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UT president, Toledo mayor to kick off Rocket Week at flag-raising ceremony

The University of Toledo President Sharon L. Gaber and Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz will kick off the start of “Rocket Week” with an official proclamation from the mayor and ceremonial raising of the UT flag outside One Government Center on Friday, Aug. 24, at 10 a.m.

Rocket Week is a series of special events the first week of the 2018-19 academic year leading up to the home-opening football game of the defending Mid-American Conference Champion Toledo Rockets. The Rockets will host the Virginia Military Institute at the Glass Bowl on Saturday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m.

In addition to the location at One Government Center, Rocket flags will be flown at other city buildings and parks. Toledo area businesses and fans are encouraged to fly their University or Rocket flags during the week leading up to the home opener and all season long.

As part of Rocket Week, UT and the city of Toledo also will recognize city employees during the game and pregame festivities.

“We’re ready for another exciting school year and Rocket football season,” Gaber said. “UT is proud to be this city’s university. We also are very proud of our MAC Champions. I want to highly encourage our community to join us in showing their Rocket pride. I look forward to celebrating with Rocket fans and recognizing the dedicated individuals who serve our city.”

“The city of Toledo has an amazing university with an incredible athletics program, and I invite all Toledoans to join me in showing their Rocket pride as we raise the UT flag at One Government Center, city parks and other sites across the city — including my own home,” Kapszukiewicz said. “I want to thank UT for recognizing the hard work city employees do for our community. We will see you at the game on Sept. 1 and throughout the season.”

Some of the events during Rocket Week include a pep rally on campus Wednesday, Aug. 29, as well as downtown pep rallies on Thursday, Aug. 30, at the food trucks at Levis Square and on Friday, Aug. 31, in the entertainment district. The Friday night rallies continue a tradition in which the Rocket Marching Band performs at various establishments, marching through the downtown streets between each performance.

There also will be a Rocket Week Barbecue on Health Sciences Campus Wednesday, Aug. 29. Students, faculty and staff are welcome to stop by from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the patio outside UT Medical Center’s Four Seasons Bistro.

Throughout the week, and especially on “Rocket Thursday,” fans are encouraged to wear their Rocket gear or school colors midnight blue and gold in support of UT. The University celebrates Rocket Thursday each week throughout the school year.

UT faculty and staff also are encouraged to decorate their offices to show their Rocket pride for a chance to win tickets to the game. The contest will begin Friday, Aug. 24, with participants posting photos of their spirited work area with the hashtag #RocketWeek to enter the competition, which ends at 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30. The winner will be announced Friday, Aug. 31, on the UT Athletics Twitter account @ToledoRockets.

On game day, UT will debut Stadium Drive Live, a pregame tailgate event located adjacent to the Glass Bowl on Stadium Drive that will take place prior to the first five Rocket home games this season. Opening three hours prior to kickoff, Stadium Drive Live will give fans an opportunity to enjoy tailgate games and live music performances on the Battery Wholesale stage. Fans will be able to purchase food and beverages from Aramark’s Tailgate Gourmet II booth, which will offer grilled hamburgers and hot dogs and other items, in addition to food trucks and the Bud Light beer garden.

Rocky’s Locker will offer a Rocket Week promotion providing customers a 3×5 flag with the purchase of $50 in Rocket gear, while supplies last. Participate on social media using the hashtag #RocketWeek.

For more information about Rocket Week or to purchase football tickets, stop by the UT Athletic Ticket Office in Savage Arena, go online to utrockets.com or call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

Songfest raises funds to help Veterans Matter start in Cleveland, Columbus

Students at The University of Toledo made a tremendous impact on the lives of homeless veterans in spring semester.

A little more than $60,000 was raised at this year’s Songfest, a UT tradition dating back to 1937 where students from organizations on campus unite in a friendly song and dance competition to raise money for those in need.

Blue Key National Honor Society and Mortar Board National Honor Society raised a little more than $60,000 at Songfest and thanks to a funding match from First Nation, presented a check for $120,056.18 to Veterans Matter. Ken Leslie, founder of Veterans Matter and 1Matters, second from left, accepted the check and posed for a photo with, from left, Amber Gaspirini, Jana Choberka, Patrick Ryan, Cory Black and Rachel Hopkins.

This year, students competed to raise funds for Veterans Matter, an organization based in Toledo dedicated to finding homes for veterans.

For the state of Ohio, Veterans Matter has mainly served veterans in Toledo, Dayton and Cincinnati. However, the money raised by students at UT’s Songfest has allowed the organization to expand to the Cleveland and Columbus areas.

“Veterans Matter is of the utmost importance to me,” said Patrick Ryan, recent UT graduate and one of the philanthropy chairs for the Blue Key National Honor Society at Songfest. “I saw the life-changing impact that Veterans Matter was having and knew that my college career wouldn’t be complete without taking every opportunity to participate and help serve those who have served us.”

Since its establishment in 2012 in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Homeless Veterans program, Veterans Matter has helped house 2,183 veterans and their families.

Veterans Matter allows homeless veterans to receive housing in a short period of time rather than waiting 30 to 60 days to obtain a deposit.

Donations are used as a deposit or first month’s rent allowing veterans and their families to move in as soon as possible.

“The University of Toledo has been this amazing power of compassion in the community in partnership with 1Matters and Veterans Matter,” said Ken Leslie, the founder of both organizations. “It thrills me that The University of Toledo students will be housing the veterans in Buckeye territory.”

By partaking in the event and almost tripling their initial goal for fundraising, the students and their hard work are ensuring that this winter, veterans and their families will have a warm place to call home, Leslie explained.

“It’s incredible to me that we, at The University of Toledo, were able to rally around a cause that resulted in changing lives on such a large scale, not only across the U.S., but right in our own backyard with Cleveland and Columbus,” Ryan said.

The efforts of the community helped change the lives of 80 families, ultimately doubling to 160 with a funding match from First Nation Group, a business dedicated to providing leading respiratory equipment and support to the Veterans Administration, Department of Defense and other federal treatment facilities.

Songfest was a huge team effort, Ryan added, and wouldn’t have achieved success without the help and hard work of Mortar Board National Honor Society, Blue Key National Honor Society, and all of the organization leaders and their teams that participated.

Ryan would like to share his gratitude toward those he worked alongside who devoted much of their time to the event: Rachel Hopkins, fellow philanthropy co-chair; Amber Gasparini and Jana Choberka, Mortar Board philanthropy co-chairs; Cory Black, sponsorship chair for the event; and Ja’Vawn Marbury and Taylor Bowen, who emceed and helped organize Songfest.

Pharmacy dean named dean at Florida A&M University

Dr. Johnnie Early, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, has been named dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Florida A&M University.

Early, who has served UT for 18 years, will begin his tenure at FAMU on Oct. 22.


“I want to thank Dean Early for providing dedicated and innovative leadership of UT’s nationally ranked pharmacy program during his 18 years as dean of the college,” UT Provost Andrew Hsu said. “We thank him for his contributions to The University of Toledo as dean and professor since 2000, and wish him well in his new position at Florida A&M. We will miss his leadership and experience.”

“I have deep appreciation for the wonderful faculty, staff, learners and alumni at The University of Toledo who contributed to the growth and development of the College of Pharmacy and myself as a person,” Early said. “I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish together. It has been an honor to integrate our program more closely with colleagues on the Health Science Campus to advance the opportunities for pharmacy, medical, nursing and other health professional students to learn with and from each other, while also maintaining the collaboration with the Department of Chemistry on Main Campus. The college has progressed to be a comprehensive and complex unit at one of America’s great universities.”

Early began his academic career as a faculty member at FAMU and previously served as dean of the College of Pharmacy for six of the 15 years he was at the university. He also served as dean at the Medical University of South Carolina before joining UT.

“While I will miss my friends and colleagues in Toledo, this was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse to return to where it started,” he said. “I look forward to helping develop FAMU’s new baccalaureate program in the pharmaceutical sciences, further enhancing the residency program, and having the opportunity to lead the only pharmacy school that also includes public health.”

In addition to facilitating the move of the pharmacy program to the Health Science Campus following the merger of UT and the former Medical College of Ohio, Early also presided over the development of the Shimadzu Laboratory for Pharmaceutical Research Excellence and the Pharmaceutical Care and Outcomes Research Laboratory, as well as the addition of outreach programs with Toledo Early College High School, the Walgreens Pharmacy Practice Camp, and the Shimadzu, Amway Pharmaceutical Science Camp.

Under Early’s leadership, student retention and graduation rates in the UT College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences have increased and PharmD students’ pass rates on the state licensure exam have exceeded the national average. Residency training also has grown significantly with newly minted pharmacists in both the UT Medical Center and the Toledo community, as well as significant growth in board-certified practitioners.

A national search will be conducted for a permanent dean of the college with the goal of having that person in place for fall 2019. An interim dean will be selected to lead the college during the transition.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 9 to celebrate Parks Tower renovations

The largest residence hall on The University of Toledo campus is reopening for the 2018-19 academic year after undergoing a $12 million upgrade.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the transformation of Parks Tower will take place Thursday, Aug. 9, at 4:30 p.m. followed by an open house that will end at 6:30 p.m.

Blake Moyer, left, and Matt Moyer of Foundation Steel LLC in Swanton, Ohio, painted the handrails outside Parks Tower, which will open for fall semester after a $12 million renovation.

The closest parking is in lot 9, just south of the Glass Bowl Stadium.

Parks Tower, which will house 668 students this academic year, features new elevators, bathrooms and plumbing fixtures, as well as a new entry vestibule and reinvented main lobby that includes multiple social spaces. The University also added a new fitness center, new furniture for all rooms, program space, quiet zones and kitchenettes. Lounges on each floor were overhauled and redesigned.

“This investment in Parks Tower shows the ongoing commitment of the University and its leadership to listen to our students and provide them with the environments that will help them to be successful not only in the classroom, but also outside the classroom,” Jason Toth, associate vice president for facilities and construction, said.

“We invested in critical maintenance initiatives while also focusing on the needs of the students,” said Valerie Walston, associate vice president for student affairs and director of residence life. “Parks Tower is a welcoming environment for our vibrant campus community.”

Built in 1971, Parks Tower was the University’s first large-scale residence hall. Parks Tower was renovated during the 2017-18 academic year. It houses first-year students.

“From the thoughtful furniture selections and kitchenette additions to the overall improvement of how space is utilized, these renovations are designed to improve student success and make students feel both comfortable and supported,” Matthew Perry, associate director for residential education, said.

Tours and refreshments will be available during the grand opening.

“The open house is an opportunity for incoming students to see their new home that features the amenities they want,” Bradley Menard, UT director for housing, said. “We also have heard from many alumni throughout the summer who plan to be here to see the changes because Parks Tower is the place they started their college experience, met lifelong friends, and made wonderful memories.”

Parks Tower residents will begin moving in Wednesday, Aug. 22.

Single-game football tickets for Miami, Bowling Green on sale Aug. 1

Single-game tickets for Toledo home football games vs. Miami (Fla.) Sept. 15 and Bowling Green Oct. 6 go on sale to the public Wednesday, Aug. 1, at 8:30 a.m.

Single-game tickets for the other five home games are on sale to the general public now.

Current UT athletics donors, Rocket Fund donors and/or football season ticket members have exclusive pre-sale access to the Miami and Bowling Green games through Aug. 1.

Season tickets for 2018 also are on sale. Season tickets and single-game tickets can be purchased at the UT Athletic Ticket Office, located in the Sullivan Athletic Complex at Savage Arena, online at utrockets.com, or by calling 419.530.GOLD (4653).

The Rockets open the 2018 season at home vs. Virginia Military Institute Saturday, Sept. 1.

Photographer frames memories for Art on the Mall

A stolen moment brought life into focus for Agnes L. Barnes.

In 1985, she and her husband, Chet Barnes, were on vacation in California when their friend’s car was broken into; the thief took her vintage camera, an Argus C3.

Agnes and Chet Barnes hold two of her photographs taken at the Toledo Museum of Art and Wildwood Preserve Metropark. The couple will be at Art on the Mall Sunday, July 29.

“Then I bought a Canon Rebel G,” she said. “Right after that, we went to South Africa, and I got some really nice pictures.”

A photograph of three majestic elephants crossing the road at Kruger National Park. A crouching lion near Johannesburg. Thatched-roof huts in Soweto.

“When people saw the photos from South Africa and commented on how great the pictures were, I realized, well, maybe I have an ability many people don’t have. I was 50 years old before I discovered this,” Agnes said and laughed.

“She never had a lesson in photography. She’s taken pictures, pictures and more pictures,” Chet said beaming with pride. “Her first show was in Sylvania in 1994. We had photos hanging on chicken wire under an umbrella. She won a blue ribbon and sold so many photos.”

More shows and awards followed. And more photos.

Freshly fallen snow on the boardwalk at Wildwood Preserve Metropark. UT’s iconic University Hall bell tower. The colorful animal menagerie mural on the railroad bridge over the Anthony Wayne Trail by the Toledo Zoo. A close-up of a pink rose with dewdrops.

Agnes L. Barnes looked at daisies in her garden. She loves taking photographs of flowers.

“A lot of the photos are serendipity,” Chet said. “I hear all the time, ‘Chet, get the camera.’ I’ll think she’s had enough time for a shot, and I look over and her toes are moving her back and forth: She has to get it just right.”

“I like to capture the beauty for others to enjoy that beauty,” Agnes said.

After Chet retired from Toledo Public Schools in 1996, the couple traveled so Agnes could capture more beauty.

The two have been up and down the East Coast, zooming in on lighthouses and old Southern homes. They went to England and visited quaint villages and gorgeous gardens. Island-hopping on Pohnpei, Guam, Saipan and Hawaii found lush, tropical paradises. And during two weeks in China, Agnes pointed her camera at the Great Wall and the Terra Cotta Warriors.

“So many people have told me that looking at my photos is like taking a vacation,” Agnes said.

While her striking images can transport viewers, she didn’t recognize her superpower for years.

“I didn’t look at the camera as an artistic tool; I just looked at it as something to record for future reference,” Agnes said.

“During my early years, I was born in 1937, and then World War II started, and film was very difficult to get. We did not have many pictures of my family growing up. So I made up my mind I was going to make sure I had pictures of my little brother and of my own children someday.”

With her mom’s Brownie camera, Agnes took photos of her baby brother, Paul, who was born in 1950. And then with the Argus C3, she clicked away while her children, John and Beth Ann, were growing up.

When 11-year-old Beth Ann passed away from leukemia in 1980, those images helped Agnes and Chet.

Agnes L. Barnes’ photographs appear in the book, “Choosing the Gift: Dealing With the Loss of a Loved One.”

“Most of the photos of my children were on slides, which turned out to be a really good thing,” Agnes said. “After Beth Ann’s death, I gave talks on how to help grieving families, and I showed slides of her, plus audio of her, so people would feel like they knew her, and they could see where our grief was coming from. I gave talks for 10 years.”

For nearly a decade, Agnes and Chet facilitated a bereavement group for parents.

And some of Agnes’ breathtaking shots of nature are featured in a book, “Choosing the Gift: Dealing With the Loss of a Loved One,” by Dr. Scott Shepherd and the photographer.

“The majority of the pictures I sell are because they bring back memories to my customers, I do believe,” she said.

Agnes and Chet will return to Art on the Mall Sunday, July 29. The cute couple sporting matching T-shirts that say “Eye-Catching Photos by Agnes L. Barnes” will be among more than 100 artists showcasing their work from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the free, juried show on Centennial Mall.

“Art on the Mall is a good show,” Agnes said. “Many of my customers are repeat customers; they return again and again. One lady told me that she has an entire wall that she calls her ‘Agnes wall’ because it is filled with my photos. It’s nice to keep in contact with my customers.”

Chet likes returning to his alma mater each summer; he received a master of education degree and an education specialist in guidance and counselor education in 1973 and 1975, respectfully.

“Every picture has a story,” he said.

“Chet is good at telling stories and keeping people in the booth,” Agnes said and smiled.

A missed photo opportunity is one of his favorite tales.

“The one time we didn’t have a camera was when we met Elvis Presley,” he said. “True story!”

Art on the Mall to return to campus July 29

Art on the Mall will take over UT’s Centennial Mall Sunday, July 29, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This summer marks the free, public event’s 26th year of showcasing a variety of art on Main Campus. Attendees will have the opportunity to view all kinds of art, including acrylic, glass, jewelry, mixed media, photography, pottery and more.

“We welcome and encourage everyone to attend one of northwest Ohio’s signature art shows,” said Ansley Abrams-Frederick, director of alumni programming in the UT Office of Alumni and Annual Engagement. “It’s a great way to spend a summer day — looking at amazing artwork on our beautiful campus.”

A total of 115 artists will have artwork for sale by cash, or guests can pay using a credit card at the artist’s booth or credit card station located in the Thompson Student Union.

Representatives from the Ft. Wayne Museum of Art will jury the works with prizes being awarded to the top artists. UT’s Best of Show award will be given to an artist with an affiliation to the University; students, faculty, staff, retirees, alumni and parents are eligible for this honor.

Throughout the event, guests can listen to live jazz with performances from UT student and alumni groups Minor Frett and the Twenty TwentyFour.

Food and beverages will be for sale throughout the day from vendors that will include Big C’s Smoked Barbeque, Karen Anne’s Kettle Corn, Opa! Gyros, Java Sensations/Let’s Go Nuts, Quinn’s Concessions, Jeanie’s Comfort Cuisine, Snowie Daze, the Petite Fleet, and K & K Concessions.

A beer and wine garden will be at Art on the Mall and offer a selection of adult beverages for guests 21 and older with a valid ID. This year the show will feature three varieties of craft beer from one of the area’s newest establishments, Patron Saints Brewery on Bancroft Street.

In addition, faculty and students from UT’s Ceramics Program in the Department of Art will demonstrate their skills in front of the Thompson Student Union and give guests the chance to “throw a pot.” The UT art students also will have a booth with their work available for sale.

And an area for young artists will allow children to create their own masterpieces.

Free parking for the event will be available in lot 1 south, lot 1 north and lot 13 with a golf cart shuttle service to transport guests and their purchases to and from Centennial Mall if needed.

Art on the Mall is supported by community sponsors 13abc, The Andersons Inc., The Blade, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Mail It, The University of Toledo Federal Credit Union and 101.5 The River.

For more information on Art on the Mall, contact Abrams-Frederick at 419.530.4316 or ansley.abrams@utoledo.edu.

Single-game football tickets on sale July 17; tickets for Miami, BG on sale Aug. 1

Single-game tickets for the 2018 University of Toledo football season for all games except Miami (Sept. 15) and Bowling Green (Oct. 6) go on sale Tuesday, July 17.

Toledo will open the season with three consecutive home games, beginning with the Virginia Military Institute Saturday, Sept. 1. Following a bye week, the Rockets host Miami (Fla.) Sept. 15 and Nevada Sept. 22.

Single-game tickets for the Miami and Bowling Green games will go on sale to the general public Wednesday, Aug. 1.

Current UT Athletics donors, Rocket Fund donors and/or football season ticket members will have exclusive pre-sale access to the Miami and Bowling Green games during the week of July 23.

Season tickets for the 2018 season also are on sale.

To order individual tickets or season tickets, stop by the UT Athletic Ticket Office, located in the Sullivan Athletic Complex at Savage Arena, go online at utrockets.com, or call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

Toledo to play at Illinois in 2023

The University of Toledo football team will play Illinois in Memorial Stadium in Champaign Sept. 2, 2023.

The contest will mark the first meeting between the two schools in football.

“The Illinois game adds another quality opponent to our future non-conference football schedule,” UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien said. “Over the next few years, we will play three teams from the Big Ten [Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State], as well as Kentucky and Notre Dame. These are exciting games for our players and are also close enough for our fans to attend in large numbers.”

Toledo will open the 2018 season with three consecutive home games, beginning with the Virginia Military Institute Saturday, Sept. 1. Following a bye week, the Rockets host Miami (Fla.) Sept. 15 and Nevada Sept. 22.

For season tickets, click here or call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

Basketball season tickets on sale

The University of Toledo Athletic Department announced this week that 2018-19 men’s and women’s basketball season tickets are now on sale.

Season ticket plans are available with a variety of pricing options, benefits and new opportunities.

Season ticket options for men’s basketball include the lower level premium blue and gold sections. These premium areas are some of the very best seats in Savage Arena and require a Rocket Fund premium seat payment.

New to the 2018-19 season is the expansion of the premium purple season ticket package to include Section 101 and part of Section 110. Season tickets for this section start at just $180 plus a premium seat payment of $75. Other reserved season ticket options for the men are available in the upper east level starting at $80.

The Rocket men registered a 23-11 record last year, including a trip to the Mid-American Conference Championship Game, and will return four starters for the 2018-19 campaign. Senior guard Jaelan Sanford earned second-team All-MAC honors last year and ranked ninth in the MAC with 16.3 points per game and a 40.3 three-point shooting mark. Senior forward Nate Navigato set a school record last year with 94 three-pointers and ranked second in the MAC with a 42.7 three-point percentage. Also returning will be the junior duo of center Luke Knapke (10.8 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game) and forward Willie Jackson (7.6 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game), as well as All-MAC Freshman Team member Marreon Jackson (8.0 points per game, 2.7 assists per game).

Women’s basketball elite reserved season tickets are $150 in sections 108, 109 and the first five rows of section 102 and 103. General admission season tickets for women’s basketball are priced at $95.

The Rocket women made their sixth Postseason WNIT appearance last year. UT defeated Horizon League member Wright State, 64-50, in the first round before falling at Big Ten foe Michigan State, 68-66. Two-time All-MAC honoree senior Mikaela Boyd (12.1 points per game, 8.0 rebounds per game, 4.2 assists per game), 2017-18 third-team All-MAC selection senior Kaayla McIntyre (16.0 points per game, 7.7 rebounds per game) and 2016-17 All-MAC Freshman Team recipient junior Mariella Santucci (6.4 points per game, 4.1 assists per game) will be the focal points of UT’s offense in 2018-19.

Another new option for the 2018-19 basketball season is a youth season ticket price (50 percent discount for 12 and younger) in all areas.

Also, the UT Athletic Department is pleased to announce a ticket exchange program where season ticket members can exchange tickets for games they cannot attend. Season ticket members may exchange a ticket they are not using for a ticket of equal or lesser value to a future home game. Some restrictions may apply, and all ticket exchanges are based upon availability. In addition, exchanges must be made at least 48 hours in advance of the game by the physical ticket in at the UT Ticket Office.

A limited number of club and loge seats also are on sale. Fans may contact the Athletic Development Office at 419.530.4183 for more information or to purchase.

Full-time UT employees and retirees may purchase up to two season tickets at half-price. Additional season tickets may be purchased at the full price.

Fans who order season tickets by the early bird deadline of Friday, Aug. 10, will receive a Glass City Basketball T-shirt (one shirt per account). Additional benefits include:

• Discount to Rocky’s Locker;

• Complimentary general admission parking (Rocket Fund donors receive premium parking);

• Special discounts from corporate partners of the UT Athletic Department;

• Invitations to various Athletic Department special events throughout the year;

• Pre-sales for special events; and

• Rocket Athletic Department emails.

For more information or to purchase season tickets, visit the UT Athletic Ticket Office in the Sullivan Athletic Complex in Savage Arena, contact the UT Athletic Ticket Office at 419.530.GOLD (4653), or go online at utrockets.com/tix.