2016 Outstanding Philanthropic Volunteer Award Winners Announced

UC Lindner College of Business, Arts & Sciences Alumnus Receives Top Honors

CINCINNATI – October 14, 2016 – The University of Cincinnati Foundation today announced five recipients for its highest awards in philanthropy – the Outstanding Philanthropic Volunteer Awards. Honorees include Steve Wilson, A&S ’66, Bus ’68; Jim Jurgensen II; Ride Cincinnati; Jeri Ricketts, PhD, Bus ’82 ’86; and Sara Whitestone, A&S ’18. Individuals were selected based upon their extraordinary philanthropic commitment to the University of Cincinnati and UC Health.

“Our 2016 philanthropy award winners represent some of UC and UC Health’s most steadfast supporters. This year’s honorees feature three dedicated UC alumni, a local group that has been at the forefront of fundraising efforts for breast cancer research and an expert engineer,” said UC Foundation President Rodney Grabowski. “Volunteers have been critical to the incredible success achieved by the university and health system, and I thank all of our volunteers for giving back in such a big way.”

2016 Outstanding Philanthropic Volunteer Award Winners

Steve WilsonChairman’s Award – Steve Wilson

The Chairman’s Award is the UC Foundation’s highest recognition for a volunteer who has made a noteworthy, university-wide philanthropic impact. This year, the prestigious award went to Steve Wilson, the retired President and Chief Executive Officer of VNU Advisory Services, 1966 graduate of the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences and 1968 graduate (MBA) of the Carl H. Lindner College of Business.

Wilson has made an indelible impact on UC through nearly four decades of volunteerism and philanthropic support. Most recently, he served as interim president and chairman of the UC Foundation. His leadership was instrumental in the record-breaking success of the Proudly Cincinnati fundraising campaign, which raised more than $1.09 billion. Wilson also has been a major supporter of the Lindner College of Business and UC Athletics.

Jim JurgensenTrustees’ Award – Jim Jurgensen II

The UC Foundation’s Trustees’ Award recognizes a volunteer’s contribution to advance philanthropy for a specific UC college or area. In recognition of his remarkable contribution to the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering and Construction Management (CAECM) at the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS), Jim Jurgensen II was honored with the Trustees’ Award.

Recognizing the need for more specific instruction in horizontal, heavy highway construction, Jurgensen helped found the first Heavy Civil Construction Endowed Professorship at CEAS. He also played a large role in developing the Academy of Construction Management initiative to review and update the existing CM curriculum. Jurgensen currently serves on the CAECM Industry Advisory Board.

Ride CincinnatiGroup Philanthropy Award – Ride Cincinnati

The Group Philanthropy Award honors a group that has been highly engaged in philanthropic activities at UC or UC Health and has made a significant positive impact. Ride Cincinnati, the annual cycling event that raises funds for breast cancer research, took home this year’s Group Philanthropy Award.

Ride Cincinnati was founded in 2007 by Dr. Harvey Harris, his family and two friends, whose families have been touched by breast cancer. Originally dedicated to Dr. Harvey’s wife, Ride Cincinnati has raised more than $1.2 million for breast cancer research, funding 34 research pilot grants awarded to top UC research faculty. The event also has provided vital support to early career researchers and gap funding to assist senior faculty in between grants.

Jeri RickettsStaff Award of Merit – Jeri Ricketts, PhD

Jeri Ricketts, PhD, the associate professor of accounting and director of the Lindner Honors-PLUS (LHP) Program at the Lindner College of Business, received the UC Foundation’s Staff Award of Merit. The award recognizes a staff member who has fostered a culture of philanthropy at UC and embraced the spirit of Dr. George Rieveschl, Jr., UC’s founder of philanthropy.

As director of the LHP Program, Ricketts has instilled the value of philanthropy in hundreds of alumni who have graduated from the program. Working with the UC Foundation and Alumni Association, she has helped raise about $500,000 annually for the LHP program. Ricketts also created the program's advisory board of alumni who participate in development and alumni relations.

Sara WhitestoneStudent Philanthropy Award – Sara Whitestone

This year’s Student Philanthropy Award goes to Sara Whitestone, a recent graduate from UC’s McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, for her efforts to raise funds for students with disabilities at UC.

Whitestone is the founder and president of Sara Spins, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and the necessary funds for students with disabilities to provide the technology and tools to pursue their higher education. Under Whitestone’s leadership, Sara Spins raised $20,000 in just two years. As the founder and president of UC’s Alliance for Abilities, Whitestone has played a key role in making UC a more accessible and inclusive campus for students with disabilities, particularly those with physical disabilities.


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About the University of Cincinnati Foundation
Established in 1975, the University of Cincinnati Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation and is the private sector fundraising entity for the University of Cincinnati and UC Health. The foundation supports UC’s aspirations through philanthropic collaboration with the colleges, the Academic Health Center, UC Health and other units to maximize private support. The foundation’s advancement efforts promote the development of productive, enduring relationships with alumni, friends, colleagues, students, foundations, corporations and the Greater Cincinnati community. For more information, visit uc.edu/foundation.

By Caitlin Whitehurst
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UC Foundation

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