In a time when the likes of the flu of 1918, the Great Depression and the civil rights movements of the 1950s and ’60s have compressed into one short time span, Bearcats from a range of disciplines are responding with characteristic inspiration and ingenuity. Among them is infectious diseases expert Carl Fichtenbaum, who works to conquer coronavirus through patient care and clinical trials of a potential vaccine. On top of this, his love of music prompted him to create “Quarantunes: A Concert Series” for UC and UC Health. At UC Blue Ash, Wendy Calaway researches racial disparities in bail and how lockdown orders have been enforced. Another example is the podcast launched by UC staff member Nicole Ausmer with her daughter and son. They could not find a Black history podcast aimed at children, so they created “Hey, Black Child,” featured on “Good Morning America” in July.
At this defining time, UC is eager to drive to solutions, drawing from a profound strength: our diversity of people, disciplines and thought. This asset buttresses all that UC does, chiefly manifesting in our remarkable students — this year 46,798 strong, a record number for the eighth consecutive year. Of our students, 23% are minorities — a historic high.
Two other indicators are our 1819 Innovation Hub and in-construction Digital Futures research commons. Both draw on interdisciplinarity and connect talent, knowledge and innovation to the pressing opportunities and challenges in our society. Earlier this year, largely because of the investments in these facilities and our reputation for graduating students ready for the work world, we received great news that the university will anchor and lead the newly established Cincinnati Innovation District. Launched with a $100 million JobsOhio investment announced by Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, this becomes one more giant step in shaping the post-COVID future and in our unceasing drive toward new knowledge and impact.
We know there is plenty of work yet to do. More than ever, we need a wide range of disciplines working together, pursuing a better understanding of our natural world, social dynamics, economic processes, politics and, above all, human behavior, emotion, desire and spirit. We are up for the challenge, because Next Lives Here!
NEVILLE G. PINTO, PhD
President, University of Cincinnati