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Alumni Association

University of Cincinnati Announces 2011 Top Alumni

Annual awards program to honor six alumni for professional, community leadership

CINCINNATI, March 8, 2011The University of Cincinnati announces the 2011 top alumni award recipients. This year’s six honorees include:

William Howard Taft Medal for Notable Achievement

  • Dr. J. Richard Wuest (College of Pharmacy ’58, ’68, ’71) – Cincinnati, OH

Alumni Distinguished Service Award

  • Richard Foley (College of Engineering ’61) – Dayton, OH
  • David Watkins (College of Arts & Sciences ’92) – Chicago, IL

Jeffrey Hurwitz Young Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award

  • Drew McKenzie (College of Business ’05) – Cincinnati, OH

Mosaic Award

  • Dr. Eric Abercrumbie (College of Arts & Sciences 1987) – Cincinnati, OH
  • Dr. Marilyn Edmondson (Nursing ‘62 & College of Education ’76) – Smyrna, GA

The award recipients were selected for their unique professional accomplishments and contributions to UC and the community at large. They will be recognized among university leaders, colleagues and friends at the UC Alumni Association’s annual UC Day Celebration on June 9th.

“UC Day is a longstanding tradition at UC, allowing us to celebrate and recognize our most remarkable alumni and the positive marks they’ve made in their professions and in their communities,” said UC Alumni Association Executive Director, Myron Hughes. “In line with tradition, this year’s honorees are truly outstanding examples of alumni leadership in action.”

The William Howard Taft Medal for Notable Achievement is the highest honor awarded to a UC alum, recognizing an individual for lifelong excellence in his or her chosen field. A leader in Pharmacy education, Cincinnati native and UC Professor Emeritus Wuest has influenced the practice of pharmacy beyond just the UC community, extending his reach to the Ohio Board of Pharmacy and other professional organizations throughout the country.

In addition to enabling pharmacists to become multidisciplinary healthcare resources, Wuest was a leader in developing warning labels for prescription bottle alerts and reminders. The copyrighted Pharmex labeling system is used on more than 4 billion U.S. prescriptions.

“Dick has dedicated his life to the education of pharmacists and the development of the practice of pharmacy,” said College of Pharmacy Dean Daniel Acosta in his nomination. “His awards and recognitions are too numerous to list. Suffice it to say that he is an unselfish and caring individual who has helped many people establish successful careers in pharmacy.”

The Alumni Distinguished Service Award recognizes alumni who have rendered outstanding, faithful and selfless service to their alma mater – all qualities of award recipients Foley and Watkins.

Foley turned his UC co-op assignment at Dayton’s Harris-Seybold Printing Co. into a 37-year career there. He and his wife, Marlene, established and continue to fund a scholarship for first-year students in the College of Engineering & Applied Science; he sees this as “paying it forward” to help others realize the same college opportunity he had.

Watkins’ passion for UC found an outlet through the UC Alumni Association, building and coordinating the fifth-largest contingent of alumni outside of Cincinnati in his hometown of Chicago. For more than a decade, he has been “Mr. UC” in the self-proclaimed “ChicagoLand” alumni network — organizing and hosting countless events and networking opportunities for Chicago-based alumni to remain connected to their Cincinnati roots.

The Jeffrey Hurwitz Young Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award is presented to a UC graduate (35 years or younger) on the basis of significant professional achievement in his or her field of endeavor, and continued service and involvement with the university and community.

Award recipient McKenzie, who remains in Cincinnati, served as vice president of the Class of 2005. Since then, McKenzie has risen rapidly in the digital communications field, most recently settling in at Empower MediaMarketing where he develops and executes interactive marketing strategies, attracts new business, and leverages emerging technology to his clients’ benefit.

The Mosaic Award is presented to an individual whose collaborative community leadership enhances a shared community by championing the cause of the underrepresented and promoting greater equity and opportunity for others.

Currently the Director of Ethnic Programs and Services at UC’s African American Culture and Resource Center, honoree Abercrumbie is recognized for his work with cultural diversity. His deep-rooted interest in African American history combined with his passion for education has not only altered the institutional landscape at UC, but also initiated change at the national level. His position as a leader in the field of diversity has helped create greater equity of opportunity for the underrepresented and earned him countless national honors, including “Black Educator of the Year” by the United States Peace Corps.

Honoree Edmondson has served in higher education in both the traditional healthcare field and the public sector, yet has made her greatest impact working with organizations to bring health-related opportunities to African nations. Currently, her efforts are expended on behalf of the humanitarian organization, CARE International, which provides an array of emergency relief, post-disaster rehabilitation, and community-based projects to address countries’ most threatening problems.

Tickets for this year’s UC Day Celebration will be available to the public in early April (regular admission – $100; young professionals – $70; students – $50). To purchase tickets or read more about the 2011 event and honorees, please visit http://tinyurl.com/ucdaycelebration.

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About the University of Cincinnati
Ranked by the National Science Foundation among the top 25 public research universities in the United States, the University of Cincinnati is the region’s largest employer, with a diverse student population of more than 41,000. UC's faculty has distinguished themselves worldwide for their creative teaching and research, including members of the National Academy of Science, Institute of Medicine and winners of Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer Prizes. The University’s 14 Colleges set the foundation for a university dedicated to undergraduate, graduate, and professional education, experience-based learning, and research. U.S. News has described UC as one of 15 “up and coming” universities and Forbes Magazine named UC one of the world’s most beautiful campuses.

About the UC Alumni Association
Celebrating more than 100 years of service, the UC Alumni Association (UCAA) represents and serves UC’s more than 247,000 alumni worldwide, helping them maintain a lifetime connection to each other and their alma mater. The association’s Cincinnati-based team, combined with a Student Alumni Council and more than 35 regional alumni networks nationwide, serves as the primary connection point between the university and its current and future alumni. The UCAA staff and volunteers work to provide year-round opportunities for networking, continuing education and professional development.

Media Contact:                 
Lauren Boettcher, UC Foundation & Alumni Association
513-556-7703 desk
513-460-5648 cell
lauren.boettcher@uc.edu