UC College of Arts and Sciences Announces Alumni Award Winners

An internationally renowned sculptor and a rising-star in higher education student services will be honored as accomplished alumni from the University of Cincinnati College of Arts and Sciences during the college’s annual alumni recognition event during Homecoming Weekend on Oct. 20 at the Myers Alumni Center.

“I’m so proud of our alumni winners,” said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Ken Petren. “They showcase the range of skills and talents that we value so highly in the liberal arts, and they show how those skills can be used both personally and professionally to build successful careers.”

This year, the College of Arts and Sciences added its own Young Alumni Award category to honor a graduate under the age of 40 who is already an accomplished role model for the UC community. The inaugural winner, Ciera Graham, left the Uptown campus in 2015 to start her career at her undergraduate alma mater on the West Coast. “Honoring a young alumna allows us to highlight early-career achievements that serve to inspire us all, including our current students,” Petren said.

This year’s honorees are:

Young Alumni Award

Ciera Graham
earned her PhD in sociology in in 2015. She now works as the associate director of student services and Title IX coordinator at Washington State University in Washington state, where she received both her undergraduate and master’s degrees, in sociology and psychology, respectively. 

While at UC, she was a McNair Scholar and received the Kunz Center Graduate Research Award, a Taft Graduate Enrichment Award and a Yates Fellowship. She not only taught sociology courses, she coordinated the department’s internship program. 

“Ciera was highly involved during her collegiate years,” writes nominator Isatu Bah, a current student in the College of Allied Health Sciences. 

Graham supported her fellow students both in and out of the classroom, as a teacher and as a leader. She served in numerous professional sociological organizations and as vice president of the Black Graduate Student Association. After her dissertation, she was selected to represent the University of Cincinnati in a national social sciences dissertation competition.

Distinguished Alumni Award

Tom Tsuchiya earned his bachelor's degree in classical civilization in 1995. The internationally renowned sculptor often credits his undergraduate studies in the classics department for the historic themes he regularly incorporates into his popular sculptures. 

As his appreciation of Roman and Greek art grew, so did his knowledge about the emotional impact of art. Though he may be best known for large-scale commissioned bronze sculptures of famous baseball players, including those at Great American Ball Park and at the Baseball Hall of Fame, in his Cincinnati studio, Tsuchiya dedicates time to work that advances social and environmental issues. One of his best-known pieces, Atlas Recycled, tours cities to promote environmental awareness. It depicts the Greek Titan and doubles as a recycling receptacle.

“Tom Tsuchiya is a model of a liberal arts education with a humanities foundation,” said nominator and Classics Professor Kathleen Lynch. “He has built an active public career on the education he received at UC.”

Tsuchiya’s community outreach includes talking about his work with school groups and area nonprofits and has provided opportunities for local youth to help him create public sculptures.  

The alumni recognition event is by invitation only. If you would like to attend, please contact Juliana Sinclair Saneholtz, 513-556-6466 or Juliana.saneholtz@uc.edu, for details.

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