Here’s what’s next as UC heads back to school

Its largest- and brightest-ever class, new buildings, and major milestones: The University of Cincinnati has plenty of reasons to celebrate

At this point, it’s starting to sound like a broken record. Scratch that — a lot of records.

For the sixth consecutive year, the University of Cincinnati will welcome a record number of students back to class.

But this year’s class — projected at or above 45,000 — won’t just be the university’s biggest. It’s also the brightest. This year’s class of first-years boasts the highest academic profile of any in the university’s 199-year history, with significant increases in average ACT score (26.3), SAT score (1257) and GPA (3.61).

“We’re proud to welcome the newest members of the Bearcat family,” says UC President Neville Pinto. “These students are coming to us better prepared for success, and their decision to join the UC community is a credit to our institution’s focus on Academic Excellence.” 

Inclusive Excellence is a key part of the university’s strategic direction, Next Lives Here, and it’s clear that UC is on the right track. UC’s student government has sworn in Sinna Habteselassie, the student body’s first African-American female president.

There’s never been a more diverse crop of students entering the College of Pharmacy, and the College of Medicine’s incoming class has the highest percentages of female and African-American male students in its history. To top it off, one of every three graduate students comes to UC from another country.

Next Lives Here is UC’s vision for leading public urban universities into a new era of innovation and impact. The strategic direction, launched in February, includes three platforms: Academic Excellence, Urban Impact and Innovation Agenda.

Record housing demand

The days of UC being considered a commuter college for suburban Cincinnati locals are over. A record 6,800 incoming freshmen — up about 400 from last year — have chosen to live in university housing. The newly completed Marian Spencer Hall will welcome its first residents, as will the new 1MPACT House for Gen-1 and other first-generation college students. More upperclassmen are staying close to campus, too.

“We’re seeing demand grow all around,” says Carl Dieso, director of Housing, Food and Retail Services

While construction on new buildings for the Carl H. Lindner College of Business, the Gardner Neuroscience Institute, and the College of Allied Health Sciences will continue throughout the 2018-19 academic year, a long-awaited construction project is sure to generate excitement this fall: The completion of the renovation of Fifth Third Arena. The men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball teams will once again have a court they can truly call home, and Commencement will return to its rightful place at the heart of main campus.

The 2018-19 academic year will see many milestones. This Homecoming, Oct. 6, will mark the beginning of UC’s year of celebrations, leading up to the official Bicentennial Signature Celebration on Nov. 9, 2019.

The 2018-19 incoming class will be greeted with signs of progress, but it will also be challenged to be Boldly Bearcat, the theme of UC’s Bicentennial celebration. “More than a motto, Boldly Bearcat is an attitude we expect you to carry out into the world,” Pinto told the class of Summer 2018 at Commencement. “It’s the grit, the guts and the grace to do what is right; stretching for excellence by seeking the highest; Working hard to shape the future you dream of – even when faced with obstacles or nay-sayers. Boldly Bearcat is paying it forward and making a positive difference.”

In addition to the university’s Bicentennial, UC will acknowledge the 10-year anniversaries of the founding of the Gen-1 program and Higher Education Mentoring Initiative, as well as 50 years of Upward Bound and the College-Conservatory of Music’s musical theater program.

As UC prepares to celebrate its Bicentennial, perhaps it’s only appropriate that this year’s incoming class is the first to have a majority of students born in the year 2000 and beyond. Generation Z grew up in a world already permeated by technology, one in which a telephone cord was every bit as anachronistic as a butter churner. These students will fit right in at UC’s 1819 Innovation Hub — the physical centerpiece of the university’s Innovation Agenda — which will host classes for the first time this fall.

In addition to Introduction to Innovation and UC Forward classes, the 1819 Innovation Hub is closing in on the completion of a 12,000-square-foot makerspace that will give students from a variety of backgrounds the opportunity to rapidly create prototypes and models for classes and co-ops alike. The 1819 building’s new classroom and community spaces are ready to go. Students will have the opportunity to work with industry thanks to the iHub’s anchor location within the transformational Uptown Innovation Corridor, as well as with new tenants on the building’s third and fourth floors that include Cincinnati Bell, the UC Simulation Center, the Live Well Collaborative and Village Life Outreach.

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