Spotlight on... Jackie Sweeney


Jackie and Roy Sweeney, both native Cincinnatians, never sought to be in the spotlight with regard to their support of the community; rather they preferred being quietly active in the activities and hobbies that brought the greatest joy to them. One of those interests is a shared love of the arts. Jackie is a painter, while Roy played trumpet. It was Roy’s musical talents that led them to a decision to make meaningful investments with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. “Roy played first chair trumpet in high school and college. He was an excellent musician, though he chose a different career path,” said Jackie. Roy’s decision to pursue engineering instead of music was the right choice for the family, as he was the founder and CEO of EXAIR Corporation for 33 years until his death in July 2016.

Roy, a humble businessman, entrepreneur and philanthropist, had a passion for family and music. This is best represented in the announcement made the weekend of the Cincinnati Pops Grand Opening (Oct. 13–15) of a new chair endowment: The Sweeney Family Chair in memory of Donald C. Sweeney for Assistant Principal French Horn. 

Both Roy and his brother Donald were musicians— Donald played the French Horn—although neither performed as a career. In fact, as a nod to Roy’s instrument, in 2015 Jackie and Roy permanently endowed the Associate Principal Trumpet position currently held by Doug Lindsay. They are also counted among the supporters who made LUMENOCITY a reality.

Before his passing in July 2016, Roy discussed with Jackie their desire to name a second endowed chair in the Orchestra in memory of Donald, who passed in 2004. Thanks to Jackie and her partnership with the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, that desire is now a reality.

Jackie is also thrilled with the recent renovations to Music Hall. She has just one word to sum up the CSO’s Grand Opening weekend: magical. “It was magical in every way. Music Hall is absolutely stunning— just so beautiful.” The att ention to detail left her and those around her breathless and excited for the season to come, she said. 

Jackie is also happy to have relationships with the musicians whose chairs she and Roy have endowed. She recently met Patrick Hodge (who was appointed to his position in the French horn section beginning with the current season), and was impressed at his talent that earned him the position even early in his career. “Patrick is very personable and a very gifted
musician,” she said. Associate Principal Trumpet Doug Lindsay played the trumpet at Roy’s funeral—a gesture which Jackie considers a great gift.