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Meet Dominic 'Mr. Bearcat' Berardi

When students graduate, their letters of recommendation from faculty often say that they’ll be missed. That’s an understatement when it comes to Dominic Berardi, this year’s “Mr. Bearcat.”

Date: 6/3/2007
By: Wendy Beckman
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Photos By: Dottie Stover and Lisa Ventre, photojournalists
UC ingot UC’s loss is the world’s gain.
Each year, the title of “Mr. Bearcat” is bestowed upon a graduating man who has achieved academic success, demonstrated leadership in diverse settings and contributed to the University of Cincinnati with “Bearcat Spirit.” This year, Sigma Sigma has chosen Dominic Berardi to be “Mr. Bearcat,” which means that for the fifth year in a row, Mr. Bearcat is a Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS scholar. (Previous winners in the streak were Matt Mezinskis, Justin Shafer, Kyle Neumann and Jay Hummel.) Dominic graduates this June with a bachelor's degree in marketing from the UC College of Business and is speaking at the morning Commencement ceremony on June 9.

Rep. Bill Seitz, Pres. Nancy Zimpher and Dominic Berardi cut the ribbon on the Bearcat Shuttle.
Rep. Bill Seitz, Pres. Nancy Zimpher and Dominic Berardi cut the ribbon on the Bearcat Shuttle.

From the very start of his UC career, he has blazed trails. Future students who have never met Dominic will reap the benefits of his UC career. Part of his platform when running for student government vp was to find a way to help students manage their personal finances better. Welcome to “Personal Money Management,” a course now being taught in the College of Business.

With student body president Andrew Burke, Dominic wanted to find a way for students to get around Uptown more easily. Welcome to the Bearcat Transportation System, proposed by the student government of 2004–2005 and taking effect in spring of 2006.

“The first nine months of my administration was spent lobbying,” says Dominic. Besides seeking support from the UC students and administration, Dominic and Andrew also had to court the State Controlling Board for their approval.

Many graduating seniors extol the virtues of getting involved in campus activities early on. Dominic is no different. He rushed Sigma Alpha Epsilon in the fall of his freshman year.

Dominic Berardi in SAE garb.

In his sophomore year, he set up the UC chapter as a pilot for the national society to evaluate recruiting processes. “As a result of our pilot, we changed the national recruiting strategy to a year-round process.” Dominic adds that he created a recruitment team to recruit students to the chapter, specifically, but which also functions as a recruiting team to Greek life and UC in general.

The BearCAT
"Dominic put the 'Action' in Community Action Team," says Daniel Cummins, director of University Judicial Affairs. He and Dominic were looking for organic ways to develop a sense of community awareness and responsibility among the students. Thus, BearCAT (Community Action Team), a UC student-ambassador organization, was born. Students representing BearCAT live in communities surrounding UC’s campus. The BearCAT initiative received a Just Community Award in the area of "Seeking Integrity."

Dominic says that he and Daniel Cummins recognized that community awareness and responsibility would not evolve "until those who embrace cultural change are the people living in it."

From One Bearcat to Another
Dominic’s attention lately has been focused on a different kind of bearcat.

Not BearCAT.

Not “Mr. Bearcat.”

Not even the Bearcat.

Bearcat mascot, an Asian bearcat and Mr. Bearcat.
Would the real bearcat please stand up? Or get out of the tree?

But a bearcat — or more accurately, Arctitis binturong, the “Asian bearcat.” Binturongs are Viverrids, an ancient group of animals found only in the Old World, ranging from southern Europe, throughout India and most of Southeast Asia.

The recent Sigma Sigma carnival was one of many activities held to raise money to buy a binturong for the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. Dominic, president of Sigma Sigma, was pleased with the results. “It will probably take us two to three years to buy the bearcat. We’ve got a good start,” he says. “As much money as we raise will be as nice as its habitat will be.”

Dominic envisions a day where the bearcat will be brought out at athletic events as a living mascot for the students to rally around.

So what does this binturong look like?

“Well, to me it looks like a cross between a mole, a badger and a Chihuahua,” Dominic admits, laughing.

It’s a mighty big Chihuahua — binturongs weigh about 25–30 pounds with a prehensile tail as long as its body (about 2–3 feet).

Dominic Berardi is one of three 2007 Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence recipients.
Dominic Berardi is one of three 2007 Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence recipients.

Not too many people at UC have seen a binturong, but Dominic might be familiar to many.


Besides being a Lindner Honors-PLUS Scholar, Dominic is also a University Honors Scholar, former student body vice president, president of Sigma Sigma and the executive director of ThinkOHIO. He received the “Greek Male Outstanding Achievement Award,” representing Sigma Alpha Epsilon, for 2007, and is one of three students being honored at commencement with the UC Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence.


A Bearcat in Asia
"The experience of focusing on recruiting really stuck with me as a marketing student,” he says. That recruiting experience will play a major role in Dominic’s next step. His life after UC begins five short weeks after graduation, when he steps into his first job. It’s a big step: he’ll be moving to Beijing for at least two years to work for EduGlobal China, pointing Asian students toward American universities — starting with UC.

Dominic and President Zimpher at the installation of the 2006 student government officers.
Dominic sees his role at UC as helping to create an environment where students would thrive and perpetuate the reputation of the university beyond the walls of the alma mater.

 We’re glad that’s where Dominic started.

 Want to read more about Dominic? Check these stories out.

5/3/2007   Three Graduates Awarded UC’s Highest Student Honor
The three honorees, two from the Cincinnati area, will wear the UC Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence at All-University Commencement on June 9.

4/25/2007   UC’s Greek Week Surpasses Fundraising Goal
UC’s sororities and fraternities come together to celebrate the success of Greek Week at their April 24 awards banquet. Watch video of one of the Greek Week contests.

9/18/2006   Personal Money Management $1.01
Students at the University of Cincinnati were the drivers behind “Personal Money Management,” a course created to offer students some rules of the road to steer around real-life financial trouble.

4/12/2006   UC Greeks Go Vegas During Spring Tradition
A Vegas-themed Greek Week aims to raise $15,000 for a local charity.

3/27/2006   All Aboard: UC Students Launch New Bearcat Transportation System
A Monday ribbon-cutting ceremony gets the wheels on the bus going round and round the Uptown Campus and surrounding communities.

9/21/2004   More UC Students Consider Campus Living Over Commuting
They can get from their bedroom to the classroom in a matter of minutes. Plus, they’re out of the gridlock on the highways and the chase for a parking place. But it’s more than convenience that’s filling student housing on campus.

UC Commencement Web site

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