Meet Dominic 'Mr. Bearcat' Berardi
When students graduate, their letters of recommendation from faculty often say that they’ll be missed. That’s an understatement when it comes to Dominic Berardi, this year’s “Mr. Bearcat.”
Date: 6/3/2007UC’s loss is the world’s gain.
By: Wendy Beckman
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Photos By: Dottie Stover and Lisa Ventre, photojournalists
Each year, the title of “Mr. Bearcat” is bestowed upon a graduating man who has achieved academic success, demonstrated leadership in diverse settings and contributed to the University of Cincinnati with “Bearcat Spirit.” This year, Sigma Sigma has chosen Dominic Berardi to be “Mr. Bearcat,” which means that for the fifth year in a row, Mr. Bearcat is a Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS scholar. (Previous winners in the streak were Matt Mezinskis, Justin Shafer, Kyle Neumann and Jay Hummel.) Dominic graduates this June with a bachelor's degree in marketing from the UC College of Business and is speaking at the morning Commencement ceremony on June 9.
From the very start of his UC career, he has blazed trails. Future students who have never met Dominic will reap the benefits of his UC career. Part of his platform when running for student government vp was to find a way to help students manage their personal finances better. Welcome to “Personal Money Management,” a course now being taught in the College of Business.
With student body president Andrew Burke, Dominic wanted to find a way for students to get around Uptown more easily. Welcome to the Bearcat Transportation System, proposed by the student government of 2004–2005 and taking effect in spring of 2006.
“The first nine months of my administration was spent lobbying,” says Dominic. Besides seeking support from the UC students and administration, Dominic and Andrew also had to court the State Controlling Board for their approval.
Many graduating seniors extol the virtues of getting involved in campus activities early on. Dominic is no different. He rushed Sigma Alpha Epsilon in the fall of his freshman year.
In his sophomore year, he set up the UC chapter as a pilot for the national society to evaluate recruiting processes. “As a result of our pilot, we changed the national recruiting strategy to a year-round process.” Dominic adds that he created a recruitment team to recruit students to the chapter, specifically, but which also functions as a recruiting team to Greek life and UC in general.
Dominic says that he and Daniel Cummins recognized that community awareness and responsibility would not evolve "until those who embrace cultural change are the people living in it."
From One Bearcat to Another
Not “Mr. Bearcat.”
Not even the Bearcat.
But a bearcat — or more accurately, Arctitis binturong, the “Asian bearcat.” Binturongs are Viverrids, an ancient group of animals found only in the Old World, ranging from southern Europe, throughout India and most of Southeast Asia.
The recent Sigma Sigma carnival was one of many activities held to raise money to buy a binturong for the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Dominic, president of Sigma Sigma, was pleased with the results. “It will probably take us two to three years to buy the bearcat. We’ve got a good start,” he says. “As much money as we raise will be as nice as its habitat will be.”
Dominic envisions a day where the bearcat will be brought out at athletic events as a living mascot for the students to rally around.
So what does this binturong look like?
“Well, to me it looks like a cross between a mole, a badger and a Chihuahua,” Dominic admits, laughing.
It’s a mighty big Chihuahua — binturongs weigh about 25–30 pounds with a prehensile tail as long as its body (about 2–3 feet).
Not too many people at UC have seen a binturong, but Dominic might be familiar to many.
Besides being a Lindner Honors-PLUS Scholar, Dominic is also a University Honors Scholar, former student body vice president, president of Sigma Sigma and the executive director of ThinkOHIO. He received the “Greek Male Outstanding Achievement Award,” representing Sigma Alpha Epsilon, for 2007, and is one of three students being honored at commencement with the UC Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence.
A Bearcat in Asia
We’re glad that’s where Dominic started.
Want to read more about Dominic? Check these stories out.
5/3/2007 Three Graduates Awarded UC’s Highest Student Honor
4/25/2007 UC’s Greek Week Surpasses Fundraising Goal
9/18/2006 Personal Money Management $1.01
4/12/2006 UC Greeks Go Vegas During Spring Tradition
3/27/2006 All Aboard: UC Students Launch New Bearcat Transportation System
9/21/2004 More UC Students Consider Campus Living Over Commuting