UC's Tradition of Philanthropy & Fund Raising

1819-1905    1912-1930    1941-1959    1961-1975    2000-2011    2013-2018



The University of Cincinnati acknowledges 1819 as the year of its founding.  In that year, two components of the current university were incorporated:  Cincinnati College and the Medical College of Ohio.  Both of these educational initiatives, taken just 30 years after Cincinnati was founded by twenty-six settlers in 1788, were dependent upon the gifts of concerned citizens.  Fund raising began even before students were enrolled.


The early decades of higher education in frontier Cincinnati were filled with many resource crises.  Then, upon his death in 1858, Charles McMicken bequeathed to the City of Cincinnati the bulk of his estate, approximately $900,000, to found an institution to educate boys and girls, which was to be located on his homestead on what is now McMicken Avenue.  This endowment provided the necessary foundation for the future University of Cincinnati.

"What the name John Harvard is to Harvard University, and Eliju Yale is to Yale University, the name of Charles McMicken is to the University of Cincinnati."


The student newspaper, "Academica," folded when students failed to raise $200 in three weeks to pay the paper's accumulated debt.  Subsequently, believing the university should have an official publication, other students organized a stock company and raised $500 at $5 per share.  "McMicken Review" was launched.


McMicken Hall was built at the university's new 43-acre location on Clifton Avenue in Burnet Woods Park.

The "Citizens University Committee" was formed, including such well-known Cincinnati names as Ingalls, Schmidlapp, Fleischmann, Addy, Holmes, Alms, Sproull, Voorheis, Emery, Graydon and Seasongood.


Henry Hanna contributed $69,091.07 to build and equip Hanna Hall, the north wing of McMicken Hall.

Briggs S. Cunningham gave $60,000 to build and equip the south wing, Cunningham Hall.

Asa Van Wormer gave $50,000 to build Van Wormer Library, now the Administration Building.

David Sinton provided $100,000 for the maintenance of the Academic Department. 



Over 8000 volumes were given to the Library by William A. Procter.

$25,000 was donated for the Wald Professorship in law by the brother and mother of the deceased dean of the law department, Gustavus H. Wald.

Jacob Hoffner left his estate to the city, which presented to UC the statues of two lions, today's "Mick and Mack."

Through the efforts of Alfred K. Nippert, the gymnasium was built and given as a gift of the alumni to the university.


Due to the long and significant career of Dr. Christian Holmes, to honor his memory, the Carnegie Corporation gave $250,000 for a chair, Mrs. Charles Fleischmann gave $100,000 to the Holmes Memorial Fund, and Mrs. Holmes contributed $250,000 to endow the Deanship of the College of Medicine and $200,000 to construct Holmes Hospital.

Rockefeller Foundation contributed a $700,000 challenge grant for the Holmes endowment.  Carnegie Foundation helped UC match the challenge with $200,000.


Francis Howard Baldwin left the residue of his estate, approximately $700,000, for the benefit of the university.  He made no restrictions on the gift and gave no indication of the purpose intended.  The main building of the College of Engineering was named in his honor.


James Norris Gamble gave $270,000 to complete the football stadium in memory of his grandson, James Gamble Nippert, who died on Christmas day as a result of a football injury sustained on the Thanksgiving Day game against Miami.


Through the generosity of Charles Phelps Taft, the College of Law's new Alphonso Taft Hall was dedicated in honor of his father.


The University of Cincinnati Boosters Committee for Athletics was appointed by Chase M. Davies, President of the Executive Alumni Council.  It included 80 prominent business and civic leaders.  This organization was the forerunner of UCATS (University of Cincinnati Athletic Team Scholarships), today's athletics fund-raising organization.

The Schmidlapp Chair of Aeronautics was funded in the College of Engineering and Commerce by Jacob G. Schmidlapp.

$130,000 was given by "three industrial groups outside of Cincinnati" to build and equip the Charles Kettering Laboratory for Physiology.


Mrs. Charles P. Taft established the $2 million Charles Phelps Taft Memorial Fund, in memory of her husband, to assist "the study and teaching of the humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and the Graduate School..."


New Board member Jane D. Earley helped organize the Friends of The University to solicit funds each year to support UC.  This was the start of UC's annual giving program.


In the turmoil of World War II, the University faced a $400,000 deficit.  Mr. Frederick Geier of Cincinnati Milling Machine Company chaired the Emergency Fund Campaign.  "The Mill" contributed $100,000, and $406,000 was raised by local businesses.  In 1945, $207,000 was raised from 197 businesses.  These efforts were the beginning of today's Annual Business Campaign.


Mrs. George Elliston bequeathed $250,000 to establish a chair in poetry in the College of Liberal Arts.


The Alumni Association was granted permission to start an annual fund-raising campaign.  Kelly Y. Siddell chaired the first effort which raised $50,000 from 2,200 alumni.  Today over 26,000 alumni contribute each year to UC.

The College of Medicine began its annual alumni appeal, the longest-running annual alumni appeal at UC.


Mrs. Frederick Alms' estate gift of $200,000 made possible the new Alms Memorial Building for the College of Applied Arts.


The College of Pharmacy joined UC after completing a five-year campaign to raise a $625,000 endowment from local pharmaceutical companies and citizens.  The endowment was a condition placed by UC on the merger between the university and the 103-year-old college.


Frank T. Purdy was appointed Executive Director of Development, the first UC fund-raising staff position.


Mrs. Louise Taft Semple created a $3 million endowment fund for the department of classics through her will. 

UC ranked twenty-third of 1031 colleges and universities in the amount of gifts and grants received that year.


The College-Conservatory of Music became a part of UC after a major fund-raising effort.  $1,264,000 was assigned to CCM by the Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts from its endowment and $1 million was raised from private citizens.


Bill Baetz, Director of Development, launched a planned giving program encouraging estate planning and bequests for UC.


UC completed successfully its first university-wide capital fund campaign.  The Sesquicentennial Campaign, led by Chairman William H. Zimmer, raised $34 million in private support.


$1,250,000 was given by Rose Wolfson through the Erwin S. and Rose F. Wolfson Foundation to build the Erwin S. Wolfson Center for Environmental Design, a part of the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning. 


Dr. George Rieveschl, Jr., founded the Charles McMicken Society to encourage and recognize annual gifts to UC of $1000 or more.  From the original 14 donor members, the society now recognizes over 2000 donors each year.


As the university anticipated affiliation with the State of Ohio, Dr. Rieveschl left his position as UC's research vice president and became the founding chairman of the University of Cincinnati Foundation.  Other Founding Trustees were:  R. Amor Reiter, Harold D. Riemeier, John W. Pease, William G. Baetz, Chase M. Davies, Lloyd Whitesell, Robert S. Goebel, Mrs. Mark (Joni) Herschede, Russell C. Myers, H. Jerome Berns, Dean P. Fite. 

Rieveschl was succeeded as Board Chairman by Joni Herschede, 1981-1985; William J. Parchman, 1986; Theodore H. Emmerich, Jr., 1987-1992; and, Reuven J. Katz, 1993-2001, James C. Kautz, 2002-2005; Jeffrey P. Williams, 2005-2008, Steven A. Wilson, 2008 to present.


Since the foundation was formed, three other university-wide campaigns have been conducted.  The Centers of Excellence Campaign (1980-1984) raised $53 million.  The Continuum Campaign (1985-1987) raised $8 million.   The "Campaign for The University of Cincinnati" ended successfully on June 30, 2000 with a total of $328.9 million committed.


In the partnership with academic and program leadership, the foundation has constructed aggressive annual funding programs on behalf of UC, including the Millennium Plan and Varsity Village.


The University of Cincinnati approves a goal of $800 million for its capital campaign to be launched in 2008.


The University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees approves the Proudly Cincinnati Capital Campaign Goal be increased to $1 billion.


In June, The University of Cincinnati Foundation celebrated the “Halfway” point in the Proudly Cincinnati Campaign by exceeding $500,000,000 in donations.


The University of Cincinnati achieved the largest enrollment in UC history with over 41,350 students on all campuses, for the autumn quarter.


The University of Cincinnati Foundation reached the $755 million mark of the $1 billion Proudly Cincinnati Campaign, March 31.


Proudly Cincinnati reached its end on June 30, 2013 with more than $1.09 billion raised in private support from 100,672 donors.


The UC Foundation surpassed and exceeded its fundraising goal for the year, providing difference-making private support for the university.


The UC Health Foundation was integrated into the UC Foundation. The UC Cancer Institute landed three seven-figure gifts, and the UC Faculty/Staff Campaign set new record for fundraising to support UC's people and programs.


After setting an ambitious goal of $150 million and continuing forward momentum, the Foundation raised more than $258 million in outright gifts, planned gifts, UC Health gifts, Non-Governmental Research funds and Gifts in Kind/Software Gifts. More than 37,627 donors (an increase of 5.64 percent from 2015) gave back to numerous university and UC Health initiatives. 


Nearly $115 million was raised for four leadership imperatives: the new Lindner College of Business facility, the Fifth Third Arena renovation, the new UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute and the Cincinnati Cancer Center's "Cancer Ends Here" campaign. "Cancer Ends Here" positions UC, UC Health and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center to achieve National Cancer Institute designation. 


Following a national search, the UC Foundation welcomed former dean and interim provost Peter Landgren, CCM '78 as its new president and UC's vice president for Advancement. In February, the UC Board of Trustees unanimously approved UC President Neville G. Pinto's strategic direction for the university. Next Lives Here positions UC to lead urban public universities into a new era of innovation and impact with a tri-focus on Academic Excellence, the Innovation Agenda and Urban Impact.