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Rocket Innovations seeks applications for Student Venture Investment Program

Rocket Innovations, The University of Toledo’s technology investment fund, has seen recent return on its investments and is ready to invest in new technology business ventures.

Current UT undergraduate and graduate students, as well as recent UT alumni within one year of graduation, are invited to submit ideas for a new technology venture that may lead to up to a $20,000 investment from Rocket Innovations.

The purpose of the program is to provide critical early funding and mentoring to move a promising idea for a new venture into a successful business enterprise.

More information on the program and application materials are available on the Rocket Innovation website.

All applicants are required to participate in UT’s I-Corps or other customer discovery process and must be able to demonstrate a clear market need and a viable business model to support the venture.

Those receiving funding will be provided mentoring from Rocket Innovations staff and the UT LaunchPad Incubation Program.

Opportunities for funding to support critical services from the Northwest Ohio Entrepreneurial Services Program, NextTech, will be available to successful student entrepreneurs.

In addition, mentoring will assist the student entrepreneur(s) in moving her or his venture to the next level, positioning the venture for follow-on funding and revenue generation, and taking the enterprise toward a desired exit.

The Rocket Innovations Board of Directors has approved $100,000 in support of this new program. The board approved this funding because of the recent positive performance of the Rocket Innovations portfolio, where previous business investments have returned funds into the program.

For more information, contact Dr. Norman Rapino, executive director of Rocket Innovations, at 419.530.6165 or norman.rapino@utoledo.edu.

Toledo’s 2019 football schedule features six home games

The University of Toledo’s 2019 football schedule was released today, with six games on the home slate for the Rockets. Toledo will open the season at Kentucky Saturday, Aug. 31, and will debut at home Saturday, Sept. 14, vs. Murray State.

Highlighting the home schedule is a Sept. 28 matchup with traditional power Brigham Young University. The Rockets and the Cougars met in a high-scoring classic in Provo in 2016, with BYU coming away with a 55-53 victory on a last-second field goal.

The Rockets also will host defending Mid-American Conference Champion Northern Illinois in a Wednesday night meeting Nov. 13.

Rounding out the home schedule is a matchup vs. Western Michigan Saturday, Oct. 5, in the annual Homecoming game; a date with Eastern Michigan Saturday, Oct. 26; and a clash with Kent State Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Toledo’s road schedule will begin with its first-ever meeting on the gridiron with Kentucky. The Wildcats were 10-3 in 2018, their best season since the 1977 squad went 10-1. UT’s other non-conference road contest is at Colorado State of the Mountain West Conference Saturday, Sept. 21.

The MAC road games are Saturday, Oct. 12, at Bowling Green; Saturday, Oct. 19, at Ball State; Wednesday, Nov. 20, at defending East Division champion Buffalo; and Friday, Nov. 29, at Central Michigan.

Three games on the 2019 schedule have already been set for national TV broadcasts: Nov. 5 vs. Kent State (ESPN2/ESPNU or CBS Sports Network), Nov. 13 vs. Northern Illinois (ESPN2 or ESPNU), and Buffalo (ESPN2 or ESPNU). Other dates will be added to the broadcast schedule later.

Head Football Coach Jason Candle’s 2019 squad returns 51 letterwinners and 14 starters from last season’s team, including sophomore running back Bryant Koback, who led the Rockets with 917 yards rushing as a freshman. The Rockets were 7-6 in 2018, and are one of only nine schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision that have had a winning record in each of the past nine seasons.

Rocket fans can get a preview of the 2019 team at the annual spring scrimmage Friday, April 12, at 7 p.m. in the Glass Bowl.

The 2019 season also will mark the 150th anniversary of the first college football game between Rutgers and Princeton Nov. 6, 1869. To commemorate the occasion, UT will feature social media posts all season long highlighting the tradition of Toledo football. In addition, a special celebration of Rocket football history will take place at the Nov. 5 game vs. Kent State.

Rocket football season tickets are on sale for as low as $70.

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. UT students are admitted to home games free with ID.

For more information, go online to the Toledo Rockets’ website, call 419.530.GOLD (4653), or stop by the UT Athletic Ticket Office during business hours.

Toledo-born actress to give commencement address

Katie Holmes, an internationally recognized actress, producer and director, will return to her hometown to inspire The University of Toledo graduates at the spring commencement ceremony.

Holmes

The Toledo-born actress who has appeared in more than 30 films and television programs will be the commencement speaker for the undergraduate ceremony Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m. in the Glass Bowl.

The UT Board of Trustees approved Monday an honorary degree for Holmes, in addition to several other board actions.

Holmes made her feature film debut in “The Ice Storm” in 1997, and her breakout role came a year later as Joey Potter in the television series “Dawson’s Creek,” which she portrayed for six years.

Her film credits include “Go,” “Wonder Boys,” “Batman Begins” and “All We Had,” which is one of several projects in which she served as director and producer. In addition, her Broadway experience includes appearing in “All My Sons” and “Dead Accounts.”

Holmes managed and designed the fashion line Holmes & Yang, with her partner Jeanne Yang from 2009 to 2014, and is the co-founder of the Dizzy Feet Foundation that supports dance education in the United States. Holmes is a graduate of Toledo’s Notre Dame Academy. Her father, Martin Holmes Sr., and brother, Martin Holmes Jr., are graduates of the UT College of Law.

Parazynski

Trustees also approved an honorary degree for Dr. Scott Parazynski, a physician, astronaut and inventor, who will address graduates of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences at its commencement ceremony Friday, May 10, at 4 p.m. in Savage Arena.

Parazynski spent 17 years as an astronaut during which time he flew five space shuttle missions and conducted seven spacewalks. In 2016, he was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame at Kennedy Space Center.

Parazynski trained for a career in emergency medicine and trauma and has applied his expertise in the human adaptation to stressful environments. He is founder and CEO of Fluidity Technologies, a company focused on developing disruptive robotic control devices for everything from drones to surgical robots.

In other business, the Board of Trustees approved a proposal for a new Master of Applied Business Analytics Degree Program in the College of Business and Innovation. The program’s goal is to meet a growing demand for skilled professionals with analytical problem-solving skills who can apply real-time solutions to business problems.

The proposed 30-credit-hour program combines functional areas of business with business analytics courses and would conclude with an internship project or thesis. The proposal next will be submitted to the Ohio Department of Higher Education. With approval, the program would start by fall semester 2020.

Also approved by trustees were housing and meal plan rates for the upcoming academic year for continuing and incoming students who are not in the current cohort of the Toledo Tuition Guarantee Plan. Dining rates will increase 2.8 percent, with a maximum of $4 more per week depending on the meal plan selected, and housing fees will increase an average of 2.9 percent, which represents an increase of up to $19.60 per week. The new housing and dining rates will help to cover increased costs of operations.

A new collective bargaining agreement with The University of Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association (UTPPA) also was approved by the trustees. The agreement, which runs from Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2021, was ratified by the union Jan. 9. There are 26 employees represented by the UTPPA who will receive wage increases of 1.8 percent effective Jan. 1, 2019, 2 percent effective Jan. 1, 2020, and 2.2 percent effective Jan. 1, 2021.

Late jazz faculty member to be celebrated with special concert Feb. 20

UT students and faculty members will honor jazz pianist Tad Weed with a special concert.

“Tad Remembered” will be held Wednesday, Feb. 20, at 7 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.

Weed

Weed, associate professor of music, lost his battle with cancer Aug. 22. He was 61. He joined the UT faculty as an assistant professor of jazz piano in 2011 and was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2017. Weed taught jazz piano, arranging and improvisation, and was co-director of Vocalstra, a vocal jazz ensemble founded by legendary singer Jon Hendricks.

Leonard Feather acknowledged Weed’s career in “The Encyclopedia of Jazz.” Feather wrote, “…pianist Weed displays a very rare ability to cross over from dashing bop lines to rich impressions, he has all of the bases covered from funky blues to the border of the avant-garde.”

Weed’s discography contains more than 30 recordings that feature his playing, arrangements and compositions. He toured with Anita O’Day and Carmen McRae; for more than a decade, he was the music director for Paul Anka. The list of artists he performed with included Chaka Khan, Jack Jones, Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Frank Morgan and David (Fathead) Newman.

The concert will feature a host of performers: the UT Student Jazz Combo and UT music alumni, including Matt and Atla DeChamplain, Will Bennett, the group Talking Ear, Estar Cohen, Travis Aukerman, Ben Maloney and Dan Palmer.

UT music faculty also will perform: Norm Damschroder, Ellie Martin, Dr. Olman E. Piedra and Jay Weik.

An added treat will be a special video encore of Weed performing with UT music student Isabella Weik.

Songs to be performed include “The Road Leads,” music by Weed with lyrics by Cohen; “Cowboy Poetry Life” by Weed; “Just One of Those Things” by Cole Porter; and “When You Wish Upon a Star” by Cliff Edwards.

This performance is the 2019 Art Tatum Memorial Scholarship Concert. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the scholarship program.

Tickets are $15 for general admission; $10 for UT employees, alumni, senior citizens, and veterans and members of the military; and $5 for students and children. Tickets are available at the door, but purchasing them in advance is recommended. They are available on the School of Visual and Performing Arts website, or by calling the Center for Performing Arts Box Office at 419.530.ARTS (2787).

During the concert, parking is free in the lot across from the Center for Performing Arts.

Inaugural class of Toledo Fire Department paramedics among this year’s inductees to UT Emergency Medicine Wall of Honor

The University of Toledo will add 14 names to the Emergency Medicine Wall of Honor at the eighth annual induction ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 5. Inductees will include the first group of Toledo firefighters to be certified as paramedics.

This year’s other honorees are a longtime clinical nursing educator and an emergency medical services outreach education coordinator.

The ceremony will begin at noon in Collier Building Room 1000B on Health Science Campus with a welcome from UT President Sharon L. Gaber. A reception with light refreshments will begin at 11:30 a.m.

Dr. Kristopher Brickman, professor and senior associate dean for innovation in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and Dr. Christopher Cooper, executive vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, also are scheduled to give remarks.

“This award recognizes people who have been instrumental in developing and defining what emergency care is in our region,” Brickman said. “We want to honor some of our unsung heroes of emergency medicine who have helped save lives and made a real difference in our community.”

The Emergency Medicine Wall of Honor, made possible through funding from IPI Insta-Plak Inc. and The Blade, was established in 2011 to celebrate the achievements of those who are committed to service within the emergency medicine community.

Each year, nominations are submitted by a committee of community stakeholders and reviewed by a multidisciplinary selection committee. This year’s group is larger because of the inclusion of all 12 members of the Toledo Fire Department’s first paramedic class.

“Those firefighters were a unique group of people who basically were out there doing something that nobody else had done before,” Brickman said. “For our region they were the pioneers.”

The honorees this year are:

• Patricia Rice Yancy, registered nurse. Yancy, who earned master’s degrees in education and public health from UT after completing a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Mary Manse College, initiated several training courses for nurses, including critical care and flight nurse programs. She has been instrumental in training thousands of nurses, doctors and other pre-hospital employees throughout her career. She recently retired from Lourdes University.

• Patricia Ann Ambrose, paramedic. Ambrose was the EMS outreach education coordinator for Mercy Health St. Vincent Medical Center Life Flight and Mobile Life. She also was a lifelong EMS and life support educator, including playing an integral role in the paramedic education program and the former Medical University of Ohio. Ambrose died in 2018.

• Members of the Toledo Fire Department paramedic class of 1974. They are William Brown, Michael Condon, James Dugan, David Hilton (posthumous recognition), Alan Janney, Paul Johnston, Renzo Meraldo, James Markland, Ralph Mungons, Samuel Reynolds, Barney Rouster (posthumous recognition) and Daniel Thedford. The 1974 class was the first group of firefighters to train as paramedics in Toledo as part of a joint project with the former Medical College of Ohio. They were pioneers in their field and are uniquely responsible for building and advancing emergency medical services in Lucas County.

A plaque for each honoree will be added to the wall, located in the Emergency Department of The University of Toledo Medical Center, near the ambulance entrance.

Rocket Football Signing Day Show to air on ESPN3 Feb. 6

The University of Toledo will produce and air the 2019 Rocket Football Signing Day Show on ESPN3 Wednesday, Feb. 6, at 2 p.m.

Brent Balbinot, the voice of the Rockets, will host the one-hour studio show along with Toledo Head Football Coach Jason Candle and the UT coaching staff. The coaches will review the Rockets’ 2019 recruiting class and show video highlights of each signee.

Feb. 6 is the first day of the second signing period in which high school seniors are allowed to sign national letters of intent. The Rockets signed 18 recruits during the early signing period Dec. 19.

The Rockets will open the 2019 season at Kentucky Saturday, Aug. 31. The home season includes six games, including a Sept. 28 matchup with Brigham Young University.

UT employees and retirees may purchase tickets at half-price; UT students are admitted free with ID.

For season ticket information, call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

Theatre department to present ‘The Pillowman’

The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film will present Martin McDonagh’s Tony Award-winning play titled “The Pillowman” Friday through Sunday, Feb. 1-3 and 8-10, in the Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre.

Friday and Saturday performances will be at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday shows are at 2 p.m.

In “The Pillowman,” Katurian, a fiction writer abused as a child, churns out bizarre novels with violent plot twists that raise the suspicions of the police when his stories align a little too closely with a recent string of child murders. During his interrogation, Katurian reveals the horrid childhood experiences that informed his craft.

Quincy Joyner, assistant lecturer of theatre, is directing the production.

“There are brutal moments in this play. That’s how Martin McDonagh writes. But he dares us to look past the surface of the story’s characters,” Joyner said. “There are moments of humor and intellect in the writer who writes about horrific things, in the police officers who want the world to be a safer place, in the younger brother who has a childhood filled with dreadful experiences. It is a play that challenges the audience as much as it entertains.”

The cast features Hanna Gerlica, a junior majoring in pharmacy, as Mother; Bryan Harkins, a senior majoring in theatre, as Tupolski; Becca Lustic, a junior majoring in theatre, as Michal; Abbey Mulinix, a student at Wildwood Environmental Academy, as Little Jesus Girl; Grace Mulinix, a freshman majoring in theatre, as Katurian; Faith Murphy, a junior majoring in theatre, as Ariel; Justin Petty, a sophomore majoring in theatre, as Father; and Christian Soto, a freshman majoring in theatre, as Pillow Boy/Brother.

Members of the design team are Dr. Edmund Lingan, professor and chair of theatre and film, producer; Scott Hunt, UT alumnus and faculty member, composer; Kristin Ellert, set designer; Daniel Thobias, associate professor of theatre, costume designer; Stephen Sakowski, assistant professor of theatre, lighting designer; Ryan Peters-Hieber, a senior majoring in theatre design technology, sound designer; Kevin Upham, a senior majoring in theatre, stage manager; and Logan Fleming, a sophomore majoring in theatre, assistant stage manager.

Tickets are $10 for students; $12 for UT faculty, staff and alumni, and military members and seniors; and $18 for the general public. Call 419.530.ARTS (2787) or go to the School of Visual and Performing Arts’ website. Tickets also will be available at the door.

Volunteers to pack 200,000 meals at UT to feed families

For the third year in a row, volunteers will gather in shifts and don hairnets at The University of Toledo to assemble nearly a quarter of a million meals to feed families Friday and Saturday, Feb. 1-2, in the Health Education Building on Main Campus.

The two-day mobile pack, part of the Feed My Starving Children program, is organized by 90 UT students who are members of the Klar Leadership Academy in the College of Business and Innovation. The academy was founded in 2015 with the support of Steven Klar, a 1971 UT business alumnus and a New York City builder and real estate developer.

More than 1,000 UT students, employees and alumni, as well as teams from companies around Toledo, will split into groups to assemble nutritious rice meals with vegetable blend, vitamins and minerals. The meals are scientifically formulated for undernourished children.

The organizers raised $45,000 and set a goal to build 200,000 meals. Last year volunteers made 173,000 meals.

“The University of Toledo has a global impact, and the students are the driving force behind this incredible initiative to fight hunger worldwide,” said Dr. Clint Longenecker, Distinguished University Professor and director of the Center for Leadership and Organizational Excellence in the UT College of Business and Innovation. “The way this event has grown in only three years is a testament to our community’s mission to solve problems and help others.”

The shifts will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, and from 9 to 11 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2.

“Due to overwhelming generosity, the shifts filled up quickly and we are no longer in need of volunteers,” Longenecker said. “In fact, we have a backlog of people who want to join. It’s a great problem to have.”

UT Conference for Aspiring Minority Youth to serve up inspiration

“Onward and Upward: Persisting Through Barriers and Obstacles” is the theme of The University of Toledo’s 35th annual Conference for Aspiring Minority Youth Saturday, Jan. 26.

Sponsored by Toledo Excel and the UT Joint Committee, the conference for seventh- and eighth-graders, high school students and parents will start at 8:30 a.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

“The conference provides parents with methods to help students plan for their academic and professional futures,” David Young, director of Toledo Excel and Special Projects, said. “And we teach students to anticipate potential obstacles to achieving their goals and equip them with the skills necessary to overcome those obstacles.”

Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, a distinguished student success scholar, will give the keynote address.

Strayhorn is the founding chief executive officer of Do Good Work Educational Consulting LLC, and professor of urban education and interim vice president of academic and student affairs at LeMoyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tenn. The authority on equity and diversity has written several books, including “College Students’ Sense of Belonging: A Key to Educational Success.” He is known for using the hashtag #DoGoodWork on social media.

“Many underrepresented students find that their success is hindered by barriers and obstacles that they did not create. With this year’s conference, we wanted to make it clear to them that they could be successful in spite of those barriers,” Young said. “Dr. Strayhorn is nationally recognized for his work with underrepresented students, and we felt he was the ideal choice to give the keynote address.”

Also scheduled to speak is Christopher Scott, founder of Reach to Teach National, an organization that provides motivational service to youth throughout the country. The Cleveland, Ohio, native is the author of “7 Secrets to Surviving College.”

Scott

“Chris is someone who we are very familiar with as he is a UT alum and also worked in our Office of Admission after graduation,” Young said. “We will be using his wonderful book as part of our Toledo Excel curriculum and are excited for him to lead a session for our parents and students on academic success and persistence.”

Scott received a bachelor of science degree and a master of education degree in education theory and social foundations from the University in 2014 and 2017, respectively.

Toledo Excel was established in 1988 to help underrepresented students, including African, Asian, Hispanic and Native Americans, for success in college. Through summer institutes, academic retreat weekends, campus visits and guidance through the admission process, students increase their self-esteem, cultural awareness and civic involvement.

Toledo Excel is part of the Office of Multicultural Student Success, which is in the Division of Student Affairs. The UT Joint Committee includes representatives from the University, Toledo Public and Parochial schools, and civic and community leaders from the city of Toledo. The mission of the committee is to bring together people in the community interested in the education of underrepresented youth. The UT Joint Committee also serves as an advisory board and support system for Toledo Excel.

Advance reservations for the free, public conference are encouraged; visit the Toledo Excel website or call 419.530.3820.

Three Rockets to play in all-star football games Jan. 19

Three former University of Toledo football standouts will play in post-season all-star games Saturday, Jan. 19.

Cody Thompson and Ka’dar Hollman will participate for the West squad in the 94th annual East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m., and the contest will be broadcast on the NFL Network.

Jon’Vea Johnson will play in the National Football League Players Association Collegiate Bowl at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Calif. The game will be broadcast on FS1 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

Thompson was a two-time, first-team All-Mid-American Conference wide receiver for the Rockets. He caught 181 passes for 3,312 yards and a school-record 30 touchdowns in his career. As a senior, he had 48 receptions for 647 yards and 10 TDs, and was named second-team Academic All-America. He also has been invited to attend the NFL Combine Feb. 26-March 4 in Indianapolis.

Hollman was a three-year starter at cornerback. For his career, he compiled 114 tackles, two interceptions and 27 pass breakups. As a senior, he tied for the MAC lead with 12 breakups.

Johnson, a wide receiver, was a two-time All-MAC pick, earning second-team honors in 2016 and third-team honors in 2018. For his career, he caught 123 passes for 2,224 yards and 24 TDs. This past season, Johnson had 32 receptions for 660 yards and nine scores.