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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A bid farewell to Dr. Nancy Zimpher

As I am completing the final year of my five-year program I feel compelled to write a little bit on my thoughts about the only University of Cincinnati President I've known. Dr. Nancy Zimpher came to UC shortly before I started my academic career there and a lot has changed since then.

The once "out of control" budget has been tamed and is on its way to be balanced. UC is no longer joked about as standing for Under Construction. Academics have improved across the board with higher enrollment standards, reformed programs, and increased achievement. The university is emerging as a major research institution as the amount of research funding continues to rise annually.

The University has embarked on its most ambitious fund-raising campaign ever, rivaling some of the most ambitious campaigns run anywhere. UC is no longer considered a one sport school as our baseball, volleyball, soccer, football, and basketball programs are all competing at the highest level in the Big East Conference.

More students are living on and around campus - shedding the long thought idea that UC is a commuter school. Dr. Zimpher helped lead the effort to freeze tuition at State universities, she has been a proponent for the proposed streetcar system, and she has worked tirelessly to make the Uptown neighborhoods surrounding the university better places to live, work, and play.

Dr. Zimpher pushed for a strategic academic plan that put students at the center of it all. UC|21 has done just that as more students are getting involved, letting their voices be heard, and shaping the way their university does business.

Dr. Zimpher has gone out of her way to make it known that academics come first, no matter what, when she is in charge. The Board of Trustees have some hard work ahead of them to fill the void she'll leave behind, but thanks to her, UC is now on the map and should be a prime destination for another top-level talent like herself.

Thanks for everything you've done for our region's largest employer, university and city. Thanks for making my five years at the University of Cincinnati great, and good luck with your new endeavor as Chancellor of the State University of New York.

Read Dr. Zimpher's farewell letter to the UC Community here.

Photo Credit - UC Magazine


Allister Sears said...

Nicely put. It's about time somebody acknowledged what she's done for this part of town, and not just brand her as "the lady who fired Bob Huggins."

Anonymous said...

Exactly. She was known as "that bitch" for a while after he was let go. UC has a lot more to offer then effing basketball and she wanted people to know that.

Anonymous said...

"Dr. Zimpher has gone out of her way to make it known that academics come first, no matter what."

As a grad student in a social science dept. at UC, I can say that this is patently false. I think she pretty much gutted alot of non-CORE or DAAP departments. My dept. can't muster enough faculty to cover the required curriculum in my program.

Also, as I understand it, wasn't the construction plan, and the billion dollar debt that came with it, kind of her deal as well?

I don't care at all about Bob Huggins, but the caliber of education I witnessed (and as a TA was a part of) was reprehensible, largely due to selective budget cuts. But at least we've got a hanging indoor running track and a lazy river swimming pool!

Randy Simes said...

The construction plan and related debt was left over from the Steger presidency. Tough decisions have to be made when trying to balance the books and she did her very best to cut non-academic spending, like construction projects, first.

Chris said...

Sorry Randy I will have to disagree with you on a couple of things about Nancy. UC athletics was already in the Big East, or it became official that they were going to be a part of it, before Nancy came to the school. She had very little to do with what the football team and several other athletic programs have become, but it is very evident what her mark was on the basketball program. No more needs to be said about that.
Former Pres. Steger, transformed the Main Campus to what it is today. Yes, UC stood for Under Construction, but without his efforts to "retool" the campus, UC would not be ahead of the curve as it is today. Many of the projects have lead to national attention and praise. Once again, Nancy had nothing to do with this.
Granted she did help strengthen some of the academic standard for the school, but UC has had many top-notch programs for quite awhile, Medical School, Law School, DAAP, the Engineering School.
I feel somewhat used by Nancy. She knew coming to UC that this was not going to be a long commitment. She took advantage of the school, the city of Cincinnati and most importantly the students and alumni of UC.
She can now turn in those nasty Red "things" she used to wear, and start dressing like the Statue of Liberty.

Mark Miller said...

She wasn't God's gift to the University, nor was she the vindictive bitch the Huggins devotees paint her as. She was a very effective president, and did some great work while she was here.

This alum is grateful for her reinvigoration of the engineering oollege, and focus on academics, which is the true mission of a university.

I think she acquitted herself well, and is a worthy addition to our all-star cast of former presidents like Herman Schneider and Warren Bennis. Hopefully our trustees can knock another one out of the park with her replacement.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone checked how much revenue has dissapeared from alumni donations since Huggs left?..hmm...I'd be curious...and it would be worse if the football team has not drastically improved. BTW...what is tuition, dorm costs, & Gen fees now ? I graduated in 1993..still have about $20K in student loans to show...was the 6th most expensive state institution then...

Randy Simes said...

Big Al,

It is my understanding that donations have increased over recent years which has been coupled with an increase in research funding and grants.

Specifically dealing with Alumni donations, the amount has remained relatively stable without much fluctuation in either direction, but has seen an increase in the total number of donors...they just happen to be giving smaller amounts.

If you find out anything more specific, please be sure to come back and share it with us.

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