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University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College has received a $1 million gift—the largest gift in the college’s history—from alumnus Eric Broyles, UC Blue Ash ’90, BBA ’92. The donation supports the Eric C. Broyles Student Success Scholarship Fund, created for UC Blue Ash students intending to pursue a bachelor’s degree at UC’s Uptown campus.
After receiving his associate’s degree from UC Blue Ash, Broyles earned a BBA from UC’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business and his law degree from the University of Virginia. Broyles was a corporate attorney for 10 years and is now an investor and serial entrepreneur based in Washington D.C. and also serves as a UC Foundation Trustee.
“I continue to be impressed by Eric’s story, his accomplishments and his dedication to his Bearcat family,” said UC President Neville G. Pinto. “He understands the importance of scholarships, and his generosity will help many students pursue their dreams and achieve academic and personal success.”
Broyles’ academic journey did not start smoothly—he graduated near the bottom of his high school class at Badin High in Hamilton, Ohio. During his time at UC Blue Ash, Broyles lived in a small efficiency apartment in a rough part of town and maintained a grueling schedule. During the day, he attended classes and sold garage doors for AE Doors; and throughout his freshman year he worked an overnight janitorial shift at a gas station allowing only four hours of sleep per night.
Broyles was able to turn these challenges into victories thanks to the encouragement of his UC Blue Ash teachers and mentors like AE Door Founder Bill Weber who insisted on seeing his report card.
Being at the University of Cincinnati was the first time where I actually felt like, ‘Wow, some of these professors actually believe that I have the capacity and the intellect to do great things.
“Being at the University of Cincinnati was the first time where I actually felt like, ‘Wow, some of these professors actually believe that I have the capacity and the intellect to do great things,’” he said. “They saw more value in me than I saw in myself at that time of my life.”
Broyles carried his lessons from UC Blue Ash to law school, where he could have been intimidated by classmates—some of whom were second and third generation law students.
“I told myself, ‘Well, I learned what to do at UC Blue Ash. I made it through there. I made it through UC,’” Broyles said. “I was equipped with how to think, study and work hard so it gave me confidence in my ability to succeed.”
Gratitude for his education inspired Broyles to create the Broyles Student Success Scholarship Fund in 2017 with the intention of helping students facing similar obstacles to his own. Scholarship recipients must work part time while attending UC Blue Ash, and preference is given to first-generation students with a history of overcoming adversity.
“Eric’s support of our students makes an impact on so many levels,” said UC Blue Ash Dean Robin Lightner. “He inspires them with his positive message during regular visits to our campus. As an incredibly successful alum, he shows our students what’s possible when you have a vision, work hard and believe in yourself. Through this extremely generous gift, Eric also provides the practical support of scholarships, which really can be the difference for some students between dropping out and graduating.”
In his post-academic life, Broyles models the behavior of his mentors. He advises several young people and makes frequent trips to UC Blue Ash to meet students and share his story.
One lesson he left with students in a recent visit to UC Blue Ash was that they should make their beds first thing in the morning, a habit he viewed as his first accomplishment of each day long before the concept was popularized by Admiral William H. McRaven’s commencement speech to University of Texas.
“Even when I lived in that terrible apartment, I made my bed every day,” he said. “Use this as the first accomplishment of your day and continue to notch small wins.”
Broyles said his gift to UC Blue Ash also honors the sacrifice of other UC donors; the sense of service, love and generosity instilled in him by his late parents, Howard and Clara Broyles, and his Christian faith.
Featured image at top: UC alumnus Eric Broyles. Photo/Pete Bender/UC Blue Ash