Robert E. Richardson Jr. Elected Chair of UC's Board of Trustees
The University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees elected officers during the Feb. 2 meeting, and Robert E. Richardson Jr. was unanimously elected chair for the next year. Thomas D. Cassady will serve as vice-chair, and William C. "Wym" Portman, III, will serve as secretary. Richardson replaces Thomas H. Humes, who completed two years as chair.
With his election to Board Chair, Richardson, 37, an alumnus of the university who once served as undergraduate Student Body President, becomes the youngest person to ever serve as head of UC’s trustees. He is also the youngest currently serving board chair among the nation’s research-intensive public universities.
According to Richardson, “It will be an honor to serve my alma mater, just as it was an honor to serve as Student Body President 15 years ago. Now, as in the past, it will be my goal to listen to our students, faculty, staff, alumni and the broader community. Together we will change outcomes and build on UC’s great legacy by focusing on inclusion, innovation, and student engagement.”
Richardson received his UC Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in 2002 and his Juris Doctor from the university in 2005. While a student at the university, he established the first college chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the tristate and was elected Student Body President in the spring of 2001. During his senior year in 2002, Richardson was awarded its highest honor for undergraduates - the UC Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence.
He has served as a member of the university’s Board of Trustees since 2008, and has provided youth mentorship in bridge programs linking local high schoolers to academic programs at the university, including the UC Scholars Academy bridge program with Hughes STEM High School, which focuses on college readiness and leadership development for the innovators and entrepreneurs of .
Most recently, Richardson not only played an instrumental role in founding the UC Scholars Academy but has also taught at UC as an adjunct instructor in a fall 2015 UC Forward course, “Inquiry to Innovation: Leading Change at UC.”
Richardson knows firsthand how student mentorship and a residential college experience for high schoolers, like the UC Scholars Academy, can alter a career path. He credits UC’s Emerging Ethnic Engineers (“E3”) Summer Bridge Program with preparing him to enter and succeed in the university’s College of Engineering and Applied Science and the College of Law. Richardson often mentions that without the E3 program he would not have made it through engineering. That’s why he is so committed to providing students the same opportunities he had. That’s also why he has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for scholarships including the Marathon Petroleum scholarship, one of the largest corporate scholarships for diversity at UC.
Richardson’s one-time UC mentor, Cheryll Dunn, a retired associate professor and current academic director in the College of Engineering and Applied Science, stated, “As a student, Rob loved the University of Cincinnati, and he still does. He was and is committed to making the opportunities at UC available to all – from Hughes students, to students throughout our region and state, from students throughout the U.S. and the world.”