A proud member of the Cincinnati community since 1869, the Harvard Club of Cincinnati is one of the first three Harvard alumni clubs established. We are the oldest continuously active Club. HCC is a "home away from Cambridge" for all members of the Harvard community in Greater Cincinnati. We host programs to foster fellowship, fun and continued intellectual challenge. We are the face of Harvard College for local students and provide scholarship funds for admitted students. We maintain close ties with HBS Alumni Club, Harvard Law School Association and Cincy Young Ivy Alumni Club, as well as with Ivy and Seven Sister alumni groups.
Past Presidents of the Harvard Club of Cincinnati
2022-2023 Dr. Shalini Gupta, MD 1996
2020-2022 Sean Pollock, AM ‘96 PhD ‘06
2019-2020 Christopher Vuturo, 1993
2018-2019 Kathleen Molinsky, 1989
2017-2018 Gillian Benet Sella, 1987
2016-2017 Lori Gayle Nuckolls, JD 1986
2015-16 Couper Gardiner, 1973, GSD 1979
2014-15 Valerie Bogdan-Powers, 1989
2013-14 Marcy B. Taylor, 1984
2012-13 Perry Seal, MBA 1967
2011-12 Katherine Nappi, 1991
2010-11 James Black (moved mid-term) and Katherine Nappi
2009-10 Anthony Strike, 1978
2008-09 Daniel Cunningham, OPM 1999, Fellow 2012, KSG 2016
2007-08 Holly Huttenbauer
2006-07 Stephen Strauss, LLB 1965
2005-06 Ruth Rounding
2004-05 Kathleen Molinsky, 1989
2003-04 Fred Nelson
2002-03 Cynthia Williams, MAR 1980
2001-02 Murray S. Monroe, Jr. MArch 1994
2000-01 Mary Helen Weber, AM 1973
1999-00 Cedric W. Vogel, JD 1971
1998-99 Pamela S. Myers, JD 1976
1997-98 Alan M. Wolf, 1960, MBA 1963
1996-97 Margaret A. Lawson, JD 1982
1995-96 Thomas R. Schuck, JD 1976
1994-95 Sarah Raup Johnson, MBA 1979
1993-94 Mark H. Longenecker, Jr., TD 1976
1992-93 R. Carter Bobbitt, MD 1961
1991-92 Gilbert Richards 1950, MBA 1952
1990-91 John J. Frank, Jr., 1954
1989-90 Frank Welsh, MD 1966
1988-89 Stephen L. Black, 1970, TD 1974
1987-88 Wiley D. Dinsmore, 1956, JD 1961
1986-87 Daniel J. Hoffheimer, 1973
1985-86 Dennis J. Murphy, 1968
1984-85 Richardson McKinney, 1949
1983-84 James R. Bridgeland, Jr., AM 1955, LLB 1957
1982-83 Philip M. Meyers, Jr., MBA 1960
1981-82 John J. Murphy, 1959
1980-81 Harry M. Hoffheimer, 1934
1979-80 James L. Elder, LLB 1939
1978-79 Michael LeVine, 1952
1977-78 Justin E. Gale, 1948
1976-77 Robert F. Lovett, Jr., 1956
1975-76 John W. Morgan, 1943, MBA 1946
1974-75 Harris K. Weston, 1940, LLB 1943
1973-74 E. Pope Coleman, 1948
1972-73 Lawrence W. Ward, 1950
1971-72 John C. Heisler, 1948
1970-71 Samuel M. Allen, 1951
1969-70 Gilbert Bettman, 1938, LLB 1942
1968-69 Lucien Wulsin, Jr., 1939
1967-68 Joseph Rawson Collins, 1932, MBA 1934
1966-67 Donald I. Lowry, 1941
1965-66 Joseph S. Stern, Jr., 1940, MBA 1943
1964-65 Edward M. Thayer, 1937
1963-64 John H. Perry, 1939
1962-63 Thomas A. Bittenbender, 1936
1961-62 William Rowell Chase, 1926, AM 1928
1960-61 James G. Heathcote, 1923
1959-60 Laurence L. Davis, 1938
1958-59 Thomas M. Stanton, 1943
1957-58 James M.E. Mixter, 1940
1956-57 William S. Rowe, 1939
1955-56 Philip Wyman, 1910
1954-55 Erastus S. Allen, 1909
1953-54 John L. Magro, 1932
1952-53 Oliver M. Gale, Jr., 1931, MBA 1937
1951-52 C.L. Harrison, Jr., 1918
1950-51 Robert N. Gorman, 1918
1949-50 Edgar Friedlander, 1900
Campbell Dinsmore, 1926
1948-49 E. Webster Harrison, 1927
1947-48 William E. Anderson, 1926
1946-47 Paul Rogers, 1916
1945-46 William Procter Bell, 1920
1944-45 Marston Allen, 1908
1943-44 Walter M. Shohl, 1908
1942-43 Neil H. McElroy, 1925
1941-42 Neil H. McElroy, 1925
1940-41 W.E. Stillwell, 1925
1939-40 Charles W. Burrage, 1913
1938-39 Thurston Merrell, 1905
1937-38 Abbot Thayer, 1904
1936-37 John J. Rowe, 1907
1935-36 Franklin Hey Lawson, 1921
1934-35 Edward F. Alexander, 1899
1933-34 Charles E. Kiely, 1909
1932-33 Alfred Bettman, 1894
1931-32 Joseph C. Dinsmore, 1921
1930-31 S. Marcus Fechheimer, 1886
1929-30 John Weld Peck, 1896
1928-29 Charles H. Stephens, Jr., 1899
1927-28 Philip Wyman, 1910
1926-27 Lucien Wulsin, 1910
1925-26 John Weld Peck, 1896
1924-25 Frederick N. Chatfield, 1912
1923-24 Harold Willis Nichols, Sr., 1907
1922-23 Joseph Spencer Grandon, 1898
1921-22 Smith Hickenlooper, 1924
1920-21 John J. Rowe, 1907
1919-20 John J. Rowe, 1907
1918-19 Murray Seasongood, 1900
1917-18 Murray Seasongood, 1900
1916-17 Stanley W. Merrell, 1899
1915-16 Stanley W. Merrell, 1899
1914-15 Charles L. Harrison, 1886
1913-14 Stewart Shillito, 1879
1912-13 G.A. Thayer, 1869
1911-12 Gerrit S. Sykes, 1877
1910-11 Alfred M. ALlen, 1882
1909-10 Graham P. Hunt, 1882
1908-09 William W. Taylor, 1868
1907-08 Joseph H. Gest, 1880
1906-07 Charles T. Greve, 1884
1905-06 Stewart Shillito, 1879
1904-05 John R. Holmes, 1878
1903-04 John R. Holmes, 1878
1902-03 Joseph Wilby, 1875
1901-02 Elliot H. Pendelton, 1882
1900-01 Charles B. Wilby, 1870
1899-00 William Worthington, 1867
1892-1899 Julius Dexter, 1860
1891-92 Charles B. Wilby, 1870
1888-1891 William Worthington, 1867
1887-88 Manning F. Force, 1845
1871-87 Rufus King, 1838
1869-1871 Larz Anderson, 1822
The Harvard Club Christmas Smoker by Daniel J. Hoffheimer ’73, Archivist and (Distant) Past President.
How many of our Cincinnati Harvard Clubbers remember when we had “The Christmas Smoker”? As time goes by, to quote that memorable song, fewer and fewer of us remain with such memories. “The Christmas Smoker,” or just The Smoker, was what we now more inclusively and equitably call our “Holiday Party”. The name has changed from time to time. I seem to recall “Winter Holiday,” “Winter Gathering,” and perhaps others. In the good old days, which were not always so good, The Smoker was always held in the lower level (basement) of The Queen City Club. That is the one on the SouthWEST corner of Fourth and Broadway, not the SouthEAST corner where The University Club stands. In recent years, we have often had our holiday party, whatever we have called it, upstairs at The U Club. When began the tradition of our Club staking out the basement of The QCC? Well, I remember being taken there in the mid-1960s as the guest of my father, Harvard Class of 1934, and he remembered The Smoker nowhere else. And, yes, people smoked, mostly cigars and pipes.
The oldest president of The Club whom I remember was Murray Seasongood, Class of Aughty-Augt. That’s 1900, not 2000. I remember Mr. Seasongood, Club president in 1917-18, telling me a story at The Smoker about my grandfather, Judge Harry Hoffheimer Sr., Harvard class of 1899. Mind you, my grandfather died in 1926 when my father was only 14. The list of past presidents reads like a who’s-who of Cincinnati literati. I also remember Neil H. McElroy (Secretary of Commerce in Eisenhower’s cabinet and CEO of P&G), William S. Rowe (CEO of Fifth Third Bank), James M.E. Mixter (Senior VP of Baldwin Piano), W. Rowell Chase, Thomas A. Bittenbender, Joseph S. Stern (CEO of U.S. Shoe), Donald I. Lowry, J. Rawson Collins, Lucian Wulsin, Jr.—names that mean a great deal to us older-timers. More recently, but still denizens of the basement of The QCC for The Smoker, were Judge Gilbert Bettman, Samuel M. Allen (Schools Committee Chair when I applied to Harvard and still on the job when I came home to work with him on the committee), Lawrence W. Ward (architect of our Scholarship Fund), E. Pope Coleman, Harris Weston, and many more. I believe every Club member today should know something about each of these men, and others. Not all of them smoked, but I would say that our Club still held The Smoker at The QCC until about the presidency of yours truly, Class of 1973, in 1986-87. I don’t remember when or why we left, but at some point, The QCC renovated its basement to its glamorous, and surely expensive, new fashion.
What about Radcliffe and the women?! Well, there were a few women in attendance at The Smoker, but before 1973, or thereabouts, Radcliffe had its own club, and that glorious history is beyond my present scope. The first woman president of the combined ranks was not until 1994-95, Sarah Raup Johnson MBA ’79, and by then, The Smoker had become the Holiday Party and we had probably left The QCC.
The records of our Club show that The Club held a dinner for all the Associated Harvard Clubs—at The QCC on December 13, 1902. Now, that would have been at the previous location of The QCC on Seventh Street, maybe in the basement, for today’s QCC building dates back to the 1920s. But if I had to guess, at that Harvard gathering in December 1902 there was the passing of cigars and much smoke was inhaled—by men only. The archives show that at that 1902 meeting of our Club “the singing was constant and generally on key.” We—that is, our Club--presented the Associated Harvard Clubs with “a very beautiful loving cup,” which was passed all around and admired by the group assembled. I wonder where that loving cup resides today? Each delegate was given an ash tray of the Rookwood Pottery. On it is inscribed the word “Veritas.” My grandfather must have been there, and I possess that ashtray. Again in 1910, the Christmas Smoker was hosted at The QCC, and this time the guests honored were the Law School’s football team, captained by Hamilton Fish ’10.
In those good old days, which were not always so good, our Club held its regular, and irregular, events at many places. They include, in addition to The QCC, The University Club, The Cincinnati Country Club, The Bankers Club, The Cincinnati Club, The Phoenix Club, The Faculty Club of the University of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Gym Grounds (wherever they were), the Cincinnati Zoo, the Hyde Park Country Club, the Camargo Country Club, Losantiville Country Club, the Gibson House, and many others. For us older-timers who knew the old-timers, our memories are laced with visions of the basement of The QCC at “The Christmas Smoker.”
--Daniel J. Hoffheimer ’73, Archivist and (Distant) Past President.
In 1787, on the day the U.S. Constitution was adopted, the influential Philadelphian salon host Elizabeth Willing Powel is said to have asked Benjamin Franklin, “What do we have, a republic or a monarchy.” The famous Philadelphian replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” With a simple, two-letter conjunction, Franklin emphasized the conditional and contingent nature of our government. There is nothing inevitable about our particular form of government. On the contrary, its future depends on the work of vigilant, civically responsible citizens.
Today, leaders of diverse political convictions understand that Americans must work together to maintain our republic. In the aftermath of the January 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol, Senators John Cornyn (R, TX) and Chris Coons (D, DE) proposed a bipartisan initiative to invest $1 billion in civics and history education. According to Cornyn, “ours is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, as Lincoln said, but we can’t govern ourselves if we do not have knowledge of our foundational principles or our history.” “If we don’t train young people in civics and how to participate,” Coons believes, “then we can’t be that surprised when our political discourse breaks down.”
Historically, the Harvard Club of Cincinnati (HCC) has been a social club committed to civic service. Since 1869, both the University and the HCC have been animated by what President Charles W. Eliot called “a spirit of service,” public and private, “in all fields of activity.” One hundred years later, University of Cincinnati University Librarian Arthur T. Hamlin (A.B. ’34) marked the Club’s centennial by exploring “the Harvard concept of civic responsibility” in Harvard and Cincinnati: A Century of Civic Service (Archon Books, 1969). Now seems a particularly good time to inquire, again, into the meanings and expressions of civic responsibility.
One of the privileges of the office of president is to select the annual theme of the Harvard Club of Cincinnati. While I would not presume to prescribe for Club members a single definition of “civic responsibility,” Karla Gottlieb and Gail Robinson offer a good place to start: “Civic responsibility means active participation in the public life of a community in an informed, committed, and constructive manner, with a focus on the common good.” As we reconnect this year, hopefully in person, I invite you to share your own definition with me and other Harvard alumni this year.
I’m happy to report that unlike last year, the Club plans to hold the majority of its events this year in person or in a hybrid format. In addition, for the remainder of the calendar year all events will be free to members, so there has never been a better time to renew your membership or become a member.
Special outreach to former members: We’d like to understand why you discontinued your membership. By participating in this important and brief survey, via this link https://bit.ly/3gjGLiT, you’ll be entered into a raffle for the prize of your choice – a $25 Amazon gift card or 50% off an annual Harvard Club of Cincinnati membership.
Please come out to celebrate old friendships and forge new ones. As we learned last year, this can be done virtually, if necessary, but I know many of us are eager to reconnect in person. With this in mind the Board of Directors has planned some exciting events for the fall. For them to be successful, we need your presence and, if possible, your help as volunteers. Please reach out to any of the board members directly if you’d like to volunteer ideas and/or time.
The pleasure of reconnecting in person began in August, when we held the Annual Picnic and celebrated Harvard students’ return to campus, including many who’ll be attending the College for the first time. We returned to in-person with the President’s Reception on September 27 at the beautiful Northern Row Distillery and Brewery, which was specially opened for our members and their guests. In addition to lively conversation and delightful food and drink, we were treated to a tour of the historic facility. On October 8 the mayoral candidates David Mann and Aftab Pureval met with Club members to discuss their vision of the city’s future. We will also no doubt find ways to celebrate Harvard’s victory over Yale in the Game, and on December 21 we will return to the University Club to hold the annual Holiday Reception.
Such are our hopes and intentions. One way Club leadership plans to demonstrate civic responsibility, however, is to continue to follow Harvard (https://www.harvard.edu/coronavirus/health-wellbeing/), city, state, and federal guidelines concerning the ongoing pandemic. Our community’s health and safety remain our top priority.
Thank you for reading, and take good care.
Sean Pollock (A.M. ’96, Ph.D. ’06)
President, Harvard Club of Cincinnati, 2020-22
Building Community in Interesting Times
Message from President Sean Pollock from the years of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
--J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
“Like it or not we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also more open to the creative energy of [people] than any other time in history.”
--Robert Kennedy, Day of Affirmation Address, Cape Town, South Africa, 1966
The Harvard Club of Cincinnati has a long history. It was founded in 1869, and its first president, Larz Anderson, graduated from the College in 1822. The Club is rightfully proud of its history as one of the oldest Harvard alumni clubs, and the oldest continuously operating one, in the world. But what is the purpose of the Club in these times of great uncertainty? Is this even a fair question to ask of a social club?
Like our nation, the Harvard Club of Cincinnati (HCC) is diverse. What unites us is that we share something uncommon in common – a Harvard education. Although Harvard University does not have a formal mission statement – it’s famously too decentralized for that – Harvard College does: “To educate the citizens and citizen-leaders for our society…through our commitment to the transformative power of a liberal arts and sciences education.” This purpose and this commitment also unite us.
Historically, ours has been a social club committed to civic service. Since 1869, both the University and the HCC have been animated by what President Charles W. Eliot called “a spirit of service,” public and private, “in all fields of activity.” One hundred years later, University of Cincinnati University Librarian Arthur T. Hamlin (A.B. ’34) marked the Club’s centennial by publishing Harvard and Cincinnati: A Century of Civic Service. For the Club to thrive, it must continue this tradition, especially in what Robert Kennedy called “interesting times…times of danger and uncertainty.”
I consider it a privilege to serve as the Club’s president, especially in interesting times. It falls to the president to choose the Club's annual theme. This year’s theme is “Building Community in Interesting Times.” The purpose of the theme is to spark conversations and facilitate mutual learning among HCC members and in our communities.
My term in office has been profoundly shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like it or not, mine is the pandemic presidency. The word pandemic derives from the Greek pan, “all,” and demos, “people.” This year, all of us, directly or indirectly, will continue to be impacted by COVID-19, the economic crisis it engendered, and another bloody reckoning with the foundational sins of slavery and white supremacy (which, almost 250 years after the nation’s founding, drafts of the Department of Homeland Security annual threat assessment characterize as the deadliest domestic terror threat facing the United States through 2021). And let’s not forget about the challenge posed to our way of life by human-induced climate change. The epochal effects of these challenges will likely leave us forever altered.
The question is: What are we going to do about them? In the time given us, are we going to harness the creative power of people to overcome common challenges and build more equitable and just systems? Will we find ways, to borrow from Harvard President Larry Bacow’s recent freshman convocation address, “to heal this world”? If the choice facing us today is between “denial and death, or recognition and life,” as historian Ibram X. Kendi argues, I choose the latter.
It appears Harvard faculty and students are also choosing recognition and life over denial and death. Consider the scourge of racism, which Hamilton County commissioners and cities and counties across the country recently declared a public health crisis. The University is taking a multifaceted approach to studying racism in this country, one that mobilizes diverse constituencies and significant resources in hopes of solving the problem, or at least mitigating its worst effects. This year Houghton Library is focusing its digitization efforts solely on sources concerning Black American history for an online collection titled “Slavery, Abolition, Emancipation, and Freedom: Primary Sources from Houghton Library”. Harvard faculty are suggesting readings that promote understanding of the long history of slavery and white supremacy in America. Legal scholar, historian, Pulitzer-winner, and recently named University Professor Annette Gordon-Reed is helping Americans make sense of arguments for and against removing slavery- and Confederacy-related monuments from public lands; Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture Shawon Kinew (A.M. ’12, Ph.D. ’16) reminds us that the killing of George Floyd by police took place “on Ojibwe and Dakota land”; and the new director of the Warren Center for Studies in American History, Radcliffe Alumnae Professor Tiya Miles (A.B. ’92), who grew up in Cincinnati, is planning a public history course titled “Abolitionist Women and Their Worlds.” This fall hundreds of students are taking Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government Michael Sandel’s online course “Justice: Ethics in an Age of Pandemic and Racial Reckoning.” All this, of course, only scratches the surface of the state of play concerning, for lack of a better term, racism studies at the University. While none of these institutions or individuals has all the answers, their collective efforts are bound to contribute to the betterment of society, including our community.
Community, I’ve come to believe, is a conscious act. It is a choice that we choose to make or not make every day. We build community in our homes though conversations with family. We build it in our streets while waiting for the bus, buying groceries, encountering strangers, and meeting with friends. We build it with our words, our greetings and glad tidings. We build it through our actions, at work and in our neighborhoods. We build community every day in the way that we treat each other, especially others who are different from us. Community is a quest to make ourselves and our world better.
Here at home, the HCC is finding ways to build community in interesting times. It has had to learn to do some things differently. Since March, Club leadership has been meeting and holding events remotely. As HCC First Vice President last year, I was responsible for planning the annual meeting, and it was disappointing, frankly, to have to hold it virtually. It was also, however, enlightening and empowering. The Board is now considering moving some of the meeting’s traditional business online, enabling members and friends to spend more time enjoying each other’s company. It is also planning programming around this year’s theme. In October, for example, the Club is planning an event facilitated by HCC 2nd Vice President Elise Foster (Ed.M. ’06), Ty Moore (A.B. ’06) and Rebecca Wilson titled “Allyship: Leadership by Another Name.” I look forward to seeing you there.
Another way the Club builds community is through the work of the Schools and Scholarship Committee. Members interview promising students from Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky who aspire to a Harvard education; hold a special event to celebrate their acceptance to the College; and, traditionally, send them off with a picnic on the eve of their departure to Cambridge. This year we did things differently. A send-off subcommittee assembled and personally delivered to local Class of 2024 students gift bags that included face masks made with Harvard-insignia fabric by HCC Past President Gillian Benet Sella (A.B. ’87). At the virtual event, interviewers introduced “their” students; participants mingled in breakout rooms; students opened their gifts in the main room; and new students were able to ask questions of current students. As HCC Past President Valerie Bogdan-Powers (A.B. ’89) later observed, the students really appreciated what was clearly a labor of love. Club leadership plans to continue to support these students and to include them in its future events.
So, ours is not only one of the oldest Harvard alumni clubs in the world, it is also one of the most active clubs of its size. Club leadership spends most of its time thinking of ways to serve its members and the communities in which we live. We need your help in this work because ours is, after all, a social club; it is you and it is me; it is all of us together. If you are already a Club member, I thank you, and if you are not, please consider becoming a member today so that we can benefit from each other’s Harvard education, experiences and talents, perspectives, passions, and energy.
Living in extraordinary times makes extraordinary achievements possible. Now more than ever, we need to stay connected with each other and engaged in the life of our communities. “Community and connectivity,” as the anthropologist and Harvard alumnus Wade Davis reminds us, “is for the human what claws and teeth represent for the tiger,” they are “the cultural foundations of our lives.” Together we can give new meaning to the word pandemic. We can make it mean all people working together to improve ourselves as individuals and build stronger communities.
One way to do this is to participate in HCC events. I invite you to join me and other members for the President’s Reception on Wednesday, September 30. “Building Community One Tapas at a Time” is designed to be a family-friendly, interactive cooking workshop focused on Basque culture and cuisine. You can learn more about the event and RSVP here. I look forward to seeing you there – live, face-to-face, and at a safe distance.
In Long Life: Essays and Other Writings, Mary Oliver asks: “What does it mean, say the words, that the earth is so beautiful? And what shall I do about it? What is the gift that I should bring to the world? What is the life that I should live?”
I would be honored to know your answers to these questions. Meantime, thank you for reading and take good care.
Sean Pollock (A.M. ’96, Ph.D. ’06)
President, Harvard Club of Cincinnati, 2020-21