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Celebration honors alumni achievements, service and diversity

by Keith Stichtenoth, Alumni Affairs associate director

To honor alumni who have made an impact on the world, the UC Alumni Association held its annual UC Distinguished Alumni Celebration June 12 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Cincinnati. The tribute honored the following five outstanding alumni:

Alumni Distinguished Service Award

Kirk Perry, Bus '90

After a greatly involved college experience, Kirk Perry began a stellar career with Procter & Gamble, eventually becoming president of the global family-care division. Perry brought P&G marketing concepts to the UC Foundation’s Proudly Cincinnati campaign as chair of the marketing committee. In late 2013, he left P&G to become president of Google’s brand solutions. Now he is helping to craft the marketing framework for the university’s Bicentennial Commission so UC’s 200th anniversary in 2019 will resonate with UC stakeholders. Perry also has been involved in funding scholarships and recruiting UC graduates into the workforce.

William Howard Taft Medal
for Notable Achievement

Cathryn Hilker, A&S '54, HonDoc '04

A post-graduation expedition across Africa set Cathryn Hilker on a career path with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, first as a pioneer in educational outreach to schools (including a focus on big cats) and ultimately as a leader of international efforts to save the wild cheetah population from likely extinction. Best known for sharing her compelling wildlife conservation story beside Angel, her hand-raised companion cheetah, Hilker established a fund in Angel’s memory after her passing, which enabled the purchase of land in Namibia, Africa, to elevate the work of the Cheetah Conservation Foundation.


UC Alumni Association Mosaic Award

Catherine Roma, D (CCM) '89

If music is the universal language, Catherine Roma may be one of its most fluent speakers considering the people she has united, the causes she has championed and the impact she has made through her career in choral music. Roma founded MUSE, Cincinnati’s premier women’s choir and one of many award-winning choral groups she has created and led, each of which reflected a mission of unity, diversity and inclusion.

Jeffrey Hurwitz Young Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award

Jay Hummel, Bus '03

While establishing a reputation as one of the city’s foremost young financial-business minds, Jay Hummel has shown tireless leadership in Cincinnati community service. Two years after graduation, he created tremendous growth as president of Give Back Cincinnati, one of the country’s largest all-volunteer nonprofit organizations. He also co-founded Fuel Cincinnati, a volunteer venture-capital organization that provides grants to fund young professionals’ community-service startups, plus became a board member for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s blueprint-initiative for growth, Agenda 360.

Jeffrey Hurwitz Young Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award

Brian Leitten, CCM '01

Electronic-media grad Brian Leitten has produced and/or directed a variety of projects with MTV, Comedy Central, Fuse TV and the music-video website Vevo. His most recent project became a partnership with UC involving 33 students from three colleges participating in the production of the “Gold Rush Expedition Race” documentary series under Leitten’s leadership. He also has secured guest lecturers from across the film and TV industries to speak with e-media students and helped many new UC grads find jobs in the field.