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Student Tour Guide Offers a Personal Perspective of the UC Student Experience

Nate Standeford is one of a dozen student tour guides showing off the transformation of campus.

Date: 4/2/2007
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Dottie Stover
UC ingot He says it’s the best job he’s ever had.

Nate Standeford
Nate Standeford

Nate Standeford – a 21-year-old third-year secondary education major from Carroll, Ohio – works as a student tour guide under the University of Cincinnati’s Office of Admissions, which features more than 450 “Preview UC” campus tours every year.

The “Preview UC” program offers prospective students and their parents general information about UC’s academic programs, entrance requirements and financial aid. The tour groups first meet with a UC Admissions representative before Nate and his fellow student tour guides take the crowds on a trek across campus.

Nate Standeford

They’ve spent a busy year on the job. UC Assistant Vice President of Admissions Thomas Canepa estimates campus tour visits are up as much as 50 percent over last year. “We’re coming up on another busy season as high school students take their spring break, and daily visits are up considerably. Last fall, there were times when we had standing room only crowds for our tours and multiple tour guides to take them out.

“The word is getting out about the transformed, welcoming campus and the crowds are coming,” Canepa says. “They want to see what this ‘UC thing’ is all about.”

Nate Standeford is standing by to show them. A stop that’s one of his personal favorites is the largest and most complex building of the MainStreet project – the Campus Recreation Center – designed by Thom Mayne, in collaboration with the local firm KZF Design, Inc. Mayne was named the 2005 Laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the most prestigious architecture award in the world.

CenterCourt is pretty amazing, too, and I get a lot of questions from prospective students about the food. I also enjoy taking them through the Engineering Research Center, because that’s a pretty cool building, because of the connection to Michael Graves (world-class designer and UC alum),” Nate continues. “And add the Lindner Center (dedicated last spring) to my list of favorites. I like to show off the trophy case,” Nate says.

Nate Standeford

“I think one of the coolest things about being a tour guide is meeting parents who are familiar with the university or who actually attended UC years ago,” he says. “They’re back for the first time, and they’re amazed at seeing how much the campus has transformed.”

For example, Nate says he had no idea that the Sigma Sigma Commons open space, designed by George Hargreaves and Mary Margaret Jones, Hargreaves Associates, was once an expansion of asphalt instead of green space. “They (UC alumni) remember when it used to be a parking lot, and they’ve always known it that way.

“It’s cool hearing the stories from alumni who were here years ago, like how different Sander Hall (built in the ‘70s and imploded in 1991) was.”

Nate Standeford

Speaking of construction, as he works on his degree to become a high-school history teacher, Nate is now taking a campus detour to the Edwards Center, which is housing many of the faculty and staff for the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services. That’s because Teachers College, constructed in the 1930s, is undergoing renovation.

“I really like the newness of the campus,” he says. “And, I like the size of the university. It’s big, but it’s compact.”

Registration is required for the “Preview UC” tours. The online registration form automatically finds available tour dates, including UC college visit schedules.

Preview UC Information: 513-556-1100

Office of Admissions

Click here to send a question to UC Admissions

For visitors who don’t have a prospective student in the family but would like to take a tour of UC’s distinctive architecture, art and landscape, click here for details about scheduling a UC art and architecture tour.

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