Alumni

Black History Month

Join us in celebrating Black History Month

UC Alumni Association Celebrates Black History Month

From the day in the early 1870s when William Parham enrolled in the law school at Cincinnati College (which would eventually become the University of Cincinnati) and became the institution’s first Black student, the African American experience at UC has been both extraordinarily challenging and extremely rewarding.

In recognition of this ongoing journey, the indomitable spirit behind it, and the incredible contributions of the Black UC family over the past 150 years, the UC Alumni Association is proud to celebrate Black History Month. The UC Alumni Association plays an active role in helping to share and honor the Black UC story while connecting alumni to their alma mater. This work enriches their lives as Bearcats and helps foster an environment in which future generations of Black students and alumni might thrive.

Each February, we gather to pay tribute to our past, salute excellence and achievement within the Black UC family, and rejoice in the progress yet to come. Below are some of the signature events and engagement opportunities throughout UC’s Black History Month celebration.


Black History Month Events

Each year, the University of Cincinnati curates a web page with many Black History Month events sponsored by campus organizations and departments. Many of the events have hybrid or all-virtual options for those who want to participate. 


Celebrating 30 Years of the AACRC

Students at the African American Cultural Resource Center

In 2022, UC’s African American Cultural & Resource Center marked its 30th anniversary. To honor its legacy of educational, social and cultural programming and enormous influence on thousands of Bearcats through the years, we encourage your support of the current collective effort to raise $30,000 to help ensure AACRC’s future. Learn more about the AACRC Campaign.


Snapshots of Black UC Excellence

These Bearcats constitute just a few of the countless alumni who continue to collectively write the Black UC success story.

Cynthia Johnson

Cynthia Johnson, Pharm ’18, demonstrates UC’s entrepreneurial spirit through Cindy J Cosmetic Labs, the company and formulation laboratory she founded to help cosmetic business owners start their own product lines in hair care, skin care, men’s care, baby care, and bath and body care.

Dr. Dudley

Julius Wayne Dudley, PhD, A&S ’79, is above all else a champion of education and literacy, and their immense power to change lives. Through his efforts and influence, organizations and initiatives with which he’s been involved have sent more than 4 million books to citizens on the African continent.

Annette Echikunwoke

Annette Echikunwoke, A&S ’18, became UC’s fifth individual national collegiate champion when she won the NCAA Indoor Track and Field title in the weight throw in 2017. She was a member of the Nigerian Olympic Team for the 2021 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Lewis Johnson

Lewis Johnson, A&S ’86, Hon ’17, has been one of the country’s most respected sports reporters for decades. Widely known and respected for his Olympic Games coverage, he currently provides color commentary of both track and field and college football for NBC and ESPN.

Alumna Rashida Manuel looks onward while deep in discussion

Rashida Manuel, A&S ’12, has carried a personal passion for community service and social involvement from an early age; the opportunity to help others simply spoke to her. Two areas of focus have been the work of the Ohio Innocence Project, which seeks to exonerate unfairly imprisoned individuals, and the interrelated issues of sustainability and environmentalism.

Laurence

Laurence Jones, III, BUS ’00, is president of RiskVersity, a consulting firm that helps business clients with various aspects of risk management. He has also been an ardent supporter of others in the Black tech entrepreneurial space. A long-time UC Alumni Association volunteer leader, he is also a member of the UC Foundation Board of Trustees.

Stephanie Smith

Stephanie A. Smith, DAAP ’87, is Fifth Third Bank’s senior vice president and chief inclusion and diversity officer. Through her work in these and other positions, she has led enormous growth in Fifth Third’s performance and become known herself as one of the “Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity.”

Dr. P. Eric Abercrumbie

P. Eric Abercrumbie, PhD, A&S ’87, served as an inspirational father figure and mentor to generations of African American students who came through UC for decades — a virtual personification of the African American Culture & Resource Center he helped to establish. His influence on campus and among the Black UC community will continue for years to come.

Rear Adm. Deborah Hopson

Rear Admiral Deborah Hopson, PhD, NUR ’77, is Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service and the Health Resources & Services Administration’s Senior Health Advisor. She provides expert guidance on national and global public health issues, programs, policies and initiatives with an emphasis on HIV/AIDS in the U.S., Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.

Linwood Marshall

Linwood Marshall, ASC ’82, credits his success in life to being a multi-year captain on the UC football team during the early 1980s. To help other Bearcats benefit from a UC education and football experience, he and his late wife made a planned gift to support the UC Football Development Fund.

Jordan Thompson

Jordan Thompson, CECH ’18, ’20, is the more decorated volleyball player in UC history. A two-time All-American, she has been a member of the U.S. Women’s Volleyball Team since 2019, bursting onto the international scene in competition leading up to, and including, the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2021. She is currently an outstanding professional player in Turkey.

Kathleen Battle

Kathleen Battle, CCM ’70, ’71, Hon ’83, is a Grammy and Emmy Award-winning operatic soprano who performed with the Metropolitan Opera for many years. Best known for her distinctive vocal range and tone, she was described by Time Magazine as “the best lyric coloratura soprano in the world.”

Katrina Merriweather

Katrina Merriweather, A&S ’01, CECH ’02, is head coach of the women’s basketball team at the University of Memphis. She had been named Horizon League Coach of the Year three times in five years as leader of the Wright State University program before being named to her current position in 2021.

Beverly Malone

Beverly Malone, PhD, NUR ’70, A&S ’82, Hon ’15, is a long-time, widely respected leader in the nursing field, most notably through her current role as CEO of the National League for Nursing and as deputy assistant secretary for health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the 1990s.

Paula Lampley

Paula Lampley, LAW ’92, is the Women in Engineering director in UC’s College of Engineering and Applied Science, leading the colleges recruiting, retention and development of female engineering students. She has long championed efforts to help girls chart educational and career paths in the STEAM fields (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics).

Nominate a Bearcat

Nominate a Bearcat alumnus for a future heritage or awareness month alumni spotlight.

About 4A

The African American Alumni Affiliate (4A) has served the university’s Black alumni for more than two decades, creating a range of opportunities for meaningful connection with their alma mater, current students and each other. Vibrant programs on and off campus, delivered in person and virtually, support 4A’s constituents in their professional development, community service, networking, student engagement, and philanthropic endeavors.

Ways to Be Involved and Make a Difference