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UT Night at Comerica Park Sept. 21

Join students, faculty, staff, alumni and Rocket fans at The University of Toledo Night at Comerica Park and watch the Detroit Tigers take on the Minnesota Twins Thursday, Sept. 21, at 7:10 p.m.

UT will have special recognition, including the ceremonial first pitch, national anthem performance, and an appearance by Rocky and Rocksy.

The special ticket package includes:

• Game ticket;

• Exclusive Detroit Tigers/UT limited edition hat; and

• $5 donation to the UT General Scholarship Fund.

Tickets ranging from $20 to $38 are available for purchase at tigers.com/ut.

UT to debut new veterans lounge named for alumnus

The University of Toledo will commemorate the opening of its new veterans lounge with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, Sept. 15, at 3 p.m. on the second floor of Carlson Library.

The Lt. Col. Thomas J.

Lt. Col. Thomas Orlowski spoke after being recognized by the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes with its Hometown Hero Award and the news that the veterans lounge at his alma mater will be named in his honor. Orlowski, who graduated from UT in 1965 before his 20-year career in the U.S. Army, is being recognized with the naming of the Lt. Col. Thomas J. Orlowski ’65 Veterans Lounge on the second floor of Carlson Library.

’65 Veterans Lounge offers student veterans a place to relax, study and enjoy the camaraderie they experienced while serving their country.

The University’s veterans lounge was previously located in Rocket Hall. The new lounge named in honor of Orlowski, a UT alumnus, was part of the recent $6 million renovation project to the library made possible by state biennium capital funds.

“Our student-veterans were interested in a more centrally located space, and in this academic setting they also will have better access to library resources for research and homework with longer hours to take advantage of the lounge,” said Navy Reserve Lt. Haraz Ghanbari, UT director of military and veteran affairs.

A $20,000 donation from the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes supported the creation of the new lounge, which is larger with a separate social area and private study section.

The coalition’s gift was made in recognition of Orlowski, as a UT alumnus and Army veteran, who is the immediate past chairman of the organization’s board.

Orlowski graduated from UT in 1965 with a degree in English literature, and he also was a middle linebacker for the football team. He joined the Army later that year, and his 20-year military career included assignments in the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam, 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized), HQ U.S. Army Europe, HQ U.S. Continental Army Command and the Office of the Adjutant General of the Army.

For his service in Vietnam, Orlowski was awarded the Purple Heart, Silver Star, Bronze Star for Valor with two Oak Leaf Clusters, and Air Medal, according to the coalition.

“The lounge will definitely help veteran students academically, but a secondary benefit that people may not realize is the camaraderie of others who have been where you’ve been and done what you’ve done,” Orlowski said.

The ceremony will be followed by an open house and refreshments from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

RSVP by Friday, Sept. 8, to tyna.derhay@utoledo.edu or by calling 419.530.4488.

Director delivers ‘Badass’ book

It was a party atmosphere at Sherry Stanfa-Stanley’s book launch Aug. 19 at Barnes & Noble at the Shops at Fallen Timbers in Maumee. The only thing missing? The author’s drink of choice: Bloody Marys.

“I was told no alcohol, sorry,” she told the standing-room-only crowd of about 150.

UT employee and alumna Sherry Stanfa-Stanley read an excerpt from her book, “Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares,” at Barnes & Noble at the Shops at Fallen Timbers in Maumee. It was the largest crowd to attend a signing event there, according to Jana Washington, store merchandise manager.

“Speaking to an empty room is awkward; this is terrifying,” she said. “I know quite a bit about terrifying and awkward.”

She was referring to the 52/52 Project, which she started in 2013. For one year, Stanfa-Stanley challenged herself with a new experience every week as she approached age 52.

“I wasn’t in a rut; I was in a crater. And I just wanted to shake things up a bit,” she said. “After traveling to Italy by myself in 2011, I realized if I could do that, there’s probably a lot of things I can do if I went outside my comfort zone.”

Her amazing, crazy and inspiring year included suiting up as Rocksy the mascot for a UT soccer game; babysitting quadruplets; going on a raid with the vice squad and SWAT team; spending 24 hours with nuns at a convent in Joliet, Ill.; performing as a mime outside a shopping center in Newport, Ky.; and crashing a wedding reception — and catching the bride’s bouquet.

“I took those weird and wonderful experiences and wove them into a book,” the director of communication and fund stewardship at the UT Foundation told the group.

“Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares” was published by She Writes Press and released Aug. 15. The 321-page book is $16.95 and available at most area bookstores and online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book retailers.

As folks flooded in and peeked around book shelves, Stanfa-Stanley read three excerpts from her debut.

She said “Catching a Flight to Nowhere” was one of her favorite adventures; she packed for an unknown destination, went to the Detroit Metro Airport, and booked the next flight out. It was winter, and, luckily, she jetted off to Fort Myers, Fla.

Conversely, “On the Ropes” was the least successful venture, she said. Stanfa-Stanley and two friends decided to skip the high-ropes course at the UT Student Recreation Center after seeing it was 35 feet above the gym floor — and watching an athletic college student slip from a beam and dangle by her safety harness.

Sherry Stanfa-Stanley suited up as Rocksy during a soccer game and exuded good cheer as part of the 52/52 Project.

“It’s obvious I can’t get away from the nude beach outing,” Stanfa-Stanley said and introduced her mother, Gloria Stanfa, a retired UT secretary, who accompanied her on the trip.

“‘Just be sure to mention we both kept our clothes on,’ my mother said,” Stanfa-Stanley read from the chapter titled “Baring it at the Beach.” “‘Um, maybe I didn’t clarify that,’ I replied. ‘I’ll be going au natural, too’ ‘Oh.’ She pondered this. ‘Well, then please don’t sit next to me. I saw you naked as a baby, and I really don’t care to anymore.’”

As laughter erupted during the readings, the author told the audience, “You’re a sadistic lot.”

Many seem to take pleasure in reading about Stanfa-Stanley’s frightfully fun escapades. Her debut has received raves from book bloggers, including dearauthor.com, bloglovin.com and abookishabode.com, as well as positive reviews from trade journals, including Kirkus Reviews, Midwest Book Review and Foreword Reviews. In addition, Buzzfeed.com named the book one of five fall reads “guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.”

In “Finding My Badass Self: A Year of Truths and Dares,” Sherry Stanfa-Stanley writes about the 52/52 Project adventures, which included performing as a mime in front of a Kentucky shopping center.

Even a Los Angeles-based production company headed by a well-known actor/comedian inquired about film and TV rights.

“Usually nothing comes of these requests; it’s happened to a few author friends,” Stanfa-Stanley, ever the realist, said. “But a girl can dream.”

Meanwhile, the 1983 UT alumna is scheduling book-signing events. She’ll have a booth at the Roche de Boeuf Festival in Waterville Saturday, Sept. 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. And a reading and meet-and-greet will be held Saturday, Oct. 7, at the UT Barnes & Noble Bookstore at the Gateway; the time will be announced when the Homecoming football game kickoff is determined.

For the latest on appearances, check sherrystanfa-stanley.com, which links to facebook.com/The52at52Project, where the witty writer chronicled her derring-do — and daring don’t — and has more than 5,000 readers.

“I certainly wouldn’t say I’m fearless, but I’m desensitized. I worry less,” she told the crowd.

“My first published book out in the world at age 55 tells you it’s truly never too late to change your life. Maybe my stories will inspire you — or at least give you a couple laughs.”

Alumnus to inspire, sign book Aug. 31 at Gateway

Jacob Spellis will sign copies of his book, “More Than a Statistic: Stop Being Average,” Thursday, Aug. 31, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble University Bookstore at the Gateway.

He shares his story to give others hope.

“I was a high school dropout and spent much of my teenage years walking around Toledo’s east side using and selling drugs. My addiction left me isolated and homeless,” Spellis said. “Every day I woke up and said, ‘Man I don’t want to do this anymore,’ but the addiction just hijacks you and all of your pleasure-seeking abilities; it is like experiencing the best and worst feelings at the same time.

“For seven years, this cycle continued, and my mother expected to see me die from my addiction.”

Then a drug trafficking conviction changed his life. Behind bars for nine months, he began to turn things around.

“I acquired my GED from the Lucas County Correctional Treatment Facility, and I had a vision to revamp and reform the criminal justice system,” Spellis said. “In order to do this, I knew that I needed to further my education, and The University of Toledo was there every step of the way.”

With the help of campus support groups and tutors, he was able to get ready for college-level classes — and succeed. He graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in social work.

While pursing a master’s degree at the University of Michigan, Spellis worked as a graduate assistant in the UT College of Health and Human Services’ Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute.

All along the way, he helped others.

“I began speaking to individuals in treatment centers, jails, schools and colleges, which led to my desire to help people reach their full potential,” Spellis said. “As a reformed convicted felon, I advocate for social justice and for other returning citizens in my community. My goal is to revamp the criminal justice system and address disparities within different cultures and communities.

“Social work is a career for most, but a lifestyle to me. On a daily basis, I assist individuals with mental illness, legal issues and substance use disorders to work toward healthy adequate lifestyles.”

After receiving a master’s degree in social work from UM in 2016, Spellis started More Than a Statistic Academy, a nonprofit re-entry coalition in northwest Ohio that helps convicted felons find jobs and those suffering from substance abuse obtain stability and long-term recovery.

His book also was published last year.

“My life is much different from when I was buried in my addiction. I have a beautiful wife, daughter and son,” Spellis said. “I now have over five years of experience in motivational speaking and am passionate about community development.”

Kick-off party for Back-to-School Drive to be held Aug. 10

The University of Toledo Judith Herb College of Education Alumni Affiliate is hosting its annual drive for new shoes, socks and underwear for students in Toledo Public Schools.

Alumni also will be collecting belts this year based on feedback from school administrators.

The kick-off party is Thursday, Aug. 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Social Gastropub in the Gateway Plaza on the corner of Dorr Street and Secor Road.

Donations will be collected during the event, and participants can sample free appetizers.

“We talk with school principals every year to see what students need,” said Mike Bader, president of the Judith Herb College of Education Alumni Affiliate. “As part of our mission to give back to our community, we are hoping to fill the great need for shoes, socks, underwear and belts.”

Gym shoes and dress shoes are needed for students in grades K-8 in youth and small adult sizes. The shoe sizes needed most are children’s sizes 1 to 6 or toddler sizes 10 to 13.

Underwear donations are needed for younger students.

Donations can be dropped off Monday through Friday from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Driscoll Alumni Center Room 2014 on Main Campus before Thursday, Sept. 14.

For more information, visit toledoalumni.org or call 419.530.2586.

Celebrating 25 years at Art on the Mall

For two local painters, it may have been a stroke of luck when Art on the Mall debuted in 1992 at their alma mater.

“I had been doing a lot of paintings of Lake Erie scenes, and then this event was announced,” Carol Connolly Pletz recalled.

This watercolor painting of University Hall by Kathy Palmer Genzman was featured in one of her Toledo calendars. “I always include my alma mater in the calendar,” she said.

“It was the year I made my first Toledo calendar,” Kathy Palmer Genzman said. “It was like it was meant to be.”

The two women were among 51 artists who displayed and sold their work at the inaugural juried fair.

“It was a beautiful sunny day. There were few tents, if any, and UT supplied wire structures to display paintings,” Connolly Pletz, a 1966 alumna with a bachelor’s degree in art, said. “It was the first show where I stood out with a few my paintings. It was a very positive experience; people loved my work.”

Palmer Genzman also felt the love.

“It was my husband, Bob, who suggested the calendar. He wrote the history, and I drew and painted scenes from around town,” she said. “When Art on the Mall was announced, he said, ‘Let’s see if they sell,’ and they did — people loved the calendar.”

“Brown Swiss Dairy,” acrylic, was painted by Carol Connolly Pletz after one of her many visits to Shipshewana, Ind.

Connolly Pletz and Palmer Genzman have returned to Art on the Mall every year. The perennial favorites will be back with more than 100 artists Sunday, July 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Centennial Mall.

“I am so grateful to UT for putting this event on every year,” Connolly Pletz said. “The community really enjoys the art, music and food. It’s great it has remained a free show with free parking. Toledo loves this show.”

“Everyone at UT is always so helpful,” Palmer Genzman, a 1980 graduate with a master’s degree in art education, said. “I’ve known Dan [Saevig, associate vice president of alumni relations] since the beginning. He and his crew do an amazing job rain or shine.”

Even fellow artists offer assistance. Connolly Pletz learned about notecards from Tom Durnford, a UT alumnus who taught a graphics class for the Communication Department and was director of publications and graphics from 1965 until his retirement from the University in 1989. The two had booths next to each for 23 years until Durnford passed away.

Carol Connolly Pletz has made 160 cards from her acrylic paintings.

“He worked in watercolor and besides his paintings, he sold notecards of his artwork,” Connolly Pletz said. “That first year at Art on the Mall, I saw he was doing a brisk business selling his cards. We talked, and he agreed to mentor me in publishing my own notecards.”

Since then, she has made 160 cards from her eye-catchingly colorful acrylic paintings, which showcase scenes from the Metroparks of the Toledo Area; the Lake Erie islands; Shipshewana, Ind.; and Ireland.

“People like to take something away that’s affordable,” Connolly Pletz said. “Not everybody has a place for a painting or can afford an original or the color is wrong. But everybody can use cards.”

“I also sell Toledo notecards, which are very popular,” Palmer Genzman said. “I sell out of calendars every year; I always have to send the kids home to get more. The calendars aren’t that expensive, and yet they’re artwork. People really enjoy having a picture of Toledo.”

That local focus is important to both artists.

Palmer Genzman’s 2018 calendar features her meticulously detailed watercolor paintings of the University, last year’s Jeep parade, the Lights Before Christmas at the Toledo Zoo, walleye fishing, the Niagara ship on the Maumee River and more. Since her husband passed away, her son, Paul, writes the history.

Kathy Palmer Genzman posed for a photo in front of some of her watercolor paintings that are included in her Toledo calendar.

“I want people to love their city and be proud of it. It’s a great city; it’s a great University — look at that campus. What more can you ask for? Good eating places, you’ve got the Mud Hens downtown, I love the renaissance of downtown,” she said. “I taught art at Toledo Public Schools and lived in the Glass City until retirement. I now live in Lambertville, Mich., but I’m a Toledo person.”

“Many local places have caught my eye — and my heart,” Connolly Pletz said. “The Toledo Botanical Garden, Wildwood Metropark Preserve, the Maumee River, to name a few. There is so much natural beauty in our part of the world. I hope my work inspires some to pause and take a closer look at what we have right here.”

Glacity Theatre Collective to present world premiere of ‘Falling Short’

It’s Feb. 1, 2003. Space Shuttle Columbia has just disintegrated upon re-entry. What kind of person would see this horrible disaster as an opportunity?

Meet Ed and Tony. On a quest for Shuttle parts — as souvenirs or possibly to sell on eBay — the two men journey through the Piney Woods of east Texas, arguing conspiracy theories, ridiculing Nazis, dissing English literature, confessing peculiar secrets, and contemplating their own failed existence.

Texas playwright Wolfgang Paetzel vividly remembers that day: “The Columbia disaster happened right over my house. I should have noticed the loud booms and rattling of windows, but I was too preoccupied chasing a screaming toddler. At that moment, in my own little universe, a poopy diaper was more pressing. ‘Falling Short’ features many folks in similar situations — but only one poopy diaper.”

In this multimedia piece, Ed and Tony will be played live by Drew Wheeler and Dr. Edmund B. Lingan, UT associate professor and chair of theatre and film, as they interact with video segments incorporating actors from both Texas and Ohio.

“East Texas has a distinct natural environment that is different from the rest of Texas,” said Lingan, who, like Paetzel, grew up in that area. “Wolfgang has done an amazing job of capturing the look and the language of the region, and he has really caught the essence of the people we grew up with.”

The production is directed by Lingan, with video segments created by Paetzel and UT alumna Megan Aherne, and set and lighting design by James S. Hill, UT professor emeritus of theatre.

The soundtrack showcases music from obscure Texas garage bands as well as Lone Star legends, including The Blanks, Texas Belairs, Ran, Homer Henderson, Sled, Culturcide, Roy Bennett, and The Peenbeets.

“Falling Short” will run Thursday through Saturday, July 20-22, in the UT Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre. All performances will be at 8 p.m. The doors will open one half hour prior to curtain.

Tickets are $15 at the door or in advance online here. Student tickets are $10 with a valid ID and are available only at the door.

For more information, go to glacity.org.

University College adviser selected for award in excellence

Whether students, faculty or staff, those tied to The University of Toledo know just how important the role of an adviser is.

Melissa Gleckler, senior specialist for prior learning and credit assessment, was recognized for her achievements in advising by the Ohio Academic Advising Association June 16 at its annual conference held at Cleveland State University. Gleckler was presented with the Advising Excellence Award, which she was nominated for by Deb Sobczak, director of student services for the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and DeMya Wimberly, success coach and pre-major adviser for exploratory studies.

Melissa Gleckler posed for a photo with the Advising Excellence Award she received at the Ohio Academic Advising Association’s annual conference last month in Cleveland.

“It is an honor to be recognized by my peers as an exemplary adviser for the state of Ohio,” Gleckler said. “It is important that we not only support our students, but also support each other. Receiving the state advising award is a wonderful way to celebrate my 10th year in higher education here at UT.”

Gleckler, who completed both bachelor’s and a master’s degrees at UT, said she hadn’t planned on working in higher education.

“Higher education is actually my second career, and an accidental one, at that. My bachelor’s degree is in broadcast communication, and I worked in TV production for many years. I often found myself in teaching and training situations, which is what led me to pursue a master’s degree and commute my career to higher education.

“I’m currently pursuing a PhD in educational technology, which I find to be a marriage between my two careers, both of which I have enjoyed immensely,” she said.

Wiona Porath, who at the time was president of the Ohio Academic Advising Association, sent Gleckler the notification of her award. She transitioned to past-president at the conference.

“I have known [Gleckler] since 2007, when I worked at UT. I was so pleased that the awards committee selected her to receive the Excellence in Advising Award for the Ohio Academic Advising Association,” Porath said. “It was such a joy for me to let Mel know she would be the recipient of the 2017 award. It was even more exciting to be able to present the award to her at our annual conference.”

“Universities can be large and hard to navigate. Higher education is so different from high school. Advisers are a lifeline for students. While academic success is our main goal, I, like so many of my colleagues, believe in holistic advising to promote student success in all facets of life, well beyond the books,” Gleckler explained, when asked about the importance of good advising.

“I’ve actually had students ask me about my career path and how to become an adviser — which is a great compliment in itself. The desire to pay it forward reminds me of the impact we have on students. The best advice I have for them is to always remember their own student journey — what helped them, what they needed to know, what they know now that they wish they had known then. Sometimes a student might not know the right questions to ask, but we still have to be able to give them the answers they need. By staying in touch with the student experience, I know I can better understand and serve my students’ needs.”

Colleges of Business, Engineering alumni affiliates hosting annual golf outing

The University of Toledo’s College of Business and Innovation and the Engineering alumni affiliates will host their 19th annual golf outing Saturday, Aug. 5, to support student scholarships and affiliate programming.

The event will be held at Bedford Hills Golf Club, 6400 Jackman Road in Temperance, Mich., with check-in beginning at 8 a.m. and the 18-hole shotgun starting at 9 a.m.

More than 100 area golfers are expected to participate in this philanthropic event.

“Last year, thanks to our many wonderful sponsors and participants, we successfully raised more than $10,000 for student scholarships,” Marcus Sneed, associate director of alumni relations, said. “We are again asking the community to support this outing through sponsorship and participation. With your help, this year’s outing will be an even greater success.”

The cost is $90 per golfer ($360 per foursome) and includes:

• Continental breakfast and catered lunch;

• Two beverage tickets;

• Free use of the driving range;

• 18 holes of golf with a cart;

• Swag bag of gifts for each golfer;

• Prizes for the first-, second- and third-place teams;

• Two betting holes, closet to the pin, and longest putt contests; and

• Mulligans and team skins available.

The College of Business and Innovation and the College of Engineering alumni affiliates were established to help connect graduates to their UT family. Through these groups, alumni have the opportunity to network, socialize and volunteer at all levels throughout the Alumni Association.

If you wish to participate or become a sponsor, visit toledoalumni.org.

25th annual Art on the Mall set for July 30

Artists and art appreciators alike are gearing up for this summer’s Art on the Mall, which this year is celebrating its 25th anniversary on campus.

The juried art show will be held on Centennial Mall Sunday, July 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free parking will be available in Lot 1 South, Lot 1 North and Lot 13 with golf cart shuttle service to transport guests and their packages to and from Centennial Mall if needed.

More than 100 artists are expected to set up in Centennial Mall to show off their wares, which range from acrylic, glass, jewelry, mixed media, pen and ink, oil, photography, pottery, textile, watercolor, woodwork and more.

“The quality of our artists’ work is outstanding, and there is something for everyone. We have a diverse and eclectic mix, sure to excite art lovers of all kinds,” said Ansley Abrams-Frederick, director of alumni programming in the UT Office of Alumni and Annual Engagement. “In addition, the venue of our beautiful campus is the ideal place to enjoy the day. Free parking, golf cart shuttles, and no admission certainly make this show appealing to all.”

Artists who have participated in all 25 years of Art on the Mall will have an indicator on their booths commemorating the achievement.

Works will be juried by representatives from the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, with prizes such as UT’s Best of Show, awarded to an artist with affiliation to the University.

For younger guests who prefer to take a more hands-on approach to art, the Young Artist Area, sponsored by Huntington, will provide supplies for creating projects free of charge.

In addition to the art pieces, food and beverages will be available from vendors such as Jeanie’s Comfort Cuisine, Karen Anne’s Kettle Korn, K & K Concessions, OPA! Cuisine, Quinn’s Concessions, and Rosie’s Rolling Chef.

A beer and wine garden will be open for guests 21 or older with a valid ID.

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