University of Cincinnati Removes Name of Founding Benefactor From Campus

The board of trustees of the University of Cincinnati has voted to strip the name of Charles McMicken from campus.

Charles McMicken left a bequest of real estate to the City of Cincinnati that led to the founding in 1870 of the institution that we today know as the University of Cincinnati. A university report published in 2019 found that McMicken’s business interests encompassed slave-owning and trading. He fathered two known children by at least one, and possibly two, enslaved women. His 1858 bequest in his last will and testament stipulated that funds be used to establish “two colleges for the education of white boys and girls.”

Neville Pinto, president of the University of Cincinnati, stated that the board’s vote “is a pivotal next step on our journey to becoming a more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming community. There’s a reason inclusive excellence is a core pillar of our strategic direction. Inclusion is who we are, what we do, and why we matter.”

As a result of the board’s recent vote, McMicken Hall will become Arts & Sciences Hall; McMicken Commons will become Bearcats Commons; McMicken Circle will become University Circle; and Mick & Mack’s Contemporary Café will become Bearcats Café. Earlier, the board had removed the ‘McMicken’ surname from the College of Arts & Sciences identity as an academic unit.

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