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Runner Represents Toledo at World University Games

Petronela Simiuc represented The University of Toledo and her home country of Romania this week in the 800 meters and 1,500 meters at the World University Games in Napoli, Italy.

On July 8, Simiuc competed in the first round for the 800 meters, clocking a time of 2:08.16 to place 19th, a qualifying mark for the semifinal. On July 11, Simiuc clocked a time of 4:27.36 to finish eighth in her heat and 15th overall in the first round of the 1,500 meters.

“It’s exciting to see Petro representing not only Romania, but our track and field program internationally,” said Adrian, associate head track and field coach. “We are looking forward to have Petronela back on campus this fall and see her finish an already great student-athlete career on a high note.”

The Bacau, Romania, native earned silver in the 1,500 meters with a time of 4:27.86 at the Mid-American Conference Outdoor Championships last season. Simiuc recorded a season best 4:19.28 in the 1,500 meters at the Bryan Clay Invitational and a season best 2:08.27 in the 800 meters at the Raleigh Relays to take second. Simiuc also earned a spot at the NCAA East Prelims qualifier in the 1,500-meter event.

During the 2018 outdoor season, Simiuc posted a personal best of 4:17.50 in the 1,500m at the NCAA East Prelim. Simiuc clocked the second-fastest time in school history for the 1,500m at the 2018 MAC Championships; her time of 4:18.73 was a mere second from the MAC record (4:17.01) that teammate Janelle Noe set in the same race.

Simiuc holds the top two fastest times at Toledo for the 800 meters: 2:07.89 set in 2017 and 2:08.27 set in 2019.

Simiuc earned her undergraduate degree from The University of Toledo and is pursuing a master’s degree in public health. She will return this fall on the cross-country course and be back on the track next spring.

UToledo Hires New Bursar

Shelia Stewart feels right at home in her position as bursar at The University of Toledo.

“I attended school at UToledo, and I worked here for more than 20 years,” Stewart said. “I am very happy to return to this beautiful campus and an institution that is close to my heart.”


She started her new post June 3 and oversees student accounts, billing and collections, as well as some treasury functions. The bursar reports to the associate vice president of finance and treasurer.

Stewart returns to UToledo after 17 years at Wayne State University, where she was bursar.

Prior to that, she held many positions, including bursar, assistant director of student accounts and information systems, and budget officer in UToledo’s Division of Finance from 1982 to 2002.

A UToledo alumna, Stewart received an associate degree in business management technology in 1987, a bachelor of science degree in individualized programs in 1990, and a master of education degree in educational technology in 1998.

Drive to Stock Teacher’s Supply Pantry for Old Orchard Elementary School

A survey by the National Center for Education Statistics revealed 94 percent of public school teachers spend their own money on classroom materials — up to $500 a year for grade school teachers. To help address this issue, The University of Toledo is leading efforts to connect teachers at Old Orchard Elementary School with supplies for their students.

“We recognize the importance of supporting schools in our community,” said UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber. “By collectively sharing the responsibility of equipping students with essential school supplies, we hope our collaboration with campus partners will contribute to students’ success.”

Officials at Toledo Public Schools identified the need to provide more supplies for area teachers throughout the year. Drawing inspiration from a model developed by Grace Church in Toledo, UToledo has organized a donation drive to stock a teacher’s supply pantry.

While Old Orchard Elementary is the pilot school for the pantry project, the University hopes the initiative will grow to serve more schools.

“Helping provide school supplies to local young students reflects our commitment to fostering an environment where learning can thrive,” said Dr. Raymond H. Witte, dean of the Judith Herb College of Education. “We are invested in the success of Toledo Public Schools by being both a resource for immediate, material needs and providing access to our community-based research and educational programs.”

From Monday, July 8, through Friday, Sept. 26, donations will be accepted at several locations on Main Campus and Health Science Campus.

The supply pantry will be housed at the Carver Resource Center in Gillham Hall on UToledo’s Main Campus and will open to teachers at Old Orchard Elementary School beginning in October.

The UToledo community is encouraged to contribute. Old Orchard Elementary has identified a list of the most needed items: pencils, colored pencils, dry-erase markers, Clorox wipes, Crayola markers, facial tissues, Crayola crayons, index cards, Ziploc bags and masking tape.

Visit the Teacher Supply Pantry website to find drop-off locations and learn more.

Questions? Contact teachersupplypantry@utoledo.edu.

Former Rocket Representing Great Britain at Fédération Internationale de Basketball Women’s Eurobasket

Former Toledo women’s basketball player Janice Monakana is representing her home country of Great Britain at the Fédération Internationale de Basketball Women’s Eurobasket 2019.

The event is taking place through Sunday, July 7, in Latvia, Serbia.


A native of London, Monakana and Great Britain are currently 3-1 in Group Phase play, posting wins over host Latvia, 74-60; Ukraine, 68-54; and Montenegro, 92-71 to secure second place in Group A. Great Britain also suffered a 67-59 setback against Spain.

A native of London, Monakana has totaled nine points and three rebounds in 35-plus minutes of action off the bench in the four contests.

Up next, Great Britain will face Hungary Thursday, July 4, in Belgrade. The game will be streamed online via livebasketball.tv.

As a senior in 2016-17, Monakana led Toledo to the fifth most wins in program history with a mark of 25-9 that included a Mid-American Conference Championship and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The second-team All-MAC honoree averaged 12.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 25.5 minutes per game.

A two-time all-conference performer, Monakana wrapped up her collegiate career ninth in school history in free-throw percentage (.777, 313 of 403), 10th in free throws made (313), and 16th in scoring (1,172 points).

She received a bachelor of arts degree in communication in 2017.

UToledo Launches New Brand Showcasing How It Is Fueling Tomorrows

The University of Toledo is changing the way we talk about who we are and where we are headed.

The new brand, launching today, features the tagline Fueling Tomorrows with bold and confident images, typography and messaging that represents the positive momentum on campus and the strength of the University’s future potential.

This billboard shows UToledo’s new brand featuring the tagline Fueling Tomorrows.

“We are celebrating our role to empower and prepare individuals who are driven to make an impact on the world,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “Fueling Tomorrows encompasses how we champion our students to succeed, how we advance knowledge through our dedication to discovery, and how we energize our community and the region.”

The new brand sets The University of Toledo apart in the competitive higher education market by embracing a set of core attributes that were developed during the past two years with market research and collaborative input from administrators, faculty, students and alumni. These brand attributes — focused, determined, inquisitive, supportive, innovative, community-minded and impactful — are integral in the University’s new brand.

“The University of Toledo’s students, faculty, staff and alumni are doing incredible things. Our brand highlights the amazing innovations, discoveries and determination exhibited by our University community,” said Dr. Adrienne King, associate vice president of marketing and communications. “This look and feel shows how The University of Toledo is powering possibility and fueling tomorrows.”

As The University of Toledo continues to elevate its reputation on a national scale, it is now using the shortened UToledo instead of UT to distinguish it from other universities that use the two-letter acronym.

The brand embraces a new mobile-first design to the website, a modern and modular approach for marketing materials, and a new confident and conversational voice in communications from and about the institution. It does not change the logo or the midnight blue and gold colors that are well-established pillars of the UToledo brand.

The initial brand launch includes a new 30-second video spot, billboards in the Toledo community, banners on campus, and digital advertising that embrace the Fueling Tomorrows concept that will roll out during the month of July.

LED message board to be added to Glass Bowl this fall

The University of Toledo, through its partnership with Learfield IMG College, announced the addition of a new LED message board that will debut in the Glass Bowl this fall.

The electronic board will be 180 feet long and will replace the current wooden sponsor boards on the east side of the stadium.

This artistic rendering shows what the new LED message board may look like when it debuts this fall in the Glass Bowl.

The new message board will enhance the game atmosphere at Toledo football games, providing more fan interaction, sponsorship opportunities, and other information, including score updates and stats.

“Our goal is to create an in-game environment that can only be experienced in person,” said Toledo Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “The new LED message board, combined with the video boards we currently have located in both end zones, will make the game-day atmosphere in the Glass Bowl more informative and exciting for our fans.”

The message board will make its debut in the Rockets’ home opener vs. Murray State Saturday, Sept. 14.

Toledo will open the 2019 season at Kentucky Saturday, Aug. 31.

Full-time UToledo employees and retirees may purchase up to two season tickets at half-price. Additional season tickets may be purchased at the full price. UToledo students are admitted to home games free with ID.

For season ticket information, go to the Toledo Rockets’ website or call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

Interim leaders named to permanent posts

Two longtime campus leaders who were asked this year to take on additional responsibilities on an interim basis have been permanently appointed to those roles.

Matt Schroeder will serve as executive vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer effective Monday, July 1. He had served in that position on an interim basis since January.

Diane Miller will serve as chief of staff and associate vice president for government relations also effective July 1. The interim chief of staff role had been added to her responsibilities in January.


“Matt and Diane have demonstrated strong leadership in these roles, and it is clear they are the best individuals for these positions to ensure our continued success,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We are fortunate to have their talent and dedication, in addition to their vast institutional knowledge. The stability and continuity that they provide will help us continue to make progress on our strategic priorities.”

In his role, Schroeder oversees UToledo’s offices of Finance; Budget and Planning; Facilities and Construction; Auxiliaries; Human Resources; Public Safety; and Internal Audit and Compliance.

Schroeder joined the University in 2015 as chief of staff from the UToledo Foundation, where he was chief operating officer. He served nine years with the UToledo Foundation and eight years with the former Medical University of Ohio.


As chief of staff, Miller is responsible for managing the operational functions of the Office of the President and advising the senior leadership team. In leading the Office of Government Relations, Miller oversees UToledo’s federal relations, state relations, local relations and community engagement activities.

Miller has been a member of the UToledo team since 2007 and before that had served as staff to U.S. Senator Mike DeWine.

Both are UToledo alumni. Schroeder has an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan and a B.B.A. in management from UToledo. Miller received her J.D. from UToledo and a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Grove City College.

President praised for strategic plan progress in annual review

Under President Sharon L. Gaber’s leadership, The University of Toledo has met the graduation rate goal set in the strategic plan three years ahead of schedule.

The six-year graduation rate for undergraduate students has increased nearly 9 percent over the last three years to its highest level in school history, according to preliminary data available. The graduation rate has the potential to increase as additional students graduate following the summer session.


“We set an ambitious goal, and President Gaber accepted that challenge in her commitment to ensuring student success,” said Mary Ellen Pisanelli, chair of the UToledo Board of Trustees. “The University is stronger today because of her vision for our future and her sense of urgency and collaborative style getting everyone on board to accomplish it.”

The graduation rate was one of a number of successes praised by the Board of Trustees during the president’s annual review during the final board meeting of the fiscal year.

The trustees recognized Gaber for consecutive years of increased student retention rates and research awards during her tenure and two years of strong fundraising that exceeded goals.

Her leadership also was credited for the new brand, scheduled to launch July 1, that speaks confidently and boldly of UToledo with an emphasis on personal stories. It is part of Gaber’s focused effort to boost Rocket pride and the University’s national reputation, which has led to successfully recruiting the most academically prepared class of first-year students in school history.

“I am proud of the progress we have made together to advance The University of Toledo,” Gaber said. “It is an honor to lead this great team. We would not have been able to accomplish all that we have without the dedicated individuals who are so committed to our students.”

As part of the performance review, the board voted to give the president a performance incentive, to be paid with private funds, per her five-year contract approved in 2018.

A nationally respected higher education leader, Gaber is one of the longest serving presidents among Ohio’s public colleges. She recently was selected to chair the Inter-University Council of Ohio, which represents the state’s 14 public universities. She serves on the NCAA Strategic Plan Committee and represents the Mid-American Conference on the NCAA Division 1 Presidential Forum.

Gaber also is a member of the board of directors of the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities, which is a network of 37 public urban research universities working to drive transformational change throughout their institutions and the communities they serve in partnership with the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.

Trustees approve 2020 operating budget

The University of Toledo Board of Trustees approved June 17 a balanced operating budget for fiscal year 2020 that positions the institution to continue to make progress on its strategic priorities. The approximately $770 million budget includes an investment in the people who make UToledo successful.

Because the state of Ohio biennium operating budget continues to work through the legislature containing language that limits tuition and fee increases, the University’s budget leaves undergraduate tuition for continuing students not part of the Tuition Guarantee unchanged at this time. The board approved a resolution that authorizes UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber to modify tuition and fees if permitted by law.

The budget does include differential tuition increases in selected graduate and professional programs.

In an effort to make online programs more accessible, trustees approved a resolution to reduce the non-Ohio surcharge to just $5 per credit hour for students enrolled exclusively in online programs.

The budget reflects a 2 percent wage increase for professional staff and faculty members who are not part of a bargaining unit. University employees who are members of unions will receive increased compensation as determined by their collective bargaining agreements.

In other board action, two new undergraduate degrees in data analytics were approved and will be sent to the Ohio Department of Higher Education for consideration.

The bachelor of arts degree in data analytics in the College of Arts and Letters has an emphasis on social sciences and will prepare students for careers that focus on interpreting and applying structured data for clients. The bachelor of science degree in data science in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics is designed to prepare students for careers that involve statistical tools to extract meaning from large data sets for specific applications.

Trustees also approved a reorganization of departments in the Judith Herb College of Education to combine programs into two areas — one related to teacher licensure and one focused on the study of education.

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the Department of Early Childhood, Higher Education and Special Education will be combined and renamed the Department of Teacher Education. The Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership and the faculty in the Higher Education and Education Technology programs will be combined and renamed the Department of Educational Studies.

At its final meeting of the fiscal year, the Board of Trustees elected officers for the 2019-20 year. Mary Ellen Pisanelli will continue to serve as chair, and Al Baker will continue as vice chair.

The June meeting completed the term of Sharon Speyer, president of the Northwest Ohio Region for Huntington National Bank. She was given the title of trustee emeritus, along with Steven Cavanaugh, who resigned upon beginning his new role as ProMedica’s chief financial officer. A proclamation also was read to recognize student trustee Hedyeh Elahinia, a junior in the Jesup Scott Honors College studying biology, who completed two years of service on the board.

UToledo alum, flight director for International Space Station leading NASA’s launch of commercial crew vehicle

After an eight-year hiatus, NASA is one step closer to rocketing its astronauts to the International Space Station from U.S. soil, instead of buying seats aboard Russian spacecraft.

An alumnus of The University of Toledo will serve as flight director for the launch of the unmanned test flight of the Boeing Starliner slated for late August, about a month after the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Dr. Robert Dempsey, NASA flight director for the International Space Station at Johnson Space Center’s Mission Control in Houston, is leading the launch of a commercial crew vehicle. He received a master’s degree and Ph.D. in physics from UToledo in 1987 and 1991. Image courtesy of Nasa

“The CST-100 Starliner is designed as a space taxi,” said Dr. Robert Dempsey, NASA flight director for the International Space Station at Johnson Space Center’s Mission Control in Houston. “I’ve been working on this project for eight years, longer than it took me to earn my Ph.D. at The University of Toledo. I joke that I have a doctorate in Starliner now.”

Dempsey, who received a master’s degree and Ph.D. in physics from UToledo in 1987 and 1991, is working around the clock to train and troubleshoot for the upcoming launch, which — if successful — could lead to a crewed flight by the end of the year.

“I will be flight director for the rendezvous and docking,” Dempsey said. “I’m excited because the current timeframe means the Starliner would dock on my birthday, Aug. 18, which would be a cool present.”

The Starliner is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, a public-private partnership in which the agency contracted with Boeing and SpaceX to fly crews to the space station, an orbiting laboratory.

This NASA graphic shows the Boeing Starliner that is scheduled for an unmanned test flight in August. Dr. Robert Dempsey, UToledo alumnus, is the flight director for the launch.

The goal of the Commercial Crew Program is to have safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station and foster commercial access to other potential low-Earth orbit destinations.

It’s an expansion of NASA’s success in unmanned cargo supply ships.

The vision is for private companies to someday fly customers to hotels in space and other celestial destinations.

“When we look at the space program, the Commercial Crew Program is one example of what to expect over the next 50 years,” Dempsey said. “NASA will focus strategically on big-vision projects like getting to Mars, but private companies can invest and develop technology for low-Earth orbit transportation. We’ll focus on the hard stuff at NASA so that down the road Boeing and SpaceX can launch commercial vehicles to take customers to the moon or Mars.”

Leading up to the debut launch of Starliner, Dempsey spends his time thinking of everything that could go wrong on the mission and figuring out how to fix it.

It’s familiar territory.

Dempsey started working at NASA 21 years ago when the agency was creating the International Space Station.

“We were about three years from launching the first piece of the space station,” Dempsey said. “The design was mostly done, but the software was immature. I helped out with finishing the software.”

It’s a dream career sparked 50 years ago by one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

Dempsey was 6 years old when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon July 20, 1969.

“I remember watching the lunar landing on television and thinking, ‘I want to do that,’” Dempsey said. “I have never wavered. Here I am today doing that work.”