UC Board approves removal of ‘McMicken’ name from remaining uses

A unanimous Board vote renames building and physical spaces

A unanimous Board vote today formally renames a building and a handful of physical spaces on the University of Cincinnati campus.

These and any other remaining campus designations making use of the ‘McMicken’ surname will now be updated.

Specifically, for the time being, McMicken Hall will become Arts & Sciences Hall; McMicken Commons will become Bearcats Commons; McMicken Circle will become University Circle; and Mick & Mack’s Contemporary Café will become Bearcats Café.

Read more in the campus message from University of Cincinnati President Neville Pinto, who stated, “Today’s action is a pivotal next step on our journey to becoming a more diverse, inclusive and welcoming community. I want to thank our Board of Trustees for their courage, leadership and support. I also want to thank our campus community for working tirelessly to create a sense of belonging for all. There’s a reason inclusive excellence is a core pillar of our Next Lives Here strategic direction. Inclusion is who we are, what we do and why we matter.”

During the Board meeting, Board Chair Kim Heiman said, “Getting better is always a journey, and I want to personally thank President Pinto for his vision and guidance in helping us to take this next step.”

Background and additional context

Today’s vote is part of a continuum that, in many ways, stretches back decades. As documented in a detailed, comprehensive study previously completed by a university-wide working group: “…the use of McMicken’s name has been a concern at UC for decades.  His story has been passed down through students, alumni, faculty and staff of color. The segregationist views in his will, and his slave holding history, have long been thought to be the genesis of the very difficult times that African American students have experienced at UC, and symbolic of them.”

Charles McMicken left a bequest of real estate to the City of Cincinnati that led to the founding in 1870 of the institution that we today know as UC, though the McMicken will neither requested nor required that his name be formally associated with the university in any way.

As indicated by the 2019 university-wide working group report, McMicken’s business interests encompassed slave owning and trading (and he fathered two known children by at least one, and possibly two, enslaved women). His bequest in his Last Will and Testament was exclusionary in stipulating his wish to establish and maintain “…two Colleges for the education of white Boys and Girls.”

In previous action in 2019, the UC Board unanimously voted to remove the ‘McMicken’ surname College of Arts & Sciences identity as an academic unit.

More information

  • See “The Report of the McMicken Working Group to the President of the University of Cincinnati”
  • See the FAQ regarding today’s vote and decision.
  • Visit the McMicken web page for brief background.