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Alumni Association, UT Foundation launch new websites

The University of Toledo Alumni Association and UT Foundation are kicking off 2018 with newly redesigned websites that are more closely tied to the University brand.

The new websites aim to improve the user experience through simpler navigation, better-organized information, more photography and videos, and new ways to stay informed and connected to UT. The sites have been built on the same platform as the University’s website, allowing for more sharing of relevant content between sites.

Research to develop the new websites began last summer, when users were surveyed about their expectations and online experiences. A cross-functional team from Marketing and Communications, the UT Foundation, UT Alumni Association, and Information Technology worked together using those responses to revamp both sites.

“The new University of Toledo Foundation website offers our generous donors a better web experience,” said Brenda Lee, president of the UT Foundation. “We wanted to provide a streamlined donation process and easily accessible and well-organized financial information.”

“We also wanted to tell more stories about the donors who support UT through their gifts,” she added. “Now we have a platform to do that.”

The UT Foundation website continues to provide annual reports, financial statements and investment performance reviews.

Dan Saevig, associate vice president for alumni and annual engagement, said the redesigned Alumni Association website speaks to the entire UT alumni community.

“We’ve created a website that encourages our graduates to engage with the University in a variety of ways,” he said. “In addition to providing opportunities to join the association and register for events, we are going to be sharing more stories about our notable alumni. We want to bring that Rocket spirit to life.”

A new “Visit Campus” section on the Alumni Association website highlights what’s new on campus with information on how to rent the William and Carol Koester Alumni Pavilion. Another new section of the site shows alumni how they can support students through their donations to scholarships.

Because the University heard through the survey responses how much alumni love Rocket athletics, information about upcoming games, as well as parking and hotel information, are now on the website.

Art on the Mall and Homecoming, the Alumni Association’s signature annual events, also both have their own pages due to their popularity.

Visit the UT Alumni Association website at toledoalumni.org and the UT Foundation site at utfoundation.org.

Piano events this weekend canceled

William Wellborn will not be visiting The University of Toledo for the Dorothy MacKenzie Price Piano Series Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 3 and 4.

The San Francisco pianist is ill.

The master class and concert will be rescheduled if possible.

For more information, contact Dr. Michael Boyd, UT professor of piano, at michael.boyd@utoledo.edu or 419.530.2183.

Apply for 2018 grant from Women & Philanthropy; up to $76,000 available

Monday, Feb. 19, is the deadline to submit an application for a grant from Women & Philanthropy at The University of Toledo.

UT staff, faculty and students from all campuses are eligible to apply. Women & Philanthropy grant applications are available here.

To be considered for a grant, all application guidelines must be followed.

The Women & Philanthropy Grants Committee will review and evaluate the applications, and the general membership will vote to determine the recipient(s). Grant amounts vary from year to year.

For 2018, Women & Philanthropy has allocated up to $76,000 to award in grants for UT projects and programs.

Grant recipients will be announced in May.

The inaugural grant, in the amount of $15,000, was awarded in 2008 to Carlson Library to commission a glass sculpture by artist Tom McGlauchlin. That sculpture titled “A University Woman” is on display in the library concourse and has become the model for the Women & Philanthropy logo.

Since then, Women & Philanthropy has funded classrooms; an art gallery; locker room enhancements; a sensory-friendly medical examination room; the hospitality area in the William and Carol Koester Alumni Pavilion; renovations to the Savage Arena media room; computer-based educational displays in Ritter Planetarium and Lake Erie Center; a computer lab in the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women; a playground at the Kobacker Center; a student-family room in University College; an interactive periodic table display; and a Genetics Analysis Instrumentation Center.

In 10 years, Women & Philanthropy has gifted nearly $425,000 in 17 grants to The University of Toledo. Women & Philanthropy is able to give substantial gifts to the University by pooling its members’ resources and making monetary awards in the form of grants.

For more information, contact Sarah Metzger in the Office of Alumni and Annual Engagement at sarah.metzger2@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4237.

College of Engineering dedicates new Owens-Illinois Conference Room

The University of Toledo dedicated the new Owens-Illinois Conference Room in the College of Engineering last week to celebrate the new meeting space made possible by a gift from the glass manufacturing company to support UT’s engineering and business programs.

The conference room is located in Nitschke Hall Room 4020 and is part of the Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department.

Dr. Hassan HassabElnaby, interim dean of the College of Business and Innovation, left, and Dr. Michael Toole, dean of the College of Engineering, held the ribbon for Ludovic Valette, global vice president of research and development at Owens-Illinois Inc., left, and Adam Hafer, manager of the Innovation Center, Global Technologies EH&S, and Perrysburg Properties at Owens-Illinois, to cut Jan. 10 to mark the dedication of the new Owens-Illinois Conference Room in Nitschke Hall.

“The support of our corporate partners makes it possible for the College of Engineering to provide a first-rate experience to our students,” said Dr. Michael Toole, dean of the College of Engineering. “O-I has been a long-term partner with the College of Engineering, and their leadership support has impacted many of our students throughout the years.”

The new conference room is supported by a $250,000 commitment O-I made in 2015 to support the College of Engineering and the College of Business and Innovation. The new Owens-Illinois Finance Tutoring Lab opened last year in Stranahan Hall.

Following the ceremony, UT and O-I officials had lunch in the new space.

In addition to the facilities improvements, the gift from O-I provides financial support for key initiatives, including the Engineering Innovation Fund, O-I National Society of Black Engineers Scholarship Fund and O-I Society for Women Engineers Scholarship Fund in the College of Engineering and the O-I Corporate Finance Scholars Tutoring Program in the College of Business and Innovation.

“O-I has been a tremendous friend to the College of Business and Innovation in many ways, such as through their support of our annual student Pacemaker Awards and by providing the first-place prize for the college business plan competition,” said Dr. Hassan HassabElnaby, interim dean of the College of Business and Innovation. “We were pleased and honored to welcome the O-I executive team so that they could see and touch some of these things, and so that we could thank them in person.”

UT president named higher ed leader to watch

The University of Toledo President Sharon L. Gaber has been recognized as one of the top higher education leaders for her focus on student success and a strong financial foundation for the institution.

Gaber leads the list of “5 Higher Ed Leaders to Watch in 2018 (and Beyond)” by Education Dive, an education industry publication that shares K-12 and higher education news and analysis.

The publication notes the University’s cost-saving measures, including consolidated purchasing and salary restructuring, and efforts to improve student retention under Gaber’s leadership.

“And Toledo’s first woman president, whose research interests include community needs assessment of marginalized populations, Gaber has honed in on student success in her first two years at the helm of the University,” the publication states.

Along with Dr. Gaber, the list includes Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr., chancellor of North Carolina A&T State University; Dr. Becky Takeda-Tinker, president of Colorado State University-Global Campus; Dr. Robert C. (Bob) Fisher, president of Belmont University; and Dr. Ruth Simmons, president of Prairie View A&M University.

Read the article here.

U.S. News recognizes UT online programs

The University of Toledo provides one of the best online bachelor’s programs, according to new rankings from U.S. News & World Report.

UT is ranked 125 out of 357 institutions in the 2018 Best Online Programs ranking, an increase from last year’s place of 142 out of 311 programs.

U.S. News assessed schools based on student engagement, student services and technology, faculty credentials and training, and peer reputation.

“This ranking is recognition of the high-quality distance learning curriculum and the strong support services we provide to our students,” UT Provost Andrew Hsu said. “Recognizing that many prospective students, particularly working professionals returning to the classroom, enjoy the flexibility and convenience of online classes, we will continue to enhance and improve UT’s programs offered online.”

“The best online programs rankings offer adults the information needed to identify programs that best suit their life and career goals,” said Anita Narayan, managing editor of education at U.S. News. “The top programs not only demonstrate strong academics, but also create learning environments that are particularly well-suited to remote students.”

The UT Judith Herb College of Education also was ranked 107 out of 309 for its online graduate education program. UT’s ranking improved from last year’s rank of 109 out of 278 on that Best Online Education Programs list, which evaluates programs on student engagement, student services and technology, admissions selectivity, faculty credentials and training, and peer reputation.

UT’s College of Education launched this academic year the first online PhD program approved in Ohio. The Curriculum and Instruction: Special Education Doctoral Degree Program is designed for those who specialize in early childhood special education who are looking to take the next step in their careers.

For additional information about the U.S. News rankings, click here.

Freeze frame: New book offers pictorial history of UT

There are 240 photos packed into the 128 pages of “University of Toledo.”

That’s a lot of pictures telling many stories in the new book by Barbara Floyd. Part of Arcadia Publishing’s Campus History Series, the work takes a look back at The University of Toledo.

Barbara Floyd holds her new book, “University of Toledo.”

“This book would not have been possible without the incredible images preserved in university archives created by photographers known and unknown,” Floyd said. “The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections houses more than 15,000 UT images, and sifting through them to decide what to include in this book was a labor of love.”

Floyd was the perfect person to curate the book. She retired last month as director of the Canaday Center, where she worked 31 years, initially as university archivist and later also as director of special collections for 20 years.

And she is a UT alumna. She received a bachelor of arts degree in journalism, a master of arts degree in American history, and a master’s degree in public administration from the University.

“The University of Toledo changed my life,” Floyd said. “Having the chance to pay tribute to this beloved institution that means so much to so many was a wonderful opportunity.”

The pictorial review starts with one man who had a vision: Jesup W. Scott believed Toledo could be the “Future Great City of the World.”

“As a real estate investor, Jesup Scott saw the location of Toledo on railroad lines, on the Great Lakes, and near farmland as the elements of a future industrial powerhouse,” Floyd said. “And that future great city would need a university.”

Scott donated 160 acres of land to serve as an endowment for the Toledo University of Arts and Trade. While the school failed, it was resurrected in 1884 by Scott’s sons, who gave the remaining assets to the city to create a manual training school.

“By 1909, the institution was becoming a full-fledged university, but struggled financially and needed a permanent location,” Floyd said.

When Dr. Henry J. Doermann became president of the University in 1928, he began planning for a new campus. A $2.8 million bond levy was passed that November, less than one year before the Great Depression.

A photo shows Doermann at the 1929 groundbreaking ceremony for University Hall.

“President Doermann selected the Collegiate Gothic design elements of the great universities of Europe because he wanted the architecture to inspire students,” Floyd said.

University Hall with its iconic tower and dual courtyards continues to be one of the most photographed landmarks in Toledo.

Images chronicle the University’s growing campus and burgeoning student life, which flourished even more when UT joined Ohio’s higher education system in 1967.

“The focus of this book is on the major events that shaped the University,” Floyd said. “It celebrates the University’s growth as an institution.”

There was a lot to celebrate in 2006 when UT merged with the Medical University of Ohio. At the time, it was estimated the new entity would have a $1.1 billion impact on Ohio’s economy.

A few pages also commemorate when UT was in the national spotlight. A smiling Chuck Ealey, the quarterback known as the “Wizard of Oohs and Aahs” who led the Rockets to a 35-0 record from 1969 to 1972, is in the book, along with a shot of the men’s basketball team playing Indiana in the inaugural game in Centennial Hall, now called Savage Arena. UT won, 59-57, with a basket at the buzzer to end the Hoosiers’ 33-game winning streak. And the women’s basketball team is shown celebrating its 2011 WNIT Championship.

Floyd gave credit to the late longtime UT photographer Bill Hartough, MCO photographer Jack Meade, and current University photographer Daniel Miller: “Their keen eyes captured events big and small, as well as campus life.”

“University of Toledo” is $21.99 and available at the Barnes & Noble University Bookstore and online book retailers.

UT publishes first research paper making substantial use of Discovery Channel Telescope partnership

The University of Toledo’s partnership with the Discovery Channel Telescope in Arizona has helped launch the UT astronomy program onto a new level. For the first time, a UT graduate student published a significant paper made possible by data collected from observations with the telescope.

The paper on the properties of interstellar dust appears as a cover feature article in the September issue of Astronomy & Astrophysics. The UT research team studied the dust properties present in the Vulture Head nebula, a collection of dust and gas 420 light years from Earth. The team observed the nebula with the Discovery Channel Telescope, a 4.3-meter telescope located south of Flagstaff, overlooking the Verde Valley. It is the fifth largest telescope in the continental United States and one of the most technologically advanced.

In one of the first detailed images of the Vulture Head nebula, the cloud is illuminated by the faint starlight of the Milky Way and couldn’t have been captured in this detail without the power of the Discovery Channel Telescope. Dr. Aditya G. Togi took this photo.

“To understand the evolution of the universe, it’s important to understand the galaxy evolution and how stars are formed,” said lead researcher Dr. Aditya Togi, a former UT doctoral student who is now a research assistant professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio. “If you know dust properties of the cloud, you can better understand star formation.”

The research team also included Dr. Adolf N. Witt, UT professor emeritus of astronomy, and Demi St. John, an undergraduate student from Murray State University. St. John, selected by the UT Physics and Astronomy Department to join the team, was part of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program and funded through a National Science Foundation grant. She is in her first year of graduate school at Montana State University.

The team chose to observe the nebula with the Discovery Channel Telescope to test a model developed by French astronomers about the types and properties of dust particles. No one had ever tested those models through observation.

The French model posited that certain dust grains have specific properties. But the astronomers didn’t know for sure what types of dust grains were in the nebula or what size, temperature or density they were, Togi said.

The UT team measured the temperature and mass of the nebula’s dust and found that the dust grains in the cloud closely matched the properties predicted by three dust grain models in the French astronomer’s work. The research confirmed most of the model’s predictions and led the astronomers to new understandings about the dust particles that form stars.

They also learned that the cloud had something called “core shine.” The team knew that in order to scatter the light that creates core shine, some of the dust grains had to be larger than normally encountered in interstellar space. They found that the grains were more complex or “evolved.” They were coated with ice and frozen gases and had grown to about 100 times the volume of a typical interstellar dust grain.

“In order to reach this grain growth, the cloud must be at least a million years old,” Witt said.

Access to the Discovery Channel Telescope was crucial to this research. It’s also a powerful tool when attracting graduate students and young faculty.

“To be truly competitive, to have a first-rate program, you’ve got to have this kind of access to a first-class instrument,” Witt said.

UT is scheduled to host the annual Discovery Channel Telescope partner board meeting Friday and Saturday, Dec. 8 and 9, at the Driscoll Alumni Center. About a dozen representatives from UT, the Lowell Observatory, Boston University, Yale University, the University of Maryland, Northern Arizona University and the University of Texas at Austin will meet to discuss shared governance of the telescope and the best scientific uses of the instrument.

The Discovery Channel Telescope partnership has been a boon to UT astronomers and helped put the astronomy department on the map.

“Our astronomy program at Toledo is on an accelerating path,” said Dr. J.D. Smith, UT professor of astronomy, who is planning the board meeting. “We’re being recognized nationally and internationally, and this partnership is a big part of the reason why.”

Rockets accept invitation to Play Appalachian State in Dollar General Bowl

The University of Toledo has accepted an invitation to play Appalachian State of the Sun Belt Conference in the 2017 Dollar General Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien announced Sunday.

The game will be played at 6 p.m. Central time (7 Eastern time) Saturday, Dec. 23, and will be televised on ESPN.

“We are very excited to return to Mobile to play in the Dollar General Bowl,” O’Brien said. “We would like to thank President Jerry Silverstein, Executive director Frank Modarelli and the entire Dollar General Bowl selection committee for choosing The University of Toledo to participate in their outstanding bowl. We are looking forward to another terrific bowl experience in the beautiful state of Alabama against a very fine Appalachian State team.

“I also want to congratulate Head Coach Jason Candle, his staff and our entire Rocket football team on a memorable MAC Championship season.”

Candle, who led the Rockets to an 11-2 record and a Mid-American Conference Championship title in his second season as head coach, was enthusiastic about his team’s bowl destination.

“The Dollar General Bowl will provide our team with an outstanding bowl experience, as well as the opportunity to play against a very tough Appalachian State team,” Candle said. “We are very familiar with Appalachian State, having played them in the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl last year. Both teams are league champions, so that will make for a great matchup. Playing in the Dollar General Bowl is an excellent reward for our players, coaches, fans and everyone who has played a part in our MAC Championship.”

The Rockets (11-2, 7-1 MAC) finished in first place in the West Division of the Mid-American Conference and defeated East Division champion Akron, 45-28, in the MAC Championship Game at Ford Field in Detroit Dec. 2.

Toledo will be playing in its 17th bowl and seventh in the last eight years. UT is 11-5 all-time in bowl games, including 2-0 in bowl games in Mobile when the Dollar General Bowl was known by different names. The Rockets beat UTEP in the 2005 GMAC Bowl by a score of 45-13, and Arkansas State, 63-44, in 2015 (2014 season) in the GoDaddy Bowl.

Appalachian State is 8-4 and 7-1 in the Sun Belt Conference. The Mountaineers finished as co-champions of the Sun Belt along with Troy. Appalachian State, which defeated Toledo in last year’s Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, 31-28, is coached by Scott Satterfield. Satterfield, who has been the Mountaineers’ head coach for five seasons, was the passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Toledo in 2009 under then-head coach Tim Beckman.

Information on ticket sales and travel packages will be announced Monday, Dec. 4. For the latest updates on the bowl and tickets, click here.

Rockets dominate Zips, 45-28, to claim MAC Championship

The Toledo Rockets capped a historic season with a resounding 45-28 victory over Akron at Ford Field in Detroit Saturday to claim their 11th Mid-American Conference Championship and first since 2004.

In the 100th anniversary season of their founding as a football program and the two-year anniversary of the hiring of Jason Candle as head coach, the Rockets (11-2) dominated the game from start to finish, scoring three times in the second quarter to take a 28-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Rockets celebrated by taking selfies with the MAC Championship trophy at Ford Field after beating Akron, 45-28.

The Rockets outgained the Zips, 561-396, holding them to just 98 yards of total offense in the first half. The 561 yards of total offense are the third-most by a team in a MAC Championship Game.

Senior quarterback Logan Woodside, who threw for 307 yards and four touchdowns, was named the Offensive Player of the Game. Sophomore Diontae Johnson led the receiving corps with nine receptions for 118 yards and two scores, followed by junior Jon’Vea Johnson (six receptions, 103 yards and a touchdown). Senior running back Terry Swanson piled up 180 yards and two TDs. Sophomore Danzel McKinley-Lewis racked up a MAC Championship Game record 66 punt return yards to earn Special Teams Player of the Game honors.

On the other side of the ball, senior defensive end Zach Quinn led the Rockets with 10 tackles; junior defensive end Olasunkanmi Adeniyi added three tackles for loss and a forced fumble; and senior cornerback Trevon Mathis came up with an interception and a key pass breakup.

MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher presented the conference trophy to Head Coach Jason Candle and the Rockets after the game.

Toledo opened the scoring on its second drive. McKinley-Lewis returned a punt 48 yards to the Akron 17-yard line. Following a Toledo penalty, Woodside hit Diontae Johnson for a 27-yard TD reception.

The Rockets missed a chance to add to the lead later in the quarter when Jameson Vest’s 33-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide right.

Special teams came through again in the second quarter when Nate Childress blocked a 42-yard field goal that was scooped up by Josh Teachey and returned 36 yards to the Akron 34-yard line. Three plays later, Swanson pounded it in from two yards out to make the score 14-0 with 11:22 left in the first half. A few minutes later, Woodside hooked up with Diontae Johnson again from five yards out to make the score 21-0. It was a terrific grab, as Johnson pivoted to his inside shoulder and pulled in the pass with one hand in the corner of the end zone.

Diontae Johnson made a one-handed touchdown grab during the MAC Championship Game.

Toledo made it 28-0 when Woodside connected with Jon’Vea Johnson from 27 yards out with eight seconds left before intermission.

The second half began with a long Toledo drive that ended when Swanson fumbled on the one-yard line as he stretched out for a touchdown. Akron could not move the ball, however, squashing any notion of a change in the game’s momentum. After forcing an Akron punt, Toledo converted a 47-yard field goal by Vest to extend the lead to 31-0. The lead ballooned to 38-0 when Woodside connected with redshirt freshman running back Shakif Seymour for a 12-yard TD with 2:25 left in the third quarter.

Akron finally got on the board with 30 seconds left in the third quarter when Manny Morgan ran it in from seven yards out to trim the lead to 38-7.

The Zips cut the lead to 38-14 when quarterback Kato Nelson hit Austin Wolf for a 29-yard TD pass with 14:38 left in the fourth quarter. Akron then recovered a Toledo fumble at mid-field, giving the Zip faithful faint hope.

Nate Childress blocked a 42-yard field goal attempt.

However, on the very next play Adeniyi sacked Nelson and forced a fumble that was recovered by Marquise Moore. One play later, Swanson dashed 54 yards for a score to make the score 45-14.

The Zips would add two more touchdowns to their final point total. Nelson took a punishing hit from two Rocket defenders on a play in which he tossed a 44-yard touchdown to Kwadarrius Smith to make the score 45-21 with 6:09 to play. Toledo ran the ball four times on its ensuing possession, taking over three minutes off the clock.

Akron’s final drive of the game ended with a five-yard touchdown pass from Robbie Kelley to Kobie Booker, making the score 45-28 with just 20 seconds remaining on the clock. The Rockets recovered the onside kick and one final kneel-down sealed the deal on UT’s 11th MAC Championship.

Toledo will finish off its season with an appearance in a bowl game. The Rockets will find out their bowl opponent and destination tomorrow.