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Trustees approve 2020 operating budget

The University of Toledo Board of Trustees approved June 17 a balanced operating budget for fiscal year 2020 that positions the institution to continue to make progress on its strategic priorities. The approximately $770 million budget includes an investment in the people who make UToledo successful.

Because the state of Ohio biennium operating budget continues to work through the legislature containing language that limits tuition and fee increases, the University’s budget leaves undergraduate tuition for continuing students not part of the Tuition Guarantee unchanged at this time. The board approved a resolution that authorizes UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber to modify tuition and fees if permitted by law.

The budget does include differential tuition increases in selected graduate and professional programs.

In an effort to make online programs more accessible, trustees approved a resolution to reduce the non-Ohio surcharge to just $5 per credit hour for students enrolled exclusively in online programs.

The budget reflects a 2 percent wage increases for professional staff and faculty members who are not part of a bargaining unit. University employees who are members of unions will receive increased compensation as determined by their collective bargaining agreements.

In other board action, two new undergraduate degrees in data analytics were approved and will be sent to the Ohio Department of Higher Education for consideration.

The bachelor of arts degree in data analytics in the College of Arts and Letters has an emphasis on social sciences and will prepare students for careers that focus on interpreting and applying structured data for clients. The bachelor of science degree in data science in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics is designed to prepare students for careers that involve statistical tools to extract meaning from large data sets for specific applications.

Trustees also approved a reorganization of departments in the Judith Herb College of Education to combine programs into two areas — one related to teacher licensure and one focused on the study of education.

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the Department of Early Childhood, Higher Education and Special Education will be combined and renamed the Department of Teacher Education. The Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership and the faculty in the Higher Education and Education Technology programs will be combined and renamed the Department of Educational Studies.

At its final meeting of the fiscal year, the Board of Trustees elected officers for the 2019-20 year. Mary Ellen Pisanelli will continue to serve as chair, and Al Baker will continue as vice chair.

The June meeting completed the term of Sharon Speyer, president of the Northwest Ohio Region for Huntington National Bank. She was given the title of trustee emeritus, along with Steven Cavanaugh, who resigned upon beginning his new role as ProMedica’s chief financial officer. A proclamation also was read to recognize student trustee Hedyeh Elahinia, a junior in the Jesup Scott Honors College studying biology, who completed two years of service on the board.

UToledo students’ winning biodesign projects to compete in New York

Two groups of UToledo students will compete against more than 30 teams from around the world Thursday and Friday, June 20 and 21, at the Biodesign Challenge Summit at the Parsons School of Design and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The two teams, PlastiGrow and btilix, won the chance to travel to the Big Apple at the UToledo competition this spring at the Toledo Museum of Art Glass Pavilion.

Btilix team members are, from left, Tyler Saner, Sarah Mattei, Courtney Kinzel, Timothy Wolf and Sherin Aburidi.

Presented by The University of Toledo, the Biodesign Challenge offers art and design, bioengineering, and environmental sciences students the opportunity to envision future applications of biotechnology and biomaterials that address complex global challenges. Students are connected with community experts to develop innovative solutions through interdisciplinary research and iterative prototyping.

“Normally, our jurors award one team with the honor of competing in New York, but this year we have the opportunity to award not just one team — a team that will compete against all schools — but we are also putting up for consideration another team for a special prize, so we are happy to announce our two winning teams, btilix and PlastiGrow,” Eric Zeigler, assistant professor of art, said.

Students on the PlastiGrow team are, from left, McKenzie Dunwald, Michael Socha, Colin Chalmers and Ysabelle Yrad.

The overall winner of the UToledo competition was btilix. This team developed a disinfectant spray for combatting antibiotic-resistant superbugs. The students on the btilix team are Tyler Saner, art; Sarah Mattei, environmental science; Courtney Kinzel, environmental science; Timothy Wolf, bioengineering; and Sherin Aburidi, bioengineering.

The UToledo team, PlastiGrow, is applying to compete in New York for the ORTA Sustainability in Textiles Prize. The team engineered a biodegradable plastic material that can be used in the creation of everyday products to greatly reduce the cost and energy spent on waste and recycling efforts. Team members are McKenzie Dunwald, art; Michael Socha, bioengineering; Colin Chalmers, art; and Ysabelle Yrad, environmental science.

For more information on the competition, visit the Biodesign Challenge website.

Theatre students studying abroad at Moscow Art Theatre

Two students and a faculty member from The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film are in Russia for the month of June as part of a study abroad experience at the Moscow Art Theatre.

In addition to taking classes with the theatre, the students, Bailey Flint and Gillian Martin, have received grants to work behind the scenes on a collaboration with the International Public Theatre at Moscow’s Meyerhold Center. The production is directed and written by Dr. Matt Foss, UToledo assistant professor of theatre.

Bailey Flint, left, Dr. Matt Foss and Gillian Martin posed for a photo on campus before leaving for Russia.

The students are taking a full range of classes six days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and watch plays most evenings.

“[We] will see about 28 plays in like 30 days. So we don’t have much time to venture too far out,” Flint said. “But we’re pretty much in the heart of Moscow, so there’s a lot to see around where we’re at.”

The University of Toledo collaboration with the International Public Theatre and Meyerhold Center will perform Sunday and Monday, June 16 and 17. The students are rehearsing with their Russian counterparts in preparation for the production.

Flint, who is majoring in theatre and media communications and is a punter for the football team, said, “I will act as a deck manager and understudy to one of the main Russian actors.”

Martin, who is majoring in media communications and minoring in theatre, also will be part of the crew for the show. “I’ll be serving as a stage manager, so I will be doing a lot of the sound cues,” she said. “We all kind of get a hand in the experience and to be a part of the production, which is really cool.”

The students received Undergraduate Summer Research and Creative Activities Program Grants to support their work on the production. Martin and Flint will work with the UToledo Office of Undergraduate Research to reflect on their work and present at a symposium in August.

The Moscow Art Theatre is home to Anton Chekhov’s plays and Konstantin Stanislavsky — a pioneer in modern actor training. This is the second year UToledo students have traveled to train and study at one of the world’s leading theater schools.

UToledo student studying suicide and opioids awarded prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Margaret Baer, a first-year doctoral student in The University of Toledo Department of Psychology, uses science to help make sense of suicide and substance use, leading causes of death in the United States.

Baer’s somber work is driven by these widespread sources of pain and unlocking new ways to ease suffering and prevent the loss of more lives.

Baer

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Baer a Graduate Research Fellowship in clinical psychology, recognizing her potential for significant research achievements.

The fellowship is worth $34,000 a year for three years. It is regarded as one of the most competitive and respected scientific fellowships in the country. This year the NSF awarded fellowships to 2,050 students around the country out of about 12,000 applications.

“I am immensely grateful for the NSF support,” said Baer, who is currently examining the link between suicide and substance abuse. “My passion is to conduct impactful, innovative research that ameliorates these large-scale public health problems. Among other studies, I hope to investigate the mechanisms underlying the co-occurrence of suicide-related behaviors and opioid misuse.”

Baer, who is from Evansville, Ind., works in the Personality and Emotion Research and Treatment Laboratory of Dr. Matthew Tull and Dr. Kim Gratz, both UToledo professors of psychology.

“Margaret is highly dedicated to conducting innovative and clinically relevant research, particularly in the areas of substance abuse and suicide,” Tull said. “I am incredibly pleased that the NSF has recognized her with this fellowship, which will provide her with even more opportunities to contribute to the field, as well as provide a foundation and resources for Margaret to build a highly impactful career.”

Baer’s own undergraduate experience at several different colleges sparked her interest in becoming a suicide researcher.

“I thought of college as a very exciting, hopeful time. I was shocked at the number of students who struggled with thoughts of suicide,” Baer said. “Kids were at their healthiest and youngest, on the cusp of exploring their extraordinary potential in higher education. It was an eye-opener. I felt the urgency of suicide prevention.”

Before arriving at UToledo in August 2018 to pursue her Ph.D., Baer worked with researchers at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Md.

“There is great need for suicide prevention at all ages — adolescents, seniors and middle-aged adults. All may resort to risky behaviors, such as substance abuse or self-injury — cutting, for example — while also having thoughts of suicide or attempting suicide,” Baer said. “My focus right now is on substance use impacting barriers to suicide. Soon I hope to examine the relationship between negative social interactions in daily life and opioid craving.”

Since 1952, NSF has funded more than 50,000 Graduate Research Fellowships out of more than 500,000 applicants. Currently, 42 Fellows have gone on to become Nobel laureates.

Art faculty member awarded Ohio Arts Council grant

Deborah Orloff, professor of photography and associate chair of The University of Toledo Department of Art, has received an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council for her body of work, “Elusive Memory.”

According to the Ohio Arts Council website, the excellence awards “are peer recognition of artists for the exceptional merit of a body of their work that advances or exemplifies the discipline and the larger artistic community. These awards support artists’ growth and development and recognize their work in Ohio and beyond.”

Orloff

Orloff said the $5,000 grant will be used to expand her “Elusive Memory” series and to exhibit it nationally.

The work was inspired by an experience she had following the death of her father in 2007 when she was preparing a eulogy for his funeral. While drawing upon specific memories, she realized all of them were directly connected to photographs, causing her to wonder if she remembered the moments, or if the pictures had created false memories.

“I wanted to make work about this phenomenon, but the project didn’t actually take form until many years later,” Orloff said.

“About five years ago, I inherited thousands of neglected prints and slides that had been in my father’s basement, where they were damaged by flooding. I started photographing them in the studio, not knowing what I would do with the images, but hoping to salvage some of the family pictures for posterity,” she said. “It wasn’t until I saw them enlarged on a computer screen that I recognized their poignancy and greater relevance: I saw metaphors for loss and the fragmentary, ephemeral nature of memory.”

“My Favorite Dress” from “Elusive Memory,” color photograph on rag paper, by Deborah Orloff

Her new work utilizes the severely damage photos.

“‘Elusive Memory’ explores the significance of vernacular photographs as aesthetic objects and cultural artifacts. The resulting large-scale photographs make commonplace objects monumental and emphasize their unique details,” Orloff said.

The exhibition is on display at Workspace Gallery in Lincoln, Neb. Upcoming exhibitions include Youngstown State University’s Solomon Gallery, Vincennes University’s Shircliff Gallery in Indiana, and Anna Maria College’s Art Center Gallery in Massachusetts.

In addition, Orloff’s project was featured recently online at “Aint — Bad,” an independent publisher of new photographic art.

Samples of Orloff’s work can be seen on her website at deborahorloff.com.

UToledo’s ‘Beer Professor,’ alumni entrepreneurs to speak at craft beer lecture and tasting June 13

The community is invited to attend the Craft Beer Lecture and Tasting Thursday, June 13, at 6 p.m. at The University of Toledo Center for Alumni and Donor Engagement, located at 4510 Dorr St.

Dr. Neil Reid, UToledo professor of geography and planning, affectionately known as the “Beer Professor,” will speak about the growth of the craft beer industry and the factors driving that growth. He teaches a class titled The Geography of Beer and Brewing.

Reid

Reid’s latest research about the impact of craft breweries on home values was featured in publications across the country, including Food & Wine magazine and Better Homes and Gardens.

“America is in the middle of a craft beer revolution,” Reid said. “Craft breweries often locate in neighborhoods that were once economically distressed. Thanks to the arrival of the craft brewery and other investments by both the public and private sector, many of these neighborhoods have become revitalized. In fact, our analysis shows living within a half mile of a craft brewery increased the average value of a single-family home by almost 10 percent, using Charlotte, N.C., as a case study.”

Representatives from two Toledo breweries and UToledo alumni also will discuss their journey from home brewers to brewery owners. Keefe Snyder, who graduated from the College of Engineering in 2006 and the College of Law in 2010, is a co-owner of Earnest Brew Works. Aaron Grizaniuk, who graduated from University College in 2005, co-owns Patron Saints Brewery.

The event costs $20 a person and includes eight 3-oz. beer samples and appetizers. The tasting is for people 21 and older.

To register, go to the Alumni Association website or call the Office of Alumni Engagement at 419.530.2586.

The event is hosted by the UToledo Arts and Letters and Engineering Alumni Affiliates.

UToledo to present summer workshops in the arts

The University of Toledo School of Visual and Performing Arts will host several workshops and camps in the arts this summer.

These are day-camp only, no overnight stays. Parking during these events is free.

Workshops, dates and times are:

Students created masterpieces during Art Camp last summer.

Art Camps — June 3 through 7. There will be two weeklong camps available — a camp for ages 7 to 10 and a camp for ages 11 to 13. Each camp offers a morning workshop (9 a.m. to noon) and an afternoon session (1 to 4 p.m.). There will be a break between the morning and afternoon sessions, with supervision of students who stay for both workshops. Projects for the younger camp center on dinosaurs in the morning and sci-fi adventures in the afternoon. In the morning, the older student camp will present literary journeys in which projects are related to famous youth novels, and in the afternoon cosplay in which students design and sew a costume. Students staying all day are encouraged to bring a lunch and beverage; lunch is not provided. The workshops will be held in the Center for the Visual Arts on the University’s Toledo Museum of Art Campus. Cost: $60 for each workshop, $105 for both, and includes all tools, materials and supplies needed. Deadline to register: Friday, May 31.

Theatre Camp — June 3 through July 14. The Department of Theatre and Film will host the Children’s Theatre Workshop of Toledo as it presents a workshop culminating in the performance of the teen musical, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” The Children’s Theatre Workshop will prep students ages 13-18 to host auditions, cast the show, and rehearse the musical for a weekend of public performances. Rehearsals and performances will take place in the Center for Performing Arts. Cost: $180. Deadline to register: Saturday, June 1.

Flute Camp — June 17 through 21. Toledo Symphony flutists Joel Tse and Amy Heritage will lead classes in all aspects of flute playing and performance. The three tracks available include a morning-only session for first- and second-year beginners, a full-day track for students with at least two years’ experience, and another program for adults. Extras included in the camp fee: guest instructor-led sessions in yoga, drumming, eurhythmics and music theory, plus chamber and solo performance opportunities, a piccolo workshop, flute-care instruction and more. Flute Camp will be held at the Center for Performing Arts. Cost: Track one $150, tracks two and three $300; daily rate $65 for those who cannot attend all days of the workshop. Deadline to register: Monday, June 10.

Students played during last summer’s Jazz Jam Camp.

Jazz Jam Camp — June 23 through 28. The Jazz Jam Camp will be held at the Center for Performing Arts. It offers all levels of jazz instruction by master jazz musicians/educators, as well as performance opportunities and a recording session. The camp is open to all people ages 12 and older. All levels of jazz students can discover and achieve their jazz potential through one of four program tracks: instrumental jazz, vocal jazz, teacher training (continuing education credit available) and jazz appreciation. Cost: $500 ($50 nonrefundable deposit plus $450 camp fee). Daily lunch is included in the fees. Teachers participating in the camp can reduce their own fees by $100 for each student from their school who participates. Deadline to register: Saturday, June 1.

Choral Conducting Workshop – July 23 through 25. This workshop is a comprehensive and immersive choral conducting workshop. It is designed to serve and educate individuals as conductor, teacher, leader, scholar and performer. The workshop will be led by Dr. Brad Pierson, UToledo assistant professor of music and director of choral activities. Conductors will engage in sessions covering a wide variety of topics. Conductors may choose from either a three-day immersion workshop (July 23-25), or a one-day workshop (July 25). Coffee and a light breakfast will be provided in the mornings. The workshop will provide 18 contact hours of professional development for Ohio teachers. Please provide any required paperwork as needed. Cost: $300 for the three-day option; $100 for the one-day option if registered by Monday, July 1. After July 1, fees increase by $25. Fees are due upon registration. This workshop will be held in the Center for Performing Arts. Deadline to register: Saturday, July 20.

For more information and to register, visit the summer workshops’ website, or call the UToledo School of Visual and Performing Arts at 419.530.2452.

UToledo scholar awarded Fulbright to Sudan for next academic year

Dr. Asma Abdel Halim’s quarter century of research questioning the breach and progress of Muslim women’s human rights is personal.

Her own life experience fuels her life’s work to protect Muslim women worldwide for generations to come.

Abdel Halim

The next leg of her journey takes her back to her native Sudan, a place Abdel Halim describes as “a country that has always subjected women to a version of Islamic law that is fashioned according to the political mood of the government.”

The prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar program selected The University of Toledo faculty member focused on women’s rights under religious laws to travel to Sub-Saharan Africa for the 2019-20 academic year as a Fulbright Scholar.

Abdel Halim, associate professor in the UToledo Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, and director of the Center of the Muslim Woman, will study the history of gender effects on Sudanese law, produce ideas for reform, and teach a class on gender and the law at her alma mater, the University of Khartoum.

“As a Muslim woman joining other Muslim women in researching Islamic laws and critiquing centuries of patriarchal dominance, I find it necessary to explore women’s history, rights and developments because I am determined to address gendered laws and how to combat their effects,” Abdel Halim said.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright U.S. Scholar program within the U.S. Department of State has worked to improve intercultural relations and diplomacy through national fellowship. The program in Sudan was suspended in 1992 after the U.S. issued an embargo on relations with the country and was reinstated two years ago after President Trump lifted U.S. sanctions.

“As Dr. Asma Abdel Halim travels around the world sharing her knowledge, insight and experience, she helps raise awareness about problems and protections of women living under Muslim laws,” Dr. Sharon Barnes, associate professor and chair in the UToledo Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, said. “Her outstanding scholarship consistently brings great prestige to The University of Toledo. While we will miss her at home, we are proud the Fulbright program has recognized her forward-thinking work on international women’s issues.”

Abdel Halim, a faculty member at UToledo for 15 years, graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Khartoum with a bachelor’s degree in 1980 and a master’s degree in 1988.

“As a student there, I never encountered gender in any of the courses,” Abdel Halim said. “My experience studying and teaching in the United States proved that gender as a tool of analysis is vital in studying law.”

Abdel Halim, who earned her Ph.D. at Ohio University, said actions of extremists lead many to question the tenets of Islam and the religion’s commitment to equality.

“Religious interpretations are being misused to strengthen conservative stances regarding the curbing of human rights,” Abdel Halim said. “Old traditions of favoring men because of their participation in war lead to the subjugation of women to the authority of male guardians.”

Abdel Halim plans to write a book after accessing old Shari’a sources, such as treaties written by scholars centuries ago and still considered the main source of Islamic rules today. She also plans to delve into the era of Mahdiyya uprisings and older archives.

“The intersection of religion and gender seems to be working against women where legislation is concerned,” Abdel Halim said. “Ideological traditions find safety in regression to old traditions rather than in change. I plan to follow the historical events of the recent history of the Sudan and look closely to the history of women in the country and understand why developments in legislation go back and forth. I also will examine how the intersection of gender and religion seems to always end in the defeat of women’s rights in favor of archaic religious norms.”

Employees honored with Outstanding Staff Awards

Five employees took home the University’s 2019 Outstanding Staff Awards.

More than 60 nominees were celebrated at a May 6 ceremony in the Thomas and Elizabeth Brady Engineering Innovation Center. The event was hosted by Human Resources on behalf of President Sharon L. Gaber.

Winners this year were:

Laura M. Brown, academic accommodation specialist, compliance, in the Department of Student Disability Services. She joined the University in 2014 as a secretary in the College of Business and Innovation, and is a graduate of UToledo with a bachelor of arts degree.

“Laura is the face of Student Disability Services at the University. She is extremely knowledgeable, compassionate and kind in a very busy and demanding environment,” one nominator wrote. “She effortlessly manages the daily operations of the office while providing resources and guidance for new and continuing students, parents, faculty and staff. Navigating resources and academic accommodations can sometimes be complicated for students with disabilities, but Laura provides a consistent and friendly contact every step of the way.” Another noted, “Laura is an efficient and talented employee who engages in process improvements and creating efficiencies. Her work is continuously done at a very high standard, and Laura is always willing to share her knowledge with others on her team. Laura helps to represent the absolute best of the University.”

Betsy Buschmann, registered medical assistant clinical supervisor in the Gastroenterology Clinic in UToledo Medical Center. She has worked at the hospital since 2014.

“Betsy has a great passion for what she does and it shows in her work,” a patient wrote. “She has always taken my calls, got answers for me in a timely manner, and had patience with me regardless of what the issue may have been or how many times I may have contacted her. She is always willing to help me, and I have seen her take the time to help others when needed. Not everyone enjoys going to the doctor, but her positive and friendly personality makes it much more rewarding when entering the clinic.” Another wrote, “I always feel as if I am the only patient that is being seen because of the way that Betsy ensures that the flow of my visit goes smoothly.” Another noted, “She is an inspiration to others.”

Catherine Chengges, administrative coordinator in the Department of English Language and Literature in the College of Arts and Letters, and instructor in both the Jesup Scott Honors College and the College of Arts and Letters. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University.

“Literally nothing in our department would work well without Cathy Chengges. She not only makes sure that we have humane teaching times, she also makes sure that we are teaching classes that reasonably complement one another,” one nominator noted. Another wrote, “Cathy Chengges has been a steady, supporting presence in the English Department for many years. Her work in creating the extremely unwieldy course schedule for the English Department, semester after semester, is remarkable. She is a scheduling superhero. I hate to think that she will ever retire.” “She is the most professional, competent, exceptional person on so many levels. She is my go-to person who I can ask just about anything, epitomizing what I feel defines the highest qualities of University spirit and character,” another wrote.

Lisa Edwards, secretary in the Department of Art in the College of Arts and Letters. She joined the University in 2014.

“Lisa is the absolute heart of our department. She is always positive, helpful, organized and so on top of everything,” one nominator wrote. “She works selflessly and passionately to make everyone’s life better — especially for our students and prospective students. Her positive attitude is infectious and makes the whole department a better place.” “Lisa’s reliability is almost unfathomable until you get to work with her,” another wrote. “She is excellence performed every day; from urgent tasks that overtake the long-term projects she is always working on, to the consistency of keeping calendars for the entire department’s goings on, she is always on top, sorting out issues, and stopping problems even before they are able to arise. Lisa is truly a role model for professionalism and excellence.”

Sherri Kaspar, director of parking and transportation in Auxiliary Services. She joined the University in 2004 as event manager for the Toledo Police Department. A UToledo alumna, she received a master’s degree in recreation administration in 2004.

“Ms. Kaspar inspires others to do excellent work and promotes the professional goals of those she works witrh. She takes positivity and applies it to every employee not to mention the many students whom she directs,” one nominator wrote. “She consistently monitors her program, employees and volunteer retirees who work with her. After seeing her in action for five years, she is in a position where no one is consistently pleased with all aspects of parking simultaneously as the daily variable issues she deals with are never the same. Her commitment to excellence in her area is exemplary and deserves to be brought to the attention of the University community,” one nominator wrote. “She runs a tight ship and cares for her employees, and we all care for her.”

Receiving the University’s 2019 Outstanding Staff Awards were, from left, Catherine Chengges, Sherri Kaspar, Betsy Buschmann, Laura M. Brown and Lisa Edwards.

Entertainment icon Katie Holmes to deliver commencement address May 4

Katie Holmes, a native Toledoan who rose to fame as an actor, producer and director, will return to her hometown to deliver the keynote address during The University of Toledo’s undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday, May 4.

A Notre Dame Academy alumna and international icon of screen, stage and film, Holmes will address 2,078 candidates for degrees — 2,023 bachelor’s and 55 associate’s candidates. The event will take place at 10 a.m. in the Glass Bowl.

The University’s graduate commencement ceremony is scheduled the same day at 3 p.m. in the Glass Bowl, and will commemorate 915 candidates for doctoral, education specialist and master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates. Analese Alvarez, an educator and musician who has recorded with the Grammy Award-winning rock group Fleetwood Mac, will be the keynote speaker. She is a candidate for a doctoral degree.

Both ceremonies are open to the public and can be viewed live on the University Views website.

President Sharon L. Gaber will present Holmes with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree before the keynote address.

“The University of Toledo is pleased to welcome Katie Holmes as our commencement speaker to inspire our newest alumni as they celebrate receiving their degrees,” Gaber said. “As a Toledo native with close, personal connections to the University, we are eager for her to share her experiences and accomplishments in the entertainment industry and as an entrepreneur and philanthropist.”

Holmes

Holmes is an internationally recognized film and television actor, producer and director, as well as a Broadway actor and an entrepreneur.

An exceptional student at Notre Dame Academy, Holmes was accepted to Columbia University, but deferred to embark on an entertainment career. She made her feature film debut in “The Ice Storm” in 1997, then established herself as a rising young actor the next year in the television show “Dawson’s Creek.” For six years, she played Joey Potter, a character still recognized in pop culture.

Holmes has appeared in supporting or starring roles in more than 30 films and television programs, including acclaimed performances as Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in “The Kennedys” and “The Kennedys: After Camelot,” Hannah Green in “Wonder Boys,” Rachel Dawson in “Batman Begins,” April Burns in “Pieces of April,” Rita Carmichael in “All We Had,” and Paige Finney in “Ray Donovan.”

Her credits as a director and producer include “All We Had,” “Touched With Fire,” “The Romantics” and “The Kennedys: Decline and Fall.”

Holmes made her Broadway debut in a revival of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” in 2008 and played the role of Lorna in “Dead Accounts” in 2012.

As an entrepreneur, Holmes managed and designed a well-received fashion line, Holmes & Yang, with Jeanne Yang, from 2009 to 2014.

Her philanthropic efforts include the Dizzy Feet Foundation, an organization Holmes co-founded in 2009 that increases access to dance education in the United States. She also supports the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes; Love Our Children USA, a national nonprofit organization that fights violence and neglect against U.S. children; Raising Malawi, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to helping vulnerable children in extreme poverty through health, education and community support; and the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation.

Alvarez

Graduate ceremony speaker Alvarez has been an educator for nearly two decades and is a candidate for an education doctorate in educational administration and supervision.

The Santa Barbara, Calif., native has enjoyed an outstanding career teaching high school music, highlighted by leading her previous school’s music department to become a Grammy Signature Schools recipient in 2015. She has continued teaching music while pursuing her doctorate at UToledo by serving as a graduate assistant for the Rocket Marching Band and athletic bands since 2015.

Alvarez”s long career as a musician includes recording with Fleetwood Mac on “The Dance” and appearances on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and Nickelodeon’s “The Big Help.” She also was a member of the Los Angeles Laker Band, a subset of the University of Southern California’s Trojan Marching Band. She has performed with numerous professional ensembles, including The Desert Winds and the Gold Coast Wind Ensemble.

A volunteer club advisor for Gay Straight Alliances, Alvarez co-chaired the Southern Nevada chapter of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network and served the Gay and Lesbian Center of Las Vegas. During the past year, she has been executive director at Equality Toledo, where she has worked to support the local community.

Alvarez earned a bachelor of music degree from the University of Southern California and a master of music degree from Northern Arizona University, both in music education.

UToledo’s spring commencement ceremonies will recognize graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Business and Innovation; Judith Herb College of Education; Engineering; Graduate Studies; Health and Human Services; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and University College.

UToledo’s College of Law will host its commencement ceremony Sunday, May 5, at 1 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium. Angelita Cruz Bridges, a 2000 graduate of the College of Law who serves as an assistant United States attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, will give the commencement address.

The next week — Friday, May 10, at 4 p.m. — the College of Medicine and Life Sciences will hold its commencement ceremony in Savage Arena. Dr. Scott Parazynski, a physician and inventor whose career included serving 17 years as an astronaut, during which time he flew five space shuttle missions and conducted seven spacewalks, will be theutoledo.edu/commencementrmation, visit the commencement website.