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Attorney appointed to UT Board of Trustees

A partner in the national law firm BakerHostetler has been appointed to The University of Toledo Board of Trustees.

Daniel J. Guttman, who focuses his practice in employment litigation and labor relations, was named by Ohio Gov. John Kasich to a term ending July 1, 2021. He will complete the remaining years of the trustee position vacated by F. Patrick “Pat” D’Eramo.

Guttman

“I appreciate this opportunity to serve The University of Toledo and contribute to the positive momentum of an institution that plays such an important role in the Toledo community and state of Ohio,” Guttman said.

Guttman has been an attorney with BakerHostetler since 1997 and serves as the business development leader of the firm’s Columbus office. He represents private and public entities in a variety of litigation, internal investigation, risk management, organization governance and traditional labor matters. Guttman serves as the chief labor negotiator for the state of Ohio. His clients range from Fortune 500 companies to entrepreneurs to sophisticated political subdivisions. His experience in higher education includes serving on the National Council of Advisors to the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

He is named in “Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business” in the area of labor and employment and in “The Best Lawyers in America” for litigation — labor and employment.

“As a well-respected partner in a very prestigious law firm, Dan will provide valuable strategic counsel on the issues affecting public higher education,” said Mary Ellen Pisanelli, chair of the UT Board of Trustees. “We look forward to the diverse perspective his expertise will add to the board.”

Murray Guttman, the new trustee’s father, was inducted into The University of Toledo Varsity ‘T’ Hall of Fame in 2002. A member of the class of 1957, he was a two-sport star in basketball and baseball serving as the captain of both teams during his senior year. Dan’s mother, Joanne Massey Guttman, worked for 10 years as a staff member in the UT Mathematics Department.

Dan Guttman received his JD from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University in Bloomington.

New director named for LaunchPad Incubation

A new director of the LaunchPad Incubation Program has been named to continue The University of Toledo’s support of technology commercialization and regional economic development.

Brian Genide, a UT graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, brings more than 15 years of experience in business development and entrepreneurship to the University’s incubation program.

Genide

He comes to UT most recently from ProMedica Innovations, where he worked as a venture partner for the NextTech Ohio Entrepreneurial Services Provider project assisting scientists and physicians in developing innovations into commercial ventures that are prepared to raise capital for company expansion.

“UT is an important contributor to the region’s growth and development with a strong reputation for its support for Toledo’s economic development,” Genide said. “I am excited to join the University to lead its LaunchPad Incubation Program that assists innovative and high-tech companies in our community.”

“Brian’s experience working with bioscience and medical device companies is a great asset to UT and greater Toledo,” said Dr. Frank Calzonetti, UT vice president for research and chair of the board of NextTech Ohio. “I am excited to bring Brian to UT to join a very successful technology transfer and business commercialization team. UT is committed to supporting technology-based startups in northwest Ohio, and Brian brings the experience and connections to continue our success in this area.”

Genide’s career also includes serving as the CEO of Gottfried Medical, where he oversaw a staff of 40 that had annual revenues in excess of $3 million. He brings additional experience from business development positions at Rocket Ventures, Siemens Medical, Abbot Vascular Devices and SonoSite.

As director of LaunchPad Incubation, Genide will work with existing tenants in UT’s Nitschke Commercialization Center and its Laboratory Incubation Center, as well as recruit new companies, both from UT and the community, into the incubation program.

Genide also will serve as UT’s lead on the NextTech Ohio ESP program. The program, managed by JumpStart of Cleveland, includes collaborators ProMedica Innovations, Mercy Health Toledo and Bowling Green State University.

Rocket named MAC Football Special Teams Player of the Year

Eight Rockets earned 10 All-Mid-American Conference selections, including three first-team nods, and junior wide receiver Diontae Johnson also was named the Special Teams Player of the Year.

For the second straight season, Johnson earned all-conference honors and did so at three different positions: wide receiver (first-team), punt returner (first-team) and kickoff returner (second-team).

Senior wide receiver Cody Thompson also was named a first-team selection.

Joining the two receivers as All-MAC honorees were offensive lineman Bryce Harris (second team), tight end Reggie Gilliam (second team), wide receiver Jon’Vea Johnson (third team), kicker Jameson Vest (third team), defensive end Tuzar Skipper (third team) and safety Josh Teachey (third team).

Diontae Johnson has become arguably the most dangerous return man in the league. He leads the MAC with an average punt return of 18.3 yards, and he is second in kickoff return average at 25.8 yards per attempt. He is the only player in the conference to return a punt and kickoff for a touchdown this season. As a receiver, he is tied for the team lead with 43 receptions, leads UT with 663 receiving yards, and has seven touchdown catches.

For his career, Diontae Johnson has averaged 23.4 yards per kickoff return, which would put him third all-time in UT history, and he is just the second Rocket ever to have at least two punt return TDs and two kickoff return TDs (Lance Moore, 2001-2004). He is the fourth player in program history to be named the top special teams player in the MAC, joining Jeremiah Detmer (2013), Eric Page (2010) and Jason Robbins (2005).

Joining Diontae Johnson on the MAC’s first team is Thompson, who also was a first-team selection in 2016, is tied for the team lead with 43 receptions totaling 592 yards, and leads the Rockets with 10 touchdown catches. He has spent this season climbing in the Toledo record book, where he ranks atop the career touchdown reception list with 30. Thompson is second all-time with 3,257 receiving yards and second in yards per reception (18.5). Off the field, he earned Academic All-District honors for the second straight season.

Harris was named a second-team recipient, his first All-MAC honor. The Rockets’ starting center, Harris has helped pave the way for an offense that ranks second in the MAC in scoring (41.1), total offense (448.5) and rushing (223.6).

Gilliam joined Harris on the second team, and it is also the first all-conference honor of his career. Gilliam has been Toledo’s starting tight end for much of the season and ranks third on the team with three touchdown receptions. He has been an absolute force on special teams, where he leads the country in blocked kicks (four).

Jon’Vea Johnson was one of four Rockets to earn third-team All-MAC distinctions. He ranks second on the team with 611 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, and third with 29 receptions. He leads Toledo in average yards per catch (21.1), a figure that ranks fifth in the country. This is his second All-MAC award; he was a second-team honoree in 2016.

Vest is an All-MAC recipient for the second straight season, landing on the third team. He leads the MAC in scoring (8.6 points per game) and has cemented himself in Toledo football lore, breaking the school records for career field goals made (71) and extra points made (227). He is 14 for 19 on field goals this season, including 4 of 5 from 40 yards or longer.

Skipper was one of two UT defensive players to be placed on the All-MAC squad. A first-time honoree, Skipper has tallied 52 tackles this season and leads Toledo with 8.5 sacks, which rank third in the MAC. His 10.5 tackles for loss rank second on the team, and he leads the Rockets with four QB hurries and two fumble recoveries.

Teachey rounds out Toledo’s All-MAC selections with his first career all-conference accolade. He is fourth on the team with 54 tackles and is among the tops in the conference with 11 pass breakups. He leads the Rockets’ defensive backs with four tackles for loss.

Success story: UT alum, Grypmat inventor to speak Nov. 29

An alumnus of both The University of Toledo and its LaunchPad Incubation Program, whose invention called the Grypmat is on the cover of Time magazine’s “Best Inventions of 2018” issue, is returning to his alma mater to inspire future entrepreneurs.

Tom Burden, who graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering technology, will speak at a free, public event Thursday, Nov. 29, at 6 p.m. in the Launchpad Incubator Space on the second floor of Nitschke Technology Commercialization Complex at 1510 N. Westwood Ave. Networking will start at 5:30 p.m.

The UT Engineering Leadership Institute is hosting the discussion titled “Idea to Invention of the Year.”

“Tom’s success with the Grypmat is incredible,” UT Vice President for Research Frank Calzonetti said. “We are proud of what he has accomplished as an entrepreneur, but not surprised. He won UT’s Pitch & Pour competition while he was a student here, and he also returned last year to serve as a judge for the annual business pitch contest.”

Burden was recently listed in Forbes magazine’s 30 Under 30, and the Grypmat was named one of Time magazine’s Best Inventions of the Year.

He plans to discuss his experience taking his product idea to market, including how he landed a deal on ABC’s “Shark Tank” and built a team.

“The University of Toledo and the city of Toledo have many opportunities that I used to make my way to where I am now,” Burden said. “I am passionate about education, helping future generations of entrepreneurs, and giving back to the people who supported me.”

The Grypmat, which Burden designed as a solution to mechanics frustrated by their tools sliding off aircraft while they work, is a flexible, non-slip tool mat made of a unique polymer-silicone blend that helps grip tools and keep them in place at extreme angles of up to 70 degrees.

The product is popular with aircraft, boat and car mechanics. Burden also said he is working with NASA for its use on spaceships.

Bowl ticket orders may be placed through Dec. 14

See you at the 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl! The University of Toledo announced ticket information for the game, which will be played Friday, Dec. 21, at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time at Thomas A. Robinson Stadium in Nassau.

The Rockets (7-5, 5-3 Mid-American Conference) will play Florida International University (8-4, 6-2 Conference USA). The game will be televised on ESPN.

All tickets are $50. Ticket orders are being taken online at the UT Rockets bowl website, by phone or in person at the UT Athletic Ticket Office in Savage Arena.

Tickets may be picked up at the UT Athletic Ticket Office beginning Thursday, Dec. 6. Tickets also will be for sale at the ticket window beginning Tuesday, Dec. 4. Tickets can be purchased through UT through Friday, Dec. 14, at 5 p.m.

In addition, the UT Alumni Engagement Office will sponsor a pregame reception Friday, Dec. 21, from 10 a.m. to noon at the stadium. The menu will feature an island-theme and be served in the shade of a tent. The cost is $35 per person and includes two drink tickets.

The Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl has a number of hotel partners, with some limited-time special rates available. Rocket fans are encouraged to work directly with these hotels to make reservations or to check with their travel agent or online booking agent to secure packages.

For more information, including the list of hotels, go to the UT Alumni Association website or call 1.800.235.6766 or 419.530.2586 (ALUM).

Information on how to order bowl tickets is listed below. For questions, call the UT Athletic Ticket Office at 419.530.GOLD (4653).

How to order:

• Online: Fans may order tickets online on the UT Rockets bowl website (online fees apply).

• UT Ticket Office: Tickets will be available for purchase in person Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the UT Ticket Office in the Sullivan Athletic Complex, which is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Telephone: Fans may order by telephone through the UT Ticket Office with a Visa, MasterCard, Discover Card or American Express by calling 419.530.GOLD (4653). All tickets will be held in Will Call. Ticket orders will be assessed a $6 per order processing fee.

Will Call information:

• UT Ticket Office: Ticket pickup will take place from Thursday, Dec. 6, through Friday, Dec. 14, at 5 p.m.

• Tickets not picked up at the UT Athletic Ticket Office can be picked up at Thomas A. Robinson Stadium on game day beginning at 10 a.m. outside the Western Grandstand (press box) side of the stadium.

• When picking up tickets, you must present your ID and the major credit card used to purchase the tickets.

Rockets accept invitation to play in Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl

The University of Toledo has accepted an invitation to play Florida International University of Conference USA in the 2018 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl at Thomas A. Robinson Stadium in Nassau.

The game will be played Friday, Dec. 21, at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time and will be televised on ESPN.

“We are very excited to accept an invitation to play in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl,” said UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “We are looking forward to working with the staff at the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl as we participate in their outstanding bowl.

“This will be our first trip to the Bahamas, and we are looking forward to a terrific bowl experience against a very fine FIU team,” he said. “I also want to congratulate Head Coach Jason Candle, his staff and our entire Rocket football team for earning their eighth bowl invitation in the last nine years.”

Candle said the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl will be a well-earned reward for his team.

“The Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl will provide our team with an outstanding bowl experience, as well as the opportunity to play against a very tough FIU team,” Candle said. “We are looking forward to a great matchup. Playing in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl is an excellent reward for our players, coaches, fans, and everyone who has played a part in the success of our program.”

The Rockets (7-5, 5-3 Mid-American Conference) finished tied for second place in the West Division of the MAC. Toledo has a streak of nine consecutive winning seasons and will be attending its eight bowl in the past nine years. UT is 11-6 all-time in bowl games.

FIU (8-4, 6-2 Conference USA) finished tied for second place in the East Division of the conference. The Golden Panthers lead the all-time series over Toledo, 2-1, including a 34-32 win in the 2010 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, the most recent meeting between the two programs.

Rockets fans may purchase tickets for the game form the UT Athletic Ticket Office. Information on placing orders for tickets will be announced later this week.

Fans wishing to purchase rooms at the host resort for the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl, the Atlantis Bahamas, can do so at the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl website.

Wide receiver’s remarkable career coming to a close

Cody Thompson certainly didn’t plan for his college football career to play out this way.

Going into what was supposed to be his final season as a Rocket in 2017, Thompson thought his future was clear. He was a standout wide receiver, a key part of a senior class that was expected to lead the Rockets to their first Mid-American Championship in 13 years. That last part did happen, as UT rolled through the conference season before clobbering Akron in the MAC title game.

Cody Thompson has helped the Rockets beat Bowling Green five times and keep the Battle of I-75 Trophy.

Thompson, however, was limited to cheering on his teammates from the sidelines. A leg injury against Eastern Michigan in early October ended his season and, seemingly, his college career. However, the Rockets’ win over the Zips did more than put the finishing touches on a championship year. It opened a door for another season with the Rockets for Thompson.

Toledo’s appearance in the 2017 MAC Championship Game gave the Rockets a total of 14 games played. Thanks to the formula that NCAA uses to calculate injury hardship appeals, that extra game meant that Thompson’s college football story would include an extra chapter. It’s not how he imagined his career would conclude, but he looked upon his injury as an opportunity.

“It was kind of tough at first because all I wanted was to have a healthy, successful senior year and win a MAC Championship. Everything played its part, except the injury,” Thompson said. “It was tough, but once I got over that and stopped feeling sorry for myself, I kind of buckled down and got to work. I understood that I had a second chance and was determined to give this year’s team everything I could.”

The continuation of Thompson’s Rocket career has been a blessing for both him and the Rockets. He has had another great season, catching 41 passes for 566 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has etched his name in the Toledo record books, breaking the school record for career TD catches with 30 and moving into second place in career receiving yards (3,231). Better still, his injured leg is 100 percent healthy.

From a team standpoint, Thompson’s return has greatly benefited a young team that has only 13 seniors, only nine of whom have been with the program for their entire college careers. Head Coach Jason Candle, for one, has been happy to have Thompson’s leadership for one more season.

“Cody is a picture of what you want your program to be about,” Candle said. “He leads off the field and on the field. He is a very high-effort guy who is very accountable for his own actions. Young people sometimes have a hard time grasping that, but Cody has always done everything we have asked him to do, and even things that we don’t ask him to do. You hope that the young guys on the team have paid attention to his actions and how he has approached his everyday routine. And when he is gone, you hope that someone can fill that role.”

A big part of Thompson’s leadership role has come off the field. An outstanding student, Thompson already has his bachelor’s degree in marketing and is very close to earning his master’s degree in recreation and leisure. He is a two-time Academic All-District selection. His commitment to volunteerism has made him Toledo’s nominee for numerous national awards, including the Wuerffel Trophy, the Campbell Trophy, the All State Good Works Award and the NCAA Senior Class Award.

“My parents raised me to be a selfless person and that’s how my high school coach [Tony Legando] was, as well,” Thompson said. “I was taught to put others above yourself and to do the most you can whenever you can. If you’re going to do something, give it your all because if you’re not, then you’re wasting your time and the time of everyone around you.”

Thompson certainly has not squandered his fifth season with the Rockets. The Rockets are 6-5 going into Friday’s game vs. Central Michigan, and Thompson and his teammates are looking to earn a berth into their fifth consecutive bowl game. Before that happens, however, Thompson is determined to make sure his 55th game in a Rocket uniform (a school record, of course) will be no different than the 54 that came before it.

“I’m going to leave it all on the field one last time,” he said, “for this city, for this University, and for this team.”

Rocket football great to lead Toledo holiday parade Nov. 17

Former UT and NFL quarterback Bruce Gradkowski will be the grand marshal for The Blade Holiday Parade.

The 31st annual parade will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, in downtown Toledo and include more than 70 participants, including color guards, giant balloons, clowns, marching bands and dance teams.

Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski led the Rockets to the 2004 Mid-American Conference Championship.

The parade will start on Summit Street at Jefferson Avenue and proceed north on Summit to Jackson Street, west on Jackson to Huron Street, south on Huron to Washing Street, and east on Washington to Summit.

Santa Claus also will be in attendance during the parade and afterward at Imagination Station.

Gradkowski played for Toledo from 2001 to 2005 and led the Rockets to the 2004 Mid-American Conference Championship and two bowl appearances. He earned first-team All-MAC honors as a senior in 2005, finishing his career with a 45-13 triumph over the University of Texas at El Paso in the GMAC Bowl.

After a record-breaking career as a Toledo Rocket, Gradkowski played 11 seasons in the NFL with Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Oakland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

The 2005 UT alumnus now shares his expertise as a color analyst for the Rocket Football Radio Network and is a co-host of a weekly NFL radio show on SiriusXM.

Gradkowski is a local restaurant owner and a community ambassador for ProMedica. He recently received a 20 Under 40 Leadership Award from Leadership Toledo, which honors individuals who have distinguished themselves in their career and/or as a volunteer in the community.

UT Opera Ensemble to present ‘Così Fan Tutte’ this weekend

The UT Opera Ensemble will present Mozart’s comic Italian opera, “Così Fan Tutte” (“Women Are Like That”) with a modern country-western twist. Set in a country bar, a friend of two young men bets them that their girlfriends would be unfaithful if left unattended. So, the men take the bet and put their ladies to the test.

The opera will be sung in the original Italian, with subtitles provided.

Be there before the performance for barbecue, beer and free line dancing lessons. Beer is cash bar, and the barbecue will be sold by Deet’s BBQ.

Performances will take place Friday through Sunday, Nov. 16-18, in the UT Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall. Friday and Saturday performances will be at 7 p.m., and Sunday’s show will be at 2 p.m.

Cast members are UT student Alana Scaglioni, soprano, as Fiordiligi; UT alumna Katherine Kuhlman and UT student Kate Walcher, mezzo-sopranos, as Dorabella; UT Music Instructor Justin Bays, baritone, as Guglielmo; UT student Moises Salazar and UT alumnus William Floss, tenors, as Ferrando; UT student Paige Chapman, soprano, as Despina; Jonathan Stuckey, bass baritone, as Don Alfonso; and UT students Kaitlyn Trumbul, Kailyn Wilson, Sterling Wisenewski and Jasmin Davis as the chorus.

Dr. Denise Ritter Bernardini, UT assistant professor of music, is producing and directing the show. Wayne Anthony is the music director, and Scaglioni is the assistant director. Kent Lautzenheiser-Nash is the choreographer.

Tickets $10 to $15 are available through the Center for Performing Arts Box Office by calling 419.530.ARTS (2787), online at the School for Visual and Performing Arts website, and at the door.

For more information, visit the UT Department of Music opera page.

UT alumnus/doctoral student to hold book-signing event Nov. 17

Jeremy Holloway, who is pursuing a doctorate in curriculum and instruction in the Judith Herb College of Education, has published a book titled “God Wants You to Smile Today: 25 Epiphanies of God’s Goodness — Secrets to Living With Radical Peace, Joy and Hope.”

He will sign his debut book Saturday, Nov. 17, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Intersection Church, 1640 S. Coy Road in Oregon, Ohio. Entertainment, giveaways and refreshments will be provided at the event, where the book will be for sale for $8.99.

Proceeds will go to Celebrate Recovery, which is a program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain or addiction of any kind.

Holloway wanted his first book to inspire others.

“‘God Wants You To Smile Today’ is an inspirational book about using your talents and lives to put a smile on the face of our Creator, and on the faces of others around you,” he said.

“This book is a constant reminder of how good life can be, and that the gift of a smile is a precious and powerful thing,” Holloway said. “This book reminds me to smile when I meet someone or smile when I wake up in the morning. ‘God Wants You to Smile Today’ reminds me I have been given talents and gifts that can make other people smile and I intend to use them.”

Holloway is using his talents to help many. He is a mentor for undergraduate students through the University’s Brothers on the Rise, which helps UT males, especially African-American and Latino, make the transition from high school and college. He also is involved with UT’s Multicultural Emerging Scholars Program, represents the Judith Herb College of Education in the Graduate Student Association, and is a leader for the Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society in Education. In addition, he is a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Holloway

His work and dedication have been noticed. In 2017, he received the 20 Under 40 Leadership Award, which is presented annually by Leadership Toledo to 20 individuals who are 39 or younger in the Toledo community who have demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities.

The native of Toledo received a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish and a bachelor of education degree from UT in 2005. He taught Spanish at area schools and graduated from the University in 2014 with a master’s degree in English as a second language.

“The opportunities I’ve received at UT have surely made me smile, and I consider them to be a gift that I intend to share to make other people smile as well,” Holloway said.

In the future, he intends to write academic books to engage the mind, but he also plans to write inspirational books to engage the soul, heart and spirit.

“God Wants You to Smile Today” will be for sale at the Nov. 17 event and also is available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle form.