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President's Award for Excellence Presented to John T. Casteen III

President Santa J. Ono launched a new Presidential Lecture Series on Nov. 17 by awarding one of UC’s highest honors to the president emeritus of the University of Virginia.

Date: 11/19/2014
By: Marianne Kunnen-Jones
Phone: (513) 556-2019
Photos By: Jay Yocis
The role of public university trustees, the importance of long-range planning driven by a university’s mission and accountability to students were topics addressed Nov. 17 by the first speaker in the University of Cincinnati Presidential Lecture Series.

Photo of President Ono and President
President Ono and John T. Casteen III, President's Award for Excellence recipient and Presidential Lecture Series guest lecturer.

Guest speaker John T. Casteen III, PhD, President Emeritus of the University of Virginia, spoke to deans, members of the President’s Cabinet and other guests at a dinner marking the debut of the Presidential Lecture Series launched by President Santa J. Ono. Casteen’s full lecture was canceled because of weather-related travel delays, but he presented shortened remarks to a small gathering in the Baur Room at the College-Conservatory of Music. During the event, President Ono presented Casteen with one of UC’s highest honors: the President’s Award for Excellence.
Casteen was the second-longest serving president in UVa history, serving from 1990-2010 at a time when the university faced a series of funding declines from the state. Casteen said that some of the state’s elected officials once told him that there was no need for a public university like UVa to be “upper tier, because there are plenty of private institutions to do that.”
Casteen countered by working to increase the UVa endowment from $478 million in 1990 to $4.6 billion in 2010 and establishing a financial aid program called Access UVa to ensure that student admissions were not hampered by  student financial need.
Casteen stressed the role of trustees as a collective body whose responsibility was to sustain “something that belongs to someone else.” While some describe that “someone else” as the citizens of the state or the alumni, Casteen suggested the primary beneficiaries to whom trustees are responsible are the students.
In presenting the Award for Excellence to Casteen, President Ono said that Casteen is “a leader among leaders whose vision of what academia could, should and shall be has stood the test of time.”  Ono called the former UVa president a gifted teacher, a distinguished scholar, a courageous administrator and a savvy leader.
In accepting the award, Casteen said it had special meaning because of his close relationship with the late UC President Henry Winkler.
The Presidential Lecture Series will be held each semester. Its purpose is to bring national thought leaders to campus to share timely ideas on society’s biggest opportunities and issues as well as foster thinking  in new and different ways.