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UToledo alumna to speak at United Nations on Earth Day

Markie Miller, who received a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology from The University of Toledo in 2012, has been invited by the United Nations to speak before its General Assembly in New York City.

On Earth Day, Monday, April 22, Miller will be featured at the Ninth Interactive Dialogue of the General Assembly on Harmony With Nature.


Miller and Crystal Jankowski of Toledoans for Safe Water will travel to the Big Apple for the event. Miller plans to talk about the rights of nature movement, which views nature as an entity that has legal rights.

The two women worked for the Lake Erie Charter Initiative passed by Toledo voters in February, recognizing a Lake Erie Bill of Rights. With it, Lake Erie’s right to thrive, exist and flourish is protected in contrast to its treatment as property to be debased for the financial gains of special interests, according to Miller.

Miller plans to talk about the rights of nature movement, which views nature as an entity that has legal rights.

“I am honored to represent my community and this initiative,” Miller said. “I’m passionate about community rights and rights of nature; to represent those movements on such an international platform is a humbling and rewarding occasion.

“I’ve found my place in the environmental movement and it’s exactly where I want to be.”

In an invitation, Maria Mercedes Sanchez, coordinator of the UN Harmony With Nature Program, wrote to Miller, “I take this opportunity to congratulate you for the key role you have played in the passing of legislation granting rights to Lake Erie.”

Lake Erie’s newfound legal status is part of the growing international rights of nature movement that has been adopted by various Indigenous groups, including the Ho-Chunk Nation in Wisconsin, the Ponca Nation in Oklahoma and, most recently, the White Earth Nation in Minnesota regarding protection of their wild rice fields.

However, the battle is not over as Lake Erie’s legal status will be challenged by the concentrated animal feeding operations in the Maumee River watershed, according to Miller.

“The life of the [Lake Erie Bill of Rights] is still uncertain, but one thing is for sure: We have made waves across the globe,” Miller said. “The story has received national and international attention — serving as a model for other communities looking to secure their rights and protect the very environments that sustain them.”

Miller, who received a master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Idaho, is on the board of directors for the Ohio Community Rights Network and the National Community Rights Network.

When she graduated from UToledo in 2012, Miller was recognized as the Outstanding Anthropology Student, Outstanding Foreign Language Student (German), and Outstanding Graduate of the College of Arts and Letters.

Second annual Lessons in LeadHERship set for April 30

The University of Toledo women’s basketball program will host its second annual Lessons in LeadHERship Conference Tuesday, April 30.

The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

The conference is designed to help grow female leadership in the Toledo community and is being sponsored by Rocket alumna Kelly Savage from Savage & Associates.

“I was thrilled to have 350-plus people at last year’s inaugural conference, and I’m hopeful we can top that number this year with another outstanding lineup of speakers,” Toledo Head Women’s Basketball Coach Tricia Cullop said. “My hope is that this event continues to grow, as well as inspires current and future female leaders.”

Guest speakers at the conference will be:

• Holly Dunn, survivor and advocate. The only known survivor of the Railroad Serial Killer co-founded Holly’s House, a child and adult advocacy center for victims of intimate crimes.

• Lin Dunn, who was inducted in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014. She has 40 years of women’s collegiate basketball coaching experience and coached for 11 seasons in the WNBA.

• Dr. Adrienne King, UToledo associate vice president of marketing and communications. The 2018 Leadership American Program graduate joined UToledo in January from Murray State University. Under King’s leadership Murray State grew private support by an average of 47 percent and tripled the size of the school’s alumni association.

• Diana Patton, UToledo law alumna and author of “Inspiration in My Shoes,” a 2016 memoir that chronicles overcoming abuse, racism and heartache. The CEO of Diana R. Patton Consulting LLC is an attorney who speaks about leadership, emotional intelligence, diversity, inclusion and equity. She serves on the UToledo College of Health and Human Services’ board and the UToledo paralegal advisory board.

• Rhonda Sewell, manager of external and governmental affairs for the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. She was a journalist with The Blade for 18 years. Sewell is a member of the Toledo Press Club and is on the ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital Foundation board of directors.

• Sharon Speyer, president of the northwest Ohio region of Huntington National Bank, a subsidiary of Huntington Bancshares, a $100 billion regional bank holding company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. The UToledo law alumna is a member of the University Board of Trustees.

Chrys Peterson, former WTOL news anchor, will serve as the emcee.

The cost to attend is $50 per individual and $25 for high school and college students.

For more information, contact Lauren Flaum, director of women’s basketball operations, at 419.530.2363 or lauren.flaum2@utoledo.edu.

University Women’s Commission recognizes employees, awards scholarships to students

Six UToledo employees were honored for exceptional achievement and dedication to the campus community at the 33rd annual Outstanding Women’s Award ceremony.

More than 80 attended the University Women’s Commission program, which was held April 10 in the Savage Arena Joe Grogan Room.

Tricia Cullop, who just became the winningest coach in UToledo women’s basketball history with 241 victories, spoke at the luncheon.

Receiving the Dr. Alice H. Skeens Outstanding Woman Award were, from left, Angela Roach, Margaret “Peg” Traband, Linda Curtis, Dr. Amy Thompson, Dr. Julie Fischer-Kinney and Amanda Schwartz Clark.

The recipients of the Dr. Alice H. Skeens Outstanding Woman Award were:

Linda J. Curtis, secretary 2 in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. Curtis joined the University as an office assistant at the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women in 2002. She received a bachelor of arts degree and a certificate of diversity management from the University.

“Ms. Curtis is a truly exceptional champion, manager, coordinator, mentor, and an all-around excellent human being,” one nominator wrote. “In her 17th year at the University, Ms. Curtis still approaches every day and every person with a warm, friendly grace that is contagious and a living example of the best of what we want the UToledo community to be. Because I have the good fortune of having an office next to hers, I get to see firsthand how she manages it all — the multiple demanding people, the seriously heavy workload, the sheer variety and volume of the demands of her job — with grace and good cheer. She never fails to make time to connect, support, help or offer a warm gesture. Ms. Curtis also has maintained a high level of institutional involvement. She organized a support group for women that she continued to facilitate in our department, after work hours, long after she left her position at the Eberly Center for Women.”

Dr. Julie Fischer-Kinney, assistant provost for student success and retention in the Office of the Provost. She has worked at the University for 20 years, starting as an academic program coordinator in the Chemical Engineering Department. Fischer-Kinney also has served as director of student services in the College of Nursing; director of New Student Orientation Programs; associate dean and interim dean of YouCollege; and director of success coaching. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration majoring in marketing, and master of education and doctoral degrees in higher education from the University.

“I became familiar with Julie during the various Toledo Academic Advising Association meetings and noticed her passion for the advancement of student services, professional staff, and the mission of The University of Toledo,” a nominator wrote. “I have watched Julie provide her staff with valuable training, team meetings, and time to connect. In order to save the institution funding, she wrote mini-grants to be able to afford National Academic Advising Association webinars and has invited advisors across campus from various colleges to participate in these webinars. I have watched as she is investing in those around her — not just her staff, but The University of Toledo community at large through the work she is doing. I am impressed by her dedication, active engagement and forward thinking.”

Angela Roach, senior associate director of financial aid in the Office of Financial Aid. The UToledo graduate began working at her alma mater in 2007.

“I have called her numerous times about a student in need of financial assistance. She goes above and beyond searching for scholarships to help that student continue his or her education here at the University. She is a positive influence in the support of women’s issues and an advocate for students; she truly loves what she does,” one nominator wrote. Another noted, “We routinely receive calls from students in need of assistance with not just tuition, but for car repairs and medical bills and a myriad of issues that may keep students from completing their education. Angie is always two steps ahead of us by researching, based on the students’ majors and profiles, what resources are on hand for students. Her response is always, ‘Please send them directly to me.’ I can honestly say that there has not been a time that Angie has not found a way to assist a student in some way. And she does it all with a positive attitude.”

Amanda Schwartz Clark, associate director of alumni engagement in the Office of Alumni Engagement. She has worked at the University since 2008.

“Amanda engages with, supports and promotes UToledo alumni. Her efforts range widely from strategy, event planning, professional development and marketing to being the boots on the ground, strengthening University relations at alumni events around the United States,” a nominator wrote. “Besides her passion for UToledo and our alumni, Amanda is a leader and inspiration in the local running community. In 2014, she created and built an ambassador program for the Glass City Marathon. In this role, she cultivates and supports the local running community to participate in the Glass City Marathon whether as a runner, volunteer, sideline cheerleader, or a friend in the neighborhoods where the marathon course travels. As the program grew, so did her role. Now she volunteers at local races, manages the social media, works in targeted race promotions, and has a team of 19 ambassadors. Most importantly, she is a role model and an inspiration to other runners. She encourages and supports new runners, guiding them to opportunities and running classes that will help them to accomplish their own personal running goals.”

Dr. Amy Thompson, vice provost for faculty affairs, professor of public health, and co-director of the Center for Health and Successful Living. She joined the faculty in 2008 and has served as president of Faculty Senate. A University graduate, Thompson received a doctorate in health education and master of science and education degree in public health.

“Since joining the University, Dr. Thompson has made significant contributions in the areas of teaching, research, publications, university/college/department service and community engagement. Some of her achievements include being director of a top-ranked Public Health Doctoral Program; co-chairing the University Opioid Task Force, the University Sexual Assault Task Force and the Associate to Professor Program; and serving as a Mid-American Conference Leadership Fellow, Provost Fellow, and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Fellow,” one nominator wrote. “She also is to be commended for her exemplary work through the Center for Health and Successful Living with breast cancer survivors. She provided not only health screenings and the opportunity for advanced medical treatments, but the ability to interact and support — and receive support from — other survivors. Dr. Thompson became a mentor and friend to these women and assisted in making the University a guiding light for their recovery.”

Margaret F. “Peg” Traband, who retired as senior vice provost of academic affairs in 2018. She began her career at UToledo as an instructor in the Respiratory Care Program in 1975 at the former University Community and Technical College. The UToledo alumna served the Respiratory Care Program as director of clinical education and program director. She was promoted to professor in 1991. Traband also was an associate dean and interim dean of the College of Health Science and Human Service (now Health and Human Services) prior to joining the Office of the Provost in 2008.

“I first worked with Peg when she became the leader of the UT Learning Collaborative in 2008,” a nominator wrote. “Though this unit only lasted a few years, under her leadership, she helped to grow the study abroad program, with the eventual creation of the Center for International Studies and Programs. She also assisted in the creation of the Rathbun Cove for the Learning Collaborative. Through working with her in the Office of the Provost, I have learned a lot about higher education. She is willing to share her knowledge about state regulations and the ins and outs of curriculum and program development.”

The University Women’s Commission also presented $1,000 scholarships to four students. Receiving awards based on academic achievement, support of women’s and gender issues, and campus involvement were Diala Abou-Dahech, a senior majoring in recreational therapy; Laura Heckenmueller, a senior majoring in pharmaceutical sciences; Elizabeth Konopka, a senior majoring in history; and Rose Mansel-Pleydell, a senior majoring in art.

Four seniors received scholarships from the University Women’s Commission. They are, from left, Rose Mansel-Pleydell, Laura Heckenmueller, Elizabeth Konopka and Diala Abou-Dahech.

Toledo women’s basketball ranks No. 30 nationally in home attendance in 2018-19

The NCAA released its final home attendance figures for the 2018-19 season April 8 and the Toledo women’s basketball team finished No. 30 in the country, averaging 3,728 fans per contest.

The Rockets also led the Mid-American Conference in attendance for an unprecedented 29th consecutive season.

Toledo led the Mid-American Conference in attendance an unprecedented 29th consecutive season in 2018-19 and ranked No. 30 in the NCAA, averaging 3,728 fans per home game.

Toledo drew at least 4,000 fans to seven of its 17 home contests during the year; this includes a season best 6,059 against 2019 NCAA Championship finalist Notre Dame Dec. 8, the third-largest crowd in school history.

The Rockets have ranked in the top 30 nationally in home attendance in seven of the last eight years under Head Coach Tricia Cullop. The Midnight Blue and Gold also finished No. 28 (3,748) in 2011-12, No. 25 (4,012) in 2012-13, No. 24 (3,932) in 2013-14, No. 28 (3,636) in 2014-15, No. 24 (4,050) in 2015-16, No. 27 (3,744) in 2016-17 and No. 31 (3,420) in 2017-18.

In 11 years under Cullop, the Rockets are 137-40 (.774) on their home court, including 77-22 (.778) against conference opponents.

Toledo also has won at least 11 home contests in nine seasons under Cullop, including a school-record 19 victories during the 2010-11 campaign.

Spring football scrimmage, food trucks, games, prizes highlight annual fan event

The Toledo Rockets will hold their annual Blue and Gold Spring Football Scrimmage at the Glass Bowl Friday, April 12. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Admission is free.

The scrimmage will use a running clock and is expected to last about one hour. Player autographs will be available for fans immediately following the game in the west stadium concourse.

Bryant Koback and the Rockets will compete in their annual spring
scrimmage Friday, April 12, at 7 p.m. in the Glass Bowl.

Fans may enter the Glass Bowl via Gate A, located on the west side of the stadium near the press tower. Fans can park in lots 9 or 10.

Earlier in the day, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Rockets will host Food Court Fridays on campus in lot 6 adjacent to the UT Outdoor Track. Food trucks from Deet’s BBQ and Rosie’s Rolling Chef will be on campus for Rocket fans to purchase lunch.

Fans also will have the opportunity to renew or purchase their 2019 football season tickets and receive a free Toledo Rockets flag.

There will be fun activities such as corn hole, giant Jenga, a football toss contest, music and photo opportunities with the Toledo mascots. A raffle will be held with prizes, including football tickets, pre-game field passes, a signed football and a Coach Jason Candle bobblehead.

The deadline to renew or buy 2019 Toledo football season tickets and receive a free Toledo Rockets flag has been extended to Friday, April 12, before the start of the spring scrimmage. Call 419.530.GOLD or visit the Toledo Rockets’ website to get your tickets and flag today.

Head Coach Jason Candle’s 2019 squad returns 51 letter winners 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.

In the event of inclement weather, the spring scrimmage and Food Court Friday will be canceled. Check Twitter (@ToledoRockets), Facebook (UTRockets) and the Athletics’ website for any cancellation notices.

Alumnus, business students to receive 2019 Pacemaker Awards

The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation and the Business Engagement and Leadership Council will hold its 56th annual Pacemaker Awards Friday, April 12, at the Inverness Club.

Ramon E. Gonzalez III will receive the 2019 Business Pacemaker Award at the ceremony, which will start at 7 p.m.


He received a bachelor of business administration degree from the University in 1961. Gonzalez split his career between serving as a foreign service officer at the U.S. State Department, as assistant vice president at Merrill Lynch, and as chief financial officer of Lone Star Seed Co. in San Antonio. He is now retired.

Gonzalez served in the military and is a retired captain of the United States Army Reserve. He also is a past member of the staff of the U.S. House of Representatives, and a member emeritus and past secretary of the Explorers Club, Washington Group.

The University alumnus is a strong supporter of the College of Business and Innovation’s Edward H. Schmidt School of Professional Sales. Gonzalez and his family regularly visit the University every fall.

“The Pacemaker Award is the College of Business and Innovation’s highest honor, recognizing individuals for outstanding achievement in business, as well as contributions to the community and the University,” said. Dr. Anne L. Balazs, dean of the College of Business and Innovation. “We also are proud to recognize our business students at this prestigious annual event.”

Student Pacemaker Awards are presented to College of Business and Innovation graduate and undergraduate students for their outstanding academic achievement, University and community service, and leadership.

The 2019 Student Pacemaker Award recipients are:

• Master of Business Administration — Himabindu Katrapati;

• Master of Science in Accountancy — Constance Baumgartner;

• Accounting — Rachael Noe and Hannah Smith;

• Applied Organizational Management — Gregory Matuszynski II;

• Finance — Landon Bleau and Spencer Shoemaker;

• Information Operations Technology Management — Cassidy Hamill and Scott Pribe;

• Management — Laurie Britt and Quinne Meyer;

• Marketing and International Business — Olivia Wright and Jovan Sanson; and

• Dean’s Award — Abigail Brannan.

President touts power of University’s people during yearly address

In her third State of the University address, President Sharon L. Gaber focused on the important contributions of students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters in positioning UToledo for the future.

“Above all else, today is a celebration of the people who showcase the exciting future for our great institution,” Gaber said to the audience of more than 500 gathered April 3 in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

President Sharon L. Gaber delivered her third State of the University address April 3 in Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

“The people in our campus community have fueled our momentum throughout the last year. You are the reason we are the university of choice for so many seeking higher education.”

The president unveiled UToledo’s new brand, Fueling Tomorrows, in her address that concentrated on how through the dedication and commitment of UToledo’s faculty, staff and students, the institution is achieving its strategic priorities — specifically in the areas of student success, groundbreaking research, and progress in growing its national reputation.

Through the individual stories of students, researchers and alumni, Gaber illustrated how UToledo is making an impact.

The determination and resilience of Lovely Forges and Justin Tapp, both graduating in May, led highlights of the personal experiences of students. Young alumni also were featured, including Quinton Babcock — now mayor of the Village of Oak Harbor, Ohio — and Margaret Gorz, an associate scientist for Estée Lauder in New York.

Students applauded when President Sharon L. Gaber announced that kayaks will be available on the Ottawa River this fall.

Gaber announced several key support programs and coming additions to campus, including a meal alert program, kayaks on the Ottawa River starting in the fall, and a new soccer field coming to Main Campus outside the Fetterman Training Center, to underscore how UToledo continues to reimagine its various services and facilities to be supportive and responsive to student success.

“We are on a mission to help students succeed, but we realize that the word ‘success’ can translate in different ways for a student body as rich and diverse as ours,” Gaber said.

“The University of Toledo not only recognizes, but embraces these different perspectives and is empowering all of our students to thrive.”

Rocket student-athletes were recognized for proving their excellence in the classroom as well as in competition. Seven sports programs led the Mid-American Conference in Academic Progress Rate, and Coach Tricia Cullop recently became the winningest women’s basketball head coach in the program’s history with 241 career victories.

More than 500 attended President Sharon L. Gaber’s third annual State of the University address in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

The president also applauded the University’s rigorous approach to research, innovation and outreach, which has contributed to its growing national profile.

Gaber announced that cutting-edge physicist Dr. Yanfa Yan will collaborate with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop ultra-high efficiency solar cells, thanks to a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The University also will host a National Lab Day this October, which will connect its researchers and students with Department of Energy scientists, facilities and opportunities that are unique to some of the country’s most preeminent labs.

“It’s no coincidence that you are seeing more headlines about our exceptional faculty making great breakthroughs,” Gaber said. “Our experts are not only advancing discovery beyond what we thought possible — they are engaging our students in the process.”

The president also highlighted a number of recent achievements to celebrate. In addition to record highs in academic preparedness for first-year students and six-year graduation rates, graduate programs in nursing and law have risen dramatically in U.S. News & World Report rankings.

Gaber encouraged everyone present, and those in the wider Toledo community, to proudly tell UToledo’s story to share the positive energy that positions the institution for continued success.

“At The University of Toledo, we are a community inspired to help our students succeed through inclusive collaboration, scholarly research and hands-on experience,” she said.

“We are committed to improving the human condition in the region and throughout the world. We are changing lives through the work that we do. We are shaping the future. We are fueling tomorrows.”

Watch the full address on YouTube.

Venture ‘Into the Woods’ this month

The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film will present the musical “Into the Woods,” which will open this weekend.

The production will be held Friday through Sunday, April 5-7 and 12-14, and Friday and Saturday, April 19 and 20, in the Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre.

Friday and Saturday performances will be at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday shows will be at 2 p.m. On Saturday, April 6, there also will be a 2 p.m. performance. And on Saturday, April 20, the final day of the run, there will be a performance only at 2 p.m.

The music and lyrics for “Into the Woods” are by Stephen Sondheim with a book by James Lapine. The University production will be directed by Dr. Edmund Lingan, professor and chair of theatre and film. Musical direction is by University alumnus Nathanael Leonard, and choreography is by Abby Glanville, academic advisor. Included in the cast is Pam Tomassetti Hulbert (playing Jack’s Mother), who acted in the original developmental version of “Into the Woods” when it was being created by Sondheim and Lapine. She is a member of the Actors’ Equity Association and assistant speech coach at Perrysburg High School.

Four characters, drawn from fairy tale legends, are given the chance to make their dearest wishes come true. The characters find themselves on quests that are woven together. Originally released in 1986, the musical won several Tony Awards, including Best Score, Best Book and Best Actress in a Musical (Joanna Gleason) when it was presented on Broadway in 1987. The 2014 Disney film version was nominated for several Academy Awards and Golden Globes.

Fans of the musical are encouraged to come to the performance dressed as their favorite fairy tale characters. A background of the forest will be available in the lobby where fans can take selfies to post on Facebook. The selfies with the most likes will win prizes. There is no cost to enter; a ticket purchase is not required to participate in the selfie contest.

“Into the Woods” is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International. All authorized performance materials are supplied by the theatrical licensing agency.

Choreographer Abby Glanville rehearsed with the cast, including front row from left, Paige Chapman, Chelsie Cree, Ashley Roark, William Floss and Pamela Tomassetti.

The cast features Jadin Bader, sophomore majoring in nursing, as Giant/Granny; Jordan Benavente, community member, as Wolf; Paige Chapman, junior majoring in voice, as Rapunzel; Chelsie Cree, University alumna, as the Baker’s Wife; Caris Croy, junior majoring in music and theatre, as Cinderella’s Mother; Emily Damschroder, freshman majoring in theatre, as Lucinda; Kurt Elfering, junior majoring in religious studies, as the Baker; Will Floss, University alumnus, as Jack; Gabriel Hagedorn, freshman majoring in piano, as Cinderella’s Prince; Jackson Howard, student at Owens Community College, as Steward; Sarah Hunter, community member, as Little Red Riding Hood; Jack Kerger, Toledo School for the Arts alumnus, as Cinderella’s Father; Andrew R. Kleopfer, junior majoring in theatre, as Rapunzel’s Prince; Jennifer Nagy Lake, University alumna, as the Witch; Austin Rambo, senior majoring in theatre and media communication, as Narrator/Mysterious Man; Ashley Roark, senior majoring in vocal music education, as Cinderella; Paige Titsworth, freshman, as Florinda; and Kate Walcher, senior majoring in vocal performance, as Cinderella’s Stepmother.

Members of the design team include Daniel Thobias, associate professor of theatre, scenic designer; Katelyn Justice, sophomore majoring in theatre, assistant scenic designer; Kelly McBane, manager of the University Costume Shop, costume designer; Logan Fleming, sophomore majoring in theatre, assistant costume designer/hair and makeup designer; Faith Murphy, junior majoring in theatre, assistant costume designer; Frankie Teuber, University alumna, props master; Faith Pegus, junior majoring in visual arts with a minor in technical theatre, assistant props manager; Stephen Sakowski, assistant professor of theatre, lighting designer; Elise Pahl, sophomore majoring in theatre, assistant lighting designer; Amanda Were, community member, sound designer; Ryan Peters-Hieber, senior majoring in theatre with a concentration in design technology, associate sound designer; Sarah Potter, senior majoring in film/video with a minor in English, production videographer; Addison Toth, freshman majoring in theatre, stage manager; Morgan Cunningham, freshman majoring in theatre, and Emily Wemple, senior majoring in theatre, assistant stage managers; and Bryan Harkins, senior majoring in theatre, assistant production manager/house manager.

Tickets are $15 for students; $20 for University faculty, staff and alumni, and military members and seniors; and $25 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.

Football player to receive 2019 Chuck Ealey College Undefeated Spirit Award

University of Toledo senior wide receiver Cody Thompson has been named the 2019 recipient of the Chuck Ealey College Undefeated Spirit Award.

Thompson is the 12th Rocket who will receive the prestigious award at the annual Songfest event in Savage Arena Saturday, March 30. He also will be honored at the eighth annual High School Undefeated Spirit Award Ceremony Sunday, March 31, at the ProMedica Steam Plant.

During his career, 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. As a senior in 2018, he had 48 receptions for 647 yards and 10 TDs, and was named second-team Academic All-America.

In 2017, Thompson suffered a season-ending injury in what would have been his final campaign with the Rockets. However, because of his injury, he was eligible to play an additional season of college football. After an off-season of rehab, he returned to lead the Rockets in 2018. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing in December 2017 and is pursuing a master’s degree in recreation and leisure.

Founded in 2007, the Chuck Ealey Foundation presents the award to the student-athlete who best demonstrates the behaviors of living the undefeated spirit in his or her sport, in the classroom and in the community. Award winners are role models for making good choices and living with an undefeated spirit in everything that they do.

The award also recognizes that behind every person with an undefeated spirit, there are others around them who have instilled this spirit. It is named for Ealey, who was one of the greatest football players in Toledo history. A quarterback, Ealey led the Rockets to a perfect 35-0 record and three Mid-American Conference Championships from 1969 to 1971. His mother, Earline Ealey, is the inspiration behind the award. She lived her life with an undefeated spirit and instilled that spirit in her son. Chuck Ealey has been working to instill the same spirit in his family and everyone around him.

The foundation uses undefeated as an acronym, standing for undefeated, no negativity, determination/desire, encouragement/endurance, faith/focus/fortitude, equality, attitude/actions, tenacity, education and discipline.

The Undefeated Spirit Award has been presented annually at the University’s Songfest as a way to bring together student leaders and student-athletes.

Craft breweries increase residential property values

The craft brewery boom is good for home values.

Using Charlotte, N.C., as a case study, researchers at The University of Toledo and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte found that craft breweries have a positive impact on residential property values.


Condominiums in center-city neighborhoods show a nearly 3 percent increase on sales price after a brewery opened within a half mile.

Single family homes in center-city neighborhoods saw a nearly 10 percent increase after a brewery opened within a half mile.

The study, which is published in Growth and Change: A Journal of Urban and Regional Policy, found no significant impacts on commercial property values.

“Being able to walk to a craft brewery in the evening or late afternoon on the weekend is considered a positive amenity that would — for some people — be attractive when looking at a house,” said Dr. Neil Reid, professor of geography and planning at The University of Toledo, who is affectionately known as the “Beer Professor.” “There is a different attitude toward a craft brewery. It’s perceived differently than a liquor store or bar.”

In Charlotte, a relatively large and growing city with an increasing competition for land and housing, 21 breweries opened between March 2009 and October 2016.

For the study, researchers focused on properties sold between 2002 and 2017 within a half mile buffer of a brewery and found that while many areas in close proximity to a craft brewery appear to have been associated with relatively higher price premiums even before the opening of the brewery, breweries tend to add to this premium.


“These results are informative to policymakers considering revising zoning laws and other regulations in efforts to promote the growth of craft breweries and spur economic development in their local economies,” said Dr. Isabelle Nilsson, assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Nilsson earned a Ph.D. in spatially integrated social science at UToledo in 2015 and her master’s in economics at UToledo in 2011.

Reid’s previous research has shown that craft breweries often tend to be located in neighborhoods that have recently experienced economic distress, and craft breweries have played a key part in revitalization efforts in many urban areas by restoring old, abandoned buildings.

Craft breweries contributed $76.2 billion in economic impacts to the U.S. economy in 2017, including more than 500,000 total jobs with more than 135,000 jobs directly at breweries or brewpubs, according to the Brewers Association.

“This new research shows that craft breweries contribute to increased property tax revenues for local governments, in addition to job creation and aiding neighborhood revitalization efforts,” Reid said. “However, the effects to residential property values may not be as significant in places with higher rates of vacancies and lower population growth, as well as in more established cities such as Chicago or New York.”

In a separate study recently published in Papers in Regional Science, the researchers took a close look at craft brewery closures in Chicago, Denver and Portland from 2012 through 2016 after a decade of rapid industry growth.

In those four years, 27 craft breweries closed and 225 opened for business.

Peak growth in all three cities took place in 2013 and 2014, and since then the number of entries into the market have declined while the number of closures has increased.

“I think that the craft brewing industry is following a natural progression, with rapid growth at the onset followed by diminishing growth rates as it matures,” Nilsson said. “As it continues to mature, we will see shakeouts involving closures of less competitive breweries.”

The economic geographers found that being in a cluster does not have a significant effect on brewery survival.

“Many craft brewers who open a business choose to locate close to the competition to draw more people in for brewery hopping, though it also is partly driven by zoning restrictions, too,” Reid said. “However, clustering also creates a more competitive environment, which can make it harder for one to remain open.”

Although closures do not appear to occur in brewery districts or in areas with a high concentration of breweries, closures tend to occur in more residential areas outside of downtowns.

Closed breweries had an average of one other brewery within one mile, while those that were still open as of 2016 had around 2.5 other breweries surrounding them.

The researchers also identified other trends related to business survival:
• Being in a neighborhood where incomes are higher is positively related to brewery survival.

• As the population of white and millennials in a neighborhood increases, the probability of a brewery surviving decreases.

• Higher population density also is associated with greater likelihood of closure.

“Even though millennials are driving the industry and craft beer drinkers are predominantly white, income is more important than racial composition or age composition,” Reid said.

Dr. Oleg Smirnov, associate professor of economics at UToledo, and UToledo doctoral student Matt Lehnert, also served as co-authors on the study of closures in the craft brewing industry.

To learn more about the evolving appetite of craft beer drinkers and the experimentation of craft brewers, check out Reid’s blog about the beer industry.