Profile: Carl Patton
One-time UC student Dr. Carl Patton, president of Georgia State University, recently
returned to Cincinnati to as the featured speaker at a prestigious national conference
looking at university-business-state alliances that have made Georgia, especially the
Atlanta area, a magnet for "industries of the mind."
Patton is an enthusiastic booster of ivory tower/industry cooperation and
coordination such as he has helped to bring about in Georgia. It can be done in any
region, he claims. "A decade ago, this was all new. Then, Georgia lagged behind the
rest of the country in terms of business and economic development. We were not a
high-tech center," explained Patton, a 1967 graduate from UC's School of Planning who
grew up in Cincinnati's North Fairmount neighborhood and is a 1962 graduate of
Cincinnati's Elder High School. "We've now moved ahead."
Patton himself has likewise "moved ahead" thanks to a solid start at UC. He credits
his UC training for instilling a work ethic that has helped him throughout an academic
career where the days have always started very early in the morning and continue late
into the night as he filled roles as instructor, dean, and vice president at universities in
Illinois, Wisconsin, and Ohio before beginning his service as President at George State in
1992 where he was selected as President out of a field of 105 candidates from 34 states.
Because of my real-world experience at UC, I gained the ability to talk to people.
It taught me how to talk to people in the business community...I loved UC. I loved my
field. I wish I could do it again. Every day was exciting, and the faculty really cared.
They...knew us....They were world-class," he recalled, adding that now-retired faculty
member, Sam Noe, was his favorite because of Noe's concern for his students. "He
would sit down with you as often as you wanted or needed to go over a project."
Patton points to the size and quality of UC's cooperative education program as an
invaluable tool for him. (UC is the world's founding institution of cooperative education,
where students alternate academic quarters with paid, professional work in their field.
UC founded co-op in 1906.) Patton's best memories of his own co-op days including
mentoring by leaders in the planning field, the chance to travel at a time when
opportunities to do so were limited, and the chance to earn tuition money, eventually
allowing him to graduate with only a small amount of loan debt.
Senior year co-ops with urban planning "godfather" and author Ladislas Segoe were
especially memorable not only for the professional work experience but for the generous
guidance Segoe offered. "Segoe took a personal interest in his co-ops, taking it to
another level...He spent time with us at lunch, asking us what we wanted to do with our
lives. He and his wife invited us to dinner parties at his home," explained Patton who
still counts some of his one-time co-op employers and fellow students as friends.