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Dick Friedman, 'The Face of UC,' Announces Retirement

For students, faculty, alumni and those who can spot him in a Bearcat crowd a stadium away, senior assistant dean Richard "Dick" Friedman has long been "the face of UC.

Date: 4/17/2007
By: Britt Kennerly
Phone: (513) 556-8577
For students, faculty, alumni and those who can spot him in a Bearcat crowd a stadium away, senior assistant dean Richard "Dick" Friedman has long been "the face of UC."

For those who treasure his wit, wisdom and warmth, it's time to say a farewell of sorts – but it's definitely not goodbye.

Though Friedman has announced his retirement, he won't, he assures, be far away – literally or figuratively. A to-the-bone Bearcat whose McMicken office teemed with UC-centered memorabilia, he'll still be on campus for special events, and will continue to serve as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Philosophy.

And he'll continue, too, to be inspired by the students he has come to think of as his "kids."


Dick Friedman retires this spring after almost 40 years of service to UC.

"It is exciting for me to know that our students will find many challenges, some similar to mine and more important some that I never even dreamed about," he said. "It is about the future and the roles that need to be played. The biggest compliment I think that we can pay any 'newly minted' degree-holder is, 'We are depending on you.'"

During more than 35 years of service to the University of Cincinnati, Friedman has touched lives and weighed in on policy in every corner of the campus he fell in love with as a teenager.

Friedman, who earned undergraduate and advanced degrees in philosophy at UC, has taught courses including in Philosophical Problems, Philosophy of Law and the Philosophy of Sports. A McMicken dean from 1972-1989, he also served as director of the McMicken Honors Scholars Program and was executive director of the Mid-East Honors Association and a member of the National Collegiate Honors Council.

Then, for 14 years, he was assistant to President Joseph Steger. In the president's office, Friedman worked in collaboration with Steger regarding administrative, faculty and student policy matters. There, he also developed strong relationships at every level, from alumni and university officers to local, state and federal government officials.

"I enjoyed working with Dick during his tenure in the president’s office," said Steger. "He is a true ambassador for the entire university and his love for this institution is second to none. It’s hard to think about the university without Dick, however, I am very happy to know that he will continue on in the classroom with our students. Good luck and enjoy a happy and healthy retirement."

For the past five years, Friedman managed alumni relations for McMicken College of Arts & Sciences.

"He has tirelessly promoted the University of Cincinnati, mentored countless students and interacted with all sectors of our university community," said Cynthia Berryman-Fink, interim McMicken dean. "On behalf of the faculty, staff, students and alumni of the University of Cincinnati, we wish all the best to Dick Friedman. He is owed a debt of gratitude by many."

He also has served as president or member of numerous community boards, including the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati, the Hoxworth Blood Center Advisory Board and the Cincinnati chapters of the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.


Gail and Dick Friedman

Mark Raider took over as head of the Department of Judaic Studies in fall 2006. Having a strong, dedicated connection to the local Jewish community in Friedman helped ease the transition, he said.

"I'm a new friend and colleague of Dick’s but in the relatively short time we've worked together I’ve garnered a strong impression of him," said Raider.

"He is, if I may use the classic Yiddish term, a consummate 'mensch.' Dick's deep commitment to the college and his warmhearted humanity are readily apparent. I turn to him frequently for advice and guidance – and he's always willing to help. He is a wonderful ambassador for UC and I'm sure he will be missed. Let's hope that now, with a bit more time on his hands, we can draft him more often for the many tasks that require his special talents."

Friedman's legion of alumni allies is strong and vocal, too.

"It's hard to summarize Dick Friedman's contributions over the years in just a few lines, said Linda Gervers-Conour, a 1988 A&S graduate and member of the McMicken College Alumni Board.

"His passion and commitment to the University of Cincinnati – especially McMicken College of Arts and Sciences – were phenomenal. He has touched a multitude of people's lives over several generations. He is the ambassador for our college and no one will ever be able to replace him."

Attorney Gary Powell of Manley Burke was Friedman's graduate assistant for a time in the 1980s.

"I was fortunate enough to sit in on many of Dick's conferences with students," said Powell, who now teaches law as an adjunct. "Dick's demeanor was always helpful but his approach differed depending on the situation. Dick is a very funny person and brought his sense of humor in, as appropriate, to ease many very stressful situations."

The vast majority of students Dick counseled, Powell said, "left knowing that there was someone at UC who really cared for them and their issues. While not all news was good coming out of these conferences, Dick's empathy was apparent and appreciated. Dick made a very big and important difference for so many students at UC."

At the start of his career, Friedman said, he couldn't have anticipated where it would take him.

"I do not believe that most human beings know at the 'beginning' what kind of drive or personality one needs to have to accomplish things," he said. "When, at age 18, I went off to college, I had all sorts of designs of what I thought I would do or become. But it seems to me that mentors play such an important role in one's life ... with simple phrases of encouragement letting you know what you're capable of. If you take their hints you have got it made."

To honor Dick Friedman’s legacy, friends, former students and university colleagues have begun the campaign to create the Richard E. Friedman Scholarship in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences to provide tuition support for graduates from Walnut Hills High School. A gala retirement celebration is set for 4:30 p.m. May 22 at the Russell C. Myers Alumni Center. Those interested in attending may RSVP to the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development at (513) 556-0912.

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