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Archive for July, 2017

Rockets picked to win MAC West Division

The University of Toledo football team was picked to finish in first place in the Mid-American Conference’s West Division in voting by members of the league’s media contingent.

The annual preseason poll was released today at the conference’s 2017 Football Media Day at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

The Rockets received 22 first-place votes and a total of 142 points in the annual poll, 35 points ahead of second-place Western Michigan. Toledo also picked up 21 out of 24 votes to win the MAC Championship Game. Ohio (31 points) was picked to repeat as MAC East Division champion, followed by Miami (129).

“It’s good to know that people think you’re going to be a good team, but championships aren’t won in the off-season,” said UT Head Coach Jason Candle. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re certainly not a finished product. Our team is ready to start camp and prepare for what we hope will be a great season.”

Toledo was 9-4 in Candle’s debut as head coach in 2016, earning a berth into the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl.

UT returns one of the nation’s most explosive offenses. Led by senior quarterback Logan Woodside, Toledo averaged 38.0 points per game and led the Mid-American Conference in total offense with a school-record 517.8 yards per game in 2016. Woodside paced the nation with 45 touchdown passes and was named a Heisman contender by the Heisman Trophy Trust. Two of his favorite targets are back — Cody Thompson (64 receptions, 11 TDs, 19.8 yards per catch) and Jon’Vea Johnson (40 receptions,10TDs, 19.3 yards per catch) — as is 2015 second-team All-MAC running back Terry Swanson.

On defense, the Rockets return seven starters, including All-MAC linebacker Ja’Wuan Woodley.

The Rockets open their season at home vs. Elon Thursday, Aug. 31, at 7 p.m. For ticket information, go to utrockets.com or call 419-530-GOLD (4653).

Associate professor emeritus sketches Louie the elephant

On a recent Monday morning, Dr. Paul Brand found inspiration in the wise eyes of Louie, an elephant that was at the time housed at the Toledo Zoo.

“I belong to an informal group of artists, the Monday Morning Painters. We meet every Monday for breakfast and then sketch or paint in different venues around northwest Ohio,” explained the associate professor emeritus of physiology and pharmacology.

Dr. Paul Brand, who drew this sketch of Louie the elephant, will have a booth at Art on the Mall Sunday, July 30.

Though Brand was able to expertly capture Louie in his sketch, he pointed out that wild animals don’t always make the easiest subject matter: “Sketching at the zoo is fun, but challenging. Subject matter is mostly the interesting architecture; the animals would make great pictures if they would hold still. Happily, Louie held still for about 30 minutes while eating an enormous amount of hay.”

While Louie ate his breakfast, Brand studied the elephant’s features.

He described his artistic process: “I set up opposite him and laid out a sketch as usual, using a 2B drawing pencil, first noting the length and height of his body, the relative sizes of his head, ears and trunk, and the length of his legs compared to his height at his shoulder. Then I carefully outlined his body shape and used shading to give volume and character. I paid special attention to his face as that is where character is. Last, I made fine lines to show the creases around his eyes that give him the appearance of wisdom.”

Louie, born in 2003 at a whopping 275 pounds, recently was transferred to Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, Neb. He resides with a herd of six other elephants rescued from Africa amid a severe drought. Zoo staff are hopeful that transfers such as these will serve a large role in saving the endangered species.

Though visitors aren’t able to visit Louie at the Toledo Zoo, they can still pick up greeting cards made from Brand’s sketch, and the original sketch, at Art on the Mall. The juried art fair will be held Sunday, July 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Centennial Mall. Brand will be at booth No. 98, located near the Health and Human Services Building.

“I enjoy showing my work at art fairs; Art on the Mall is one of the best: well-organized; friendly, competent volunteers; and an excellent location on campus,” he said. “This is my fourth year at Art on the Mall.”

Annual Health Science Campus picnic on deck

Faculty, staff, students and volunteers are invited to UT Medical Center’s thank-you picnic next month.

The picnic will begin with first-shift employees from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1, on the patio outside of the Four Seasons Bistro and Health Education Building.

UT President Sharon L. Gaber will be joined by Dan Barbee, chief executive officer of UT Medical Center, and Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and executive vice president for clinical affairs, for a brief program at noon.

David Cunningham, a custodial worker in Environmental Services, will play keyboards.

Second-shift employees will celebrate from 4 to 6 p.m. on the patio.

And third-shift employees will have their picnic from 7 to 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2, in the Four Seasons Bistro.

“It’s important to take the time to come together to celebrate the many accomplishments we have had over the year and recognize everyone for their exceptional work,” Barbee said. “The UTMC team is the best group of people I have ever had the opportunity to work with, and the care they provide is second to none.”

Students to share water quality research July 26 at Lake Erie Center

Eleven undergraduate students from universities across the country spent the last nine weeks researching a variety of environmental issues at The University of Toledo Lake Erie Center and will share their findings during a poster gala Wednesday, July 27.

The students enrolled in UT’s National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates summer program have been studying harmful algal blooms, climate change, invasive species and other water quality concerns in an effort to help combat these problems. Their work will be on display from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Lake Erie Center, located at 6200 Bayshore Road in Oregon.

The scientific research program is open to undergraduate students in the fields of environmental sciences, biology, engineering, chemistry, geography or geographic information systems from across the United States. Students are partnered with scientists, engineers, graduate students and agency professionals to conduct cutting-edge research on important land-lake environmental challenges.

In addition to visiting wetlands and lake sampling, students learn to use and apply top technology, including sensor networks, water quality, environmental DNA, next-gen sequencing and drones to their research.

Celebrating 25 years at Art on the Mall

For two local painters, it may have been a stroke of luck when Art on the Mall debuted in 1992 at their alma mater.

“I had been doing a lot of paintings of Lake Erie scenes, and then this event was announced,” Carol Connolly Pletz recalled.

This watercolor painting of University Hall by Kathy Palmer Genzman was featured in one of her Toledo calendars. “I always include my alma mater in the calendar,” she said.

“It was the year I made my first Toledo calendar,” Kathy Palmer Genzman said. “It was like it was meant to be.”

The two women were among 51 artists who displayed and sold their work at the inaugural juried fair.

“It was a beautiful sunny day. There were few tents, if any, and UT supplied wire structures to display paintings,” Connolly Pletz, a 1966 alumna with a bachelor’s degree in art, said. “It was the first show where I stood out with a few my paintings. It was a very positive experience; people loved my work.”

Palmer Genzman also felt the love.

“It was my husband, Bob, who suggested the calendar. He wrote the history, and I drew and painted scenes from around town,” she said. “When Art on the Mall was announced, he said, ‘Let’s see if they sell,’ and they did — people loved the calendar.”

“Brown Swiss Dairy,” acrylic, was painted by Carol Connolly Pletz after one of her many visits to Shipshewana, Ind.

Connolly Pletz and Palmer Genzman have returned to Art on the Mall every year. The perennial favorites will be back with more than 100 artists Sunday, July 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Centennial Mall.

“I am so grateful to UT for putting this event on every year,” Connolly Pletz said. “The community really enjoys the art, music and food. It’s great it has remained a free show with free parking. Toledo loves this show.”

“Everyone at UT is always so helpful,” Palmer Genzman, a 1980 graduate with a master’s degree in art education, said. “I’ve known Dan [Saevig, associate vice president of alumni relations] since the beginning. He and his crew do an amazing job rain or shine.”

Even fellow artists offer assistance. Connolly Pletz learned about notecards from Tom Durnford, a UT alumnus who taught a graphics class for the Communication Department and was director of publications and graphics from 1965 until his retirement from the University in 1989. The two had booths next to each for 23 years until Durnford passed away.

Carol Connolly Pletz has made 160 cards from her acrylic paintings.

“He worked in watercolor and besides his paintings, he sold notecards of his artwork,” Connolly Pletz said. “That first year at Art on the Mall, I saw he was doing a brisk business selling his cards. We talked, and he agreed to mentor me in publishing my own notecards.”

Since then, she has made 160 cards from her eye-catchingly colorful acrylic paintings, which showcase scenes from the Metroparks of the Toledo Area; the Lake Erie islands; Shipshewana, Ind.; and Ireland.

“People like to take something away that’s affordable,” Connolly Pletz said. “Not everybody has a place for a painting or can afford an original or the color is wrong. But everybody can use cards.”

“I also sell Toledo notecards, which are very popular,” Palmer Genzman said. “I sell out of calendars every year; I always have to send the kids home to get more. The calendars aren’t that expensive, and yet they’re artwork. People really enjoy having a picture of Toledo.”

That local focus is important to both artists.

Palmer Genzman’s 2018 calendar features her meticulously detailed watercolor paintings of the University, last year’s Jeep parade, the Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo, walleye fishing, the Niagara ship on the Maumee River and more. Since her husband passed away, her son, Paul, writes the history.

Kathy Palmer Genzman posed for a photo in front of some of her watercolor paintings that are included in her Toledo calendar.

“I want people to love their city and be proud of it. It’s a great city; it’s a great University — look at that campus. What more can you ask for? Good eating places, you’ve got the Mud Hens downtown, I love the renaissance of downtown,” she said. “I taught art at Toledo Public Schools and lived in the Glass City until retirement. I now live in Lambertville, Mich., but I’m a Toledo person.”

“Many local places have caught my eye — and my heart,” Connolly Pletz said. “The Toledo Botanical Garden, Wildwood Metropark Preserve, the Maumee River, to name a few. There is so much natural beauty in our part of the world. I hope my work inspires some to pause and take a closer look at what we have right here.”

Volleyball earns 17th straight team academic award

For the 17th straight year, the Toledo volleyball program earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award for the 2016-17 school year.

“It’s incredible to receive this award for the 17th year in a row, and it really demonstrates the culture that we have built here at UT that really values academics,” said Head Coach Greg Smith. “Our team has shown excellent work ethic in order to achieve great success both on the court and in the classroom.”

Toledo coupled with Bowling Green and Indiana State are the only programs in NCAA Division I to have streaks of at least 15 years earning the academic honor. UT and BGSU are tied for the second longest active streak at 17, while Indiana State has received the honor 19 years in a row. Within the conference, eight teams in total earned the academic honor.

During fall 2016, the Rockets achieved a combined 3.556 GPA, which ranked as the third highest GPA in the athletic department. UT topped all teams in the Mid-American Conference with 10 student-athletes earning Academic All-MAC honors.

Overall, the American Volleyball Coaches Association announced a record-breaking 822 teams earned the academic honor in 2016-17, surpassing the previous total of 764 in 2015-16.

Celebrating its 25th year, the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award is the single largest distinction offered by quantity of schools, players and coaches honors. The award that was initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that display excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.

Toledo will host Oakland University in an exhibition match in Savage Arena Friday, Aug. 18, before beginning the 2017-18 season on the road at the Fort Wayne Invitational Friday, Aug. 25 against Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

New parking system launches for fall semester, registration begins Aug. 5

As announced early this year, a new parking system is being implemented for fall semester, and faculty, staff and students should plan to register beginning Saturday, Aug. 5.

“In response to input from nearly 5,000 students, faculty and staff who completed a parking survey last December, several changes have been made to help reduce on-campus congestion and move UT toward a more equitable pricing system,” said Bonnie Murphy, associate vice president for auxiliaries.

Parking permit rates for 2017-18 will be as follows:

• “A” permits (faculty and staff), $150 annually;

• “U” permits (faculty and staff), union-negotiated rates;

• “E/G” permits (executives and physicians), $225 annually;

• “E-reserved” permits (executives), $400 annually;

• Student permits, $125 per semester; and

• Freshman residential (Scott Park Lot 21), $100 per semester.

Faculty and staff represented by collective bargaining agreements may choose to upgrade to an “A” permit or maintain their current union-negotiated permit price by using the following lots:

• Main Campus — Lots 18, 25 and 28;

• Health Science Campus — Lots 44B, 44E and 46; and

• Scott Park Campus – Lot 22.

Another change is that faculty and staff may choose to purchase their permits pre-taxed through payroll deduction, reducing the net amount paid. For example, payroll deduction for the general “A” permit at $150 will be $5.77 over 26 paychecks; however, with pre-tax payroll deduction, that amount would be less based on each person’s tax bracket. Payroll deduction will begin with Friday, Sept. 1, paychecks for permits purchased before Thursday, Aug. 24. Payroll deduction for permits purchased on or after Aug. 24 will be spread among the remaining number of paychecks.

Note: Payroll deduction for nine- and 12-month faculty will be consistent with benefit deductions as prescribed in their contract, as will employees with collective bargaining agreements who elect to obtain an “A” permit.

In addition to the change in parking permit rates, which freezes student fees as UT moves toward a more equitable parking system, also new for the 2017-18 academic year is that all drivers will be required to print a permit confirmation — available when they register online — and display it on their vehicle’s dashboard whenever they are parked on UT property. “This is useful as a secondary means of identifying that vehicles are parked in appropriate lots,” Murphy said.

Another change is that registered parkers will no longer need to obtain a second permit. Parkers will register one time and may store multiple vehicles in their profile, making it easy to switch between one vehicle and any other that they own. Registrants may park only one vehicle from the profile list on a given day.

“Throughout this summer we’ve worked to redesign our webpages to streamline the process and ensure our site is mobile-responsive for smart phones and other digital devises,” said Sherri Kaspar, manager for public safety services. “When you register, you will see that our permit registration webpages look different, and so you’ll be prompted to follow a different registration process than in the past.”

In response to user suggestions, the new online parking system webpages have been improved, including:

• A mobile-friendly design to ensure drivers have a smooth interface between the webpages and their phone and other mobile devices.

• With only a few clicks, drivers now can easily update their vehicle, buy a permit, pay a ticket, and manage any appeals.

• Commuters who drive more than one vehicle to campus will be able to add as many vehicles as they would like to their online profile and then quickly switch among them.

Finally, a new UT parking app that may be downloaded to mobile devices will be available in the future; additional information will be forthcoming.

To register for parking, log in to the myUT portal or visit utoledo.edu/parkingservices beginning Aug. 5 and follow the prompts. If needed, step-by-step instructions also will be available on the webpage on that date.

Rockets rank No. 22 nationally in GPA among women’s golf programs

The UT women’s golf program was honored for its outstanding classroom performance this year by earning its greatest recognition to date from the Women’s Golf Coaches Association. The Rockets’ 3.723 team grade-point average during the 2016-17 academic year ranked No. 22 nationally (17th among NCAA Division I programs), with Jacksonville University leading the way with a remarkable 3.924 GPA.

The Rockets’ 3.723 team grade-point average during the 2016-17 academic year ranked No. 22 nationally — 17th among NCAA Division I programs — according to the Women’s Golf Coaches Association.

“What a great honor for our student-athletes,” Head Women’s Golf Coach Nicole Hollingsworth said. “We have only been on this list once before in the history of this award, and this year’s grade point average is our best yet. I am so proud of their hard work in the classroom, golf course and community. What an awesome award to end the year!”

Toledo registered a school record 3.780 cumulative GPA in the 2017 spring semester and has posted team grade-point averages above 3.00 in 27 of the 28 semesters under Hollingsworth.

The Women’s Golf Coaches Association is a nonprofit organization representing women’s collegiate golf coaches. The association was formed to encourage the playing of college golf for women in correlation with a general objective of education and in accordance with the highest tradition of intercollegiate competition.

UT not linked to Medicare fraud

The Blade incorrectly linked The University of Toledo Medical Center to an opioid prescription drug and health-care fraud scheme involving several doctors practicing in the Detroit area in an article in Friday’s newspaper.

Dr. Spilios John Pappas has not been a member of the UT faculty or practiced medicine for UTMC since Oct. 31, 2011.

The U.S. Department of Justice case in which Pappas is involved relates to his work after leaving the University.

The safety of our patients and the professionalism of our faculty and staff are of the utmost importance to UT and the UT Medical Center.

The University is requesting a retraction from the newspaper.

Construction on Bancroft Street set to start July 24

Two projects on Bancroft Street will mean traffic by the University will be a bit slower for a few months.

Lane restrictions between University Hills Boulevard/North Towerview Boulevard and Parkside Boulevard for the Bancroft Street Road Reconstruction Project are slated to begin Monday, July 24.

Traffic will be maintained in both directions during this project, which is scheduled to be complete in November 2018.

In addition, there will be a sewer line installed on Bancroft Street between Meadowwood Drive and Westwood Avenue. That project also is scheduled to start Monday, July 24.

This work will require closures of University Hills Boulevard and Bancroft Street for three to five days, according to Doug Collins, director of grounds and transportation.

He added UT officials have met with members of the Toledo Division of Transportation and requested the closure take place before Sunday, Aug. 20, and the start of fall semester.

“We will announce when that closure is scheduled and keep the campus community informed as we receive updates from the city of Toledo on these two road projects,” Collins said.

Visitors to Main Campus can continue to use the north entrance off Bancroft during the reconstruction, but are encouraged to use the west entrance off Secor Road or the south entrance off Dorr Street to avoid traffic congestion due to the projects.