"Thy loyal children we will be," sing graduates at each commencement of the University of Cincinnati. The words from UC's "Alma Mater" reflect the beginning of lifelong ties for many Bearcats, even as the ceremony marks the start of their off-campus lives and careers.
While on campus, students find extended family in dorms, classrooms, labs, student groups, fraternities and sororities -- connections that last long past graduation day. When it comes to revisiting and revitalizing those ties, though, every family needs a home.
The University of Cincinnati Alumni Association, housed at the Russell Myers Alumni Center, continues to act as a home-base for alumni as they return for class reunions, Homecoming, games, concerts and lectures … or to bring their children to UC to begin the next Bearcat generation.
The opening of the Myers Center in 1989 helped launch a new era in UC alumni connections across the country and around the world.
"We were in some old residences and then a reception lounge in French Hall, but they were not alumni centers," says former UC Alumni Association board president John Goering, Bus '60, HonDoc '05. "We never had a real home.
"The idea of building our own facility took on life quickly. A number of alums became involved with the project, including raising money to make it happen.
"Myers Center was built almost entirely with private funding. We found a lot of support."
Construction began during the board presidency of Jack Drake, Eng '52, who remembers, "There was an incredible esprit de corps. People felt a sense of ownership. This was our house, built by alumni, for alumni."
Myers Center became a rallying point that took the work of the alumni association to new levels. Under then-executive director Chris Demakes, A&S '62, JD '65, alumni had more opportunities than ever before to be a part of the life of their university, which was valuable because enthusiastic, proud alumni give back to their university every day.
UC alumni have been developing and maintaining strong business and community partnerships that create a familiar UC presence wherever they are --from Cincinnati to Canada, Beijing to Boston and all points in between. They support UC recruiting by talking to students and parents. They mentor students, coach them and serve as role models. They volunteer within alumni networks to support each other where they live.
When they come back to campus, the Myers Center is a welcome environment for pre-game festivities, board meetings, reunions and special events throughout the year. Its staff of dedicated professionals keeps UC's ties to all alumni strong and vibrant. Plus, its UC Student Alumni Council connects current students and alumni.
Just as benefactors stepped up 25 years ago to help build the center, new donors are coming forward today to modernize the facility for future Bearcats. A robust audio/visual system, made possible by a contribution from Robert Fealy, Bus '73, has recently given the center modern-media capabilities. To make "home" as accessible as possible for all alumni, UC will add a new access ramp, as well as external beautification and signage improvements. Updated event space is also on the list of upcoming work to be done.
"We're excited to be moving forward to enhance our home and, by extension, the UC experience for all students, alumni and friends no matter which UC campus they come from or where in the world they live," says UC Alumni Association Board president Steve Simendinger, A&S '74, MBA '76. "Our doors are always open to everyone."
What begins with the student experience transforms into a lifelong family affair among more than 240,000 University of Cincinnati alumni throughout the world.
Private support to improve the Myers Center comes from the hearts of dedicated Bearcats, says someone who should know best --Rusty Myers, Bus '82, UCAA president-elect and the fourth member of his family in three generations to lead the organization. Rusty's father is the Myers Alumni Center's namesake.
"It's not about a person or family making a big gift, although such gifts are necessary for transformations to occur," he says. "But we have a passionate UC family around the world, people who acknowledge the profound impact the university has on their lives.
"They want to honor that by 'paying it forward,' so they, as well as future generations of the UC family, will have a modern, versatile home on campus."
For more information about the Russell Myers Alumni Center, call 513-556-4344. The Myers Alumni Center attracts alumni for many events, including Bearcat Blitz tailgating before home football games.
About the UC Alumni Association
Living UC alumni: 242,478
Sustaining & life members: 10,659
U.S. regional alumni networks: 35 cities, 23 states
International alumni groups: Canada, China, India
2010 Major Dates
Alumni Weekend May 14-16
UC Day Celebration June 10
Commencement June 11-12
2009-2010 Board of Governors
Officers & Executive Committee
The 35-member Board of Governors includes alumni from New York/New Jersey, West Virginia, Illinois and Arizona, as well as Greater Cincinnati.
Myers Alumni Center
2906 Woodside Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0024
513-556-4344, 1-877-4-UCALUM (toll free)
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