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Read articles and learn more about the Cincinnati Chamber through our related news articles

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Recognize & Celebrate businesses & people

Great Living Cincinnatians: Honorees

Celebrating the leadership, vision, tenacity, and love of community shared by the recipients of the Great Living Cincinnatian Award, presented annually by the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber since 1967.

Alva Jean Crawford

Awarded In 2019

Alva Jean Crawford’s entire career has been centered around encouraging young people to pursue an education and become successful. After working as a mathematics teacher for 22 years in Tennessee, Missouri, California and Ohio, she became a school counselor and has helped many students prepare for their adult lives.

Mrs. Crawford was the first African American ticket agent in the mid-South. She was asked to apply for the position when American Airlines decided it was time for racial integration. She got the job after a test and an interview. “People used to watch me work like I was something strange. It was good to open the opportunities for African Americans at American Airlines, but it was not my career goal, so I left after two years.”

Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Mrs. Crawford moved to Cincinnati when her husband accepted an offer to become chairman of the Orthopedics Department at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

She believes people should move to Cincinnati because it is a “good city for entrepreneurs, it has a strong job market due to the Fortune 500 companies that are here, low cost of living, many professional and college sports teams, great museums, great health care, excellent public and private schools and lots of entertainment.”

Mrs. Crawford is passionate about music and the arts. If she hadn’t pursued a career in education, she says she would have worked a job that promotes the arts and engages young people.

Although art was not part of her career, it has been a part of her retirement. Mrs. Crawford co-chaired the Cincinnati Opera’s 80th Anniversary Gala, participated in the Cincinnati Ballet’s diversity committee and sits on the board of Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and the Music Hall Revitalization Company. “My desired contribution is to encourage others, regardless of their personal circumstances, to enjoy the arts and realize that diversity and inclusion is good for us all.”

Mrs. Crawford also served on the boards of Cincinnati Public Radio, Free Store Foodbank, Girl Scout Council of Greater Cincinnati, the Hearing, Speech and Deaf Centers of Greater Cincinnati, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, the Cincinnati Reds Community Fun and the Children’s Home of Cincinnati, among others.

She volunteers as a Girl Scouts leader, serves as a mentor at the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative and the Cincinnati Woman’s Club and is a math tutor at the Crossroads Church Community School. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Sorority, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Cincinnati Chapter of The Girl Friends, Inc., The Moles and the Cincinnati Woman’s Club.

Mrs. Crawford is one of three sisters and has been married to Dr. Alvin Crawford for 55 years. They have a daughter, a son and three granddaughters who are 11, 8 and 6 years old. “They are the love of my life.”

For fun, Mrs. Crawford enjoys going to opera and jazz concerts, watching plays and Broadway shows, and reading biographies and history books about the 35 countries she has visited with her husband.

For Mrs. Crawford, to be successful means “doing something you love and are knowledgeable about and that provides enough for you to live a comfortable life.” Her best advice is to “be honest, have integrity, inspire others, acquire good communication skills, be accountable, have a positive attitude and be empathetic.”

Nominate a Great Living Cincinnatian

Recipients are selected from candidates by the Cincinnati Chamber’s senior council based on the following criteria: – Community service – Business and civic attainment on a local, state and national or international level – Leadership – Awareness of the needs of others – Distinctive accomplishments that have brought favorable attention to their community, institution or organization