UC4A News - Winter 2017

The quarterly update from UC's African American Alumni Affiliate

In this issue:

Update from the Chair

Greetings Bearcats and Happy New Year!

While we have moved into a new calendar year, we are exactly half way into our 4A year and there is a lot to be excited about. We had a successful Homecoming reunion, kicked off the holidays with the Winter Open House in December, and are in full swing working on the Onyx & Ruby Gala, Alumni Weekend and a few other special events that we will share with you.

We are extremely excited about the things to come and will continue to offer pathways for you to get involved. If your interest is mentoring, tutoring, service projects or helping to recruit new students - we have a way for you to get involved. Once you have narrowed down your interest, your commitment can range from a one-time event to leading one of our committees. There is work to be done and we want you to help us take it on!

Please let us know how you want to get more involved.


Marcus Bethay II, Bus. ’06
UC4A Board of Volunteers

2017 Onyx & Ruby Award Recipients Announced

Out of a record number of nominations, five outstanding University of Cincinnati alumni and a current student was selected as the 2017 Onyx & Ruby Awards winners. The six awards will be presented at the 2017 Onyx & Ruby Gala on Saturday, February 18 at the Sharonville Convention Center. Please join us in congratulating the following recipients for their respective awards:

Emerging Leader Award - Sean Walton, Esq., A&S ‘07
Pillar of the Community Award – Majorie Moseley, A&S ‘82
Tower of Strength Award – Ewaniki Moore-Hawkins, Bus ’02, Bus ‘06
Student Trailblazer Award – Mitchell Phelps, Bus ‘17
Linda Bates Parker Legend Award – Claudia Abercrumbie, Bus ‘85
Humanitarian Award – Rep. Christie Kuhns, A&S ’01, Law ‘06

Tickets, Sponsorship Opportunities Available for the Onyx & Ruby Gala

For the second year in a row, the UC African American Alumni Affiliate will host the Onyx & Ruby Gala, an awards gala to recognize and celebrate the many contributions and overall excellence of UC alumni, faculty, students and community partners. The Gala will take place on Saturday, February 18 at the Sharonville Convention Center.

Learn about tickets and sponsorship opportunities here. Thank you to those people and organizations who have committed to sponsoring the Onyx & Ruby Gala:

Presenting Sponsor
UC Health

Onyx & Ruby Sponsor
Lindner Business Fellows

Red & Black Sponsors
UC Black Faculty Association
PRVLGD Lounge & Bistro
Jerome Jackson, Pharm '89

Kuamka Extravaganza Underway, Next Mr. and Miss Kuamka Will Be Crowned Saturday, Jan. 14

Kuamka is a Swahili term that means “in the beginning” and will be celebrated with a week full of exciting events.

18th annual Mr. & Ms. Kuamka Extravaganza, themed “BATTLE CRY" is sponsored by the African American Cultural and Resource Center. The goal of the theme is to capture the fight for equity and show pride through academic, personal and professional success. This year, 12 dynamic candidates are competing for the title of Mr. and Miss Kuamka. Each candidate has selected platforms that include, but are not limited to; the importance of mentorship, increasing dialogue for racial reconciliation, creating awareness and prevention strategies to reduce domestic and sexual abuse, and the empowerment of black women. The week's events will take place from Jan. 9-14. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Ewaniki Moore-Hawkins, Director of the AACRC, at mooreek@ucmail.uc.edu or 513-556-1177.

AACRC Unveiling, Dedicating Facilities Expansion on Jan. 10

KufunuaIn continuation of the celebration of our 25th anniversary of the African American Cultural and Resource Center, alumni are cordially invited to take part in the dedication and unveiling of the new Quiet Study Area and Student Lounge. The expansion of the AACRC is a direct reflection of the rich legacy of student activism and leadership that has etched itself in our storied 25 year history.

The call to action articulated by our students was met with urgency, sincerity, and included a number of campus partners who lent their expertise and skill to create a space to further encourage academic excellence and a culture of inclusivity among students. The new wing of the AACRC is a testament of the successful collaboration between the Irate 8, former President Emeritus Santa Ono, senior UC administration, the AACRC Expansion Committee, the Office of the University Architect, the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees, and a variety of contractors.

The event will begin promptly at 5 p.m.

Alumni Spotlight: Hon. Fanon A. Rucker

Name: Fanon A. Rucker

UC College and Grad Year: Univ of Cincinnati College of Law, 1996

Employer, Title: Judge, Hamilton County Municipal Court

Current city of residence: Cincinnati, Ohio

Having received your undergraduate degree at Hampton University, what attracted you to attend law school at UC? The city of Cincinnati and the law school had some "race issues" in the few years before I was accepted in the law school. As a result of the problems, the law school specifically recruited students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The recruitment efforts brought my attention to UC. University of Cincinnati was a top tier law school with a great reputation and high bar passage rate. Also, with a father on the Court in Indiana and a mother in law school at the time in Pennsylvania, I wanted to carve my own niche somewhere between the two states.

From your view on the bench, what ways can the educated masses of African Americans in Cincinnati support those who do not have access to educational opportunity? The educated community can/should join, support and lead organizations whose goals include assisting the under-educated community (NAACP, Masons, Church outreach, etc). We should also proactively present public town halls and Think Tanks (e.g. Black Male Think Tank) to shed light on information that may assist them in rising from their condition. For example, too many people never get a firm grasp on the mechanisms and the consequences of credit ratings, especially the increased cost of doing business with bad credit. We should do more to inform those who do not have the same access to educational opportunities how to build their scores and save money to better build generational wealth. Information and instruction on how to use that information is just as powerful as formal education.

If you could offer any advice to freshmen on campus, what would it be? Be driven and purposed in reaching your goals, but be flexible in setting those goals. When I started college, I was a computer science major. By the end of freshman year, I switched to Psychology. After a nationally impactful incident involving the Los Angeles police, I decided to pursue a career in law. Also, take advantage of all the opportunities a college campus life has to offer, because once you get out in the real world, it's rarely as fun.

Was there a faculty or staff member who made a lasting impact on your life? My contracts professor, John Murphy, taught me the practical client-building aspect of law practice that is so important for professional success. Professor Murphy taught me how to enjoy my time in law school and, most importantly, he taught me how to tie a bow tie.

When you weren’t studying, was there a favorite place on campus to hang out? When I wasn't studying, I could usually be found hanging out in TUC (in McDonald's, the Rhine room and the game room) with the Ice Cold Brothers of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Student Spotlight: Kendall Wright, CECH ‘17

Name: Kendall Wright

UC College, Major, and Anticipated Grad Year: Fourth year, Health Promotion Education major with a focus in exercise and fitness. Graduating in April 2017

Hometown: Columbus, OH

Why did you choose to attend UC? I was preparing to go to Ohio State, and being from Columbus, that was my dream school. I waited until the last possible day to commit to OSU (of course) and when I went to my email, I had just received an email from UC telling me that I qualified for grants and scholarships that would cover my first year and a half….and the rest was history!

What student groups do you participate in? I was a Student Orientation Leader in 2014, I served as a BASE (Brothers And Sisters Excelling) mentor, and member-at-large for the University Funding Board. I currently serve as a Senior Class Officer, member of the Dean of Students Advisory Council, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc – Omicron Chapter, and I also serve as the President of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

How has being the 2016 Homecoming Queen changed your student experience? I think many times as students, we find ourselves questioning our own abilities and we get so overwhelmed in day to day life that you just want some type of reassurance that the hard work you’re doing here matters. For me, being Homecoming Queen was really just refreshing. I won’t say that it really changed my student experience, but it definitely made me feel like the work I’m doing matters and the university noticed. Getting crowned as Homecoming Queen has honestly been one of my favorite moments of being a Bearcat.

What are your career goals? My goal is to become a senior level administrator at a four-year university.

What makes you proudest to be a Bearcat? This is tricky because I came to UC almost four years ago, very shy with no friends on this campus. Not very many people in my family have gone to college, so I didn’t have anyone to teach me the ropes. I was a timid freshman competing for a spot in a program that I didn’t even enjoy. But during my time here, I have been able to find my true passion within higher education, make lifelong relationships with people, and do things that I never thought I would do, like study abroad! I set goals for myself, went outside of my comfort zone, and made this campus my home with the help of the AACRC, my mentors, and sorors. I have overcome a lot of hardships while being in college and my University has never failed me. This place has really molded me into who I am and I’m so grateful. Now that my time here is almost up, I realize that I have achieved the goals that I set for myself. So I would definitely say that the support I received from the university to succeed is what makes me proudest. From the AACRC to the support from Dr. (Bleuzette) Marshall, UC Vice President of Equity and Inclusion, I will always love being a Bearcat now and forever.

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Justin Gibson, Bus '05
Associate Director,
Diversity Outreach and Engagement

Email Justin
or call 513-556-4312

Upcoming Events

Onyx & Ruby Gala 2017
Saturday, Feb. 28
Sharonville Convention Center

Alumni Weekend 2017
April 20 - 23
UC Uptown Campus

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Questions? Email Marcus Bethay, UC4A Chair or call the UC Alumni Association at 513-556-4344.

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