The Devou Cup, created by The Northern Kentucky Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, honors the generosity of individuals who make a profound difference in the quality of community life in Northern Kentucky, now and into the future. Named for 19th century philanthropist William Devou, the Cup has been awarded to exemplary philanthropic leaders since 2004. GCF is delighted to present this year’s Devou Cup to Wilbert L. Ziegler.
Northern Kentucky has a champion in its native son. President and Senior Member of the law firm Ziegler & Schneider, P.S.C., and President and CEO of The R.C. Durr Foundation, Mr. Ziegler’s professional, civic, and philanthropic leadership is unparalleled, his commitment to our region unwavering.
Born at St. Elizabeth Hospital, the eldest of four, Mr. Ziegler was raised by parents who valued and instilled a strong work ethic. He worked as a farmhand, a golf caddy, a delivery boy and busboy before graduating from Covington Latin School. While studying at Thomas More College (A.B. degree, 1953) and the University of Cincinnati College of Law (LL.B in 1956), he waited tables along Dixie Highway, drove the St. Agnes School bus, was a third-shift dock worker at Wiedeman Brewery, and a law clerk. After a fellowship at the University of Michigan Law School (S.J.D. degree, 1958), he returned to Northern Kentucky and joined the law firm that now bears his name.
A firm supporter of education, Mr. Ziegler serves on the Board of Trustees of Thomas More College and the University of Cincinnati Foundation and on the UC College of Law Board of Visitors. UC has honored him both as an Outstanding Alumnus and a Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. A member of Blessed Sacrament Parish since 1959, he was the first president of the Blessed Sacrament School Board. His many philanthropic efforts with his late wife, Helen, included endowed scholarships at Bishop Brossart High School, Thomas More College, and the UC College of Law, where they also endowed a professorship.
Advocacy and support of individuals with disabilities is another key focus. Mr. Ziegler was a founding member and president of the first board of NorthKey, providing mental health services throughout Northern Kentucky for both the disabled and mentally ill. Later, as a board member of Riverside-Good Counsel, Inc. (now New Perceptions), he worked to create a facility to provide schooling for developmentally disabled children. His leadership and board service continue with BAWAC, Inc. and the Northern Kentucky Independent District Board of Health.
Mr. Ziegler’s close, longtime friendship with R.C. Durr (2005 Devou Cup recipient) helped create one of our region’s greatest philanthropic assets. After 20 years on the board of Covington Trust and Banking Company (later Huntington Bank), he joined Mr. Durr and four others to found The Bank of Kentucky, serving as General Counsel until its 2015 merger with BB&T. Mr. Ziegler helped him establish The R. C. Durr Foundation in 1993, serving on its Board of Directors since that time and elected president when Mr. Durr passed away in 2007. Under his leadership, the Foundation has provided significant, enduring support to organizations advancing education, social services, and community development across 12 counties in Northern Kentucky. In addition to the Foundation, Mr. Ziegler has held many civic posts, including former president of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and led numerous initiatives that have accelerated the economic vitality of our region.
Mr. Ziegler has three sons and lives in Crestview Hills with his wife, Ellen Hackman Ziegler. The Greater Cincinnati Foundation salutes his generosity and lifelong dedication to Northern Kentucky.