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Baroque music workshop, concert this week

The University of Toledo Music Department voice program will present a three-day opera workshop, Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 6-9.

This a Baroque music workshop will conclude with a performance of Henry Purcell’s “The Fairy Queen” Sunday, Sept. 9, at 3 p.m.


The workshop and concert will be held in the Center for Performing Arts.

Omaldo Perez, music director at Zoar Lutheran Church in Perrysburg, and the voice faculty at the University will present the workshop.

The cost to participate in the workshop is $200; $100 for UT alumni,;and free for UT students. All participants must purchase the Novello addition of the script.

Finishing with the play on Sept. 9, “The Fairy Queen” follows the star-crossed lovers from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” as they wander through the Forest of Arden amid hilarious confusion and misunderstandings ― which also besets the quarreling king against the queen of the fairies.

Tickets for the concert are $10 and will be available at the door and at utoledo.tix.com.

Those interested in signing up to participate in the workshop should click here.

Football player nominated for Allstate Good Works Team for second time

Toledo senior wide receiver Cody Thompson has been nominated for the 2018 Allstate American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Good Works Team.

It is the second consecutive season that Thompson has been nominated for the award.

Every year, the Allstate Insurance Co. and the American Football Coaches Association honor college football players who balance academics and athletics, while remaining committed to helping others and bettering their communities.

Thompson was a first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection in 2016, catching 64 passes for a then school record 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns. Last season, he was averaging 126.3 yards per game and 18.7 yards per catch going into the Eastern Michigan game Oct. 7 in which he suffered a season-ending injury. He was granted an injury hardship waiver by the NCAA, giving him another chance to complete his senior season.

Thompson, who earned Academic All-MAC honors in 2016, graduated last December with a 3.7 GPA in marketing. He is pursuing his master’s degree in recreation and leisure.

He has volunteered for numerous community activities and organizations, including the Toledo Boys and Girls Club, Ronald McDonald House, Cherry Street Mission, RockeThon for Mercy Children’s Hospital, Kids Day at the Glass City Marathon, Victory Day, the Toledo Crash wheelchair football team, and more.

A total of 169 student-athletes from all levels of college football were nominated for the award. A final roster of 22 award recipients will be unveiled in September. From the nominees submitted by sports information directors across the nation on behalf of their schools, a special voting panel consisting of former Allstate AFCA Good Works Team members and prominent college football media members will select the 2018 Good Works Team.

Once the final team members are announced in September, fans are encouraged to visit the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team website on ESPN.com, featuring profiles and images of the players, for the opportunity to vote for the 2018 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team Captain.

Beta Gamma Sigma Chapter obtains Highest Honors ranking

The Beta Gamma Sigma Chapter in the UT College of Business and Innovation has qualified for recognition as a Highest Honors Chapter, the top level of recognition a chapter can earn as part of the Chapter Honor Roll Program.

Qualifying for Highest Honors is indicative of a campus where academic excellence is highly valued and where the faculty officers of the chapter work diligently to enhance Beta Gamma Sigma’s stature on campus.

UT Beta Gamma Sigma Chapter advisors Kimberly Nigem, left, and Dr. Amal Said, right, posed for a photo with chapter officers, from left, Eric Wright, Amanda Martin, Gabe Gretz and Breanna Straka. Kirsten M. Zalewski, another chapter officer, is not pictured.

The chapter advisers are Dr. Amal Said, associate professor of accounting, and Kimberly Nigem, associate lecturer in management.

Founded in 1913, Beta Gamma Sigma is the international business honor society for Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-accredited institutions, which are the top 5 percent of business school programs around the world. Inducted as students, Beta Gamma Sigma members go on to serve in critical leadership roles in corporate, entrepreneurial, government, nonprofit and academic sectors.

“This recognition is their recognition,” Nigem said. “They dedicated many hours to Beta Gamma Sigma and passionately pursued their vision of what UT’s chapter should, could and did accomplish. Through the efforts of their highly motivated, innovative and creative team, the chapter has earned this award. The award is truly a reflection of who our students are: They are Beta Gamma Sigma, they are the College of Business and Innovation, and they are UT.

“The UT Beta Gamma Sigma team members were committed to help our chapter achieve its fullest potential,” Nigem added. “They had a collective vision to transform the organization into a valuable asset for the College of Business and Innovation, UT, our students, and our communities.”

Dr. Anne Balazs, dean of the College of Business and Innovation, will accept the award during the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International Conference and Annual Meeting in April.

Nigem said, “This award is a reflection of UT’s and the College of Business and Innovation’s dedication to excellence inside and outside of the classroom. I am very proud of our student leaders and their commitments to academic, professional and personal success. They are tremendous ambassadors of our UT Rocket nation.

“This recognition was made possible by the high-level academic success and achievements of our College of Business and Innovation undergrad, graduate and PhD students,” Nigem said. “The UT chapter under the leadership of our new president, Jamal Shaheen, will continue efforts to engage the chapter’s alumni, increase involvement with other student organizations, and continue to connect with our community.”

Beta Gamma Sigma members reside in all 50 U.S. states and more than 190 countries. Notable members include Nobel Prize winners, Olympians, inventors, CEOs of major global companies and nonprofit organizations, deans of the top business schools, and others who are making the world a better place at all levels of contribution through social enterprise, service and leadership.

A Highest Honors Chapter is eligible for several benefits, including one Global Leadership Summit Registration Scholarship, which covers the cost of one student registration, hotel accommodations, program materials, and most meals for the 2018 Global Leadership Summit to take place in November in Chicago.

Pregame and game-day parking reminders for Sept. 1

The University of Toledo’s first football game of the season is Saturday, Sept. 1, when the Rockets take on the Virginia Military Institute’s Keydets. Students are reminded that they may attend games free by presenting their Rocket ID card.

To ensure a successful game-day parking experience for all UT fans, students, faculty and staff are asked to review the following information:

• Overnight parking is not permitted prior to all home football games, even if a pass is displayed.

• On Friday, Aug. 31, lots 6, 9 and 10 will close at 9 p.m. All vehicles in these areas must be moved elsewhere before 2 a.m.

• Beginning at 3 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 1, any vehicles remaining in these areas will be towed at the owner’s expense.

• Lots 3, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10 will open at 6 a.m. on game days. Fans intending to park in these areas will need to have the appropriate parking pass available to allow entry.

• On all game days, lots 18 and 28 will close at 1 p.m. for public parking, and will open for game-day parking with the appropriate game-day parking pass.

• General admission parking areas — 1, 2, 12, 13, 19, 20, 25 and 26, as well as the east and west parking ramps — are open six hours prior to game time; overnight parking is not permitted.

• UT students, faculty and staff may park for free in any of the general admission parking areas on game day.

For Saturday, Sept. 1, general admission parking will open at 1 p.m. To make entering campus and parking more convenient for fans, the University will no longer collect parking fees or general admission passes at the entrance of these parking lots.

All parking is based on availability; if a parking area is full, fans will be directed to the next available parking lot.

More information about football parking, including a map of parking areas, is available here.

Interim deans named for colleges of Pharmacy, Graduate Studies

Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, dean of the College of Graduate Studies and vice provost for graduate affairs, has been named interim dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, effective Sept. 1.

Bryant-Friedrich will lead the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences while a national search is conducted for a permanent dean to replace Dr. Johnnie Early, who will be leaving The University Toledo after 18 years to serve as dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Florida A&M University.

“I want to take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation for Dean Early’s leadership in the college and on the UT campuses. We will miss Dean Early’s leadership and wish him the very best in his new position,” said Dr. Andrew Hsu, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “I appreciate Dr. Bryant-Friedrich’s willingness to serve in this position as we look forward to the recruitment of a successful candidate to lead and continue to build upon the strong reputation of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at UT.”

Bryant-Friedrich joined UT as a faculty member in 2007 and has led the College of Graduate Studies since 2016. She is professor of medicinal and biological chemistry in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and serves as director of the University’s Shimazdu Laboratory for Pharmaceutical Research Excellence.

She received a doctorate in pharmaceutical chemistry from Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg, a master’s degree in chemistry from Duke University, and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from North Carolina Central University.

Dr. Cyndee Gruden, associate dean for academic and student affairs in the College of Graduate Studies and professor of civil and environmental engineering, will serve as interim dean of the College of Graduate Studies starting Sept. 1.

Updated information for Rocket fans driving to Glass Bowl on game day

The University of Toledo Athletic Department is announcing updated parking procedures for Rocket home football games this year due to the addition of Stadium Drive Live.

Stadium Drive Live, presented by iHeart Radio, is a free event that will open three hours prior to kickoff and give fans the chance to enjoy food, drinks and live music before UT’s first five home contests.

For games in which Stadium Drive Live is scheduled, Stadium Drive will be closed five hours prior to game time from the south entrance of parking lot 10 to the footbridge (from Bancroft Street).

With the street closures to accommodate Stadium Drive Live, fans with parking passes for lots 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10 will be instructed to enter their respective parking areas the following ways:

• For parking lots 3, 4, 5 and 6 (lot 6 is used for RVs and trailers and requires a lot 9 or 10 pass): Enter off Douglas Road and proceed to your lot through lot 4.

• For parking lot 10: Enter campus via East Rocket Drive at Douglas and proceed to Stadium Drive. Turn right at Stadium Drive and proceed to lot 10 on the left before the crosswalk near the Larimer Athletic Complex.

Overnight parking in any lot is not permitted prior to all home football games. Specifically, parking lots 6, 9 and 10 will close at 9 p.m. the night prior to the game. All remaining vehicles in these areas will need to be moved prior to 2 a.m. Beginning at 3 a.m., any cars remaining in these three lots will be towed at the owner’s expense. These parking lots, as well as lots 3, 4 and 5, will open at 6 a.m. on game days. Fans intending to park in these lots will need to have the appropriate parking pass available to allow entry.

All parking will be based on availability; if a parking area is full, fans will be directed to the nearest available area.

Fans also should be aware that construction on Bancroft Street may cause delays on game day. If possible, fans should avoid Bancroft and enter campus via Douglas Road, Secor Road or Dorr Street.

For any further questions regarding parking at Toledo football home games, fans are encouraged to visit utrockets.com for the most up-to-date rules and policies.

Rockets ready to defend Mid-American Conference crown

See you at the game! As Toledo sets out to defend its 2017 Mid-American Conference title, six of the Rockets’ seven home games will be played in September and October.

Highlighting the home slate is a Sept. 15 matchup with Miami (Fla.). The Hurricanes currently are ranked No. 8 in the country and could potentially be in the top 10 when they visit the Glass Bowl next month.

The Rockets also will host the Battle of I-75 against archrival Bowling Green Saturday, Oct. 6. That game also will be Homecoming for Toledo. The Rockets have won eight consecutive games vs. the Falcons, evening the all-time series at 39-39-4.

Four games on Toledo’s 2018 schedule are set for national TV broadcast; additional TV contests could be added later. The four national TV games are Oct. 25 at Western Michigan (ESPN2 or CBS Sports Network); Oct. 31 vs. Ball State (ESPN2); Nov. 7 at Northern Illinois (ESPN2 or ESPNU); and Nov. 15 at Kent State (CBSSN).

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

UT closes out the non-conference portion of its schedule with a trip to Fresno State Sept. 29.

In addition to Bowling Green, Mid-American Conference opponents coming to the Glass Bowl are Buffalo (Oct. 20), Ball State (Oct. 31) and Central Michigan (Nov. 23).

UT will hit the road to face Eastern Michigan (Oct. 13), Western Michigan (Oct. 25), Northern Illinois (Nov. 7) and Kent State (Nov. 15).

Head Coach Jason Candle’s 2018 team returns 14 starters from last season’s MAC Championship squad, including one of the best receiving corps in the nation. Senior wide receiver Cody Thompson, who returns for his fifth season following an injury in 2017, was a first-team All-MAC selection in 2016. He has caught 133 passes and 20 TD passes in his Rocket career. Junior Diontae Johnson was a first-team All-MAC choice in 2017, catching 72 passes for a school-record 1,257 yards and 13 scores. Senior Jon’Vea Johnson has caught 82 passes and 15 touchdowns over the past two seasons.

“We built our scheme to match our players in years past and have been very successful in doing that — offensively, defensively and in the kicking game. The challenges remain the same as we approach this year, too,” Candle said.

“The fun part is to get the moving pieces in the right place to keep all the arrows in your program headed in the right direction. That’s where you go from a good team to a great team, if you can get all those arrows going in the right direction and get everybody on the same page. That’s what we’re constantly working to do each and every day.”

Season tickets are on sale at the UT Athletic Ticket Office, online at utrockets.com or at 419.530.GOLD (4653). Faculty and staff can buy tickets half off with ID, and UT students are admitted free with ID.

Toledo introduces Stadium Drive Live for 2018 football season

The University of Toledo will introduce a new pregame event for fans this football season called Stadium Drive Live, presented by iHeart Radio.

Stadium Drive Live, which is free to attend, will take place prior to the first five Saturday home games of the 2018 football season and provide a community tailgate for all Rocket football fans.

Opening three hours prior to kickoff, Stadium Drive Live will give fans a chance to play tailgate games and listen to live music performances on the Battery Wholesale stage. Fans will be able to purchase food and beverages from Aramark’s Tailgate Gourmet II booth, which will offer grilled hamburgers and hot dogs as well as other items, in addition to other food trucks and the Bud Light Beer Garden.

Stadium Drive Live will be located adjacent to the Glass Bowl on Stadium Drive. With the street closures to accommodate Stadium Drive Live, fans with parking passes for lots 3, 4, 5, 6 and 10 will be instructed to enter their respective parking areas the following ways:

• For lots 3, 4, 5, and 6: Enter off Douglas Road through parking lot 4.

• For lot 10: Enter off Douglas Road from East Rocket Drive to Stadium Drive, and then enter lot 10 through the south entrance right before the crosswalk near the Rocket and Larimer complex.

Listed by date, musical acts to perform at Stadium Drive Live on the stage Powered by Battery Wholesale will be:

• Sept. 1 (Virginia Military Institute) — Kentucky Chrome;

• Sept. 15 (Miami) — Last Born Sons;

• Sept. 22 (Nevada) — Andrew Ellis;

• Oct. 6 (Bowling Green) — Distant Cousinz; and

• Oct. 20 (Buffalo) — Arctic Clam.

Stadium Drive Live is sponsored by iHeart Radio, Battery Wholesale, Bud Light, Treu House of Munch and Ace Sanitation.

Individual and season tickets for the 2018 season are on sale. Stop by the UT Athletic Ticket Office, located in the Sullivan Athletic Complex at Savage Arena, go online at utrockets.com, or call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

VP/athletic director named to NCAA Division I Basketball Committee

University of Toledo Vice President and Director of Athletics Mike O’Brien has been appointed to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced on Friday.

O’Brien replaces Ohio University Athletic Director Jim Schaus, who just finished his third year on the committee and is resigning to spend more time on campus. O’Brien will serve the remaining two years on Schaus’ original five-year appointment, which began in 2015.


The 10-member NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Committee is responsible for selecting, seeding and bracketing the field for the NCAA Tournament. School and conference administrators are nominated by their conference, serve five-year terms, and represent a cross-section of the Division I membership.

“I am deeply honored to be appointed to represent The University of Toledo and the Mid-American Conference as a member of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee,” O’Brien said. “I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to join the tremendous group of people who serve on this very important committee. I especially want to thank the NCAA’s senior vice president for basketball, Dan Gavitt, for this opportunity. I began my career in athletics as a basketball coach, so it is very exciting and gratifying for me to be a part of the committee that selects the field for one of the greatest sporting events in the world, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.”

“We’re pleased to welcome Mike O’Brien to the men’s basketball committee,” Gavitt said. “Mike is highly respected by his peers as an athletic director with a long tenure at Toledo and a deep history of NCAA committee service. Having started his career as a college assistant basketball coach, Mike has great passion and feel for the game.”

O’Brien is in his 17th year as the athletic director at the University. During his tenure, he has helped shape the UT Athletics program into one of the very best in the Mid-American Conference. His tenure has seen unprecedented athletic and academic achievements of UT’s student-athletes, as well as numerous ambitious capital projects that have elevated the University’s status as one of the top mid-major athletic programs in the country.

Under O’Brien’s watch, the Rockets have won or shared 33 league titles in nine different sports, including championships in football and women’s soccer last season. The Rockets have won the Jacoby Trophy as the MAC’s top women’s athletic program twice in O’Brien’s reign, in 2011-12 and 2017-18.

In the classroom, UT has produced overall department grade point averages above a 3.2 in each of the past seven semesters, and above a 3.1 in the past 19 consecutive semesters. Rocket student-athletes had a combined GPA of 3.266 in 2017-18, including a school record 3.290 in the 2017 fall semester. UT women’s athletes won the MAC’s Faculty Athletic Representatives Award for the highest combined GPA in 2017-18. UT has won the Mid-American Conference Institutional Academic Achievement Award, presented annually to the school with the highest grade point average, in four of the last six years. In 2011-12, UT won the Cartwright Award, given annually to the MAC athletic program with the highest degree of excellence in academics, athletics and citizenship.

Capital projects secured during O’Brien’s tenure include the Charles A. Sullivan Athletic Complex construction and Savage Arena renovation project (2008); Fetterman Training Center construction (2010); Glass Bowl and Larimer Athletic Complex renovations (2016); as well as updates to soccer (2004), tennis (2006), and track and field (2010).

O’Brien received national recognition for his accomplishments from the National Association of College Directors of Athletics at its convention in June 2012 when he was named the Football Bowl Subdivision Northeast Region Athletic Director of the Year. O’Brien, who has the second-longest tenure among MAC athletic directors, previously served on the NCAA Division I Council from 2015 to 2018, where he worked on the Competition Oversight Committee. He also chairs the MAC Football Coaches Committee and was the conference’s athletic director representative to the College Football Playoff Committee (formerly the Bowl Championship Series). He also has served as the chair of the Mid-American Conference Athletic Director’s Committee and was a member of the NCAA Division I Football Issues Committee.

UT women win Faculty Athletics Representative Award for highest GPA in MAC

University of Toledo female student-athletes have been named the recipients of the 2017-18 Mid-American Conference Faculty Athletics Representative Academic Achievement Award, the conference office announced today.

The Faculty Athletics Representative Academic Achievement Awards recognize the conference institution with the highest overall grade point average rank for both men’s and women’s student-athletes.

This is the first time the UT women have won the award. The UT men have won the award three times.

The conference faculty athletic representatives worked with the conference’s athletic academic advisors to compute an award that best represents the academic achievement of student-athletes in a competitive setting. Using the same ranking method as the longtime Reese and Jacoby trophies (traditionally awarded to the best overall male and female athletic programs in the MAC), the Faculty Athletics Representative Academic Achievement Awards are given to those institutions’ male and female programs with the highest overall GPA rank points within the conference. Only MAC-sponsored sports are used.

Toledo had the highest GPA rank as the Rockets women carried the highest league GPA in women’s golf, while posting the second-highest GPA rank in women’s soccer and women’s tennis, and the third-best GPA rank in women’s cross country and women’s track and field during the 2017-18 academic year.

“We want to extend our congratulations to all our women’s sports for earning the Faculty Athletics Representative Academic Achievement Award,” said Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “We take great pride in the academic success of our student-athletes. An achievement like this is a testimony to their hard work and dedication, as well as the tremendous support of coaches, administrators and faculty.”

The MAC Institutional Achievement Award, which honors the school with the best overall GPA rank for all men’s and women’s sports, will be announced Tuesday, Aug. 28.

2017-18 Toledo Women’s Sports GPA by Sport
Basketball – 3.323
Cross Country – 3.646
Golf – 3.722
Soccer – 3.575
Softball – 3.349
Swimming and Diving – 3.494
Tennis – 3.546
Track and Field – 3.376
Volleyball – 3.582