The History of Blue Ash College
UC Blue Ash College marked its 50th Anniversary of inspiring student success during the 2017-18 academic year with a variety of special events and celebrations. Take a look back at how our college was founded, and review some of the important timelines that have occurred over the past 50 years as we have inspired and impacted the lives of our more than 20,000 alumni.
The University of Cincinnati created the college (formerly Raymond Walters College) as a result of the federal Higher Education Act that became law in 1965. The legislation helped increase access to higher education for low and middle-income students by strengthening the educational resources for colleges and universities. In Ohio, those resources were invested into existing public universities to create regional colleges that are open access and offer low tuition.
UC Blue Ash College officially opened with its first classes on September 25, 1967. There were 632 students on that first day; today, UC Blue Ash is the largest regional college in Ohio with an enrollment of just under 5,000 students. It offers an authentic UC education; nearly 50 academic degree programs, including bachelor's degrees; and countless opportunities for students to grow, both inside and outside the classroom.
The scenic UC Blue Ash campus is located in the thriving suburb of Blue Ash, Ohio. It features six buildings that cover 135 acres in a park-like setting. The newest addition to the campus, Progress Hall, was completed in summer 2017. The two-story, 16,000 square-foot building includes innovative classroom design for flexible teaching options, eight new classrooms, and 19 new faculty offices.
Historical Moments at UC Blue Ash College
Hilmar Kreuger, the first dean of UC Blue Ash College, speaks at the cornerstone dedication as the classroom and administration building constructed. Fall 1966.
Dean Barbara Bardes led the college through the 1990s as UC Blue Ash continued its steady growth, created its study abroad program, and expanded the campus with the new Science and Allied Health Building.
Dean Cady Short-Thompson led the complex process of officially changing the name of the college, dramatically increased annual giving to UC Blue Ash, and managed key expansion and renovation projects that enhanced the campus.
- UC acquires land that was originally designated to become the Blue Ash Airport as the future site for its new ‘off-campus’ branch.
- UC Blue Ash College, known then as the Raymond Walters Branch, officially opens with its first classes on September 25, 1967. There are 632 students. Hilmar Krueger is the first dean of the college.
- The Student Center is constructed to provide space for students to eat, meet, and relax between classes. Today it is the Flory Center and is used for classrooms and faculty offices.
- Ernest Muntz is named dean of UC Blue Ash College. He had served as associate dean for the college since it’s opening.
- Enrollment tops 2,000 students for the first time.
- Expansion to the original building on campus, known today as Muntz Hall, is completed.
- Enrollment tops 3,000 students for the first time.
- The Department of Math, Physics and Computer Science is one of the first institutions in Ohio to acquire a super-minicomputer. This technology was unparalleled in local academia at the time.
- The college continues its steady growth as enrollment reaches 3,800.
- UC Blue Ash College marks its 20th Anniversary.
- The Student Center is converted to classrooms and offices to keep up with increases in enrollment. It is later renamed the Flory Center in honor of Harriette Flory, a longtime History professor and administrator at the college.
- Dean Muntz retires after serving 21 years in the role, the longest tenure of any dean at the college.
- Enrollment tops 4,000 students for the first time.
- Neal Raisman is named dean of UC Blue Ash College.
- Barbara Bardes becomes dean and leads the college over the next decade through campus expansion and continued growth in enrollment and academic programs.
- The UC Blue Ash Study Abroad Program launches with its inaugural trip to the United Kingdom. The program has traveled to more than 25 countries since then and taught over 50 courses that relate to the regions and cultures they visit.
- UC Blue Ash celebrates its 30th Anniversary.
- The Science and Allied Health Building is dedicated. It provides classroom, laboratory, and office space for a variety of health care and science programs, including biology, chemistry, dental hygiene, nursing and radiologic technology.
- Dean Bardes retires and Dolores Straker is named the new dean.
- The college launches the Bachelor’s in Radiation Science Technology program, its first bachelor’s degree program.
- The Veterinary Technology program that has been part of the UC Blue Ash College curriculum since 1969, moves from the UC Medical campus to UC Blue Ash with the completion of the new Veterinary Technology building.
- UC Blue Ash celebrates 40 years since its founding.
- Don O’Meara, associate dean of academic affairs, is named interim dean of the college after Dean Straker takes leave due to a serious illness. O’Meara provides excellent leadership during an unusually long time in an interim role (three years) and keeps important initiatives for the college moving forward.
- Dean Straker passes away during her tenure following a long illness.
- Cady Short-Thompson becomes dean and begins a transformation that includes a new identity for the college, record high enrollments, a dramatic increase in fundraising, and continued growth in academic programs.
- Enrollment for the college tops 5,000 students for the first time. UC Blue Ash continues to be the largest regional college in Ohio.
- The UC Smiles program is created to provide free oral health check-ups to underserved school children in Greater Cincinnati at the Dental Hygiene Clinic. To date, more than 2,000 kids have been served.
- The UC Board of Trustees approve changing the name from Raymond Walters College to UC Blue Ash College.
- The Bachelor’s in Technical and Applied Studies becomes the second bachelor’s degree offered at the college.
- The Science and Allied Health Building is formally renamed Walters Hall in honor of Raymond Walters, the former UC president and original namesake of the college.
- A major renovation on the first floor of Muntz Hall is completed. The $4.3 million project includes the update UC Blue Ash Library, Bleecker St. Café, Community Commons, and Courtyard.
- The Bachelor’s in Radiation Science Technology goes fully online, opening this high-demand program up to students around the world.
- Progress Hall is completed. The newest building on the UC Blue Ash campus covers 16,000 square feet and provides much-needed space for classrooms and faculty offices.
- Robin Lightner is named interim dean to replace Cady Short-Thompson. Lightner is a highly accomplished faculty leader who chaired the Behavioral Science Department before serving as associate dean of academic affairs for the college.