Rewarding Service

Frank and Pat Sommerkamp are the worthy recipients of this year’s Devou Cup given by the Northern Kentucky Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation to honor those whose personal philanthropy and engagement have improved the quality of life in our regional community.

The Sommerkamps need no introduction because they have been generous with their time, talent and treasure for many years. There isn’t a local organization that has not benefited in some way from their efforts.

Frank and Pat, both life-long Northern Kentuckians, have been married for 61 years and have three children, 10 grandchildren and one great grandchild. Frank retired as vice president of Government Affairs at Cincinnati Bell and has been involved in leadership positions with too many local organizations to name—but Forward Quest, Thomas More, and St. Elizabeth Healthcare Foundation are on the list. Pat helped shape many of the region’s education initiatives and was a consultant on education and training programs with GE, UC and others. She’s currently a business professor at Thomas More College.

Their awards—from every possible business and civic organization—are legion. The Devou Cup is icing on the cake—and couldn’t have found a better home.

A Grand Birthday

Oakley Farris celebrated his 90th birthday in style at the Baker Hunt Art & Cultural Center in Covington. He and his bride, Eva, arrived by carriage to celebrate his “90th Trip Around the Sun” — which included a Happy Birthday song by Thomas More College President Dave Armstrong. The Farrises have been generous benefactors in the region. NKU even published the Oakley & Eva G. Farris “Donor Impact Report” in celebration of their philanthropic influence.

Room to Play

The Center for Great Neighborhoods in Covington, Tom Dibello and his team, completed a new Latonia Cardinals Community public park recently, expanding the school’s playground to create an intergenerational facility. In addition, the school now has a vegetable garden and an indoor hydroponics lab.

CVG Soars

Candace McGraw, CEO of the Greater Cincinnati International Airport, had plenty to be happy about recently: its annual report shows growth in both passenger and cargo traffic, fiscal soundness, and a $3.6 billion economic impact; FAA certification inspection with the highest rating a commercial airport can receive; a snazzy new website; Frontier Airlines announced major expansion; and over the last year Allegiant and Ultimate Air Shuttle started service from CVG. The airport also was named Best Regional Airport in North America in 2014.

A Community Win

Eleven-year-old twins Adam and Rowan Weckman walked away with a prize of $1,140 in a competition at UpTech sponsored by Cincy Sundaes. Their winnings are going toward Make Goebel Great, a community-driven revitalization of Goebel Park in Covington’s Mainstrasse Village, and will allow them to apply more colorful paint to structures in the park.

Above and Beyond

Good news from our higher ed institutions: Thomas More College has a record number of incoming students this year—and the greatest number living on campus; applications for NKU admission were up 11 percent over last year and its Foundation assets are at a record $108 million; and Gateway continues in its development of an urban campus—finishing the remodeling of the old Marx & Sons furniture store for its Center for Technology, Innovation and Enterprise.

Leading the Way

As Brent Cooper’s C-Forward celebrated a milestone birthday—its 15th anniversary—he was named chair of the United Way of Greater Cincinnati’s Northern Kentucky campaign. Last year, the campaign raised a record $4.6 million—so the bar is set. But Cooper has a track record for getting things done and he has assembled a Who’s-Who campaign cabinet. Look for great things here.