Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

Promise, Leadership, Understanding and Success

Scholar Dominic Berardi cites the Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS program as a big part of his success.

Dominic Berardi graduated in the College of Business Class of 2007 with many honors: commencement orator, Mr. Bearcat, University Honors Scholar, former student body vice president, president of Sigma Sigma, executive director of ThinkOHIO, Presidential Fellow and White House intern. He received the “Greek Male Outstanding Achievement Award,” representing Sigma Alpha Epsilon for 2007, and was one of three students honored at commencement with the UC Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence, for starters.

But one honor stands above the rest, he says: the fact that he came to UC as a Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Scholar.

Berardi is a walking testimonial for the Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS program: Promise as a business professional; Leadership in school and community activities; Understanding of the global marketplace and diverse cultures; Success through talent, commitment, dedication and effort.

“We take deliberate steps to develop professionalism and leadership in our students from the day they arrive on campus. They all receive full in-state tuition scholarships, and we make it clear that their scholarship comes with strings attached,” says Jeri Ricketts, director of the Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS Program. “We expect our students to set the bar high in terms of academics, co-op performance, leadership on campus and in community service.”

“Honors-PLUS is much more than a great academic program, it is a small family,” says Berardi. “Through Honors-PLUS we gain the professionalism required for success in business, but more importantly we learn the responsibility we have to help develop our peers and the larger community.”

He also cites the study-abroad focus of the Carl H. Lindner Honors-PLUS program as a big benefit in developing his global perspective. His first international trip was to Finland and six other countries, touring major corporations such as Procter & Gamble, Siemens, Heineken and Audi. He also went to the top university in Thailand, Chulalongkorn, to study for five weeks.

On his own initiative, he backpacked through Cambodia and Vietnam for three weeks.

“I paid a driver five dollars for the day to take me out to the killing fields,” he explains. He watched the movie “Killing Fields” the night before. The movie shows that one of the ways that the Khmer Rouge drove the people to the fields to be ambushed and executed was by saying that the Americans were coming to get them. They were running away from the Americans. “When I got there, standing alone in these fields, I lost it. I just lost it. I understood then how I was an ambassador for the United States. It opened my eyes to how much I don't know.”

“I am eager to understand and gain respect for foreign cultures,” Berardi says. He truly feels that we are all citizens of the world, and with that citizenship comes responsibility. “Our relationships with a few chosen countries will define my generation.”

From traveling the globe to working in his own backyard, he sees his role in student government at the University of Cincinnati as his most meaningful service. One of student government's accomplishments of which he's proudest is the Bearcat Transportation System, where he got to know and respect Ohio Representative William Seitz III.

The feeling's mutual.

“Dominic is a highly motivated individual who demonstrated commitment not only to making the University of Cincinnati a better school, but also to improving the quality of higher education throughout the state,” says Seitz. “To carry such a full schedule as he had, and still find time to lobby the legislature for programs important to UC, demonstrates that his future will be a bright one.”

Pick any one activity that Berardi is involved in and it would be impressive. The entire scope of his civic and community involvement is overwhelming.

Another initiative near to his heart is ThinkOHIO, which provided university students a political opportunity to have a voice and be heard by Ohio's lawmakers. “I followed Dr. Mitchell Livingston (VP for Student Affairs & Services) up to Columbus,” Berardi says. Ohio's student leaders decided that it would be a good idea to gather as one voice. “We had no budget, no resources — all we had was time and communication. So we launched a major, consolidated PR campaign.”

They pooled resources from such disparate Ohio universities as UC, the University of Toledo, The Ohio State University, Bowling Green State University and the University of Akron. Their purpose was to raise and address issues in higher education as seen by students at Ohio's four-year public universities.
“In June of 2006 each school's student-body representatives elected a spokesperson,” Berardi says. “Then in November they chose me to speak for all the four-year publics.” So he then became the voice for more than 265,000 students of Ohio.

When Governor Strickland took office and named Eric Fingerhut the Chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, they made a serious attempt to cultivate relationships with students. Although he was unable to attend, Berardi was proud to say that several of his ThinkOHIO colleagues at the University of Toledo and Ohio State met with Governor Strickland and Chancellor Fingerhut in March. He admits humbly that Ohio education and funding reform efforts will require an even stronger relationship with students, but ThinkOHIO is a certainly good start.

Berardi has also taken his voice to the federal government. He received the 2006 CINCOM Presidential Fellowship at the Center for the Study of the Presidency. The fellowship gave him the opportunity to share ideas with students around the country as he developed a position paper on presidential policy. Shortly thereafter he had the opportunity to work at the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

“The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was passed in 1969 to ‘foster harmony between man and nature,' especially regarding the activities of the Federal government,” Dominic points out. “NEPA created the Council on Environmental Quality.”

He adds, “Thanks to my management professor, Dr. Ann Welsh, I became familiar with the concept of cradle to cradle.”

“Sustainable environmental thinking” became a new paradigm for Berardi. His time at the White House allowed him to begin understanding the complex relationships between industry, the environment and national security.

From East Asia to Washington, D.C, Berardi has seen a lot since his childhood in the small town of Wintersville, Ohio.

At the 2007 commencement ceremony, he described his beginnings at UC as a “starry-eyed freshman wandering around overwhelmed by the opportunities.”

“UC opened my mind and I'm so thankful for it,” he acknowledges now. “I realized how much the diversity of an urban campus could enrich my education!”

Berardi cites his experience at UC as just the beginning of his education. “I was immersed in student life at UC. As a result, I woke up every day loving what I was doing and went to sleep at night knowing the fruits of my labor were doing something good.” He credits his fraternity and student government experiences as critical in his personal and professional development.