foundation
College of Medicine -- Department of Psychiatry Endowed Chair

The Cincinnati Enquirer
College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services -- GearUp Fund

University Hospital
College of Nursing -- Nursing Administration

C. Edward & Betty Rankin
College of Medicine -- Rankin Scholarships

Thomas & Sandra Houpt
Colleges of Business and Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services -- Student Financial Aid

University Family Physicians
College of Medicine -- Family Medicine

Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati
College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services -- Center for Jewish Education


Recent gifts archive

Visit the campaign Web site