2018 Award Recipients

This page contains biographies for the recipients of the four signature UC Alumni Association awards.

William Howard Taft Medal for Notable Achievement
Marian A. Spencer '42, '06
College of Arts and Sciences

Distinguished Service Award
Russell C. "Rusty" Myers '82
Carl H. Lindner College of Business

Mosaic Award
Jacqueline Bailey-Davis '92
College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services

Jeffrey Hurwitz Young Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award
Austin Allison '08
College of Engineering and Applied Science


Outstanding Alumni Awards

College of Allied Health Sciences
Erin E. Head ’10

College of Arts and Sciences
Glen A. Weissenberger ’69

Blue Ash College
Rev. Marjorie A. McDaniel ‘90

Carl H. Lindner College of Business
Leigh R. Fox ’01

Clermont College
Hon. Kevin T. Miles ’91

College-Conservatory of Music
Aik Khai Pung, DMA, ‘09, ‘14

College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning
Donald P. Jacobs ‘67

College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services
Sandra S. Wiesmann ’66

College of Engineering and Applied Science
Christopher B. Hersman ’88

College of Law
Daniel P. Carmichael ’65, ‘68, Hon. '06

College of Medicine
Arden H. Wander, MD ’67

College of Nursing
Nancy J. Robert, PhD, ’78

James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy
Mimi E. Hart ’78

UC Athletics
Jolinda Lewis-Miller ‘98

William Howard Taft Medal for Notable Achievement

This award is given to an alumnus of the University of Cincinnati solely on the basis of notable achievement in his or her field. The Taft Medal differs from the Distinguished Service Award in that it is not restricted to service to the university. The award is in honor and memory of William Howard Taft, Law 1880, Hon ’25, twenty-seventh president of the United States and tenth chief justice.

Marian Spencer
A&S ’42, Hon ’06

spencer headshotMarian Spencer was born almost exactly one year before President Warren G. Harding named UC alumnus William Howard Taft the nation’s 10th Chief Justice. That’s fitting because, as she receives the award named for Taft, those words — “chief justice” — are supremely relevant in describing the 97-year-old Spencer’s life of passionate purpose and priceless value. For almost 80 years, the impact of her work has reverberated throughout the country, and her unfailing commitment to societal equity continues to inspire new generations. A force in our community and, in many ways, a conscience of her city, she has been forever determined to be a change agent in the advancement of humanity

Fiercely dedicated to the American promise of equality for all, Spencer became a woman of “firsts.” At the vanguard of the Charter Committee, she was the first African American woman to serve on Cincinnati City Council and the first vice mayor. She was the first to chair the Community Steering Committee for Indigent Defense, to chair the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, to be elected president of the Woman’s City Club of Greater Cincinnati, and serve as president of the Cincinnati branch of the NAACP. As a lifetime NAACP member (having joined the organization at age 13), she served on the local chapter’s executive board and chaired its Legal Redress and Education committees.

One of her most renowned achievements is her successful 1952 lawsuit against Coney Island, which resulted in its desegregation. Stemming from her two young sons’ innocent desire to visit the popular amusement part and the park’s refusal of entry, she pursued the case for almost a decade, revealing her tenacity and uncompromising commitment to equality of opportunity. Later, her work would compel the desegregation of Cincinnati’s public schools; help African Americans purchase homes in a challenged marketplace; integrate community pools and summer camps; and initiate protocols for hazardous waste management and storage, which resulted in local, state and national legislation and the establishment of Superfund sites across the country. Not long after Cincinnati’s race riots, she also co-founded the Citizens’ Committee on Youth in 1971 as a way to provide summer employment opportunities for inner-city youth in collaboration with local businesses.

At UC, first as a student and later as a board trustee, she was instrumental in integrating on-campus housing; eliminating admissions barriers for African American students to enroll in colleges dedicated to engineering, medicine and music; including all students in the full range of extracurricular activities; and initiating student representation on the board. Students and staff alike relish their time with Spencer during formal and informal campus gatherings as she shares her experiences and motivations, encouraging them to “Keep on Fighting,” based on the title of her biography. The gifting to UC of the personal archives chronicling the lifetime journey of Marian and her husband, Donald (A&S ’36, CECH ’37, ’38, Hon ’06), reflects the fondness and high regard she and Donald had for their alma mater. Their work on behalf of their university also symbolizes the Spencers’ understanding of the transformative power of education.

Spencer has received too many awards to list, including Cincinnati Enquirer Woman of the Year; YWCA Career Woman of Achievement; Humanitarian Award from the Freedom Heritage Foundation of Columbus; “Great Living Cincinnatian” from the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from UC. The Cincinnati Public Schools renamed a Walnut Hills elementary school the Donald A. and Marian Spencer Education Center in 2010. The Cincinnati City Council renamed the 100 block of Walnut Street, between Second Street and Theodore Berry Way at The Banks beside the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, “Marian Spencer Way” — quite a fitting honor for the granddaughter of a freed slave.

Spencer’s courageous, relentless and unparalleled efforts to advance the cause of civil rights on the UC campus and throughout the Cincinnati community have always been carried out in a humble yet fearless manner. She has tirelessly challenged and taught the community to live up to its covenant of equal opportunity for all, encouraging peaceful and respectful means to alter the status quo toward that end while personifying the core values of diversity and inclusion. Long a trailblazer, fighter, change agent and steadfast advocate for justice in all its forms, Marian Spencer has built an indelible legacy of leadership borne of a lifetime of incredible achievement.

Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award recognizes alumni who have rendered outstanding, faithful and selfless service to their alma mater.

Russell C. “Rusty” Myers,
Bus ’82

Jerome Jackson headshotRusty Myers comes by his love and devotion for UC naturally, given his family’s history of selfless service to the university. His grandfather, father and sister have all held volunteer leadership roles, including president of the UC Alumni Association (UCAA), prior to his following in their footsteps. His father was even the namesake of the former Russell C. Myers Alumni Center. Rusty has made his own name and reputation over more than 35 years as a deeply invested and passionately supportive alumni leader.

His career has been spent in the Greater Cincinnati real estate industry, having started Cincinnati Capital Properties and growing it into one of the region’s most successful commercial real estate brokerage firms. Eight years ago he sold the company to Jones Lang LaSalle, where he is now executive vice president. His experience and expertise in the field, combined with his need to give back to his alma mater, led to his lengthy service as a member of the Lindner College of Business’ Board of Executive Advisors in Real Estate (BEARE) and past chair of the Real Estate Executive Advisory Council; his involvement helped grow UC’s Real Estate program from its inception to its current position as one of the nation’s best.

Myers has also devoted himself fully to UC’s advancement efforts, including a long term of service on the UCAA’s Board of Governors culminating in a two-year term as board president from 2010-12 during a crucial period of organizational evolution, and his current service on the UC Foundation’s Board of Trustees. In these roles, he was instrumental in expanding UCAA’s reach via its national alumni networks, increasing its focus on inclusion by forging deeper connections through a range of constituent alumni groups, raising funds to enhance the alumni center, and strengthening the relationship between UCAA and the UC Foundation which streamlined operations and elevated alumni outreach efforts.

Despite his personally humble and quietly thoughtful leadership style, such exceptional volunteer efforts didn’t go unnoticed within the UC community and particularly the student body. In acknowledgement of his work to strengthen the bonds between current students and the alumni family, Myers was tapped into the Men of Metro Honorary Society while serving as UCAA president — rare recognition from an organization whose members are almost always identified and enlisted as undergraduates.

Myers is revered as much for his demeanor and depth as his tangible contributions of time, talent and treasure. Without exception, his colleagues speak of his personal and professional traits as epitomizing the essence of the Distinguished Service Award. They cite his strength of character, wise counsel, generosity, collegiality, great loyalty, unfaltering dignity, the kindness and respect he shows to all, and the unwavering support he offers, often rendered invisibly to all but those most affected. His intelligent, thorough and sensitive analysis in tackling important issues and decisions is legendary. He brings to any discussion an uncanny ability to hear and consider alternative perspectives and approaches. In all, Myers practically provides a template for volunteer leadership within the UC family.

Mosaic Award

The Mosaic Award is presented to an alumnus/alumna whose leadership enhances our shared community through cultivating collaboration, fostering inclusiveness, championing the cause of the underrepresented, and promoting equity and opportunity for all. 

Jacqueline L. Bailey-Davis
CECH ’92

bailey-davisPolice officers swear an oath to protect and serve the people in their communities. In Jacqueline Bailey-Davis, the city of Philadelphia has a stirring example of the very best of law enforcement.

A 20-year veteran with the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) who has worked in the divisions of patrol, investigations and training, Bailey-Davis currently serves as Police Staff Inspector, just three ranks from the city’s “top cop.” One of her primary responsibilities is monitoring PPD progress on recommendations from the Department of Justice Collaborative Reform and 21st Century Policing Initiative; while a Police Captain, she was PPD’s police commissioner-appointed liaison to the 2016 White House Policing Briefing Series to identify and implement national best practices.

Staff Inspector Bailey-Davis’ community-focused approach and demeanor are well known in Philadelphia, where she has been recognized by the department and community for her on- and off-duty service to residents. As the Commanding Officer in the city’s 26th District, her district was recognized and received the Civilian Kindness Award. And in 2016, she was honored by the National Liberty Museum with the Individual Meritorious Community Service Award, part of the museum’s Awards of Valor that recognize acts of heroism and service in community role models. The award specifically noted Staff Inspector Bailey-Davis for her assistance to victims of gun violence, random acts of kindness, the sharing of free financial fitness and literacy seminars, and philanthropic deeds in criminal justice education.

For many years, Staff Inspector Bailey-Davis has been an ardent and active supporter of education, intent on providing opportunities for others following her path. At Lincoln University where she earned a master’s degree, she has endowed a $50,000, fully funded criminal justice scholarship and created the Light of Lincoln Mentor Program to help criminal justice students transition from college to career. As she ascended through the ranks at PPD, she also taught criminal justice courses and coordinated an internship program for 12 years at Alvernia University and the Community College of Philadelphia. She “adopted” and mentored many of her Alvernia students, and the university presented her with an Outstanding Adjunct Instructor Award. She has also served for more than a decade as a volunteer for the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division Mock Trials.

While the Philadelphia area is where she has made her career and a reputation as an extraordinary servant leader and dedicated champion of education’s transformative powers, Staff Inspector Bailey-Davis has not forgotten her UC roots. She loves her alma mater and is grateful for the education she received here, the skills she developed, the friendships she made, and the doors that opened as a result. In 2017, she and her husband pledged $25,000 to support the Turner Scholars Program, demonstrating anew that her head and heart are aligned to help underrepresented students have every opportunity to make the same kind of impact on society that she has had.

Jeffrey Hurwitz Young Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award

This award is given to a UC graduate, within 10 years of graduation, on the basis of significant professional achievement in his or her field of endeavor, and continued service and involvement with the university and community. This award is in honor and memory of Jeffrey Hurwitz, BBA ’72, MBA ’73, former president of the UC Alumni Association’s Board of Governors.

Austin Allison
CEAS ’08

allisonBy any measure, Austin Allison was a remarkable business prodigy who harnessed a natural entrepreneurial spirit to transform a vital industry, with his youthful accomplishments almost challenging belief.

Amid a historic recession that struck the real estate industry particularly hard, Allison successfully fundraised for his visionary venture. He garnered nearly $3 million from local angel investors, recruited a friend with the requisite mastery of software to be his co-founder, and at age 24 launched his new enterprise, called dotloop, while attending UC Law School. Drawing on his first-hand knowledge and business instincts, Allison created the means to seamlessly and securely handle transactions from offer to close, where users form a “loop” — a virtual workspace where all involved parties can develop and share all necessary documents, communicate and collaborate throughout the negotiation and sales agreement, submit contracts for compliance, and securely store all data in the cloud. By empowering its users while bridging the divides of time and space, dotloop’s real-time capabilities and transparency deliver transformational power to the process, allowing clients to get what they need more quickly and brokers to handle much more volume than before.

As dotloop was becoming profitable within 18 months of its launch, Allison began attracting more attention and accolades for his accomplishments. Notably, he was featured on the cover of Entrepreneur magazine, he made Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list, and he was named Innovator of the Year by Inman News, one of the most coveted awards in the real estate industry. That year he also closed a $7 million Series A funding round to further accelerate dotloop’s growth. In 2015, Allison sold the company to Zillow Group for $117 million; he continues to lead dotloop for Zillow Group. Since 2009, dotloop has enabled more than $1 trillion in real estate transactions and served more than 20 million home buyers and sellers nationally.

Along the way, Allison has focused on the “people side” of his work as much as the “product side,” earning a reputation for attracting outstanding employees, inspiring and maintaining a strong and nurturing company culture, and even co-authoring a best-selling book called Peoplework, which is about putting people first in a digital-first world. Often invited back to campus to speak with students within the College of Engineering & Applied Science and the Lindner College of Business, he is excited to help UC’s next generation of business leaders learn from his experiences.


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