GBBN & UC Partnership Goes International

You don't have to look very far to find a University of Cincinnati grad or fan within the GBBN family. In fact, half of the firm's leadership and approximately a third of its staff are graduates of UC. GBBN is proud of its history, both professional and personal with the University. So much so, that it recently partnered with UC on a goodwill gesture thousands of miles and numerous time zones away.

Not long ago, a large US delegation including the UC leadership and partners from GBBN paid a visit to Beijing Jiaotong University. The purpose of the visit was to re-dedicate the 'University of Cincinnati Friendship Tree' that was planted by past UC president, Joe Steger, nearly two decades ago. Last November, on her first visit to China, current UC President Nancy Zimpher observed that the sign was showing its age.

Knowing that GBBN had an established practice in Beijing, Mitch Leventhal, Vice Provost International, approached the firm regarding their assistance with having a sign fabricated for presentation at the re-dedication ceremony.

Firm partner and China native, Jervy Zhu, AIA, undertook the project and found a manufacturer to design and provide a new sign that would then be presented as a gift to Beijing Jiaotong University. GBBN provided the fabrication of the sign at no cost to UC. "We are delighted with the outcome, and we could not ask for a better partner than GBBN," said President Zimpher. "This is a testament to the close cooperation that UC has with its Co-op partners, and how we mutually strengthen each other's mission."

Tradition and providing students with an opportunity to broaden their awareness of architecture globally is something GBBN has dedicated itself to. "Our long time relationship with UC is one we're very proud of," said firm partner and UC grad, Greg Otis, AIA. "We recently developed a Co-op/intern program that will allow a UC architecture student to travel to and work in our Beijing office. This was just another way to show our dedication to not only the University of Cincinnati, but also to the people of Beijing,' said Otis. He added, "The Friendship sign re-dedicates the already established relationship between the universities and initiates a relationship between GBBN and Beijing Jiaotong University. We're excited about the possibilities."