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Philanthropist Yvonne Robertson to Receive UC’s Award for Excellence

Longtime community volunteer and UC alumna Yvonne Robertson will be honored at the University of Cincinnati Commencement Ceremony on June 13.

Date: 5/4/2009 12:00:00 AM
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Provided

UC ingot  

Youth, education and arts supporter Yvonne Robertson will be honored with the University of Cincinnati Award for Excellence during UC’s Commencement Ceremony at 9 a.m., Saturday, June 13, in Fifth Third Arena. The Award for Excellence recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the purposes and ideals of the university.

Yvonne Robertson
Yvonne Robertson

Robertson earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the UC College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) in 1956 and earned a master’s degree in early childhood education from Columbia University in 1960. She taught for the Cincinnati Public Schools upon graduation.

Robertson has spent more than 30 years serving as a community volunteer in Greater Cincinnati, dedicated to youth, education and the arts. She had studied art at the Cincinnati Art Academy and later studied art under Paul Chidlaw in Mt. Adams, and had also earned a scholarship in dance from the legendary Hanya Holm.

She has served numerous community arts organizations as a board member including the Cincinnati Museum Center, the Cincinnati Arts Association, Cincinnati Association for Performing Arts, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and founding member of the Multicultural Awareness Council, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (founding member), Cincinnati Ballet and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. She served on the campaign cabinet for the Ohio Center for the Arts and served on the National Advisory Council of the Women’s Symphony Orchestra League.

In addition to arts organizations, Robertson has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations including the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, Talbert House, Advocates for Youth Education, Tall Stacks Commission, Greater Cincinnati Sports & Events Commission, Family Service of Greater Cincinnati, CET, Adolescent Clinic of Jewish Hospital, School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCPA), Franciscan Health System of Cincinnati, National Conference of Christians and Jews (now Bridges for a Just Community), the Cincinnati chapter of Jack & Jill of America, the Public Library of Cincinnati & Hamilton County, the Hamilton County Foundation and the Greater Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation. She has also volunteered for the American Red Cross and the Cerebral Palsy Center.

A longtime supporter of the University of Cincinnati, Mrs. Robertson received the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services (CECH) Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007. She and her husband, Oscar, are co-chairs of UC’s Proudly Cincinnati capital campaign and Yvonne Robertson also serves on the CECH Leadership Committee for the campaign. She was co-chair of the college’s 100th anniversary gala in 2005-2006 and has served on the Dean’s Advisory Council. She co-chaired the Class of 1956 CECH 50th Class Reunion in 2006.

“Her loyalty, support, energy and affection for the college is valued and important as we move into our second century providing education, research and service to the community,” says Lawrence J. Johnson, dean of CECH.

Robertson has served as a trustee for the UC Foundation since 1999 and serves on the marketing committee. She is a lifetime member of the UC Alumni Association and a member of the African-American Alumni Association. She and her husband fund three UC scholarships, two of them aimed at providing pathways to higher education for urban students.

Yvonne Robertson is an alumna of Leadership Cincinnati and has organized numerous events to benefit the region. In 1988 and 1989, she was co-chair of the American Negro Spiritual festivals. As president of the Cincinnati chapter of The Links, Inc., she was instrumental in organizing “Focus ’88 – The Black Artist,” and has served as the National Chair of the Arts. She served as host co-chair for the “Salute to Pat Corbett” at Music Hall in 1997. Also in 1997, she was a committee member for the Learning Through Art Benefit Concert.

Robertson was honorary co-chair of the 1998 Children’s Faces Without Places art auction and co-chair of the Oscar Robertson Celebrity Tennis Tournament as well as the Oscar Robertson Celebrity Golf Tournament.

Her numerous service awards include Cincinnati Enquirer Woman of the Year (1989); Tree of Life Award, Jewish National Fund (1992); Peace of the City Award, The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati and the Jewish Community Relations Council (2003); and Distinguished Service Citation, National Conference for Community and Justice, Greater Cincinnati Region (2004).

UC Commencement Information