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University to engage in dialogue on race: Founder of Jim Crow Museum to speak April 11

Dr. David Pilgrim, an expert in racist expressions in history, will come to campus Thursday, April 11, to give a presentation titled “Dialogue on Race: Jim Crow and ‘Blackface’ in the 21st Century.”

Dr. David Pilgrim at the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University

He will speak on the national dialogue concerning the issues of Jim Crow and blackface within the broader discussion of race and racism in America. The talk will take place from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Law Center Auditorium; doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Pilgrim is the vice president of diversity and inclusion, as well as the founder and director of the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University.

The Jim Crow Museum is the largest collection of publicly accessible racist memorabilia. The collection includes more than 12,000 racist artifacts that are used to teach tolerance and promote social justice.

Pilgrim has worked extensively in race relations and inclusion in books and documentaries, including “Watermelons, Nooses, and Straight Razors,” “Understanding Jim Crow: Using Racist Memorabilia to Teach Tolerance and Promote Social Justice,” “Jim Crow’s Museum,” “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross,” and Will Smith’s “All of Us.”

“I would like individuals to leave the presentation with an understanding of both the historical and contemporary meaning of blackface as an expression of racism, and also that this presentation can spark an honest dialogue on the broader issues and implications of racism in society,” says Angela Siner, director of the Africana Studies Program.

This free, public event is sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters, the Africana Studies Program, and the Dean of Students Office.

Professor draws parallels between major religions in new book

Dr. Peter Feldmeier, the Murray/Bacik Professor of Catholic Studies at The University of Toledo, has written a new book called “Experiments in Buddhist-Christian Encounter: From Buddha-Nature to the Divine Nature.”

Published by Orbis Books, the 272-page book was released in February.

Feldmeier leads readers through a series of focused encounters with Buddhism across Asia that resonate fruitfully with Christian scripture, theology and practice.

The idea behind this comparative theology work is to introduce readers to new insights into both Christian and Buddhist traditions.

“In no way does the book suggest that the two religions are doing the same thing or ought to be conflated. It respects the borders and unique visions both have,” Feldmeier said. “On the other hand, we do discover that underneath many supposed differences there are surprising alignments that allow for an expanded vision of the universe and even the divine.”

On the Buddhist side, Feldmeier utilizes central players such as Buddhaghosa, Nagarjuna and Shantideva, and compares them to the writings of John of the Cross, Christian mystical paths, and the spiritual exercises of Ignatius of Loyola.

He also addresses central Mahayana Buddhist themes such as Buddha nature, emptiness, and the role and path of Bodhisattvas.

Feldmeier wants readers to explore these faiths to expand their visions of their own beliefs and religious commitments.

Experiments in Buddhist-Christian Encounter: From Buddha-Nature to the Divine Nature can be purchased at most online book retailers.

2018-19 Piano Series to conclude this weekend

The 2018-19 University of Toledo Dorothy MacKenzie Price Piano Series will conclude this month with a free master class and concert by guest pianist Joseph Kingma.

He will present a master class Saturday, April 6, at 10 a.m. and a concert Sunday, April 7, at 3 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.

Kingma

The recital program will include Mendelssohn’s “Fantasie in F-sharp minor, Op. 28” (“Sonate écossaise”), and Liszt’s “Two Concert Etudes, S. 145” and “Sonata in B minor, S. 178.”

Kingma, whose sound has been described by conductors as “rich and encompassing, yet delicate and refined” and “flawless and expressive,” maintains a career as both a prolific performing artist and committed teacher.

He has won awards in numerous international competitions, most recently first prize in both the American Liszt Society’s 2017 Franz Liszt International Piano Competition and the Monroe Symphony League’s 2018 Marjorie Stricken Emerging Artists Competition.

Last year, Kingma was invited to perform a selection from Liszt’s “Album d’un Voyageur” at the American Liszt Society’s annual festival held at Furman University.

The assistant professor of piano at Palm Beach Atlantic University is represented in North America by Elegy Artist Management.

For more information, contact Dr. Michael Boyd, UToledo professor of piano, at michael.boyd@utoledo.edu or 419.530.2183.

Venture ‘Into the Woods’ this month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tickets are $15 for students; $20 for University faculty, staff and alumni, and military members and seniors; and $25 for the general public. Call 419.530.ARTS (2787) or go to the School of Visual and Performing Arts’ website. Tickets also will be available at the door.

International scholar to discuss Finnish women’s traditions

Dr. Kaarina Kailo will visit The University of Toledo Tuesday, April 9, to share more than 40 years of wisdom on how to imagine a more just, peaceful future based on Finnish traditions around bears, “golden women” and the environment.

She will speak from 10:30 a.m. to noon in Thompson Student Union Room 2582. The title of her talk is “Golden Women, Bears, and the Sami-Finnish Environmentalists of Ancient Finland.”

Kailo

Kailo is the author of numerous books and articles at the intersections of sustainability, spirituality, globalization, economic, and women’s and gender studies. Her works include “Finnish Goddess Mythology” and “Golden Woman: Climate Change, Earth-Based Indigenous Knowledge, and the Gift.”

“I would like attendees to enjoy themselves thoroughly, taking away information and perspectives from a place so very different from the United States,” said Dr. Barbara Alice Mann, professor of humanities in the Jesup Scott Honors College. “Ideally, they will leave with a new appreciation for a part of the world to which I am willing to bet few American students have given much attention.”

Kailo’s research focuses on the recovery of the women’s traditions of Finland’s first peoples; her work is significant for multicultural studies, ethnography, environmental studies, and women’s and gender studies.

Mann believes it is important for students to be exposed to people from all over the world to learn about their culture, history and struggles.

“Having been at international presentations at which Dr. Kailo spoke, I knew that her English was excellent and her presentations quite interesting,” Mann said regarding her decision to invite Kailo to the University.

The free, public event is sponsored by the Jesup Scott Honors College; the College of Arts and Letters; the Office of Diversity and Inclusion; the Office of the Provost; the School for Interdisciplinary Studies; the Center for Religious Studies; and the departments of History, Environmental Sciences, and Women’s and Gender Studies.

Women in silent film era topic of April 4 lecture

Dr. Jamie Barlowe will deliver the Women’s and Gender Studies Distinguished Lecture Thursday, April 4, at 5:30 p.m. in the Libbey Hall Dining Room.

She will discuss “‘Back to the Future’: Retro-Active Narrative and Women in the Silent Film Industry.”

Barlowe

“This presentation is part of a larger project on women working in the silent film industry, a legacy that was buried for decades,” Barlowe said. “Recovering the story of their extraordinary success has been ongoing since the late 1970s, including efforts to explain its continuing omission from conventional film histories.

“I expand and examine this legacy as it coincided with women’s political and economic activism in the public sphere that not only provoked unprecedented social change, but also silent films, which attempted to co-opt and contain that change,” Barlowe said.

Barlowe was a professor of English and women’s and gender studies from 1990 until her retirement in January. She served as interim vice provost, as well as dean of the College of Arts and Letters, formerly the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences. During her time at the University, she also served as an associate dean, department chair, and president of Faculty Senate.

Light refreshments will be served at the lecture, which is sponsored by the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies; School of Interdisciplinary Studies; and College of Arts and Letters.

For more information on the free, public event, call the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at 419.530.2233.

University to recognize International Disability Studies Day

The University of Toledo will celebrate International Disability Studies Day Wednesday, April 3.

Campus and community members are invited to stop by the Department of Disability Studies in University Hall Room 4390 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“We are celebrating International Disability Studies Day — a day to recognize disability studies as a growing field; its excellent interdisciplinary scholarship; and the career opportunities and skill development of its students,” said Dr. Kim Nielsen, professor and chair of disability studies.

The daylong event will spotlight the contributions and impact of disability studies. The University’s program helps students and the community understand the full spectrum of human diversity.

“April is the anniversary of the 1973 Section 504 Sit-In, an important event in U.S. disability and civil rights history,” Nielsen said.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act states “no otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States shall solely on the basis of his handicap be excluded from the participation, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

“We will have door prizes, decorations, a Snapchat filter, food, lots of people, and I’m hoping that some alums and current students studying away will Skype in for the event,” Nielsen said.

Learn more on the Department of Disability Studies’ website.

Craft breweries increase residential property values

The craft brewery boom is good for home values.

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

Reid

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nilsson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NY jazz artist to perform at concert honoring Jon Hendricks April 2

The University of Toledo Department of Music will welcome jazz vocalist Kim Nazarian of New York Voices as the guest performer for the 2019 Jon Hendricks Memorial Jazz Scholarship Concert.

The concert will be held Tuesday, April 2, at 7 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.

Nazarian

For the past 25 years, Nazarian has been harmonizing all over the world with New York Voices. In 2012, she was recognized as one of the top 50 most influential Armenian artists and was inducted into her high school’s hall of fame.

Along with the many recordings Nazarian has made with New York Voices, she is proud to be one of the featured voices on Bobby McFerrin’s “VOCAbuLarieS” CD. Another recent professional highlight is her collaboration with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and the Manchester Craftman’s Guild on a concert tour dedicated to the late, great Ella Fitzgerald.

Nazarian also is part of a special program called “Vocalese,” created by visionary producer Larry Rosen, which has integrated New York Voices with the Manhattan Transfer and Jon Hendricks.

The Ithaca College graduate specializes in teaching vocal technique and the art of ensemble singing. For the past three years, she has represented the USA as a judge for the International A Cappella Competition in Graz, Austria. She will be a guest teacher in Germany this summer.

Nazarian has conducted the New York and Arizona All-State Jazz Choirs, and many area and district jazz choirs in the United States. Her highly acclaimed workshops have been presented at the Jazz Education Network and many state Music Educators Association conferences.

In addition to her extensive studio credits as a movie score and jingle singer, some of Nazarian’s other recordings include “Red Dragonfly in NY” produced by Jiro Yoshida; “Long Ago and Far Away,” an original children’s radio show; and guest appearances on “An Afternoon in Rio” with guitarist Joe Negri (the handyman on “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”); “Two Worlds” with Boston-based band El Eco; and Mark Shilansky’s “Join the Club” release.

In 2015, Nazarian released her first solo disc titled “Some Morning.” Guests on the recording include Paquito D’Rivera, Gary Burton, John Pizzarelli and Sean Jones.

Hendricks, a jazz legend, was one of the originators of vocalese, a jazz singing technique in which a vocalist improvises lyrics to existing instrumental songs and replaces many instruments with his or her voice and that of other vocalists. Hendricks was a beloved member of the University Music Department faculty in the Jazz Studies Program for many years before he passed away in November 2017.

Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Jon Hendricks Memorial Scholarship Fund at The University of Toledo.

Tickets — $10 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors — are available in advance from the Center for Performing Arts Box Office at 419.530.2787 or online at the School of Visual and Performing Arts’ website. Tickets also will be available at the door.

Canine in training on campus through Rocket Service Dogs

She was one of the most popular residents in Ottawa House West: an energetic blonde with sparkling brown eyes and an outgoing personality.

“Aspen is why most people come to our room,” Alana Shockley, a sophomore majoring in communication, said and then laughed while petting the Labrador retriever.

Aspen, center, was happy to pose for a photo Courtney Koebel, left, and Alana Shockley of Rocket Service Dogs in Ottawa House West.

The 1-year-old dog definitely turned heads and made a lot of friends.

“Some people ask, ‘How did you get a dog in a residence hall?’ And we explain she’s a service dog in training,” Courtney Koebel, a sophomore majoring in education, said. “Some ask if they can pet her, and we have to calm her down first.”

Settling down is just one thing Shockley and Koebel worked on with Aspen.

“We are trying to teach her commands — sit, stay, kennel — and to get her to focus,” Koebel said. “It’s going well. She has a good work ethic, but she gets distracted sometimes.”

Koebel and Shockley welcomed their four-legged roommate last fall. They are members of Rocket Service Dogs, a University organization partnering with Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence and the Ability Center of Greater Toledo to encourage students to foster and train dogs.

“We were trying to figure out how to get more involved on campus and were looking at all the organizations,” Shockley said. “And once we saw Rocket Service Dogs, we fell in love because we’re really crazy animal lovers, it’s dogs, and we’re helping people.”

Students in the organization take an orientation and policy class through Rocket Service Dogs, and then a handling course taught by Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence.

Aspen is the first canine to live and train in a residence hall through Rocket Service Dogs.

It took a year of planning between the University, Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence and the Ability Center of Greater Toledo to make the placement possible, according to Josephine Biltz, a third-year student majoring in biology and president of the Rocket Service Dogs.

“Aspen seemed to really like the residence hall from the second she walked in, and I think it was a really great atmosphere for her to be exposed to a lot of different people,” Biltz said.

While Aspen wasn’t ready to attend class on campus with Shockley and Koebel, she did go to school once a week. Every Friday, the trio headed to Flower Hospital for class with Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence.

“We practice attention, loose-leash walking. Sometimes they teach us new commands, and then we’ll practice old commands,” Koebel said. “We work on Aspen’s attention, get her to focus for long periods of time, so she’ll be able to come to University classes with us. And sometimes instead of class, we’ll have outings. We’ll go out with [Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence] to a public place to see how she reacts.”

Praise and rewards bolster Aspen’s desire to please — and learn.

“We usually give her small treats to motivate her; sometimes we just use her kibble,” Shockley said. “We bought her some little Milk-Bones, and she really likes those.”

“When you’ve been working with her for a while and she finally understands what we’re trying to do, it’s rewarding to see her get excited,” Koebel said. “She really likes treats, so she’s kind of always excited.”

Aspen recently moved on to continue training through Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence’s prison program, where she was paired with an inmate.

While their time working with the Lab was brief, Koebel and Shockley will remember Aspen and her goal.

“Depending on how well Aspen does and if her attention span gets longer, she could be paired with someone with a disability,” Shockley said. “But if not, she’ll be a therapy and emotional support animal.”

“It makes me feel good that I’m able to help someone who has a disability and can’t help themselves, so it’s cool to know I’m part of the process to help make their life a little bit easier,” Shockley said.

Learn more about Rocket Service Dogs at facebook.com/rocketservicedogs, or email rocketservicedogs@gmail.com.