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Soldier achieves goal of college degree

Anthony Gardull Jr. has spent the last eight years serving his country as a military police officer in the United States Army Reserve. This week, Gardull will graduate from The University of Toledo with a bachelor of applied organizational technology.

After completing his associate’s degree at Owens Community College, Gardull chose UT because it was easy to transfer.

“I had a positive experience at UT,” Gardull said. “My instructors were very helpful, and the University was always understanding that I needed flexibility with my classes and exams.”

Gardull has served two deployments in Afghanistan, one in 2008-09 and another in 2011-12. He will receive his Army commission via ROTC Friday, May 2.

Upon graduating, Gardull has orders to report to Fort Hood, Texas, as a Second Lieutenant assigned to a military police unit.

In conjunction with the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning, UT’s Military Service Center provides accessible educational and degree completion opportunities and a wide range of customized support services to service members and their families.

Champions of innovation, education to address graduates May 3

Advocates for innovation and education will speak at The University of Toledo spring commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 3, in Savage Arena.

Wince-Smith

Wince-Smith

During the 9:30 a.m. ceremony, Deborah L. Wince-Smith, president and CEO of the United States Council on Competitiveness, will speak to the graduates from the colleges of Health Sciences, Adult and Lifelong Learning, Social Justice and Human Service, and the Judith Herb College of Education.

G. Rangaswamy, chair of the Chandra Group in India and managing trustee of the GRG Trust, will address graduates during the 2 p.m. ceremony for the colleges of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Business and Innovation, Communication and the Arts, and Languages, Literature and Social Sciences.

“We are honored to welcome two leaders in education and innovation, industries important to our ever-changing world,” said UT President Lloyd Jacobs. “These individuals will provide invaluable guidance to help prepare our graduates for the road ahead.”

There are 2,711 candidates for degrees; these include 124 doctoral candidates, 554 master’s candidates and 1,941 bachelor’s candidates. The remaining 92 candidates are for education specialist, certificates or associate’s degrees.

Each ceremony will be broadcast live on video.utoledo.edu.

Wince-Smith will receive an honorary doctor of public administration.

She has been credited with recharging the national debate on competitiveness, innovation and resilience. She has been called upon frequently to testify in front of the U.S. Congress and appears regularly on global television news networks, including Bloomberg, BBC, CNBC, CNN and Fox News.

Since 2009, Wince-Smith has served as president of the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils, the first international, public-private mechanism to promote global economic growth through collaboration in innovation.

During her 17-year tenure in the federal government, Wince-Smith held leading positions in the areas of science, technology policy and international economic affairs. She served as the nation’s first Senate-confirmed assistant secretary of commerce for technology policy in the administration of George H.W. Bush. During the Reagan administration, Wince-Smith was appointed the first assistant director of international affairs and competitiveness in the White House Office of Science and Technology.

In 2004, she spearheaded the groundbreaking National Innovation Initiative, which played a pivotal role in creating a reinvigorated U.S. competitiveness movement. The initiative shaped the bipartisan America Competes Act, created state and regional innovation initiatives, and brought a global focus to innovation.

Rangaswamy

Rangaswamy

Rangaswamy oversees more than 35 organizations facilitating education, training and employment to empower the work force of tomorrow. His efforts have opened the doors to educational opportunities in the fields of medicine, arts and sciences, industry, and technology.

As managing trustee of the GRG Trust, Rangaswamy has significantly contributed to the emancipation of women through higher education and training. He manages five educational facilities exclusively for girls and young women in Coimbatore, India. His efforts to expand educational opportunities have directly impacted more than 30,000 students, from kindergarteners to those pursuing doctoral degrees.

Rangaswamy is a founding trustee of PSG and Sons Charities (PSG), which provides quality education funded by philanthropic contributions. PSG manages six colleges, including a medical school and hospital. Rangaswamy spearheaded the modernization of the hospital by collaborating with medical equipment manufacturers, securing funding for clinical trials, and establishing policies to provide quality, affordable medical care.

Rangaswamy pioneered the first foreign partnership for PSG in collaboration with The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation. Under this joint degree program, students from Coimbatore travel each year to complete their MBA degrees on UT’s Main Campus.

In addition to his passion for education, Rangaswamy is an ardent environmental protection activist. He is the founder and secretary of the Coimbatore Zoological Park and Conservation Centre, focusing on ecological restoration, conservation, education and research.

Other commencement ceremonies that will take place are:

• College of Engineering — graduate commencement Thursday, May 1, at 5 p.m. and undergraduate commencement Saturday, May 3, at 3 p.m. Both ceremonies will be held in Nitschke Hall Auditorium.

• College of Nursing — Friday, May 2, at 1 p.m. in Savage Arena.

• College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences — Sunday, May 4, at 2 p.m. in Savage Arena.

• College of Law — Sunday, May 11, at 1 p.m. in the Student Union Auditorium.

• College of Medicine and Life Sciences — Friday, May 30, at 2 p.m. in the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd.

Couple has a lot to celebrate at commencement

Giraffes Can’t Dance is the favorite book of Richard “Richie” Montgomery III, who is 2.

“It’s about a little giraffe who goes to the jungle dance with the other animals. They tell him giraffes can’t dance, so he goes off and finds his own rhythm,” Charisse Montgomery, Richie’s mom, said.

Meet the Montgomerys: Charisse, Richie and Richard.

Meet the Montgomerys: Charisse, Richie and Richard.

Charisse and Richard Montgomery II have been working on their routine since Richie arrived Aug. 12, 2011.

“When he was born, it was immediately noticeable that there was something going on. His muscle tone was very floppy, and he had a weak cry,” Charisse recalled. “The doctors scooped him up, swept him away, and intubated him almost immediately.”

Richie, who weighed 6 pounds and 6 ounces and measured 19 inches, spent 31 days in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Lots of tests followed.

“My sister also was born with similar muscle weakness, so that was our point of reference. She was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at a young age, although we later learned that she had a myopathy, which is similar but sometimes harder to identify,” Charisse said.

Richie’s diagnosis: congenital fiber-type disproportion myopathy.

“The simple explanation is that he has a disproportion between the types of muscle fibers that fire and give you strength versus the kind that stay more relaxed. The disease results in severe weakness of all the muscles in the body,” Charisse explained.

At the time, Charisse and Richard, who both work in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, were pursuing degrees in the Judith Herb College of Education.

Charisse and Richard Montgomery II posed for a photo with their son, Richie.

Charisse and Richard Montgomery II posed for a photo with their son, Richie.

They embraced more learning for their son.

“We had to become experts on every aspect of his care. Having a child with a tracheostomy tube and a ventilator is a whole educational process by itself. We had to learn every aspect of care for him and all his medical devices and equipment in order to bring him home,” Charisse, scientific editor and college communicator, said.

“Our education has not just occurred in the classroom. Our educational backgrounds allow us to approach Richie’s health issues as an academic project of sorts,” she added.

“The combination of my wife being a former English teacher and me having a master’s in early intervention/education works well for us. We create lesson plans, and we talk a lot about what our goals are for him,” Richard, assistant director of the bachelor of science in pharmaceutical sciences degree program and director of the Institute for Professional Advancement in Pharmaceutical Sciences, said.

After being in and out of the hospital during his first few months, Richie was ready to be home.

“We decorated his room with a rocket theme, complete with glow-in-the-dark stars and planets,” Charisse, who received a master’s degree in English from UT in 2010, said.

A rocket-shaped chalkboard on the closet door outlines the activities for the week: phonics DVDs, ABC flashcards, educational iPad apps, sensory play, reading books, coloring, music. Nurses who care for Richie during the day while the Montgomerys are at work follow the plan.

“Because we both have backgrounds in teaching, we probably overwhelm his little world,” Charisse said and laughed.

As first-generation college graduates, the Montgomerys are committed to education. They started signing with their son at birth to work on language development.

“His recent test to prepare for preschool showed that on some aspects of cognitive development, he’s at age 4 and a half. He’s very smart,” Richard, adviser for the Student African-American Brotherhood, said.

“Richie doesn’t have the expressive language that kids typically do at his age because he’s had a trach since he was 2 months old, and he was not able to vocalize at all until just a few months ago with the help of a speaking valve for his trach,” Charisse said.

But he’s catching up fast — almost as fast as he drives.

“In December, he got his first motorized wheelchair, and he loves to drive. He drives like a 2-year-old, mostly into the furniture,” Charisse joked.

“I’ll say, ‘Hey Richie, you’re going in circles.’ And he’ll be like, ‘Woo! I’m going in circles!’” Richard said and laughed.

“He’s very happy,” Charisse said. “And he has the best laugh. One of the things that we’ve gained from having the speaking valve is that we can hear him laugh, and that’s my favorite sound in the world. The first few weeks that he had the speaking valve, I cried every time he laughed.”

While they’ve been teaching their son, the couple finished their degrees.

This Saturday, Richard will receive a doctor of education degree in educational leadership, and Charisse will earn a master of education degree in educational psychology. Richie will be in the audience.

They remain committed to Richie’s cognitive development in honor of Charisse’s sister, Chavon Hodges, who passed away at age 27 in 2012.

“Chavon was earning a PhD in bioengineering. She had been all over the country presenting her research on the humane genome project, and she was just a remarkably smart young lady,” Charisse said. “She really inspired me to make sure that our child has every tool that he can have to be successful because despite the physical disability, he still has the potential to live a very full life, to be very academically successful, and to pursue all of his curiosities.”

“So that’s our hope, that we prepare him minimally for one doctoral degree; he can have two if he wants,” Richard said.

Pharmacy commencement set for May 4

The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will hold its spring commencement Sunday, May 4, at 2 p.m. in Savage Arena.

The college will award 102 doctor of pharmacy degrees, two PhD in medicinal chemistry, 17 master’s degrees and 141 baccalaureate degrees.

Among the 141 baccalaureate degree recipients, a majority will graduate with honors. Twenty-one will graduate summa cum laude, 31 will graduate magna cum laude, and 43 will graduate cum laude.

Two valedictorians will speak. Ellen Dzierzak, a pharmacology/toxicology major is the valedictorian for the bachelor of science in pharmaceutical sciences class, and Kyle Rako is valedictorian for the doctor of pharmacy class.

The college will recognize Ferdinand Bedi, the first to earn the PharmD/PhD dual degree, along with the first three cosmetic science graduates. UT has the only undergraduate cosmetic science program in the country.

Summer leaves/voluntary reduction in hours programs available

The University of Toledo is offering voluntary summer leaves and reduced work schedules to eligible employees.

Starting in May, academic employees on Health Science Campus and all Main Campus employees can take advantage of programs allowing voluntary, unpaid leaves of absence and reduction in work hours.

The programs are available to staff whose departments typically experience lower workloads during the summer months of May through August. The options allow employees to rejuvenate and spend extra time with their families while helping reduce UT’s labor costs.

Employees are eligible for these programs only with the approvals of their department managers, based on business needs.

Request forms and details regarding changes in benefits, sick and vacation time accruals and retirement contributions, among others, are explained in the Summer Leave/Voluntary Reduction in Work Hours Program Outline, which is available on the Human Resources and Talent Development website in the Employee Toolkit at utoledo.edu/depts/hr/employeetoolkit.html.

Questions may be directed to Human Resources at 419.530.4747.

Emergency Medicine Wall of Honor to pay tribute to fallen firefighters

The Emergency Medicine Wall of Honor at The University of Toledo Health Science Campus will add plaques as a tribute to fallen firefighters Pvt. James A. “Jamie” Dickman and Pvt. Stephen A. Machcinski in a private ceremony Wednesday, April 30.

Machcinski, 42, had been with the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department since 1998, for 16 years of service. Dickman, 31, was appointed to the department in September, for six months of service. He previously served with the Sandusky Perkins Fire Department.

Machcinski and Dickman died from injuries incurred while battling a structure fire Jan. 26. Both men were assigned to Engine 3.

They were the 48th and 49th firefighters to die in the line of duty in the 177-year history of the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department, and the first fatalities from an active blaze since 1981.

A plaque for each firefighter will be added to the wall, which is located in the Emergency Department of UT Medical Center near the ambulance entrance.

“In addition to the plaques on the wall of honor, there will be plaques displayed where our paramedic students are taught,” said Dr. Paul Rega, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health and Preventative Medicine and the Department of Emergency Medicine. “It’s a reminder of why they need to learn what they need to learn, who was there before them, and whose shoulders they are standing on.”

UT President Lloyd Jacobs, Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins, Toledo Fire Chief Louis Santiago and Joe Zerbey, president and general manager for The Blade, and chair of the UT Board of Trustees, will be in attendance.

The Emergency Medicine Wall of Honor, made possible through funding from The Blade, was established in 2011 to recognize individual achievement and self-sacrifice in the emergency medical service and emergency medicine communities. Nominations are submitted by community stakeholders and then reviewed by a multidisciplinary selection committee.

“It’s a great way to commemorate doctors, nurses and medics,” Rega said. “These excellent educators and practitioners deserve recognition.”

For more information, contact Rega at paul.rega@utoledo.edu.

Women’s golf coach, two players honored

When the UT women’s golf team looks back on its 2013-14 campaign, it will see a year that was filled with numerous records and honors.

Manisa Isavas, Head Women’s Golf Coach Nicole Hollingsworth and Sathika Ruenreong showed off their honors after the MAC Championship Tournament.

Manisa Isavas, Head Women’s Golf Coach Nicole Hollingsworth and Sathika Ruenreong showed off their honors after the MAC Championship Tournament.

All of the Rockets’ hard work was recognized following Sunday’s final round of the 2014 Mid-American Conference Championship when Head Coach Nicole Hollingsworth was honored as the MAC Coach of the Year, marking the first time in program history a UT coach has received the award.

“Receiving [MAC] Coach of the Year is such a great honor, and I want to thank the entire team for all the hard work and energy they devoted to our season,” Hollingsworth. “I believe this award is due to all the success our team had this season, and I’m extremely proud of our team’s commitment to be the best they could be.”

Two Rockets also were honored: Sophomores Sathika Ruenreong and Manisa Isavas were named to the conference first- and second-teams, respectively.

The Rockets’ first two-time first-team All-MAC honoree, Ruenreong shattered UT’s school record with a 74.5 stroke average, over one stroke better than the previous mark held by Tammy Clelland (75.7 in 2005-06).

A 1995 Indiana University graduate, Hollingsworth guided the Rockets to a school-record 302.1 scoring mark, more than four strokes in front of the 2005-06 squad’s 306.2 figure.

Toledo also tied its school record with four tournament titles and registered its second-straight second-place showing at the MAC Championship.

New Megabus stop at UT makes travel easier

The University of Toledo community may have noticed a different type of bus on campus lately, and that’s because UT is now a stop for megabus.com.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“We are happy to offer another mode of transportation to our students, faculty and staff on campus,” said Diana Watts, UT transit coordinator. “Megabus offers safe, convenient and affordable transportation to our campus community.”

With fares starting at $1 plus reservation fees, megabus.com is more affordable than most other bus companies. Fare prices vary based on the time seats are purchased; as more seats are reserved, prices increase.

“The further in advance you buy your ticket on megabus.com, the more of an opportunity you have for those $1 seats,” said Mike Alvich, vice president of marketing and public relations for Coach USA. “But all of our fares are affordable. The highest fare you could pay would still be equal to or less than that of another bus company and also 70 percent cheaper than an airline.”

Megabuses also offer guaranteed seats, free Wi-Fi, electrical outlets, no middle seats, and the inclusion of a carry-on and up to 50 pounds of luggage at no cost. Each bus also is green-certified and runs on biodiesel fuel.

From lot 23 on the Scott Park Campus, passengers can travel to Chicago, Cleveland, New York City and State College, Pa. From those cities, passengers can purchase tickets to more than 120 additional U.S. locations through approved connections found on megabus.com.

“It is a great way for students to get to and from their hometowns without having the worry of bringing their car on campus,” Watts said. “It also offers opportunities for visitors who aren’t affiliated with our university to see our campus and engage with our community.”

For exclusive information on fares, booking dates and contests, follow @megabus on Twitter or like megabus.com on Facebook at facebook.com/megabus.com.officialpage.

To purchase tickets, visit megabus.com.

Special commencement rate at Radisson Hotel at The University of Toledo

The Radisson Hotel at The University of Toledo has rooms available at a special rate for UT commencement guests.

Mention The University of Toledo guest rate when you call, or use rate code: UGUEST when making a reservation online, to secure a room for $96 per night (plus tax). Rooms are based on availability at time of call.UTOL_57617184_Logo_2613x1204

Amenities include free Wi-Fi and a heated, indoor pool. 31Hundred Restaurant and Bar, located inside the hotel, is available for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The Radisson Hotel at The University of Toledo is located on Glendale Avenue on UT’s Health Science Campus, just four miles from UT’s Main Campus. Maps can be found here.

Contact the Radisson Hotel at 800.967.9033 for more information or to book your stay.

Be prepared for tornado season

Peak tornado season in Ohio begins in April and usually lasts through July.

Preparation is key to staying safe in all types of severe weather, in particular tornadoes during the spring and summer months, and the UT Police Department is encouraging faculty, staff and students to be familiar with what to do if severe weather occurs near campus.

“Unfortunately, there is no way to control Mother Nature, but what we can control is how we prepare for it and how we respond to it,” UT Police Chief Jeff Newton said. “If a tornado strikes northwest Ohio, it is important to know what to do to stay safe.”

The National Weather Service issues a tornado watch, by affected county, if weather conditions are prime for tornados, and a tornado warning if a tornado has been sighted in the county. If a tornado warning is issued, sirens will sound.

The University’s outdoor public address system and mass notification system in buildings where available will alert those on campus with a combination of a traditional siren and a speaker that will sound a pre-recorded or live voice message from police informing of an emergency and providing appropriate instructions.

In a tornado warning, seek safety immediately.

When the sirens go off, classes are immediately suspended, and all students and faculty must go to the nearest tornado safe waiting area such as a basement or an interior room or hallway on the building’s lowest floor. Classes should not resume until the warning has expired.

Tornado safe waiting signs are posted in buildings on Main, Scott Park and Health Science campuses. To see a list of the locations, click here.

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to sign up for the UT ALERT system that provides text messages to your cell phone in the event of campus emergencies, such as a tornado and other severe weather warnings. Sign up for the service at https://stuweb00.utoledo.edu/redalert.

For additional information about what to do in the event of sever weather, visit http://www.utoledo.edu/depts/emergency/whattodo/WTD_Weather.html.