The University of Cincinnati plans to recognize an alumnus with an honorary degree for his major contributions to various UC athletic facilities.
Larry Sheakley, CEO of the Sheakley Group, will be awarded with an honorary doctoral degree of commercial science for his contributions to the growth of UC during commencement Dec. 15.
Sheakley served on the UC Foundation board and provided the Proudly Cincinnati campaign with crucial guidance. He spearheaded the campaign and offered leadership throughout the process, said Kathy Wolf, vice president of communications for the UC Foundation.
“He is a leader to the university in many ways,” Wolf said. “He has provided leadership on many different levels, on many fronts, and his actions always speak louder than his words.”
Sheakley’s dedication to UC led to the construction of Sheakley Athletics Center on Jefferson Avenue, as well as Varsity Village and Sheakley Lawn.
“Larry’s contributions to grow UC Athletics have benefited the entire student body — those who are earning athletic scholarships as well as those who take pride in their alma mater,” said UC Athletics Director Whit Babcock in a statement.
Sheakley grew up with UC in his blood. His father graduated with a business degree from UC in 1949.
“I grew up around UC. I grew up in a family that was UC sports fans. I love sports [and] I grew up rooting for the Bearcats,” Sheakley said. “I’ll always continue to be involved. I think it is important not only for me personally, but also for [Cincinnati].”
UC is one of the largest employers of Hamilton County, along with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, making his contributions about more than just sports, Sheakley said.
“He is not just a friend to athletics or a friend to the foundation, he has been dedicated to the University of Cincinnati as a whole,” Wolf said.
Sheakley supported and contributed to the Lindner Center of Hope, the UC Cancer Center, the Carl H. Lindner College of Business and UC College of Law.
UC’s Honorary Degree Committee selected Sheakley to receive an honorary degree after the committee received a number of nomination letters in support of Sheakley, Wolf said.
“I was totally stunned. I had no idea [the honor] was even in the works. It was one of those surprises in life,” Sheakley said. “I am thrilled and honored more than I can even put in to words.”