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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.
William Whittaker came to Cincinnati in December of 1965 as president of Cincinnati Bell. Previously he had worked his way up from a clerk with AT&T to assistant vice president of AT&T’s Long Lines Department in New York. From 1962 to 1964 he served as vice president and general manager of Bellcomm, a group of scientists he assembled to help develop the flight trajectories and other computer data for putting men on the moon.
His impact on Cincinnati over the past decade has been significant. One of his high-priority projects was Cincinnati Bell’s sponsorship of the Concerts in the Parks program, which he and symphony officials helped launch.
Another was his role in business community funding of stadium architect fees to ensure continuation of stadium planning when public funds temporarily were not available.
An amateur horticulturist, Whittaker was active in the Cincinnati Nature Center virtually since he arrived in Cincinnati, becoming its vice president in 1967 and elected its chairman June 1976.
Whittaker also had the distinction of being elected to two consecutive terms as president of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber in 1970 and 1971. His leadership helped build the Chamber into a force in the community and attracted an extremely high level of business participation.
William Whittaker died on January 1, 1980 at 70.
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