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Blake Layda

UC Alum Blake Layda Reminisces About UC/Cincinnati Favorites

First you boil Kraft Mac & Cheese noodles, then heat a can of Skyline Chili, and mix them together.  This is called “Skyline Mac & Cheese,” a recipe UC Alum Blake Layda created to remind himself of Cincinnati.  Using Blake’s recipe to make Skyline Mac & Cheese has us thinking Blake could have a second career in the culinary arts if he ever gets bored as a Managing Director at Jones Lang LaSalle. 

Blake, who graduated from the College of Engineering in 1999, rates his Law for Engineering class as the most interesting and relevant class he attended with respect to his career today. Not all classes were as interesting as Law for Engineering - he recalls his engineering math classes being extremely difficult, and his Differential Equations class being the hardest of them all. 

Blake graduated with a BSCE in Civil Engineering and also swam competitively on the UC Swim & Dive Team, waking up early to swim in Laurence Hall, where the pool was located before the Recreation Center was built. He left his legacy at UC by holding the 50-yard freestyle record for over 10 years after graduation.  Currently, Blake holds records in the top 10 spots of six different swimming events.

Between studying and swimming, Blake managed to form a group of close friends who stay connected by attending the same Bearcat football game every fall. Before the game, they walk the campus and admire the transformations since they attended UC in the late ‘90s. 

Blake and his former roommate, John Wagner, recently made a joint endowment gift that is unique in that it benefits both CEAS and the UC Swim Team. Blake says he donates from a sense of loyalty to UC. His advice to current students is to enjoy college, balance a “social and scholastic life” and build networks.  Blake believes college is a place where a person grows the most.

Blake’s Cincinnati Picks

  • Gold Star or Skyline Chili
  • Graeter’s or United Dairy Farmers ice cream
  • Taco Bell or White Castle
  • Frisch’s or Pomodori’s
  • Adriatico’s Pizza or LaRosa’s Pizzeria
  • Cactus Pear or Uno
  • Inn the Wood or Uncle Woody’s 

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