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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.

Stanley M. Kaplan, MD

Awarded In 2007

1922 – 2011


As an avid motorcyclist, Stanley M. Kaplan, MD, has crisscrossed the continental United States, Alaska, Canada and Nova Scotia on his Honda Gold Wing touring bike. However it has been his passion for the humanities and the arts, together with his late wife Mickey, that has enabled Cincinnati USA to ride high as a world-class destination for the arts and culture.

Kaplan was at the forefront of many major arts initiatives in Cincinnati, including leading the effort to build the Zaha Hadid-designed, internationally acclaimed Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art as then chairman of the board of directors of the Contemporary Arts Center.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Kaplan graduated from Walnut Hills High School in 1940 and went on to study psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, at a time when psychiatry was on the ascent, both nationally and internationally.

He completed his medical training at UC in 1946 and then became a resident in psychiatry. He later received training in psychoanalysis at the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis.  In 1954 he was asked to join the faculty of UC’s Department of Psychiatry under the direction of Maurice Levine, MD, who was regarded as a true renaissance man. Levine not only taught psychiatry but also brought in lecturers and experts on the arts and humanities, providing a lifelong inspiration for Kaplan.

He went on to become a full professor and at one time was interim chairman of the Psychiatry Department. He has also served on nearly every College of Medicine committee and is deeply committed to education. In 1991 he established the national Stanley M. Kaplan Essay contest to encourage improved writing and research skills among medical students.

During his career at UC Kaplan was involved not only in patient care and teaching but also in research. He was published widely for his work on a range of topics in psychiatry – particularly for studies in psychosomatic medicine.

“I am proud to be a part of what was and still is one of the finest departments of psychiatry in the country,” Kaplan said. “I was fortunate to serve on the faculty of one of the first psychiatry departments that encouraged interest not only in psychiatry but also in the arts and humanities.”

Throughout the years with Mickey, he served as a visionary for Cincinnati as a world-class center for arts and culture. He was instrumental in the effort to grant London-based Hadid her first U.S. commission – the first art museum for any female architect. The Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art has been hailed by The New York Times as the most important building built in America since the end of the Cold War. The Kaplans were one of the CAC’s prominent contributors.

Across the street from the Rosenthal Center, the Aronoff Center for the Performing Arts features the Jarson Kaplan Theatre, named in honor of the Kaplans and Mickey’s parents. Mickey died in 2003. Later that same year Kaplan established the Mickey Kaplan New American Play Prize to support the production of a new play at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Pak in Mt. Adams. The Dr. Stanley and Mickey Kaplan Foundation also supported the naming of the new dance studio at the Cincinnati Ballet in honor of Mickey.

In addition, the Kaplan Foundation has supported a number of other architect-design building projects and programming for area non-profits including the Cincinnati Art Museum, Taft Museum of Art and the University of Cincinnati College of DAAP.

Kaplan worked tirelessly for the arts, serving on boards of the Cincinnati Art Museum. The Taft Museum, CET. the Fine Arts Fund, the Cincinnati Ballet, the Playhouse in the Park, the Art Academy of Cincinnati, the Park Board and the Cincinnati Arts Association. For his work he earned numerous honors, among them the Glorifying the Lion Award from the Urban League, the Visionary Award from the CAC, the Governor’s Award in the Arts, the PBS Public TV Leadership Award and the Apple Award from the Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati in recognition of Kaplan’s support of numerous initiatives for the improvement of contemporary architecture and design.

“The amount of support the arts have been unprecedented with the building of facilities and providing funds for operating programs,” Kaplan says of the current renaissance taking place in the region. “The arts are so important to the growth and development of the city-to attract quality people and quality companies.”

Kaplan’s interest was not limited to the fine arts. He funded a Habitat for Humanity house in Lincoln Heights to honor one of Mickey’s birthdays.

In addition to supporting the arts. he was a talented artist himself, as well as a sculptor and photographer. He earned an exhibition of his photography at the Phyllis Weston and Annie Bolling Gallery in January of 2006. “These are beautifully printed and artfully composed images of walls, back streets and alleys, and buildings that have a painterly feel,” The Cincinnati Enquirer reported in a review of his photography.

As an emeritus professor, Kaplan was on campus almost daily in retirement, and continued to do some psychotherapy and teaching. He was also chairman of Cincinnati-based G & J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers, the fourth largest Pepsi bottler in the United States.

Kaplan had two sons, Steve and Richard, both officers in G & J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers, and a daughter, Barbara Kaplan, MD. a pediatric physician at the Cleveland Clinic. She had a husband, William Chilcote, MD, and two sons, Jeffery and Michael.

Despite his vast contributions, Kaplan was, true to his nature, humble when asked about the Great Living Cincinnatian honor. “I was overwhelmed at being chosen,” he said. “It feels great to be considered among the many other previous recipients of the award. It means a lot to me.”

Dr. Kaplan died in November, 2011 at 89.

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