UC Design School to be Known as The Myron E. Ullman, Jr. School of Design, Honoring Father of Distinguished UC Alumnus

The University of Cincinnati today announced a new name for the UC School of Design within the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP). In appreciation for a $10 million gift (made in April 2007) from alumni Cathy and Myron E. (Mike) Ullman, III, the school has been named The Myron E. Ullman, Jr. School of Design. The name honors Mike’s late father, an inventor with nearly 50 patents who devised solutions to everyday problems, often by solving complex design challenges.

Mike Ullman is a highly accomplished and admired global retail industry executive, having served twice as the CEO of JC Penney, where he remains as Chairman, and is known for dramatically improving the business at the department store chain. Over nearly three decades, he has successfully led major international companies including LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, DFS Group Limited and Macy’s.

Mike graduated from the UC College of Business (now the Carl H. Lindner College of Business) in 1969 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial management. While pursuing his undergraduate degree, he met his wife, Cathy, who graduated from DAAP in 1970 with a degree in graphic design. From 1976 to 1981, Mike served as UC’s vice president for business affairs and later joined the UC Foundation Board of Trustees. He also was a White House Fellow during President Ronald Reagan’s administration. In 2006, he spoke at UC’s commencement and was awarded an honorary doctorate in commercial sciences.

“Our School of Design is so fortunate to have the visionary support of the Ullmans, who have made an incredible impact on our students, faculty and staff,” said Robert Probst, DAAP dean and long-time graphic design professor. “I am proud that the School of Design will now bear the name of a family that has truly changed lives at our college and am looking forward to the bright future of The Myron E. Ullman, Jr. School of Design.”

“My father was a unique man – highly innovative, with a curious mind,” Mike said. “He instilled that sense of curiosity in all of his children, together with a strong work ethic. He had degrees in mechanical engineering and industrial design and, in fact, among his notable inventions was the modern dishwasher, in the early 1950’s.”

“On behalf of my wife Cathy and I and the whole Ullman family, including my parents’ seven children and 27 grandchildren, we are thrilled that my father will be honored in this way at a university that has established itself as one of the world’s finest design institutions. We chose to make this gift as my father had an unyielding focus in his career to solve industrial design issues through innovation and many of his inventions remain the basis for items that are used every day, around the world. We hope that his legacy of curiosity and innovation will provide an inspiration for generations of students to come, as it has for our family.”

In April 2007, the Ullmans gave $10 million to the School of Design to support a program chair, professorships, faculty development, technology upgrades and “master” classes – led by industry leaders – for students. It is in recognition of that gift that the UC School of Design will now be named in Mike’s father’s honor.

“I am grateful for the Ullmans’ incredible generosity and strong connection with their alma mater,” said UC President Santa J. Ono. “The impact they have had on our DAAP students has been nothing short of transformational – from opening doors to world-class co-op experiences to funding inspirational master classes to providing for vital technological upgrades. I am proud that our School of Design is now named after such a remarkable family.”

DAAP routinely ranks among the top design schools in the world. The I.D. (International Design) magazine has listed UC among the globe's Top 10 design schools – the only public institution to make that list. DesignIntelligence’s 2016 rankings place UC’s industrial design program among the top five in the nation and its master of design program fourth. U.S. News & World Report ranks UC's master of design program sixth in the nation.

“The Ullmans have made an incredible difference at UC and its world-renowned design school,” said UC Foundation President Rodney Grabowski. “We are thrilled to recognize their generous support through the naming of The Myron E. Ullman, Jr. School of Design while simultaneously honoring an inventor who improved countless households through thoughtful designs. It is a wonderful legacy.”

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