Article has no nextliveshere tags assigned

Article has no topics tags assigned

Article has no colleges tags assigned

Description is empty

Article has no audiences tags assigned

Article has no units tags assigned

Contacts are empty

These messages will display in edit mode only.

UC fall commencement caps year of records

The university confers degrees to more than 2,500 graduates

The University of Cincinnati celebrated fall commencement Saturday honoring more than 2,500 graduates at a packed Fifth Third Arena.

Rainy weather couldn’t dampen the celebration as graduates hugged family and friends and took photos in front of the Bearcat statue.

President Neville Pinto recognized military veterans among the audience and the graduates, including World War II veteran Paul Blom who accepted an associate’s degree on Saturday.

Pinto credited the curiosity of UC’s newest graduates for their academic success and urged them to lean on that sense of wonder throughout their lives. Pinto noted that Ohioan Orville Wright, who sailed the world’s first powered airplane over the dunes of Kitty Hawk, indulged his curiosity always.

Wright was instrumental in pioneering UC’s aerospace engineering, one of the first programs of its kind in the United States. Wright credited his inquisitiveness for discoveries that changed the world, Pinto said.

“Curiosity keeps things from getting boring. At its core it’s fun,” he said. “It reconnects us to our inner child. And it can also become a limitless tool to explore the unknown and address the needs in our world.

“Ignited by your own sense of wonder, I hope that you as a member of our Class of 2019 will nudge our world with new questions, with your own individual passion and creativity and with a deep spirit of optimism that problems can be solved,” Pinto said.

A UC grad waves from the floor of Fifth Third Arena.

A UC graduate waves to family and friends during fall commencement Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

Joining proud alumni

UC Board of Trustees President William Portman III told the graduates he was confident they would create a lasting legacy for future generations.

“This is the moment that celebrates the mission of our university and your own hard work. It is through you, our graduates, that we make our greatest and most transformative impact on the world,” Portman said.

Saturday’s graduates join nearly 500,000 Bearcat alumni around the world, Portman said.

“They are scientists, writers, musicians, engineers, physicians, teachers, business leaders, attorneys and so many more,” Portman said. “Among them are alumni who have excelled across disciplines and made a tremendous difference for their communities, their family and their profession.”

Portman urged the UC graduates to be lifelong learners and quoted American philosopher Eric Hoffer who said, “In times of change, learners inherit the Earth while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

A sea of mortar boards as viewed from the back of Fifth Third Arena.

UC conferred degrees to more than 2,500 graduates Saturday during fall commencement at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

Honoring Ellen Rieveschl

UC College of Arts and Sciences Dean Valerio Ferme introduced and presented UC alumna Ellen Rieveschl for the degree of doctor of humane letters honoris causa “in recognition of her enduring generosity of spirit, civic leadership and dedication to her home region and alma mater.”

“From the well-being of our region’s arts and cultural organizations to the strength of its higher education institutions, you have taken to heart your civic responsibility to make a transformative and positive impact,” Pinto said. “Our community has been enriched by and imbued with opportunity and vibrancy as a result of your benevolent investment of time, talent and commitment.”

Rieveschl, a prominent figure in civic, educational and philanthropic affairs across Greater Cincinnati, earned her bachelor of arts in economics and management from UC in 1968. While studying at UC, she was one of the first women to qualify for the National Economics Honor Society.

Neville Pinto applauds Ellen Rieveschl on stage at Fifth Third Arena.

UC President Neville Pinto applauds Ellen Rieveschl after her hooding during UC's fall commencement Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. Rieveschl received an honorary doctor of humane letters. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

Ellen Rieveschl

UC alumna Ellen Rieveschl

After graduation, she worked for Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co., which later became Duke Energy. She helped break barriers as a new business development officer in the trust department at Fifth Third Bank. She continued her career in commercial and residential real estate.

Along the way, Rieveschl volunteered her time to support many important civic causes and charitable endeavors. She was the first woman president of the Mount Adams Civic Association and served on the board of the Covington Rotary Club, the Carnegie Arts Center and the Cincinnati May Festival.

Rieveschl has been a passionate supporter of higher education. She was appointed to the UC Foundation’s Board of Trustees in 2010 and serves on its Committee on Trustees and Governance and its Executive Committee. She also serves on the Northern Kentucky University Informatics Council.

She served as an honorary co-chair of UC’s 2008 “Proudly Cincinnati” campaign, which raised more than $1 billion from nearly 92,000 donors. The campaign helped support UC’s Goering Center and Sheakley Athletics Center, among other campus projects. The campaign provided more than $100 million for financial aid and scholarships, and funded $171 million in UC research.

She also devotes her time to the arts, supporting the Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Cincinnati Museum Center, the Lloyd Library and Museum, among other organizations.

Taft Museum President Debora Emont Scott said Rieveschl has been a valuable board member, particularly in her leadership position as chairwoman of the Governance Committee.

"Most recently Ellen has taken on a leadership role as chair of our Governance Committee. ​In that role she has been instrumental as we renew and improve our policies and operations," Scott said. "She is respectful, inquisitive and extremely dedicated to the numerous organizations she supports philanthropically. I am grateful to count her as a trusted advisor and loyal supporter."

Rieveschl’s late husband, Benadryl inventor George Rieveschl, was a UC graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences. After a long career in the pharmaceutical industry, Rieveschl returned to UC to serve as vice president of research. He founded the UC Foundation and McMicken Society. Rieveschl Hall on UC’s Uptown campus is named for him.

Three sisters pose in their caps and gowns.

Triplets Alexandra Fess, Adrianna Fess and Amanda Fess are festooned in matching caps and gowns with student athlete stoles for their accomplishments with UC's lacrosse team. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

About the graduates

UC’s fall graduates are a distinguished group, according to the UC Office of Institutional Research. Graduates hail from 37 countries, including South Africa, China, India and Nepal. 

Nearly 60% of fall graduates are from Ohio, but 49 states will be represented on stage when students accept their diplomas. (What’s up with you, Vermont?)

The youngest graduate is just 19 while the oldest, World War II veteran Paul Herman Blom, is 93. Ten graduates celebrated birthdays on Saturday.

About 15% of graduates are the first in their family to graduate from college.

Among the graduates, 72 came from the Cincinnati Public School District. Another 110 graduates are military veterans or the dependents of veterans.

UC conferred degrees to 16 student athletes, including four master's students on UC's football team. Among them were triplets Alexandra Fess, Adrianna Fess and Amanda Fess, who were festooned Saturday in identical caps and gowns. 

Paul Blom in his cap and gown waves to the crowd from the floor of Fifth Third Arena.

World War II veteran Paul Blom is recognized during UC's commencement. He earned enough credit for an associate's degree while attending UC in the 1940s and 1950s. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

UC recognizes World War II veteran

World War II veteran Paul Blom received an associate's degree on Saturday.

Pinto paid tribute to Blom on stage before presenting the diplomas.

Paul Blom

U.S. Navy veteran Paul Blom earned an associate's degree after serving in World War II. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

"He attended classes in the 1940s and 1950s and took a break to serve in the war. After all these decades, we’re very pleased to have him back to get this degree," Pinto said.

Earlier this year, daughter Paula Baxter reached out to the UC Board of Trustees to ask if there was any way he could be conferred an honorary degree.

"He has talked about this almost my whole adult life," Baxter wrote. "I think it is one of his biggest regrets." 

UC informed her that Blom had earned enough credits for an associate's degree through UC Blue Ash. Blom and his family returned to UC on Thursday to tour Fifth Third Arena in preparation for Saturday's ceremony.

“It’s very inspirational to see a part of the Greatest Generation receive his degree and be a part of this ceremony,” said Terence Harrison, program manager of Veterans Programs and Services. “It just goes to show that you’re never too old to see your dreams fulfilled."

Featured image at top: UC graduates celebrate fall commencement Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

A mortarboard reads "glad to be a grad."

World War II veteran Paul Blom's mortarboard reads "Glad to be a Grad" marking first year at UC in 1946 and his graduation in 2019. Blom received an associate's degree Saturday during fall commencement at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

A service dog wears a UC mortar board.

A service dog is pooped after UC's Commencement Day festivities at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

A UC graduate waves from the floor of Fifth Third Arena.

A UC graduate waves from the floor of Fifth Third Arena during fall commencement. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

UC graduates take photos during commencement.

Graduates take photos Saturday during UC's fall commencement at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

A graduate waves to family from the floor of Fifth Third Arena.

A UC graduate waves to family and friends during UC's fall commencement Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

A graduate in a cap and gown smiles at the camera.

A UC doctoral graduate smiles during commencement. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

A UC grad's mortar board shows a photo of his catching a pass above the words, "I catch degrees, too."

UC graduate and football player Dominick Goodman's mortar board reads, "I catch degrees, too." Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

A student wearing sunglasses and a cap and gown smiles and waves during commencement at Fifth Third Arena.

A UC graduate takes photos during UC's fall commencement Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

An excited graduate waves to supporters from the floor of Fifth Third Arena.

A UC graduate waves to family and friends during UC's fall commencement Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

A UC graduate in a red stole waves to supporters from the floor of Fifth Third Arena.

A UC graduate waves to family and friends during UC's fall commencement Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

A doctoral student in a cape and gown waves from the floor of Fifth Third Arena.

UC had a packed house during UC's fall commencement Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew HigleyUC Creative Services

A graduate waves to supporters at Fifth Third Arena.

A UC graduate waves to supporters during fall commencement Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

UC students make the peace sign and joke around during commencement.

UC graduates mug for the camera during Saturday''s fall commencement. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

A UC grad smiles from her seat at Fifth Third Arena.

UC graduates celebrate during fall commencement Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

A doctoral graduate hugs a professor.

A UC doctoral graduate hugs a professor during UC's hooding ceremony at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

A UC graduate shakes hands with Neville Pinto during commencement.

UC President Neville Pinto congratulates a UC graduate during fall commencement Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

Parents take photos with their cell phones from the stands at Fifth Third Arena.

Proud parents document UC's fall commencement Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

UC grads applaud during commencement.

UC graduates celebrate during fall commencement Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative Services

Next Lives Here

The University of Cincinnati is classified as a Research 1 institution by the Carnegie Commission and is ranked in the National Science Foundation's Top-35 public research universities. UC's graduate students and faculty investigate problems and innovate solutions with real-world impact. Next Lives Here.

Become a Bearcat

  • Apply online or get more information about undergraduate enrollment by calling 513-556-1100.
  • Learn more about UC's many undergraduate and graduate programs.