$2.8 million gift creates UC’s Niehoff Center for Film and Media Studies

The University of Cincinnati College of Arts & Sciences, in recognition of a $2.8 million gift from alums Peter and Betsy Niehoff, has created the Niehoff Center for Film and Media Studies.

Betsy and Peter Niehoff

Peter Niehoff was instrumental in the center’s development, beginning in 2015, connecting UC with local film organizations. He is the first individual to earn a graduate certificate from UC’s film and media studies program, and said he wanted to elevate this field of study at his alma mater. 

“I wanted to help create a film ecosystem for our city,” he said. “It’s important for each generation to take ownership and facilitate change for the future.”

The Niehoffs’ gift will extend the impact the center made in its first five years. UC students can now take advantage of a full curriculum and earn a bachelor’s degree, a minor, as well as undergraduate and graduate certificates in film and media studies.

“The Niehoff Center for Film and Media Studies was created with a collaborative spirit and I look forward to the new partnerships it will make across our campus and city,” said UC President Neville G. Pinto. “We’re so fortunate that Peter and Betsy see the value of this program. I’m grateful for their generosity and dedication to the University of Cincinnati.”

According to Todd Herzog, Niehoff Professor and director of the new Niehoff Center, the endowment fund will allow the program “to grow up” after a successful infancy. Since its first event in January 2015, students have held internships at the Contemporary Arts Center, Esquire Theatre, Mini-Micro Cinema, Women In Film, Film Cincinnati and local film festivals. Others have worked with international and local filmmakers, producers, and scholars and traveled to London, Paris, Prague and Zagreb for study. And the community has enjoyed the center’s screenings, workshops and lectures.

UC students explore film locations in Zagreb on the annual cinema study tour to Europe.

This new gift from the Niehoffs will assist students with project and study abroad costs through awards and scholarships. The second group of Niehoff Professorships will receive funding for research projects and professional development. Increased operational support will strengthen community partnerships, hopefully leading to future jobs for UC graduates. 

“The film and media studies program is a priority for our college and poises us for student growth,” said Valerio C. Ferme, PhD, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “I’m grateful for the Niehoffs’ continued support of our program.”

Representatives from UC’s Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning and the College-Conservatory of Music were part of the initial planning of the center, and Herzog said this gift will allow further collaborations with colleges across campus.

“Our mission is to train local talent to work in Cincinnati’s vibrant and growing film ecosystem, from local productions and film festivals to community projects and film criticism,” he said. “The Niehoffs’ generosity makes the center a permanent part of the Cincinnati film landscape.”

This donation supports the priorities of Next, Now: The Campaign for Cincinnati, the comprehensive fundraising effort for UC and UC Health.

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