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UT alumna to discuss worldview of America and its effect at home

UT alumna Shamila Chaudhary will return to campus to deliver a lecture titled “The Meaning of America, at Home and Abroad” Thursday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. in Doermann Theatre.

The event marks the second of this year’s Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture series.


Chaudhary, a foreign policy analyst and photographer based in Washington, D.C., will discuss the U.S. role in the world and its connection to the social and economic landscapes of life within the United States. She will address the many transformations underway in American identity and culture as they relate to politics, the humanities, law and international affairs.

She is the senior adviser to Dean Vali Nasr of the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies. She also has a blog titled “All Things Foreign,” where she shares comments and essays on foreign policy and current events.

“Shamila Chaudhary is a former Obama White House and State Department official and a frequent commentator on CNN and BBC. She is also an author, and her article in The Atlantic magazine describing a multifaith Middle Eastern refugee community in Toledo is a wonderful read,” said Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College. “Altogether, she represents the amazing career possible with an honors degree in the humanities from The University of Toledo, and I’m excited for our students to meet her.”

Chaudhary received a bachelor’s degree in English literature and women’s studies from the UT Honors College and former College of Arts and Sciences in 1999.

Guests are invited to stay for a reception following the lecture.

Tickets are free by visiting utoledo.edu/honorslecture.

For questions and tickets for groups larger than 10, contact the Jesup Scott Honors College at honors@utoledo.edu or 419.530.6030.

Solving a mystery: Genius behind ‘Proof’ to be revealed

The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film will present David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play, “Proof,” Friday through Sunday, Feb. 2-4 and 9-11, in the Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre.

Performance times are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

It will be directed by Dr. Matt Foss, who joined the department as an assistant professor of theatre in August. The play marks his first production at UT.

Foss said he is excited about the future of UT’s theatre program.

“The growing conversation of how we want to contribute to the excellent storytelling in our city and region, and through things like the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival or our study abroad trips to Italy and the Moscow Art Theatre, are incredibly exciting,” he said. “With ‘Proof,’ we were lucky to have collaborators from across the community: a local professional actor, as well as a high school student committed and interested in the theatre, working hand in hand with our UT students. I think it is a really exciting time for UT theatre, and I’m grateful to be a part of it.”

Foss is familiar with the setting for “Proof.”

“I cut my teeth in Chicago and was there when this play first came on the scene. I remember walking through the streets and bookstores and around the neighborhood where the play is set,” he said. “I used a piece from the play for auditions when I was working as a professional actor in the city.”

He added there is good reason why this play has been so celebrated.

“The play has been popular since its premiere and winning the Pulitzer in 2001. It is an interesting moment to revisit it. The young woman at the heart of the play is navigating a difficult time. Her beloved, but troubled father has just passed, and she is facing the possibility of what parts of him will be a part of her life — will it be his mathematical genius or his issues with mental illness, or a confusing mix of both,” Foss said. “When a revolutionary mathematical proof is discovered, the people who know this young lady the most automatically assume it is the work of her father, and when she reveals she is the author, the people who love her the most struggle to believe she is capable of such an accomplishment.”

Foss lauded the quality of the faculty teaching artists and earnest students who make up the production’s ensemble in the department.

“This play is a great catalyst to some exciting stories we will share and make in the future, and I’m hopeful as I start to put down roots here in Toledo, I can continue to meet, engage and both support and collaborate with the community of excellent storytellers and theatre makers here in our city.”

“Proof” cast members are Aneesah S. Taalib-Deen, a freshman majoring in theatre, as Catherine; Sarena Jackson, a senior theatre major, as Claire; Austin Rambo, a junior majoring in theatre and film with a minor in communications, as Harold Dobbs; and Bill Quinlan, a local professional actor, as Robert.

Tickets are $8 for students; $10 for UT faculty, staff and alumni, and military members and seniors; and $15 for the general public. Call 419.530.ARTS (2787) or order online at utoledo.tix.com. Tickets also will be available at the door.

Professor writes, reads poem for new Toledo mayor

Poetry is a passion for Dr. Jim Ferris.

So when he received a request from Wade Kapszukiewicz to write a poem that could be read when he would be sworn in as the new mayor of Toledo, Ferris put pen to paper.


“I wrote a poem that seemed to work for the moment; it’s called ‘Laborare,’” Ferris, professor and Ability Center of Greater Toledo Endowed Chair in Disability Studies, said. “The Latin title means ‘To Work.’

“My initial plan was to pick something off the shelf. Inspiration to order has never been my strong suit. But I found myself thinking about the Latin phrase on the Toledo city seal, ‘laborare est orare’ [to work is to pray], and that led me to pick up a pen.”

Ferris, who began his second two-year term as the Lucas County poet laureate last summer, read the poem Jan. 2 when Kapszukiewicz officially took office as the Glass City’s mayor.

“Laborare” also was included in the program for the mayor’s inaugural events last weekend.

“It is quite an honor to serve as poet laureate of Lucas County; I hope I can be an ambassador for poetry and the arts in general in northwest Ohio,” Ferris said. “And it is quite gratifying when people find my work engaging and useful.”

He is the author of “Slouching Towards Guantanamo,” “Facts of Life” and “The Hospital Poems.” His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Poetry, Text and Performance Quarterly, and the Georgia Review.

“For me, poetry is not separate from my work to create greater access and opportunity for people with disabilities, people of color, and other oppressed groups in society,” Ferris said. “My commitment to diversity and inclusion informs my poems, whether that commitment is readily apparent or not.”

As Lucas County poet laureate, he shares his love of words and presents poetry to the area community.

“Samuel Taylor Coleridge described poetry as the best words in the best order; I think of language as humanity’s most important tool and toy. We do things with language, we use language to perform work, and sometimes we are most productive when we are most playful,” Ferris said. “Language is fun, and this is sort of a productive paradox: I hope my poems are useful and fun at the same time, whether it’s laugh-out-loud fun or ‘Oh, that’s moving’ fun.”

Panel presentation to explore peace studies, peace education

The UT Peace Fellows will hold a meeting and panel presentation focusing on the topic of peace and justice issues Monday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. in Gillham Hall Room 5300.

The free event is open to students from any academic discipline, as well as campus and community members.

The UT Peace Fellows is a group of faculty, students and community members that meets three times a year to discuss current events, theory and research in peace studies and peace education, and how a community can contribute to help create a more peaceful and just society.

“We work together to bridge academic interests related to peace studies, to aid in the promotion of peace-related programs and events on campus, and to foster the roots of peace and justice into the core of the UT mission and culture,” said Dr. Dale T. Snauwaert, professor of philosophy of education and peace studies.

The event will allow attendees to participate in group discussions and exchange ideas and research related to the topic of peace and justice issues.

Feature presentations will be given by Dr. Jeannine Diller, associate professor of philosophy and religious studies, and Dr. Hans Gottgens, professor of environmental studies.

“Drs. Diller and Gottgens will speak about their scholarship, which is situated in different disciplinary areas, yet they will both highlight how peace and justice issues impact their scholarship, teaching and service to the community,” said Dr. Florian Feucht, associate professor of educational psychology and peace education. “The speakers are examples for how peace and justice connects and impacts our daily work and local community.”

The Peace Fellows is affiliated with a new undergraduate minor in peace and justice studies at the University. The minor includes four core courses and two electives that students can take from across campus.

“By completing the peace and justice studies minor, students gain a deep understanding of the meaning of peace as not merely the absence of violence, but more broadly as the presence of justice, human rights, ecological sustainability and human security,” Snauwaert said. “Students understand and are able to apply and create just and effective responses to threats to and violations of peace and justice on all levels of human society from the local to the global.”

The program also offers access to resources such as the Betty A. Reardon Collection in the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections in Carlson Library, as well as a peace studies and peace education library housed in Gillham Hall.

For more information about the event or about the peace and justice studies minor, contact Snauwaert at dale.snauwaert@utoledo.edu.

Exhibit explores ‘Where Lights Goes’

A three-artist exhibit titled “Where the Light Goes” is on display in the Center for the Visual Arts Gallery on the Toledo Museum of Art Campus. 

In its 2nd iteration, “Where the Light Goes” deepens its exploration of contemporary approaches to the photographic image through the examination of its physical properties, the possibilities of its reproduction, its vulnerability, and its uncertainty as an instrument of truth.

“Backyard” by Trisha Holt

On Friday, Feb. 2, Dr. Robin Reisenfeld, curator of works on paper for the Toledo Museum of Art, will moderate a panel discussion featuring the exhibit’s artists: Trisha Holt, Ben Schonberger and Eric Zeigler. Brian Carpenter, UT lecturer of art and gallery director, also will participate in the discussion, which will be held at 6 p.m. in the Toledo Museum of Art Little Theater.

“Framework: Remainder 1” by Ben Schonberger

Holt works with printed photographs to dismantle the image plane. Her bodies of work center around the themes of feminist performance art, the history of cinema, and the aesthetics of serial killers. Her work is at the intersection of performance art and large-scale collage that exist as framed photographs, videos and installations.

Schonberger is a visual artist and lecturer of photography at Point Park University in Pittsburgh. Utilizing photography, appropriated imagery, collage, performance and sculpture, his work examines the complexities of identity through long-term social investigations and archive augmentation processes.

Zeigler is a photographer based in Maumee, Ohio. As an associate lecturer in the UT Art Department, Zeigler teaches photography, digital media and tools.

“False Martian Regolith” by Eric Zeigler

The free, public exhibition will be on display through Friday, Feb. 16. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For more information on the exhibition, contact Carpenter, at brian.carpenter@utoledo.edu.

UT Department of Art offers lunchtime workshops

The Department of Art will offer workshops for UT employees and students throughout spring semester on Main and Health Science campuses.

Each workshop is composed of two 45-minute sessions. The cost is $30 per workshop.

Dr. Mark Sherry, professor of sociology, participated in a brown-bag art workshop last semester and tried his hand at wood burning.

The seven workshops that will be offered this semester are:

• Hand sewing — basic hand-stitching techniques, embroidery and cross-stitching.

• Paper craft plus — the art of book making, page flowers, wall flowers, and beading/jewelry.

• Painting — paint on variety of surfaces such as rocks, watercolor book pages, mugs and mini acrylic canvases.

• Upcycling — re-purposing of a variety of objects for T-shirt tote, cookie sheet magnet board, map tile coasters and art.

• Polymer clay — magnets, pendants, earrings and pens.

• Glass — painting on glass, sea glass wind chime, votive holder and alcohol ink pendants.

• Wood burning — line work and shading techniques.

Workshops will begin Monday, Jan. 22. For a complete schedule, visit utoledo.edu/al/svpa/art/galleries/artworkshops.html.

Sessions on Main Campus will take place in the conference room on the first floor of Sullivan Hall, and workshops on Health Science Campus will be held in Collier Building Rooms 2410/2412.

Alissa Cox, an independent artist since 2006, will present the workshops.

Coming from a family of artisans and artists, Cox grew up learning woodcrafts, stained glass, blacksmithing, jewelry craft, quilting and painting. She moved her business, Smoky Grove, to Ohio in 2012 and has exhibited at Columbus Winterfair, the Great Lakes Jazz Festival and the Black Swamp Arts Festival. Cox has taught several workshops in pyrography, sewing and painting.

In addition, a crochet workshop will be held each Friday in Sullivan Hall on Main Campus. Open to crotchetiers of every skill level — from beginners to pros — this workshop is an opportunity to learn new techniques or get help on a project. Each session is $10 and can be paid at the door. No reservations are required.

Auditions for UT jazz Vocalstra slated

Do you like to sing jazz? Audition for the University’s Vocalstra, a vocal jazz ensemble founded by legendary singer Jon Hendricks.

This ensemble performs a variety of repertoire, including jazz standards, blues, vocalese (a genre of jazz singing in which words are set to instrumental recordings), and other contemporary genres.

Dr. Ellie Martin directs Vocalstra during a rehearsal last fall.

Auditions will be held Wednesday, Jan. 17, and Monday, Jan. 22, from 4 to 7 p.m. in Center for Performing Arts Room 1017.

Singers should prepare a song, preferably in the jazz style if possible.

Auditions will be held in 10-minute increments. Students of all majors are invited to sign up for a time here.

“We are searching for new, passionate and committed members,” said Dr. Ellie Martin, instructor in the UT Music Department and co-director of Vocalstra.

Students who have a conflict with the audition times or who have questions should contact Martin at lee.martin@utoledo.edu.

Professor honored for pioneering academic contributions

Dr. David Nemeth, UT professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, has received the second annual Kevin O’Donnell Distinguished Friend of Korea Award.

The Friend of Korea Award is dedicated to enhancing cultural awareness and friendship between Americans and Koreans and was founded in 2002 by former Peace Corps volunteers who served in Korea between 1966 and 1981.


Nemeth spent two years on Jeju Island off the southern coast of South Korea with the Peace Corps in 1972. After returning to the United States, he pursued researching, publishing and teaching about Korea.

“I formed a mystical attachment to Jeju Island and a fictive kinship with its inhabitants during my Peace Corps years of service,” Nemeth said. “In addition, I found a moral compass there.

“After Peace Corps, my in-depth studies of Jeju Island, highlighted by many return visits, became a rewarding intellectual obsession that I vigorously pursued while earning my PhD at UCLA.”

Nemeth’s research focuses on cultural geographic studies in Korea, which include diverse yet related explorations into Neo-Confucianism, geomancy, economic-growth ideology and agricultural ecology.

In 1987, Nemeth published a book titled “The Architecture of Ideology: Neo-Confucian Imprinting on Cheju Island, Korea,” which has since been translated into Korean.

“This award in general draws international scholarly and public attention to the profound significance of Korean civilization on the world stage, past, present and future,” Nemeth said. “More specifically, my award celebrates the uniqueness and worth of Jeju Island’s remarkable landscape and culture within Korea.”

‘I Got a Lust for Life’ to reflect impact of African-American Great Migration on region

A one-day public program that begins in Detroit and finishes in Toledo will explore the impact of the African-American Great Migration on literary and musical expression in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan.

The program, “I Got a Lust for Life: The Unique Words and Sounds of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan,” will include panel discussions, poetry readings and musical performances on Saturday, Jan. 20, in Detroit at Wayne State University and in Toledo at the Toledo Lucas County Public Library and Toledo Museum of Art. Buses will shuttle participants between the events in the two cities.

The program will begin in Detroit with a 10 a.m. panel discussion at Wayne State University’s Schaver Music Recital Hall. The panel will include Ben Blackwell, co-founder of Third Man Records and official archivist for the White Stripes; John Gibbs Rockwood, Toledo author of the 2014 book “Can I Get a Witness” that features his photographs of iconic rock, pop, blues and folk musicians performing in the region during the early 1970s through the 2000s; Ramona Collins, Toledo-based popular jazz singer; and Oliver Ragsdale Jr., president of the Carr Center, a community hub for African-American artistic expression in Detroit.

The discussion, which will be moderated by Dr. Kimberly Mack, assistant professor of African-American literature at The University of Toledo, and Dr. Joshua S. Duchan, associate professor of music at Wayne State University, will be followed by a musical performance and question-and-answer session.

“I Got a Lust for Life” then will move to Toledo, where Tyehimba Jess will perform a poetry reading and hold a book signing at 2:30 p.m. in the McMaster Center of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library. Jess is a 2017 Pulitzer Prize-winning poet from Detroit whose work has focused on music, biography and African-American history. He will read from “Olio,” his award-winning collection of poetry that weaves together sonnet, song and narrative to examine the lives of mostly unrecorded, African-American performers from the Civil War to World War I.

The program will conclude with a 6 p.m. panel discussion in the Glass Pavilion of the Toledo Museum of Art with Jess; M.L. Liebler, a Detroit-based, award-winning poet and editor of the anthology “Heaven Was Detroit: From Jazz to Hip-Hop and Beyond”; Frances Brockington, associate professor of voice at Wayne State University; and Dr. Lee Ellen Martin, jazz vocalist and Jon Hendricks scholar. Mack and Duchan will moderate the discussion, which also will be followed by a musical performance and question-and-answer session.

“I Got a Lust for Life: The Unique Words and Sounds of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan” is sponsored by the Roger Ray Institute for the Humanities at The University of Toledo, which advocates for and supports the study of human culture — from a great variety of fields — at all levels of learning and scholarship. Additional support for the program is provided by UT, WSU, the Toledo Lucas County Public Library, Toledo.com and the Toledo Museum of Art.

For more information, click here.

UT Music Department reaching out to youth in community

The University of Toledo Department of Music Community Music Program will be adding two community ensembles — the Children’s Choir of Northwest Ohio and the UT Youth Jazz Orchestra.

The Children’s Choir of Northwest Ohio is an existing community group that will come under the wing of the UT Community Music Program, while the Youth Jazz Orchestra is a new creation.


The UT Youth Jazz Orchestra will be directed by Ben Wolkins, jazz trumpet instructor at the University. Interested high school students should sign up online here and attend the informational meeting with their parents Wednesday, Jan. 24, at 6:30 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Room 2024. Free parking will be available in lot 12 across the street from the Center for Performing Arts.

The cost to participate in the UT Youth Jazz Orchestra is $60, which covers all music and instruction. No fees are due until the first rehearsal, which will be held Wednesday, Jan. 31. Read more here.

Dr. Jason Stumbo, UT associate professor and chair of music, said there has been great interest in a community ensemble in jazz for high school students.

“We also have tremendously talented jazz faculty and a solid program in which community ensembles can flourish, our Community Music Program. So, we felt this was great fit for us,” Stumbo said. “We’re excited to bring this jazz performance opportunity to the youth in our community.”

The Children’s Choir of Northwest Ohio

Stumbo added the founder and current director of the Children’s Choir of Northwest Ohio, Lisa Allemen, is retiring from her post, but will continue through this spring, after which a new director will be hired.

Founded in 2006 by Allemen, the Children’s Choir of Northwest Ohio is a community-based treble voice children’s chorus open to all youth in grades three through 10 in the area. The program’s mission is to provide an enrichment experience for those children who have a talent and interest in singing and desire an opportunity to sing in a children’s choir.  More information about the choir and how to join can be found here.

Read more about the UT Department of Music Community Music Program here.

For more information on the UT Youth Jazz Orchestra or the Children’s Choir of Northwest Ohio, contact Stumbo at jason.stumbo@utoledo.edu or 419.530.2448.