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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.
1927 – 2020
William J. Keating wore a lot of hats over his career, and each has fit particularly well. Since embarking on his professional career in 1950, he was a lawyer, judge, City Council member, congressman and publisher.
“I had the opportunity to be written about and to write about,” he noted.
Mr. Keating was in the swim of things since he left St. Xavier High School as an All-American swimmer. After serving with the Navy in World War II, he came home to make a splash at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned both a bachelor’s degree in business and a law degree in just four years. He credits a swimming scholarship and the GI Bill with making his education possible.
In 1954, he joined with two other partners to form a law firm, now known as Keating, Muething & Klekamp.
He served as a judge in Hamilton County courts from 1958-67 and later was elected to the Cincinnati City Council for two terms (1967-1970). Voters elected him to the U.S. House of Representatives from the First District during the 92nd and 93rd Congress, when much of the Watergate turmoil took place.
Returning to Cincinnati and the private sector, he served as chairman of The Cincinnati Enquirer from 1974-92, as well as holding the titles of Enquirer CEO and president at various junctures. From 1987-92, he headed the Associated Press, the world’s foremost news organization, as chairman.
During his publishing career, he also served as CEO of the Detroit Newspaper Agency, president of the Newspaper Division of Gannett Co. Inc., and executive vice president and general counsel for Gannett.
He has earned honorary degrees and other awards from the University of Cincinnati, Xavier and other institutions, as well as numerous other honors for his civic contributions. He is past chairman of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and U.C. Board of Trustees, and has helped lead many other organizations.
Mr. Keating remained active with the Metropolitan Growth Alliance and Masters Tennis Series.
Wherever they travel, he and his wife, Nancy, were always drawn back to Cincinnati. “It’s where we have our roots,” he explained.
Mr. Keating felt the GLC honor summed up his professional and community work over more than five decades, saying, “The Chamber award is the ultimate honor. It ties everything together.”
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