They are the difference makers in our community – and beyond. Some are well-known, others are not. Some are effecting noticeable changes, others work behind the scenes, but are nonetheless positively influencing those around them. They have been called role models, leaders and heroes. They are alumni of the 18 GC3 colleges and universities and they’re making a big impact.
There’s no question the Greater Cincinnati Collegiate Connection (GC3) and its alumni are influential – that’s part of the GC3 philosophy. As the voice of higher education in Greater Cincinnati, the GC3 supports a strong, diverse collective of 18 institutions, and promotes the region as a high-impact learning destination that advances the regional economy, culture, and overall quality of life.
So it’s no wonder countless alumni are working every day, utilizing the knowledge, education and experience at their GC3 institutions to make a significant impact, making the world a better place. Here’s a small sampling of the great things GC3 alumni are doing:
You can’t help but root for Garren Colvin. The hometown boy started at the bottom and rose through the ranks to become the President and CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare. The Ludlow High School grad and standout athlete began his postsecondary education at GC3 institution Thomas More College for two reasons: baseball and numbers. Colvin got his spot on the roster. But more importantly, with a 100 percent job placement rate in accounting, Colvin knew he could get a superior education at Thomas More and have the means to repay any debt with the guarantee of a job.
In 1983, prior to graduation, Colvin got his foot in the door at St. Elizabeth. He was offered an unpaid entry-level accounting position. Colvin turned that job into a paid co-op earning credit for school. Colvin then attended a second GC3 institution, earning his MBA from Northern Kentucky University.
And the rest – they say – is history. Thirty-five years later, as the top official at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Colvin oversees an annual budget of roughly $1 billion and 7,300 employees. Colvin’s mission is to make ours one of the healthiest communities in the country. He says three things are needed to achieve that goal: education, filling workforce needs, and health and wellness. St. Elizabeth has established many initiatives (NaviGo, NKU Health Innovation Center, UK Medical School Regional Campus at NKU) including partnerships with other GC3 institutions like Mount St. Joseph University and Gateway Community and Technical College and of course, Thomas More College and NKU, to achieve the goal.
“I’m passionate about both of those colleges,” Colvin says. “I think it’s great when you look at NKU and St. Elizabeth, we’re two of the larger employers in this region so we both take our responsibility to improve this region seriously, and to me that’s where Northern Kentucky and Thomas More are much more than college campuses.”
But Colvin credits his team at St. Elizabeth Healthcare, the Board, the community and those who helped him in his educational journey.
“This is what St. Elizabeth is about and has always been about,” Colvin explains. “I’m just the lucky individual that gets to tell the story.”
Dr. Vanessa Enoch
Dr. Vanessa Enoch graduated from GC3 member Union Institute & University in 2017 with a Ph. D. in Interdisciplinary Studies, a concentration in Public Policy and Social Change, and a specialization in Martin Luther King, Jr. studies. She also holds an MBA from GC3 member institution Xavier University, as well as a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University.
Dr. Enoch is the owner and founder of Cultural Impact, LLC, a business management consulting firm in Cincinnati. While her contributions as a business owner are significant, Dr. Enoch’s impact is also great as a champion for social justice and human rights advocacy for two decades, working in education and for the betterment of disadvantaged children in the juvenile justice system. Dr. Enoch is an active community member and is the first female Deacon at her church.
According to officials at Union Institute & University, Dr. Enoch has received numerous professional, academic and civic awards for her work making a difference in Greater Cincinnati, including 2011 Educator of the Year, one of 15 Women in Business to Watch 2006, The Cincinnati Business Courier’s 2004 Forty Under 40 Award, C-Change leadership Class of 2006, and the 2004 Chapter of the Year award while President of the Cincinnati Chapter of the National Black MBA Association.
As a grad of GC3 schools, the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, and the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Hart is a National Board Certified Teacher teaching visual arts majors in grades four through eight at Cincinnati Public Schools’ School for Creative & Performing Arts.
Hart, who has taught for 17 years, is the Gallery Coordinator at SCPA and the lead teacher in the art department for international trips. In addition to cultivating the artistic expression of Greater Cincinnati youth in the classroom, she has worked with her students on an ArtWorks’ Big Pig Gig painting, and on the recent BLINK parade, offering hands-on experiences for budding artists who may one day become the leaders in the art scene in Greater Cincinnati. She also mentors students from UC.
As the daughter of two teachers, Hart knows what it means to make a difference every day in the lives of area children, giving them the tools they need through knowledge and experience to make an impact artistically in Greater Cincinnati.
“We’re pulling kids from really well-to-do families, but we have a lot of kids who are not from well-to-do families,” Hart relates. “They might have parents who don’t have a lot of money, but they have parents who care about their success, and I get to be a part of that which is so amazing.”
After a nearly 20-year career at Procter & Gamble Co., Joe Hensler left the corporate world to pursue his calling in religious work. Hensler said it wasn’t easy to walk away from a job he loved, and it was really almost accidental. He and his wife were raising their family in Anderson Township when his pastor suggested he take classes at the Athenaeum of Ohio, a GC3 member.
“I thought it was just a seminary for future priests but once I learned more about that program, that the Athenaeum offered a master’s program for lay people, I was immediately intrigued,” Hensler recalls.
Ultimately Hensler moved to Denver to take a position as the vice president of talent and leadership development at FOCUS. FOCUS is a Catholic collegiate outreach whose mission is to share the hope and joy of the gospel with college and university students throughout the world, including Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.
Hensler credits the skills he acquired working at P&G and his time at the Athenaeum for helping him carry out his life’s mission at FOCUS. Hensler says it was the academic environment, the focus on developing the whole person, professors who helped him with his studies as a working father, and his time as a chaplain that prepared him for this role.
“It’s that sense of being able to see the impact that FOCUS ministry has on young people’s lives,” Hensler says, noting his excitement to share his passion on a national scale. “It’s humbling and rewarding at the same time.”
Deanna Hoskins is an incredible success story and it all began as she stood, ready for sentencing, in front of the judge who told her she looked like a “life worth saving.”
Hoskins admits she was on a downward spiral. She was a teen mom by age 17, smoking marijuana. At age 19 she was introduced to crack cocaine. She had two more children at 29 and 30, but lost everything when sentenced to the River City Correctional Center by Judge Norbert Nadel after a felony conviction.
After four-and-a-half months at River City inpatient, Hoskins was sentenced to five years community supervision. After two years of successful AfterCare and getting a stable job, Hoskins was released early from her community supervision requirement. Knowing as a convicted felon her job options were limited, she enrolled at Chatfield College.
“I had failed at so many things throughout life,” Hoskins remembers. “I lost custody of my kids. I just got my kids back. How was this going to be different? But the experience of the small classes, the intimate family-feel that I felt like I was a part of, I was not disengaged. It prepared me so I was able to succeed and flourish.”
Hoskins’ educational journey didn’t end there. She obtained her associate’s degree from Chatfield, then earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Mount St. Joseph University before acquiring her Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati.
But, it was her life experiences and her educational path – at those GC3 institutions – which helped her succeed professionally. Hoskins was working at the Hamilton County Community Action Agency when she applied for a job with the state of Indiana Department of Corrections just prior to her graduation from the Mount. She had two files. One was her police report; the other was full of awards, recognitions and scholarships from Chatfield.
“I said, ‘This is who I am on paper,’” Hoskins recounts. “And I slid my portfolio and said, ‘This is who I have become today.’”
Hoskins didn’t expect a call. But not only did she get a call, she got the job, contingent upon her completing her degree from the Mount. Within seven months, she was sought after for a position in the governor’s office to implement a statewide access to recovery program for people leaving the criminal justice system. Then, a Director of Re-entry position came open in Hamilton County.
“I didn’t think I would get anywhere being an African-American woman with a felony conviction,” Hoskins says. “Or that I would ever be able to use my personal experience of having a criminal background along with my professional, but I was wrong. So I came back to Hamilton County, the highest ranking African-American woman in county government and I started as a one-person shop and I literally built a department.”
Hoskins revamped the criminal justice policy in the county, particularly by building partnerships within the criminal justice system. Entities which often worked solo or had limited communication with each other like the sheriff’s department, judges, prosecutors and Jobs and Family Services soon began collaborating because of Hoskins’ work. She revamped the medical contracts, and by utilizing private insurance policies and through a partnership she established with the Freestore Foodbank, Hoskins saved taxpayer dollars. She also worked with former professors and Cincinnati Police on police-community relations, gang violence, re-entry and crime hotspots.
Hoskins earned a position as the Senior Policy Advisor for Corrections and Re-entry for the U.S. Justice Department. Now Hoskins lives and works in D.C. analyzing re-entry services, and travels the country speaking with county and state governments on how to make their systems more efficient, as well as serving on boards such as JustLeadershipUSA.
In 2017 she gave the commencement speech to graduating students at Chatfield College, which was the catalyst for turning her life around. She said she wanted her speech to be inspirational and give hope.
“I can never forget where it started for me,” Hoskins explains. “I don’t ever want to get to a place where I think I’ve arrived. I want to remember what it felt like sitting in that seat getting that associate’s degree from Chatfield. I want to remember the struggles to get here and I want to be a hope for those who are going through.”