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UC Magazine

Night-time academics

Functioning as a small city, the University of Cincinnati never sleeps.

by Deborah Rieselman

”Moonlight is sculpture,” said Nathaniel Hawthorne. And those who have never witnessed UC between sunset and sunrise have missed a work of art. Dramatic lighting, shadows and moonbeams accentuate the campus that Forbes Magazine named among the world’s most beautiful last year.

An exciting energy also comes from students, faculty and staff who socialize, study and work at all hours of the day, seven days a week. It’s the same energy that, last fall, attracted a record-breaking 41,357 students to UC and is currently bringing in even more applicants.

In many ways, an institution with a $1.09 billion budget and a population approaching 100,000 (including students, faculty, staff, doctors, patients and guests) is actually a small city — one that requires its own police department, utility plant and a staff to maintain six campuses, totaling 473 acres and nearly 13.5 million square feet in 117 buildings. Providing public safety, community outreach, education, recreation, research, food service and housing, all within an award-winning setting, is a tall endeavor. And it can’t be done in less than 24 hours a day.


  • The lighted entrance near Campus Green welcomes visitors to UC who enter from Martin Luther King Drive.

  • McMicken Hall’s tower has become a campus landmark. Most undergraduates take classes in the building, some at all hours, if for no other reason than to fulfill general-education requirements. The McMicken College of Arts and Sciences is UC’s largest college, offering 73 of the university’s 308 degree programs.

    photo/Brett Hansbauer

  • Only evening visitors realize that the lighting inside the Van Wormer dome changes colors. Van Wormer Hall, the last 19th-century building on campus, lost its original dome in a 1930 renovation, then regained it in 2006. Originally housing UC’s first library, the hall now accommodates administrative offices, including the provost’s office for all 13 colleges.

    photo/Dottie Stover

  • Teachers College is the 1930s-era home of UC’s College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services. The building recently underwent a two-year renovation that modernized spaces and uncovered hidden architectural gems. The college is particularly proud that U.S. News & World Report ranks its School of Criminal Justice third in the nation.

    photo/Dottie Stover

  • Designed by Michael Graves, DAAP ’58, HonDoc ’82, the Engineering Research Center opened in 1995 as one of three buildings that primarily house the College of Engineering and Applied Science, where the nation’s first cooperative education program began in 1906. Today, engineering faculty direct 20 research centers at UC.

    Research has become such a vital component of a UC education that the National Science Foundation ranked UC among the nation’s top 25 public research universities, the Carnegie Commission classified it as a “very high” research university and the Chronicle of Higher Education called UC a “research heavyweight.” Faculty researchers are awarded an average of 11 patents a year, and undergraduate research opportunities exist in more than 250 degree programs.

    Overall, UC was named one of the nation’s best institutions for an undergraduate education for the fourth straight year, by the Princeton Review. Plus, the Times Higher Education magazine in London placed it among the top 200 universities in the world.

    photo/Lisa Ventre

  • Pulling in $443 million a year in research funding indicates a high volume of research at UC and its affiliates, and some of it ends up requiring 24/7 monitoring. One such lab is found at the College of Engineering and Applied Science where faculty members like Arthur Helmicki (left), professor of electrical and computer engineering, are designing instrumentation and collecting data regarding bridge safety around the country.

    photo/Dottie Stover

  • The 2002 demise of Evening College did not spell the end of night classes. In spring 2011, approximately 850 evening courses are being offered, including this class that meets at the Cincinnati Zoo to study ecosystems, habitats and conservation. Other intriguing evening classes include casino management, Japanese culture, American film noir and crime-scene photography.

    photo/Dottie Stover

  • The College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning is particularly known for accommodating students at all hours of the night. Consequently, the building has its own café, library and bookstore. Here, fashion-design pre-junior Jena Russo works on a project after sunset, a typical time for the average DAAP student. DAAP’s architecture and design programs are typically rated among the best in the country, if not the world.

    photo/Dottie Stover

  • University Pavilion (to the left of McMicken Commons) is home to the One Stop Student Services Center, where UC students — from 50 states and 110 countries — can apply for admission, pay bills, learn about financial aid and add or drop classes. When the pavilion was completed in 2003, UC was one of only three campuses nationwide that offered “one stop” service.

    photo/Tyler Stober, DAAP student

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