Former Ohio Senate president dies

CINCINNATI — Stanley Aronoff, the man whose name buildings in Cincinnati still bear today, died Wednesday at the age of 91.

Aronoff, born and raised in Cincinnati, practiced law for over 57 years, serving six years in the Ohio House and 30 years in the Ohio Senate. From 1985 through 1988, Aronoff served as president pro temp and from 1989 through 1996 he was Ohio Senate president.

Aronoff’s name is recognizable to most because of its presence on three total structures in Ohio: The Stanley J. Aronoff Center for the Arts, where popular productions and Broadway performances are enjoyed by many; the Aronoff Center for Design and Art at the University of Cincinnati and the Stanley J. Aronoff Laboratory of Biological Sciences at The Ohio State University.

The Aronoff Center — known to most Cincinnatians as just “the Aronoff” — honors Aronoff’s determination that a performing arts center be built in his hometown; that goal came to fruition in 1995, after Aronoff secured $40 million for its construction.

The University of Cincinnati has a virtual gallery extolling many of Aronoff’s accolades and honors.

“Senator Aronoff’s focus on the arts was unprecedented,” said former DAAP dean, Jay Chaterjee, for the gallery. “He was a tireless worker who chose to dedicate his efforts to strengthening the arts for all to enjoy.”

In 1965, Aronoff worked alongside Irma and Fred Lazarus to help create the Ohio Arts Council, a state agency that funds and supports arts experiences throughout the state.

He also dedicated countless hours to organizations like the Cincinnati Association for the Arts, the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, the Classical Music Hall of Fame and more.

Though Aronoff graduated from Harvard University in 1954 and again from Harvard Law School in 1957, he was also granted honorary degrees from eight different universities throughout Ohio, including The Ohio State University.

On Thursday, following the announcement of Aronoff’s death, Governor Mike DeWine issued a statement:

“Fran and I were saddened to learn of the death of our friend, former Ohio Senate President Stanley J. Aronoff.

Stan and I served together in the Ohio Senate. Throughout his career in state government, Stan was an advocate for Cincinnati and for many projects across the state of Ohio.

Stan was a driving force behind the restoration of the Ohio Statehouse, making sure that there was adequate funding and long-term vision to bring the Statehouse complex, including the Senate Annex, back to its original Greek-revival style with the functionality for use in the modern era.

Stan was also a passional advocate for the arts in Ohio. The Stanley J. Aronoff Center for the Arts in downtown Cincinnati bearing his name is host to a wide variety of performances from national and international artists. Stan was a true public servant. Fran and I extend our condolences to his family and friends. May his memory be a blessing.”

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