NewsUniversity of CincinnatiAbout UCAcademicsAdmission to UCAthletics & RecHealthLibrariesResearch & DiscoveryUC News and Magazine


Five UC Alumni to Be Honored in Awards Ceremony

UC's Alumni Association has selected distinguished alumni honorees. An authority on cheetahs and an Emmy Award winner are among the recipients. A celebration will be held June 12.

Date: 4/10/2014
By: Caitlin Whitehurst
Phone: (513) 556-4395
With more than 270,000 living alumni around the world today, the University of Cincinnati is alma mater to a vibrant and vast community of distinguished former Bearcats. Each year, UC’s Alumni Association selects five of these outstanding alumni based on their body of work and community-driven contributions and honors them in an awards ceremony.
Cathryn Hilker
Cathryn Hilker, A&S '54, Hon '04

From an authority on cheetahs to an Emmy Award-winning producer, this year’s honorees span multiple fields and disciplines. The UC Distinguished Alumni Selection Committee, which includes former award recipients and alumni, selected the recipients from a pool of nearly 50 nominees.

The honorees will be recognized in the 2014 UC Distinguished Alumni Celebration at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Cincinnati on Thursday, June 12. More than 400 guests are expected to attend. Tickets can be purchased for $125 (general) or $75 (young professional) at Sponsorship opportunities are also available. 

About the honorees:

It’s a terrible irony that the fastest creatures on earth were collectively facing a slow death in the changing African environment where they once had thrived. But recent years have seen a reversal of fortune for wild cheetahs as their populations have stabilized. The change can be traced to Cincinnati and the efforts of wildlife conservationist Cathryn Hilker of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

Sometimes you see young people making a big impact during their college years, and you just know it’s only a preview of things to come. That was certainly the case with Kirk Perry. Upon graduation, he immediately became a rising leader with Procter & Gamble and later became president of brand solutions for Google. His application of P&G marketing concepts to the university’s development efforts helped propel the Proudly Cincinnati campaign beyond its $1 billion goal. His background has also had a significant impact on the university’s Bicentennial Commission, in which he serves as vice chair.

They say music is the universal language. If so, that would make Dr. Catherine Roma one of the world’s most fluent speakers of the language, considering the people she has united, the causes she has championed, and the impact she has had through her career in choral music. She has come to both honor and reflect her community’s rich diversity by using music as a means of inclusion and understanding.

In proving the theory of a strong correlation between a person’s undergraduate experience and his involvement and impact as an alumnus, Exhibit A is Jay Hummel. Just two years after graduation, he became president of Give Back Cincinnati where he doubled the organization’s size to enable greater impact. He also co-founded Fuel Cincinnati, a volunteer venture-capital organization that provides grants to fund YP community-service start-ups. At age 26, Hummel was recognized by the Business Courier as one of Cincinnati’s “40 Under 40.”

Brian Leitten’s young career proves the power and real-world application of the UC experience, and demonstrates how alumni can integrate the next generation of creative minds into the journey. An accomplished graduate of the College-Conservatory of Music’s Electronic Media Division, Leitten created a groundbreaking documentary – the Gold Rush Expedition Race Documentary Series – through a partnership with 33 students from CCM, DAAP and the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences. During that same semester, Leitten also helped secure professional guest lecturers from across the film and TV industries to speak with students about the current state of art in the entertainment industry.

To read full winner biographies, please visit