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UC Magazine

Photos comparing then and now

It might be hard to tell the difference

by Deborah Rieselman

In the good ol' days, University of Cincinnati students used to do romantic things such as make a surprise wedding proposal in the middle of a classroom. They used to scratch their knees rough-housing on the McMicken lawn and stay up all night decorating Homecoming floats. … Wait a minute; they still do that.

Some things have changed, of course. Women's shorts have gotten shorter, while men's shorts have gotten longer. Small microwaves for dorm rooms have replaced the need to concoct creative uses for popcorn poppers. And students pump themselves full of energy drinks instead of coffee when studying past midnight. But the University of Cincinnati is still a place where students sleep in the library, hang out in the student union and make lifelong friends.

When UC President Nancy Zimpher says one of her strategic goals is to create a place where people want "to spend time learning, living, playing and staying," in some respects, she is talking about hanging on to UC's traditional sense of belonging.

"The sense of place associated with a college campus has a particular meaning because it is typically experienced at a time of intense personal exploration," explains architect Perry Chapman in his book, "American Places: In Search of the 21st Century Campus." "The sensory nature of the campus is the foundation of experience and memory that lasts long past being in the place."

These pictures offer proof that much about UC has changed, yet the core experience remains very much the same for everyone. "We're all UC," as we like to say.

More IDs welcomed

In pulling old photos out of file cabinets in the Archives and Rare Books Department, we chose images based upon subject matter, not documentation. Consequently, we have little information about the people pictured, and many times, we do not know exactly what is taking place, either. 

Related articles:

View photo gallery of the impact of design at UC
View the magazine's archive of old campus photos.