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Santa Jeremy Ono Named President of the University of Cincinnati

The UC Board of Trustees has unanimously accepted the recommendation of its search committee to appoint the interim president to a permanent role as chief executive.

Date: 10/23/2012 12:00:00 AM
By: Greg Hand
Phone: (513) 556-1822

UC ingot   The Board of Trustees voted unanimously at its meeting Tuesday, Oct. 23, to appoint Santa Jeremy Ono as president of the University of Cincinnati. Ono had been appointed interim president at the University of Cincinnati on Aug. 21, following the resignation of Gregory H. Williams.

"I am honored to serve as the 28th president of the University of Cincinnati." Ono said. "I am not a new face on campus, but in many ways, the fact that I have been a part of the UC family for two years now makes today even more special for me. I am so very fortunate to be asked to serve in this capacity."

Santa J. Ono
President Santa Jeremy Ono

In announcing the decision, the Board credited the endeavors of a broadly representative search committee. That committee, appointed Oct. 5, devoted a week to interviewing Dr. Ono in great detail and unanimously recommended his permanent appointment on Oct. 15.

“Dr. Ono impressed the search committee and the Board of Trustees with his apparently unlimited energy and enthusiasm,” said Board Chair C. Francis Barrett. “He has, in his brief term as interim president, made the extra effort to be accessible to all of the university’s constituencies – especially our students – and has demonstrated that he values consensus. His efforts are based on a university in which students occupy the center of all of our activities, and where learning is paramount. He understands, as a faculty member, the importance of our academic mission.”

Ono first arrived at UC in 2010, serving two years as the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. As provost, he led the development of an academic master plan aligned to the university’s strategic plan, “UC2019: Accelerating Our Transformation.” The academic master plan, unveiled in May 2012, included an initial investment of about $10 million toward long-term strategic goals set for completion in UC’s bicentennial year of 2019. President Ono is one of a handful of university presidents in the nation who have fully embraced social media and has more than 6,700 followers of his Twitter feed: @PrezOno.

With his appointment, Ono became the first Asian-American president in UC’s history. He is among a very few Asian-American presidents of U.S. universities.

Ono also serves as professor of pediatrics within UC’s College of Medicine and professor of biology in UC’s McMicken College of Arts and Sciences. Ono's principal research interests focus on transcriptional regulation in the human immune system, mechanisms of mast cell dependent inflammation on the ocular surface and the immune component of age-related macular degeneration. 

Prior to his recruitment by UC, Ono served at Emory University as Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives and Deputy to the Provost and then Senior Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academic Affairs. He also served as professor in the ophthalmology department in the Emory University School of Medicine. His first academic appointment was at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. While at Johns Hopkins, he won the American Diabetes Association Career Development Award and the Investigator Award from the National Arthritis Foundation.

In 1996, Ono was recruited to the Harvard Medical School, where he was an associate professor and on staff at the Schepens Eye Research Institute. He was a member of the executive committee of the Harvard Program in Immunology and a principal investigator of the Harvard Program in Ocular Immunology. He also served on the executive committee of the NIH Training Program in Molecular Bases of Eye Diseases.

Following his Harvard appointments, Ono served as Cumberlege Professor and GlaxoSmithKline Chair of Biomedical Sciences at University College London (UCL) and Moorfields Eye Hospital; head of the Department of Immunology at the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology;  on the executive committee of the UCL Division of Infection and Immunity;  and as Associate Dean of Students, a member of the UCL Council (the university's governing body) and its finance committee.

Ono’s service outside of the university includes the boards of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Japan-America-Society and the Alois Alzheimer’s Society. He chairs the board of the Global H.E.E.D  (Promoting Health, Education and Economic Development) and co-chairs the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Early Grade-Level Reading Campaign.   He is a member of the Chancellor’s Ohio Completion Task Force of the Ohio Board of Regents as well as the Executive Committee of the STRIVE partnership and served on the Board of Advisors for Strive for College. He has served on the Medical Research Council's Medical Advisory Board and College of Experts and the IMS and HAI study sections of the NIH. He consults widely for companies such as GSK, Cambridge Antibody Technologies plc (now part of Astra Zeneca), Johnson & Johnson, Santen Inc. and Oxagen plc. He is chief scientific officer of iCo Therapeutics Inc., of Vancouver, Canada.

As a scholar and researcher, Ono has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Immunology, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Immunology and the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology. Among his many honors are the Brit Katz Award from Emory University, the Roche Laboratories Award for Excellence in Research, the Pharmacia International Award in Allergy Research and the Medal in Bronze from Osaka City University.

Ono earned his Ph.D. at McGill University and his BA at the University of Chicago. His training in biochemistry and molecular biology at Harvard was supported by a Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Fellowship.