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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.
A commemorative rocking chair from the University of Akron decorates the living room of M.J. Klyn – a stately tribute for her work promoting the financial needs of higher education in Ohio. But the chair goes unused, except to hold paperwork and odds-and-ends.
In a career marked by fierce determination, she rose to become recognized as the dean of lobbyists, mixing the tough business of wooing millions with the soft touch of a family matriarch. In 23 years as the vice president of public affairs for the University of Cincinnati (UC’s first female VP), she raised $2 billion for the school.
UC President Joseph A. Steger hailed her as “one of the best lobbyists in the country.” Former Ohio Senate President Stanley Aronoff called her “a steel magnolia.”
Klyn’s tenure at UC left an indelible mark on the university, as she lobbied successfully for numerous projects, including the Shoemaker Center, the Barrett Cancer Center, and the lucrative designation of the university’s College of Engineering as one of only 10 NASA Federal Research Centers.
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