2018 Award Recipients
This page contains biographies for the recipients of the four signature UC Alumni Association 2018 awards.
- William Howard Taft Medal for Notable Achievement
- Marian A. Spencer, A&S '42, Hon '06
- Robert E. Dobbs Distinguished Service Award
- Russell C. "Rusty" Myers, Bus '82
- Marian A. Spencer Mosaic Award
- Jacqueline Bailey-Davis, CECH '92
- Jeffrey Hurwitz Young Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award
- Austin G. Allison, CEAS '08
College of Allied Health Sciences
Erin E. Head '10
College of Arts and Sciences
Glen A. Weissenberger '69
Blue Ash College
Marjorie A. McDaniel '90
Carl H. Lindner College of Business
Leigh R. Fox '01
Hon. Kevin T. Miles '91
College-Conservatory of Music
Aik Khai Pung '09, '14
College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning
Don P. Jacobs '67
College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services
Sandra S. Weismann '66
College of Engineering and Applied Science
Christopher B. Hersman '88
College of Law
Dan P. Carmichael '65, '68
College of Medicine
Arden Wander, MD, '67
College of Nursing
Nancy J. Robert, PhD, '78
James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy
Mimi E. Hart '78
Jolinda Lewis Miller, A&S '98
William Howard Taft Medal for Notable Achievement
This award is given to an alumnus of the University of Cincinnati solely on the basis of notable achievement in his or her field. The Taft Medal differs from the Robert E. Dobbs Distinguished Service Award in that it is not restricted to service to the university. The award is in honor and memory of William Howard Taft, Law 1880, Hon 1925, twenty-seventh president of the United States and tenth chief justice.
Marian A. Spencer
A&S '42, Hon '06
For almost 80 years, the impact of Marian Spencer’s work and unfailing commitment to societal equity continues to inspire new generations. A force in our community and, in many ways, a conscience of her city, she has been forever determined to be a change agent in the advancement of humanity.
Fiercely dedicated to the American promise of equality for all, Spencer’s achievements include her successful 1952 lawsuit to desegregate Coney Island; her work toward desegregating Cincinnati’s public schools; helping African Americans purchase homes in a challenged marketplace; and integrating community pools and summer camps. She was a woman of “firsts,” including the first African American woman to serve on Cincinnati City Council and to become vice mayor.
At UC, she was instrumental in integrating on-campus housing; eliminating admissions barriers for African American students to enroll in colleges dedicated to engineering, medicine and music; including all students in the full range of extracurricular activities; and initiating student representation on the board. The gifting to UC of the personal archives of Marian and her husband, Donald (A&S ’36, CECH ’37, ’38, Hon ’06), reflects the high regard the Spencers had for their alma mater. Their work on behalf of their university also symbolizes their appreciation for the transformative power of education.
Spencer’s courageous and relentless efforts to advance the cause of civil rights on the UC campus and throughout the Cincinnati community have always been carried out in a humble yet fearless manner. She has tirelessly taught the community to live up to its covenant of equal opportunity for all, encouraging peaceful and respectful means to achieve those ends while personifying the core values of diversity and inclusion. Long a trailblazer, fighter and steadfast advocate for justice in all its forms, Marian Spencer has built an indelible legacy of leadership borne of a lifetime of incredible achievement.
Robert E. Dobbs Distinguished Service Award
The Robert E. Dobbs Distinguished Service Award recognizes alumni who have rendered outstanding, faithful and selfless service to their alma mater.
Russell C. "Rusty" Myers
Rusty Myers comes by his love and devotion for UC naturally, given his family’s history of selfless service to the university. His grandfather, father and sister have all held volunteer leadership roles, including president of the UC Alumni Association (UCAA), prior to his following in their footsteps. His father was even the namesake of the former Russell C. Myers Alumni Center. Rusty has made his own name and reputation over more than 35 years as a deeply invested and passionately supportive alumni leader.
His career has been spent in the Greater Cincinnati real estate industry, having started Cincinnati Capital Properties and growing it into one of the region’s most successful commercial real estate brokerage firms. Eight years ago he sold the company to Jones Lang LaSalle, where he is now executive vice president. His experience and expertise in the field, combined with his need to give back to his alma mater, led to his lengthy service as a member of the Lindner College of Business’ Board of Executive Advisors in Real Estate (BEARE) and past chair of the Real Estate Executive Advisory Council; his involvement helped grow UC’s Real Estate program from its inception to its current position as one of the nation’s best.
Myers has also devoted himself fully to UC’s advancement efforts, including a long term of service on the UCAA’s Board of Governors culminating in a two-year term as board president from 2010-12 during a crucial period of organizational evolution, and his current service on the UC Foundation’s Board of Trustees. In these roles, he was instrumental in expanding UCAA’s reach via its national alumni networks, increasing its focus on inclusion by forging deeper connections through a range of constituent alumni groups, raising funds to enhance the alumni center, and strengthening the relationship between UCAA and the UC Foundation which streamlined operations and elevated alumni outreach efforts.
Despite his personally humble and quietly thoughtful leadership style, such exceptional volunteer efforts didn’t go unnoticed within the UC community and particularly the student body. In acknowledgement of his work to strengthen the bonds between current students and the alumni family, Myers was tapped into the Men of Metro Honorary Society while serving as UCAA president — rare recognition from an organization whose members are almost always identified and enlisted as undergraduates.
Myers is revered as much for his demeanor and depth as his tangible contributions of time, talent and treasure. Without exception, his colleagues speak of his personal and professional traits as epitomizing the essence of the Robert E. Dobbs Distinguished Service Award. They cite his strength of character, wise counsel, generosity, collegiality, great loyalty, unfaltering dignity, the kindness and respect he shows to all, and the unwavering support he offers, often rendered invisibly to all but those most affected. His intelligent, thorough and sensitive analysis in tackling important issues and decisions is legendary. He brings to any discussion an uncanny ability to hear and consider alternative perspectives and approaches. In all, Myers practically provides a template for volunteer leadership within the UC family.
Marian A. Spencer Mosaic Award
The Marian A. Spencer Mosaic Award is presented to an alumnus/alumna whose leadership enhances our shared community through cultivating collaboration, fostering inclusiveness, championing the cause of the underrepresented, and promoting equity and opportunity for all.
Police officers swear an oath to protect and serve the people in their communities. In Staff Inspector Jacqueline Bailey-Davis, the city of Philadelphia has a stirring example of the very best of law enforcement. A 20-year veteran with the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD), her responsibilities include monitoring PPD progress on recommendations from the Department of Justice Collaborative Reform and 21st Century Policing Initiative; while a Police Captain, she was PPD’s police commissioner-appointed liaison to the 2016 White House Policing Briefing Series to identify and implement national best practices.
Bailey-Davis’ community-focused approach is well known in Philadelphia, where she has been recognized by the department and community for her on- and off-duty service to residents. The city’s 26th District, where she was Commanding Officer, received the Civilian Kindness Award. In 2016, she was honored by the National Liberty Museum for her assistance to victims of gun violence, random acts of kindness, the sharing of free financial fitness and literacy seminars, and philanthropic deeds in criminal justice education.
Bailey-Davis has long been an ardent and active supporter of education, intent on providing opportunities for others following her path. At Lincoln University where she earned her master’s, she has endowed a $50,000, fully funded, criminal justice scholarship and created the Light of Lincoln Mentor Program to help criminal justice students transition from college to career.
While the Philadelphia area is where she has made her career and a reputation as an extraordinary servant leader and dedicated champion of education’s transformative powers, Bailey-Davis has not forgotten her UC roots. In 2017, she and her husband pledged $25,000 to support the Turner Scholars Program, demonstrating anew that her head and heart are aligned to help underrepresented students have every opportunity to make the same kind of impact on society that she has had.
Jeffrey Hurwitz Young Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award
This award is given to a UC graduate on the basis of significant professional achievement in his or her field of endeavor, and continued service and involvement with the university and community. This award is in honor and memory of Jeffrey Hurwitz, BBA ’72, MBA ’73, former president of the UC Alumni Association’s Board of Governors.
Austin G. Allison
Austin Allison purchased his first house at age 17, became a licensed realtor at 18, and sold both residential and commercial real estate while he was earning his undergraduate degree in construction management at UC. Only 15 minutes into his first sale, he realized buyers and sellers were in different places, on different schedules, and engaged in a complex process that required extensive back-and-forth to reach a deal. The process cried out for greater efficiency and practicality, which Allison believed should be delivered in an online environment. He successfully fundraised for his visionary venture, and at age 24 launched his new enterprise, called dotloop.
Drawing on his first-hand knowledge and business instincts, Allison created the means to seamlessly and securely handle transactions from offer to close, where users form a “loop” — a virtual workspace where all parties can develop and share all documents, communicate and collaborate throughout the negotiation and sales agreement, submit contracts, and securely store all data in the cloud. By empowering its users while bridging the divides of time and space, dotloop’s real-time capabilities and transparency transform the process, allowing clients to get what they need more quickly and brokers to handle much more volume than before. dotloop became profitable within 18 months of its launch. In 2015, Allison sold the company to Zillow Group for $117 million; he continues to lead dotloop for Zillow Group. Since 2009, dotloop has enabled more than $1 trillion in real estate transactions and served more than 20 million home buyers and sellers nationally.
Along the way, Allison has focused on the “people side” of his work as much as the “product side,” earning a reputation for attracting outstanding employees, maintaining a strong and nurturing company culture, and even co-authoring a best-selling book called Peoplework about putting people first in a digital-first world.