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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.
For Dr. Livingston, the commitment has always been to build community. Whether as a professor or college administrator, a leader of not-for-profits, or as an individual citizen, he has worked to bring people together across social divides.
Dr. Livingston, retired University of Cincinnati Vice President for Student Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer, earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at Michigan State University. He served as Vice President for Student Affairs at the University at Albany (SUNY) and Dean of Students at Ohio State University before joining the University of Cincinnati (UC) in 1994. He began at UC as Vice President of Student Affairs and Services and in 2007 assumed the additional role as UC’s Chief Diversity Officer.
With 14 years’ experience in the classroom – and 43 years as an administrator at six different universities – being responsible for student affairs meant that he and his team could influence the way that the university enrolled, impacted and instilled values in students, from the very moment that they stepped foot on the campus to the time that they graduated.
Working with then UC President Steger, Dr. Livingston led a student-centered process that resulted in the construction of MainStreet, the new axis that provides coherence to what was once a cramped and jumbled urban campus. Equally important, Dr. Livingston and his staff implemented an enrollment management system that has resulted in record numbers of higher quality and diversity in the student body; thus moving UC from a second-choice to a first-choice university. Perhaps his most important contribution to UC was the introduction of its Just Community initiative, designed to inculcate core principles to students from very disparate backgrounds. Upon joining UC, he enriched a version of the program he’d developed at the University of Albany by bringing thought-leaders Colin Powell, Maya Angelou and Ellie Wiesel to UC’s Fifth Third Arena, where thousands in attendance were urged to start the conversation on diversity and inclusion. From these discussions, Livingston and his team distilled eight core principles introduced to students during orientation: Accept Responsibility for building a learning community committed to these principles; Celebrate the Uniqueness of each person; Embrace Freedom and Openness; Practice Civility; Promote Justice by promoting a learning environment in which everyone can grow, flourish and contribute; Pursue Learning and Scholarship; Seek Integrity; and lastly, Strive for Excellence. The principles of Just Community have been adapted by many universities around the nation. These accomplishments are a central part of UC’s Five Year Diversity Plan that was developed and implemented under Dr. Livingston’s leadership.
In addition to his work on campus, Dr. Livingston lent time and insight to both business and community organizations. He served as a Director for Fifth Third Bancorp since 1997, and as a Trustee for both the Fine Arts Fund (now ArtsWave) and the Center for Holocaust and Humanity Education. He served also as Chairman of the Board for CET Connect, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and Bridges for a Just Community. Some of his fondest memories come from the support of young men in the Talbert House Fatherhood Program and the Young Men’s Program at St. John Social Service.
His service and contributions comprise a lasting legacy for our region: In 2006, Dr. Livingston directed Bridges for a Just Community to launch the biennial community human relations indicators surveys, providing critical baseline information to lay the groundwork for the repeal of Article XII from the city’s charter. At the Freedom Center, he helped form a collaborative mentoring initiative called STEER between P&G, UC and the Freedom Center, which was designed to increase the retention rates of African American students at UC. Several other initiatives have been implemented as a result of success in this area.
Upon retirement at the end of 2012, Dr. Livingston continued as a professor of education studies at the University of Cincinnati. It is impossible to imagine him not interacting with students and the community to promote justice and collaboration.
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