UC Alumni Association names top alumni award winners to be honored during Alumni Week

The University of Cincinnati Alumni Association has announced this year’s recipients of its highest honors for UC alumni. The 2024 honorees include:

  • Dean J. Kereiakes, MD, PhD, A&S ’75, Med ’78, Hon ’14 
  • Ruthie S. Keefe, CECH ’81
  • Kathy Wade, CCM ’81
  • Sean A. Addo, DAAP ’10

Each year, the UC Alumni Association (UCAA) honors a select few of its more than 340,000 alumni based on their career accomplishments and contributions to the university and community, recognizing them during Alumni Week festivities each spring.

“This year’s group of honorees reflects the excellence that UC alumni demonstrate across so many disciplines and in service to people around the world,” said Jennifer Heisey, UC’s chief alumni officer and the UC Foundation’s vice president, alumni and annual giving. “From saving lives in the operating room and performing at the Kennedy Center to excelling in business and entertainment, we see these great Bearcats achieving at the highest levels while using their platforms to enhance their communities and help others. They’re generating a BIG impact, and we’re proud to recognize them during Alumni Week this April.”

This quartet of honorees, along with recipients of UCAA Outstanding Alumni Awards representing 13 colleges and the unique training ground of UC Athletics, will be recognized at the UC Alumni Celebration on Thursday, April 11, 2024, part of the April 8-14 Alumni Week festivities. The 18 honorees also will be depicted on a vibrant new mural to be painted on a building in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood in April. Visit alumni.uc.edu/celebration to learn more including Alumni Celebration ticket details.

About the honorees

Dean J. Kereiakes, MD, PhD, A&S ’75, Med ’78, Hon ’14 – William Howard Taft Medal for Notable Achievement

Dean J. Kereiakes, MD, PhD headshot

Dean J. Kereiakes, MD, PhD, A&S ’75, Med ’78, Hon ’14. Photo provided.

One of the most esteemed, innovative and accomplished cardiologists in the U.S., Kereiakes is Chairman of The Christ Hospital Heart and Vascular Institute in Cincinnati, Medical Director of The Christ Hospital Research Institute, and Professor of Clinical Medicine at The Ohio State University. Kereiakes was founder and CEO of the largest cardiology subspecialty group in Ohio, which became the cardiovascular service line of The Christ Hospital, and was also founder and Medical Director of The Carl & Edyth Lindner Center for Research and Education at The Christ Hospital, one of the nation’s top clinical research sites. The author of more than 1,200 peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, abstracts and book chapters, he has performed more than 30,000 catheterization laboratory procedures, including First in Human and First in the U.S. use of novel medical devices. He has been the national/international Principal Investigator in trials for FDA approval of more than 26 novel drugs and medical devices. Kereiakes has been bestowed the coveted “Master” distinction by The Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, and has been named one of the Best Doctors in America among a host of other honors.

Ruthie S. Keefe, CECH ’81 – Robert E. Dobbs Distinguished Service Award

Ruthie Keefe headshot

Ruthie S. Keefe, CECH ’81. Photo provided.

The owner of Cincinnati marketing and software development company BlueSky Creative, Inc., a partner at ARK Innovations, LLC and EVisit, and member of the UC Foundation Board of Trustees, Keefe is widely known for being a tremendous volunteer leader, supporter and ambassador for her alma mater. With deep family roots in the university and a long tradition of service, including seven years as chair of the UC Alumni Association, she has been instrumental in the growth of numerous UCAA endeavors, especially the UC Alumni Celebration. Keefe has always brought enormous energy and passion to her volunteer work, and has great determination to see UCAA maximize its impact in the university community.

Kathy Wade, CCM ’81 – Marian A. Spencer Mosaic Award

Kathy Wade headshot

Kathy Wade, CCM ’81. Photo provided.

A beloved entertainer, producer, arts and education entrepreneur, CEO and community bridge builder, Kathy Wade has long been one of Greater Cincinnati’s brightest lights. The winner of multiple regional Emmy Awards, she co-founded the nonprofit Learning Through Art, Inc. more than three decades ago as a performing arts education organization that provides a variety of family-focused activities that have impacted over a million participants in her native Cincinnati and beyond. Included are her “Books Alive! for Kids” program that excites and engages young children and their families about reading, and her signature “Crown Jewels of Jazz” summer concert series. Wade’s prestigious singing career is storied, and her ongoing innovations exemplify her commitment to building resilient communities through art.

Sean A. Addo, DAAP ’10 – Jeffrey Hurwitz Young Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award

Sean A. Addo headshot

Sean A. Addo, DAAP ’10. Photo provided.

A fellow of Facebook Seen’s New Black Filmmakers and Panavision New Filmmakers Program, Sean Addo has established himself as a uniquely talented writer-director. Using identity, diversity and social awareness to help bridge cultural gaps through edgy and often original supernatural stories, he recently saw his film “ROOTED” premiere at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and Canada’s FANTASIA, among other festivals worldwide. Addo’s supernatural horror feature, THE HOMESICK, was part of The Blackhouse 2020 Producers Lab and Sundance Inaugural Producers Program.

2024 Outstanding Alumni Awards 

College of Allied Health Sciences
Cynthia P. Blocksom, CAHS ’79

College of Arts and Sciences
Edwin J. Rigaud, Jr., A&S ’73   

Blue Ash College
Henry N. Comer, UCBA ’09, A&S ’11   

Clermont College
Michele E. Wells Walker, PharmD, Cler ’88, Phar ’15 

College-Conservatory of Music
Stephen C. Flaherty, CCM ’82  

College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning
Mitchell E. Sutika Sipus, DAAP ’10, ’11 

College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services
Yvonne A. DiCristoforo, CECH ’91  

College of Engineering & Applied Science
Lawrence "Larry" J. Blanford, CEAS ’77 

College of Law
H.C. “Buck” Niehoff, JD, Law ’72, Hon ’11 

Carl H. Lindner College of Business
Paul D. Green, Bus ’90 

College of Medicine
George G. Bemis, Jr., MD, Med ’64  

College of Nursing
Holly L. Lorenz, Nur ’81, '91

James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy
Colleen R. Lindholz, Phar ’95 

UC Athletics
Connor A. Barwin, A&S ’18

Visit alumni.uc.edu/celebration for more information about the honorees and UC Alumni Celebration ticket details.

Featured image at top: UC Alumni Celebration awards. Photo/UC Alumni Association.

About the University of Cincinnati Alumni Association

The UC Alumni Association (UCAA) unites UC’s more than 340,000 alumni worldwide, connecting them to their alma mater and fellow Bearcats. In doing so, UCAA staff and volunteers work to enrich the lifelong alumni experience and ignite passion to transform lives. 

Headshot of Cynthia Miller

Cynthia Miller

Executive Director, Alumni Engagement 


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