Posted on December 14, 2018

UC to Examine Slave-Owning Founder After Student Concerns

Jennifer Edwards Baker, WXIX-TV, December 13, 2018

The University of Cincinnati is taking a close look at the man who is considered their founder after students raised concerns about him being a slave owner.

UC’s Undergraduate Student Government voted last month to support the removal of Charles McMicken’s name from the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences, according to UC’s independent, student-run newspaper and website The News Record.


On Monday, President Neville Pinto sent a message to students letting them know that the school is establishing a “special university-wide commission” to examine McMicken’s life and legacy and the use of his name at the school.

McMicken Hall at the University of Cincinnati

UC has been aware of his slave owner background for decades, according to their website.

McMicken was a Pennsylvania businessman who regularly traveled through Cincinnati and gave city officials nearly $1 million in real estate when he died in 1858 to found a university, according to UC’s website.

A few years before he died, he also donated $10,000 to College Hill’s Farmer’s College to found a chair in agricultural chemistry.

A 1995 article about McMicken’s legacy states “He was a slaveowner, yet provided land to free people of color. He also donated money for the resettlement of African-Americans in Liberia.”

In his will, McMicken said he “long cherished the desire to found an institution where white boys and girls might be taught….”


He also is rumored to have fathered two black children with slave mothers, according to UC’s website.