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Dr. Isidro Risma Named 2019 Sycamore Distinguished Alumni

Izzy Risma in 1984 and now An Aviator alum who has dedicated his life to serving others has been named the 2019 Sycamore Distinguished Alumni.

Dr. Isidro “Izzy” Risma, Class of 1984, has spent the past two decades practicing medicine and inspiring future doctors to serve others. He graduated with honors from the University of Cincinnati in 1988 and the Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1992. Dr. Risma has spent his last 22 years in a career of college student health at the University of Cincinnati. He also serves as a clinical instructor of medical students and family practice doctors-in-training for UC’s College of Medicine.

Despite a busy career, Dr. Risma still manages to serve weekly in the special needs ministry at Crossroads Community Church and tutor at-risk elementary students in Clifton and Over-The-Rhine.

All of his success should be no surprise to the teachers and students who knew him as “Izzy” in his days at Sycamore. He was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” during his senior year.

“The opportunities that were afforded to me at Sycamore served as a good foundation for success in college and beyond,” said Dr. Risma.

Opportunities that Dr. Risma excelled at in both academics and athletics. Not only was he in the Top 20 of his graduating class, but he also lettered in varsity soccer and basketball, and played trumpet in concert and marching bands.

“I had such great experiences and very fond memories of my time at Sycamore,” said Dr. Risma. “Being so involved lent itself to lots of great relationships and friendships that remain still today.”

Dr. Risma still gets together with his basketball teammates every year. The story that gets repeated the most, said Risma, is the game against St. X during his senior year.

Izzy Risma playing basketball “St. X. was the third-ranked team in the city at the time. I came off the bench as a substitute because one of my teammates had fouled out and I ended up hitting a buzzer beater to win the game,” said Risma. “I think it is pretty unique that we have still remained friends for all these years.”

Some of those friendships go back to the fourth grade when Dr. Risma’s family moved to Montgomery. He still can rattle off the names of his favorite teachers from Mrs. Baum at Maple Dale to his government teacher at Sycamore High School, Mrs. Lambert.

The deepest and most meaningful relationship he has maintained, however, is with his wife Kim, who graduated from Sycamore High School in 1986. The two were friends in high school but fell in love while being involved at Young Life while in college. When they moved back to Cincinnati, it was important that their children attended Sycamore Schools, so they settled down in Blue Ash.  

“It is a source of pride that our kids went to Sycamore and have accomplished all that they have,” said. Dr. Risma. “This district just gets better year after year, decade after decade. I don’t think you can find much better anywhere in the world.”

His two sons Eli and Sammy will be receiving their diplomas as their father addresses the Class of 2019 at this year’s commencement.“Public speaking is not something I do frequently, but I’m looking forward to the fun full circle of life, so to speak. I hope that I can install upon the graduating class the importance of relationships. We can achieve a million things but if we don’t have anyone to enjoy it with, it is not meaningful. Sharing the ups and downs of life is what it is all about.”

Dr. Izzy Risma will be honored at the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Reception on Saturday, May 18, 2019, at the Original Montgomery Inn from 11:30 Izzy Risma on left in 1984 a.m.- 1:00 p.m. Tickets are available at or by calling Sycamore High School at 513-686-1770 and asking for the Alumni Office. Dr. Risma will also be speaking at Sycamore High School’s Commencement on May 19 at the Cintas Center.