SUA History teacher Ms. Pamela Smith-Dobbins has recently been named to the Cincinnati Historic Conservation Board. In this capacity, Ms. Smith will work with the rest of the board to uphold Cincinnati’s historical integrity by regulating the renovation and restoration of the city’s historic districts.
President Lelia Keefe Kramer ’77 had become familiar with the board after SUA’s request to demolish the Herman Schneider building. Though the request was granted in December 2015, the months leading up to it involved various discussions with the Cincinnati Historic Conservation Board. Shortly after these meetings, Mayor John Cranley told President Kramer that a spot on the Board had just opened up. He asked if she could suggest anyone on SUA’s faculty “who would be a good historian of Cincinnati and who has a broad perspective of the architectural integrity of the city and also the economic opportunity of the city.” President Kramer “immediately thought of Ms. Smith.”
After receiving the recommendation, Ms. Smith interviewed with the mayor and the city manager. These interviews were held at City Hall and involved discussions of Cincinnati’s history and the importance of maintaining it. Of Cincinnati, Ms. Smith says: “We are a city just as impressive as cities like Boston, Savannah, and many places in South Carolina like Charleston, but it is difficult to see that in our downtown. We need to maintain our history in the same way that these cities have.”
Addressing how this new role will impact her teaching, Ms. Smith says that she will now be able to speak from the point of view of someone who has the responsibility of maintaining the buildings that she references in classes. “I am excited about it. I think it is very important for a city of our size and history to maintain the buildings that help us tell our story.”