Three A&S alumni to be highlighted at 10th annual Onyx & Ruby Gala

Awards gala recognizes, celebrates outstanding achievements of UC's Black alumni

The University of Cincinnati will celebrate alumni excellence at the 10th Onyx & Ruby Gala on Saturday, Feb. 17, hosted by the African American Alumni Affiliate.

This black-tie affair, a highlight of the UC Alumni Association's annual events, recognizes the achievements of Black alumni, faculty, staff and students, awarding them with prestigious honors.

There are three alumni honorees from UC's College of Arts and Sciences: Cathy Bernardino Bailey, former Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and Tamika Vinson-Reid. (See the Alumni Association's full list of awardees.)

Cathy Bernardino Bailey: A&S 1991, Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry

Cathy Bailey Headshot

Cathy Bernardino Bailey. Photo/Provided

Cathy Bernardino Bailey will be honored with the Georgia E. Beasley Legacy Award, which recognizes alumni who graduated at least 30 years ago for their contributions to enhance the quality of life of UC and their community.

Bailey said it is a privilege to be honored by UC, noting that her education marked the beginning of her determination to make a change in Cincinnati. 

“UC prepared me in so many ways: through education, through learning the nuances of a large city, to making lifetime friends that are now family. I’m thrilled, honored and thankful to receive this award,” Bailey said.

Bailey is the executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Water Works. She was the first woman and African-American woman to lead the organization in its 200-year history. She is recognized for her leadership in the group's program to replace toxic lead lead service lines. Her contributions to the local water industry have positioned her as the policy committee chair for the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies.

“To be the first female and first African American director of the independent water utility is thrilling, but at times can be heavy as well. I want to make sure that I am doing the best job possible, that young adults can see this opportunity is possible and that more are interested in this field of work,” Bailey said.

She has earned multiple local recognitions, including being named one of the 2018 Greater Cincinnati YWCA’s Career Women of Achievement and one of Cincinnati Venue Magazine’s Women of Influence. In 2019, Bailey was named one of seven African American leaders in Cincinnati by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, as well as other accolades.  

“I believe we all should pass through here leaving a positive impact on our community, helping others, striving to improve, bringing forward solutions that all can see themselves in them,” Bailey said. “I’m a problem-solver at heart, always trying to find ways to bring folks together to solve problems, move obstacles and get things done.”

Mark Mallory: A&S 1993, Bachelor’s of Science in Administrative Management

The Honorable Mark Mallory headshot

Former Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory. Photo/Provided

Former Cincinnati Mayor and state Sen. Mark Mallory is the recipient of the Linda Bates Parker Legend Award.

He graduated from UC's College of Arts and Sciences in 1993. This award recognizes alumni for their professional accomplishments and active development of those around them. Mallory attended night school at UC while working during the day. He said this combination equipped him with organizational skills essential in his career. 

Mallory served as Cincinnati's mayor from 2005 to 2013. He focused on public safety, downtown revitalization, tax cuts, the Cincinnati Streetcar and neighborhood investments. His initiatives attracted 24,000 jobs and he pioneered the "Young Professionals’ Kitchen Cabinet," leading to the city's first population growth in 50 years.

During his service in Ohio’s General Assembly, in both the state House of Representatives and state Senate, he heavily pushed for reforms education, state prisons and elections. He also advocated for stronger consumer protections and crime prevention legislation.

“Community engagement is pivotal in shaping a city's development. It fosters collaboration, ensures that diverse perspectives are considered and empowers residents to actively participate in decisions that impact their lives,” Mallory said.

“Through inclusive dialogue and strategic partnerships, my administration worked hard to create a city that reflects the aspirations and needs of Cincinnatians while promoting a vibrant atmosphere,” Mallory said.

Mallory was named legislator of the year by multiple organizations and agencies thanks to his work in public service. Mallory said receiving the award holds significance both professionally and personally for him as it reflects his dedication to public service and community betterment.

“Being honored by my alma mater years after leaving office adds a special layer to this recognition, affirming the enduring impact of my contributions and the lasting connection I have with the institution that helped shape my journey,” he said.

Tamika Vinson-Reid: A&S 1999, Bachelor’s of Arts in Communication

Tamika Vinson-Reid headshot

Tamika Vinson-Reid. Photo/Provided

Tamika Vinson-Reid has been honored with the Pillar of the Community Award, which recognizes alumni who support their communities by sharing their time, talents and treasure. 

"I'm honored and grateful to have my work recognized in this way on this level. As I work alongside others in my community to clear financial barriers and create a path to higher education through scholarships, promote equity and belonging through cultural exchange and training, and ensure the most vulnerable in our community can achieve their highest potential — it means so much to me that the work I'm passionate about also resonates with others," Vinson-Reid said.

Throughout her time at UC, Vinson-Reid was heavily involved in various campus organizations. She served as the chapter president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, an organization dedicated to the development of college-educated women and public service with a primary focus on the Black community. Additionally, she participated as an at-large senator in UC Student Government and as a reporter for UC’s student newspaper, the News Record.

Now, Vinson-Reid, the marketing and development director at HelpLine, is a dedicated community mobilizer in North Central Ohio. Leading efforts to connect people with resources, she actively serves on boards such as Project DREAMS, the Delaware Morrow Mental Health Recovery Services Board, Andrews House and Concerned Citizens Against Homelessness. A graduate of Leadership Columbus and Delaware, she has also served as a United Way of Delaware County Ambassador. 

With a background in high-level communication roles across various companies, Vinson-Reid consistently prioritizes advocacy, equity, and inclusion while showcasing strong leadership skills.

Featured image at top: The UC Alumni Association will recognize the achievements of African American alumni, faculty, staff and students at the annual Onyx & Ruby Gala. Pictured is the event logo.

Headshot of By Rowan Hetzer

By Rowan Hetzer

Student Journalist, A&S Marketing and Communication

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