• Fri. Jan 27th, 2023

$5 million of gift supports diversity and inclusion

Couple makes $9 million gift to UC 

By Julia Mace 

University of Cincinnati Foundation 

Richard (Dick) E. and Cornelia Thornburgh. Photo provided

Richard (Dick) E. Thornburgh, Bus ’74, Hon ’09, a longtime leader in the financial services industry, and his wife, Cornelia, have made a $9 million gift to the University of Cincinnati. This significant commitment includes a focus on diversity and inclusion through scholarships and support for the Carl H. Lindner College of Business and UC athletics. 

The Thornburghs’ gift supports the priorities of UC and UC Health’s comprehensive fundraising effort, Next, Now: The Campaign for Cincinnati. 

Dick, who earned his MBA from Harvard University, is the former vice chairman of the board of directors of Credit Suisse Group AG. He is a senior adviser and serves on the investment committee of Corsair Capital LLC. 

Dick credits attending UC and being a student-athlete with giving him the discipline, focus and sacrifice needed to succeed in the professional world. His collegiate athletics experiences, business acumen and being a father to three daughters have bolstered Dick’s belief that all students, including female athletes, should have an equal opportunity to excel in their careers and in their lives. 

The Thornburghs’ gift includes a $5.5 million investment in two programs at the Lindner College of Business: Business Fellows and Lindner Honors-PLUS.  

        The $5.5 million gift is broken down below: 

  • Their $500,000 pledge for the Dick and Cornelia Thornburgh Business Diversity Scholarship Fund benefits Business Fellows, dedicated to supporting African American, Hispanic, Latino and Native American students enrolled in Lindner. The fund also will receive an estimated $4 million from the Thornburghs’ estate. 
  • As an early investor in Honors-PLUS, the Thornburghs are continuing their legacy of support for the program by investing $1 million in an additional estate gift. 

These commitments demonstrate the Thornburghs’ passion for advancing diversity in business, which they say makes for a stronger workforce. 

“You want to get the best possible people to succeed, therefore you need to get a wider net,” Dick Thornburgh said. “If you look at the corporations in Cincinnati that are hiring, they want to have a diverse workforce. As a university, we shouldprovide them with the best product we can, students that can grow to be capable leaders in the business and nonprofit fields.” 

Going back to his student days as a Bearcat mascot and as the driver in the creation of the UC men’s varsity soccer team, he also is passionate about UC athletics. The Thornburghs have made a $2 million investment from their estate to ensure the vitality of the men’s soccer program at UC. 

Part of their overall $9 million gift also includes a pledge of $300,000 for UC’s groundbreaking Women’s Excellence Fund. This initiative provides needed funding for nutrition, recovery tools, special equipment, facility enhancements and more to lift the level of competitive excellence for UC’s 11 women’s sports programs and spirit squads. 

“Athletics have historically been a means for men to break out of their social economic background, and it should be for women as well,” Thornburgh, the Women’s Excellence Fund’s first male donor, said. “Women’s athletics have been underfunded.”       

As part of their overall gift, the Thornburghs are empowering more students in UC athletics with a diversity-focused scholarship fund. The Dick and Cornelia Thornburgh Scholarship for Diverse Student Athletes Majoring in Business Fund has been established with $200,000; 25% of UC’s current student-athletes are business majors. 

Throughout his time at UC, Dick Thornburgh was involved in a variety of organizations including Sigma Sigma, a UC men’s honorary organization that recognizes students who have made significant contributions to the university. He has established an estate gift of $1 million to the program. 

“Dick and Cornie’s vision for our students and the business community exemplifieshow we’re focusing on innovation and impact,” said UC President Neville G. Pinto. “They have a local and global view with a clear focus on inclusive excellence. We are so grateful these dedicated donors are providing the university with this transformative gift.” 

“I wouldn’t be sitting here if someone didn’t help me,” Dick said. “Without the experiences and help along the way, I never would have succeeded in anything, and it’s a chance to give back.”