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Alumna’s gift makes holiday bright for one UT student

Daniela Somaroo hopped in her car Dec. 18 in Detroit and drove down I-75 to visit friends in Toledo — and to make one special delivery.

First stop for the UT alumna: the home of Dr. Sammy Spann, assistant provost for international studies and programs.

Dr. Sammy Spann and Daniela Somaroo smiled for the camera.

Dr. Sammy Spann and Daniela Somaroo smiled for the camera.

She handed Spann a check for $4,000, a donation to the Center for International Studies and Programs.

“He immediately rejected it, which I expected was going to happen,” Somaroo recalled. “And I said, ‘No, this is something that I really need to do, and I’m not going to take it back because this could help somebody else.’”

“This was an unexpected blessing,” Spann said of the generous donation. “This will be used to help a young lady from Haiti who was getting ready to go home due to lack of funds. Now she can take classes next semester.”

Two years ago, Somaroo was that young lady lacking funds for school.

“During my last semester, the government body that administers currency exchange in my country wasn’t approving the release of dollars for me to be able to pay for school anymore,” the native of Caracas, Venezuela, said. “And, of course, if you don’t pay your last semester, you don’t get your diploma. That was my concern: If I didn’t have my diploma, I wouldn’t be able to submit my paperwork for a work visa.”

Somaroo was at the Center for International Studies and Programs and happened to see Spann.

“Like the awesome person Sammy is, he asked, ‘Hey, how are you doing? Were you able to pay for your semester?’ I wasn’t going to lie to him, and I told him I was still about $4,000 short, and I was graduating in four days,” Somaroo said. “I can walk in the ceremony, but I wouldn’t receive my diploma.

“So he talked to Cheryl Thomas, executive assistant in the Center for International Studies and Programs, who is also a great person, and he said, ‘Hey Cheryl, can you find $4,000 for Daniela’s account?’ And then he said, ‘Congratulations, you’ve graduated.’ That was just a shocker. Things like that don’t happen all the time. It was a life saver. I am forever indebted to him.”

It was December 2014, and Somaroo received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering. Then she landed a job as a service engineer at Honeywell International Inc. and moved to Merrillville, Ind. For the past couple months, she’s been filling in at the company’s Detroit office.

“Sammy didn’t say it was a loan,” she said. “But I made myself a promise once he gave me that money to pay for the semester; I told myself I had to pay it back somehow someday. It took me two years, but I made it.”

Spann was moved to tears by the gift and posted about it on his Facebook page.

Comments poured in: “So awesome people like her still exist. Wow!” “She truly has a heart of gold.” “Thank you so much for showing love to our students.” “What an inspiration. I can’t wait to give back to the Center for International Studies and Programs!” “It is so amazing to see Rockets helping Rockets!” “Thank you for reaching back and investing in others!”

Somaroo was surprised by the post — and the comments.

“It was just extremely overwhelming. I didn’t expect anything. Sammy’s thank-you and knowing where that money is going to were more than enough, and I told him that,” she said. “The amount of comments and love I’ve received from that post — my heart is full.”

Tax-deductible gifts to benefit UT students and programs can be made at https://give2ut.utoledo.edu or by calling 419.530.7730.

Women & Philanthropy marks 10 years of leadership

Although volunteerism by women has long played a part in nonprofit organizations, a focus on the role of women in charitable giving is a relatively newer phenomenon.

In 2001, no university-based women’s philanthropy programs existed in the Toledo region. At that time, Dr. Janet Krzyminski, a UT alumna, was a director of development at The University of Toledo and working on her dissertation. Her research focused on local women’s viewpoints regarding the cultivation, solicitation and stewardship activities of philanthropy.

women-philanthropy-logo“The overarching result was that charitable organizations and universities were not paying much attention to women donors as a group. We weren’t recognizing their interest or potential,” she said. “This provided a platform and eventually gave legs to a new organization centered at UT.”

UT’s Women & Philanthropy, a collaborative effort of area women and the University’s Division of Advancement, is marking its 10th year as a community of female philanthropists supporting the mission and goals of The University of Toledo.

Outgoing president Marianne Ballas, who has led the group since its inception, said the goal has been to raise the awareness of women in the community and to guide and support them in the art of giving back.

“We are committed to exposing our members to the University by promoting Women & Philanthropy’s first grant in 2008 that provided the glass sculpture, ‘A University Woman,’ by Tom McGlauchlin. The group has provided 15 grants totaling nearly $400,000 for educational programs and taken part in grant dedications,” she said. “It is inspiring to visit and experience the amazing facilities and programs that are offered right here in Toledo. We are so proud of UT, and we want to share it to enhance the community appreciation of UT’s incredible importance and contributions.”

The 2016 Women & Philanthropy grants were awarded to the Instrumentation Center for the construction of an interactive display titled “Living Science: The Ever-Changing Periodic Table,” and an active learning center in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

The group also participates in a holiday project, including purchasing hats and mittens for at-risk children, refilling items for the UT student food bank, and distributing stuffed animals for children at UT Medical Center through the Satellites Auxiliary.

Ballas noted that members have not only made financial investments, but also personal investments. “What we have done as a group of women has created and nurtured some deep lifelong friendships. Although we are a very diverse group, we really like and appreciate each other,” she said, “and we enjoy giving back.”

To learn more about Women & Philanthropy, contact Chris Spengler, director of advancement relations, at chris.spengler@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4927.

VP/chief information officer on cover of technology magazine

Bill McCreary’s unorthodox road to the top information and technology post at The University of Toledo and his leadership on campus spanning from administrative support to virtual reality is featured on the front page of Toggle Magazine.

Toggle is a quarterly journal for technology executives highlighting the vital role that technology plays in companies and organizations.

toggleThe story about McCreary, who oversees all information technology, hospital systems and academic technology needs at UT as vice president and chief information and technology officer, is titled “Bringing Private Sector IT Expertise to the Academic Realm.”

Before arriving at UT in 2012 to pursue a PhD in artificial intelligence related to simulation and game design, McCreary retired from a 45-year career in the private sector.

“I came here as a student, not a c-level executive,” McCreary told Toggle. “The retirement plan was to do my PhD work, but after I was here about a year, the University discovered me and asked me to get involved.”

McCreary came out of retirement to work as chief technology officer, and in 2015 he absorbed the responsibilities of chief information officer to fill a vacancy.

McCreary told the magazine that his typical work day at UT leading a team of more than 300 people includes anything from product pricing and network router changes to game development, augmented reality and the management of cadaveric specimens.

The magazine touts the consolidation of all of those tasks under one manager as a way to maximize the institution’s overall IT efficiency.

Efforts to commercialize the classroom were a major focus of the feature story as McCreary oversees the Center for Creative Instruction, the Advanced Simulation and Gaming Studio, and the Jacobs Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center.

According to the magazine, the merger of the groups enables the Division of Technology and Advanced Solution “to build leading edge interactive simulations and gamified products that deploy on the web, 3D/VIR and head mounted displays using augmented as well as virtual reality.”

Toggle shines the spotlight on the revenue-generating possibilities of UT’s products and services that pursue academic goals, such as business, sales and medical training software like the Manufacturing Simulation Game, a first-person, video game-like perspective to help train workers in a manufacturing plant, or the Salesworld family of games that allow students to gain simulated sales leadership experience.

“It’s configurable so you can grow different types of sales people with different personality traits,” McCreary told Toggle. “Students play six games throughout their academic careers and then when they graduate they’ll have a resumé that complements their internships in the real world by launching them into tough situations that would take years to experience.”

McCreary told Toggle, “I have not found anybody who has a job quite like this at the university level.”

Click here to read the full story in Toggle Magazine.

Division focused on advanced simulation technology for enriched learning

A strategic merger of key technology units at The University of Toledo is driving developments in advanced clinical and academic simulations for enriched learning for students across campus.

The Division of Technology and Advanced Solutions is comprised of the Department of Information Technology, the Center for Creative Instruction, the Advanced Simulation and Gaming Studio, and the Jacobs Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center.

Christa Goodson, who is majoring in information technology, tested the Salesworld Leadership simulation game developed by UT’s Advanced Simulation and Gaming Studio and the Center for Creative Instruction.

Christa Goodson, who is majoring in information technology, tested the Salesworld Leadership simulation game developed by UT’s Advanced Simulation and Gaming Studio and the Center for Creative Instruction.

The synergy achieved by joining these groups positions the University as a leader in technological capability, according to Bill McCreary, UT vice president and chief information and technology officer, who created the division in 2015.

“This combined team of web developers, animators, 3D modelers, software engineers, game designers and various information technology professionals is building innovative new content for enhancing the educational experience across the University,” he said. “We are developing new interactive digital content to engage students and provide a unique learning experience to help them achieve success in their fields of study.”

The division is developing software for UT’s Edward H. Schmidt School of Professional Sales. Students have been testing the software this fall.

“Students have been practicing real-life scenarios in a sales management simulation,” said Dr. Ellen Pullins, Schmidt research professor of sales and sales management. “This program should really challenge students’ critical thinking skills and will ensure they are even better prepared when they start their careers.”

It is McCreary’s goal to continue to expand content to each college on campus and to meet the students where they are.

“Students shouldn’t have to come to a single location like the simulation center for this type of training,” he said. “It has to be for everybody, and it has to be portable. We are building this content for students to use the software on computers and headsets in their classroom at any campus location.”

The new technology could lead to a revenue source for the University, McCreary said. The division already has begun fostering partnerships to create and develop advanced digital content for local businesses and the national education market, and has created a virtual anatomy and physiology program for publisher McGraw-Hill.

The division has oversight of nearly every piece of computing technology on campus. The team of about 300 people, half of which are UT students, provides a variety of services for students, faculty, clinical professionals and staff.

“This unique collaboration also allows our staff within the Division of Technology and Advanced Solutions to explore different areas of technology and provides career-development opportunities,” McCreary said.

Electrical engineering student lights up holidays

It’s a cool Yule outside iHeart’s WRVF station in downtown Toledo as more than 3,000 lights in the shape of a Christmas tree pulsate in time to 101.5 the River’s holiday music.

Last February, Alec Connolly was given the task of brightening up and adding joy to the sonic world this Christmas season. The UT junior majoring in electrical engineering is completing his co-op with iHeartMedia.

Alec Connolly, a UT junior majoring in electrical engineering who is working a co-op at iHeartMedia, posed for a photo by the lights that he synced for 101.5's Christmas on the River.

Alec Connolly, a UT junior majoring in electrical engineering who is working a co-op at iHeartMedia, posed for a photo by the lights that he synced for 101.5’s Christmas on the River.

“My boss, Gary Fullhart [market director of engineering and information technology at iHeartMedia] came up with the idea, and we brainstormed and put the project together,” Connolly said. “He went up to Bronner’s in Frankenmuth, Mich., and he put this big bag of Christmas lights on my desk, and that’s when I knew it was actually going to happen.”

With a twinkle in his eye, Connolly began researching the project. By April, the UT engineering student had three units built for stations in Toledo, Lima and Napoleon.

“Most of the Christmas displays that you see are programmed to prerecorded songs; they pick 10 or 15 songs, and they program each individual light,” Connolly explained. “What we wanted to do is program it in real time. I can’t program every single light because on the radio, it’s random Christmas songs that play, so I wanted to do it in real time.”

Add a Raspberry Pi — a computer about the size of a credit card — running the free software LightShow Pi and it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

“The Raspberry Pi actually listens to the audio and converts it to the lights, which is what you see on the tree,” Connolly said. “Playing along to the music, the tree looks absolutely fantastic.”

“This is an interesting work that Alec has done,” Dr. Mansoor Alam, professor and chair of electrical engineering and computer science, said. “This shows that electrical engineering is not just hard work, but is also fun.”

“I visited Alec’s employer, iHeart Media, and talked to him about this project earlier this year,” Karen J. Gauthier, associate co-op director for electrical and computer science engineering, said. “His enthusiasm and willingness to go the extra mile to complete a project was evident.”

Synchronizing holiday songs and the lights proved inspirational for Connolly: “I’m planning to get the materials and make a unit again so that my house next year will have a display set up that’s synced to the River as well.”

The Sylvania resident wrote about the project for Radio World; read his article here.

And see the project in action in this video. Or dash down by the station at 125 S. Superior St.

“Folks can park by the Spaghetti Warehouse and sit in their cars and listen to Christmas on the River and watch,” Connolly said.

Art student restores globe in Carlson Library

What the globe in Carlson Library needed was love, sweet love. And some new paint.

“After 43 years, the globe was very dirty and showing a lot of wear. To the best of my knowledge, it had never been properly cleaned,” David Remaklus, director of library operation, said. “During the renovations of the third floor last summer, we realized the globe needed some attention.”

Simone Tilmon touched up the globe in Carlson Library during fall semester.

Simone Tilmon touched up the globe in Carlson Library during fall semester.

He contacted Karen Roderick-Lingeman, senior lecturer of art, who recommended a senior majoring in art for the job.

“Simone Tilmon is one of our talented bachelor of fine arts majors,” Roderick-Lingeman said. “I thought she would be an excellent student to work on the Carlson Library globe due to her sensitive attention to detail.”

Enter Tilmon, who provided TLC for the globe this semester.

“At first, I cleaned with rags, but there are a lot of crevices, so I had to get a scrub brush and some solution that would not damage the paint that was already there,” Tilmon said.

She consulted with Arturo Rodriguez, associate professor of art, and Daniel Hernandez, assistant professor of art, who suggested she use Simple Green to clean the globe. They also agreed that acrylic paint would be the best fit to match the globe.

After two weeks of cleaning, Tilmon started brightening up the world in late September.

Tilmon close-up of her hand by Rachel“I thought that the painting process would be a lot easier to match up the colors. But it was very difficult to try to paint certain areas of the globe, to restore it, because of the fading issue,” she said. “I really liked trying to keep as much of the globe as it is; it was a challenge.”

Painting the 320-pound sphere that measures 6 feet in diameter on site also made the task interesting. With some scaffolding, Tilmon literally was on top of the world.

“I really enjoyed the painting. It was fun,” the artist said. “I really liked painting the snow caps — painting the Greenland area and Antarctica area — everything that had to do with a white touch-up. It looked finished and pristine.”

The most difficult part of the worldly task? “The water gave me the most problem,” Tilmon said. “It changes colors throughout, and I had to try to match that paint.”

Installed in Carlson Library in 1973, the oceanographic geophysical earth globe was custom made for the University by Rand McNally & Co. in New York. At the time, it was one of only four of its kind crafted. According to a 1973 story that ran in UT’s alumni publication, eight shades of blue were used to differentiate contoured ocean depths, and hand-painting of the globe took approximately 575 hours.

Tilmon worked more than two months adding color to the globe.

“Simone did a fantastic job. We couldn’t be happier with the transformation,” Remaklus said. “She was extremely careful to be sure every nook and cranny of the globe was properly cleaned, and the touch-up was limited to only those places where it was needed to be sure the globe looked as it did when new. I was amazed at how vibrant the colors were after 45 years of dust was removed.”

For more than 30 years, the globe was an attraction on the first floor of Carlson Library. When the Information Commons opened in 2007, it was moved to the third floor by the maps collection.

“Because the globe was on the first floor for nearly 35 years, many of our alumni remember it. We often get questions as to its whereabouts,” Remaklus said. “On the third floor, the globe has a prominent space just off the elevators. It looks wonderful in the newly renovated floor.”

He added the electric motor that turns the globe will be repaired next year.

In 2017, Tilmon will study interior design at the University of Cincinnati. She will graduate with a bachelor of fine arts degree from UT Saturday, Dec. 17.

“Art has been all that I’ve done since I was a toddler. I realized quickly this is what I wanted to do with my life,” she said. “Art is how I assess the world around me and the one way I know how to express my thoughts.”

‘A Cup of Prevention’ emphasizes consent

Students fueling up on caffeine during finals week at Starbucks in the Student Union and Java City in Rocket Hall will be encouraged to think about consent and a culture of respect to prevent sexual assault.

Through the “A Cup of Prevention” campaign led by the UT Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Program, stickers will be on 700 coffee sleeves throughout the week with the phrase “Consent is” followed by a blank line for patrons to write in what consent means to them.

Lindsay Tuttle, head of Sexual Assault Early Prevention Program (SAEPP), holds a Starbucks Coffee cup with a Coffee Sleeve that says "Consent is ..."

Lindsay Tuttle, head of Sexual Assault Early Prevention Program (SAEPP), holds a Starbucks Coffee cup with a Coffee Sleeve that says “Consent is …”

“We want to get students thinking and talking about consent and what it means to them. Writing in words such as ‘verbal’ or ‘consistent’ helps advance a culture of education and prevention against sexual assault,” said Lindsay Tuttle, sexual assault and substance abuse prevention education coordinator.

Students are encouraged to continue the conversation on social media using #UTConsentIs with a picture of their coffee cup and what consent means to them. The Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Program will continue the awareness effort when students return in January for the spring semester by providing “Consent is” wristbands to students and hanging posters across campus.

“It is important to reinforce that true consent is willing, clearly communicated, specific and not under the influence of alcohol and drugs,” Tuttle said. “This conversation on consent is part of our efforts to encourage a culture that is comfortable talking about sexual assault so that we can better prevent and address it.”

The “Consent is” campaign is one of a series of education initiatives undertaken during the academic year to educate students about sexual misconduct and the resources available to them on campus.

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Program, which is part of the Counseling Center in the Division of Student Affairs, conducts additional education programming throughout the year, including the Silent Witness Project and other events for Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) Day in September, and the Clothesline Project and Take Back the Night as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.

In addition, UT’s Title IX Office ensures compliance with federal law and works to raise awareness of sexual assault prevention. The Title IX Office investigates all reports of sexual misconduct, implements interim measures when necessary, and works to remedy the effects of sexual misconduct.

The University recently was recognized by the Ohio Department of Higher Education for its efforts to implement the Changing Campus Culture initiative, which is a statewide effort to end sexual assault on all campuses. UT is one of 35 of Ohio’s 88 participating college campuses to implement 100 percent of the recommendations in the first year of the initiative.

“We now have more trained professionals on campus, more engaged students and more data to guide our efforts. But your university has achieved far more, successfully completing all five of the recommendations put forth by the Changing Campus Culture Advisory Group,” Ohio Chancellor John Carey wrote in a letter to President Sharon L. Gaber.

“Work of this magnitude is not done in a silo. While you appointed one individual to lead in these efforts, I know that they worked with other members of your campus community to identify areas of focus, raise awareness, develop comprehensive prevention plans, review response protocols to ensure they are comprehensive, and identify survivor-centered strategies to increase reporting and support services,” the letter continued. “I am grateful for their willingness to support the efforts on your campus.”

For more information about the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Program, call 419.530.3431, visit the office in the Counseling Center located in Rocket Hall Room 1810, or go online to utoledo.edu/studentaffairs/saepp.

Record number of international students sit down for Thanksgiving meals with host families

It was a record year for the Center for International Studies and Programs’ fifth annual Thanksgiving host program: 30 families invited 80 students to their homes to celebrate the traditional American dinner.

“The results of the presidential election left many with feelings of anxiety,” said Dr. Sammy Spann, assistant provost for international studies and programs. “Even with the uncertainty in the air, we were able to triple the number of families and students participating in the program this year.”

Cheryl Thomas, executive assistant in the Center for International Studies and Programs, and her husband, Dave, welcomed international students to their Thanksgiving gathering.

Cheryl Thomas, executive assistant in the Center for International Studies and Programs, and her husband, Dave, welcomed international students to their Thanksgiving gathering.

In 2012, nine families hosted 12 international students. The program has grown each year.

“This gesture displays the great unity of our community, the appreciation of diversity, and willingness to open our hearts and homes to individuals of different cultures,” Spann said. “The Center for International Studies and Programs is committed to providing more events that help bridging cultures together.”

Xinren Yu, international program coordinator in the Confucius Institute, said more families asked to host students after the registration deadline, and he worked to accommodate as many requests as possible.

“It really shows that our community is very receptive and welcoming people from all cultures and backgrounds,” Yu said.

According to Yu, a lot of the students end up having closer relationships with their families after participating in the program.

UT student Maggie Nigro, center, invited Arofat Rakhmankulova of Uzbekistan, left,  and Mayu Adachi of Japan for Thanksgiving dinner.

UT student Maggie Nigro, center, invited Arofat Rakhmankulova of Uzbekistan, left,
and Mayu Adachi of Japan for Thanksgiving dinner.

“Students have the opportunity to have a real Thanksgiving experience and learn about American culture and the traditions,” Yu said. “It’s also a great time to make new friends and bond with an American family.”

Kate Abu-Absi, outreach and retention specialist in the College of Arts and Letters, hosted eight international students.

“In the world today, there are a lot of people who are being discriminated against, and I want our students to always feel that UT is their home away from home,” she said.

Abu-Absi said she had such a great time at Thanksgiving she plans to invite international students to celebrate other holidays.

“Everyone got a plate, and we pulled our chairs into the family room and sat in a big circle and talked about what we are thankful for,” she said. “We laughed, shared stories about family and friends, ate way too much, and had a blast.”

Cheryl Thomas, executive assistant in the Center for International Studies and Programs, and her husband, Dave, continue to open their home.

“My husband and I have been hosting international students for several years now.  The cultural bonding, friendship and fun is what keeps us doing it year after year. Of course, my husband is a wonderful cook, too,” Thomas said. “We are very honored and thankful to have these students in our lives, so what better way than at Thanksgiving to share just what that means with them.”

Inmaculada Zanoguera, a graduate assistant from Spain, shared Thanksgiving dinner with the Thomas family.

“Good company, good vibes and good food — there is nothing like getting together in celebration of such a cheerful holiday to remind us how privileged we are to be here,” Zanoguera said. “I think I speak for all international students when I say that having a family selflessly open the doors of their home for us isn’t just a thoughtful invite, but a great honor for which we are deeply thankful. We sincerely appreciate all of the host families who participated in the program.”

“Getting to see all the happy and excited faces of students who have never experienced Thanksgiving makes this one of my favorite events all year,” said Tyler Mattson, graduate assistant in the Center for International Studies and Programs. “The students always leave stuffed to capacity and excited to have been a part of an American holiday.”

New UT Press book showcases voices of Beat poets

For one year, David Ossman interviewed writers and literati as poetry reached its precipice.

With reel-to-reel tapes recording, Ossman was on the air at WBAI in New York City, where he talked to poets and editors in 1960 and 1961. His show was called “The Sullen Art,” a reference to Dylan Thomas’ poem about the solitary nature of writing. Among those stopping by to share thoughts were Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, Robert Creeley, Amiri Baraka, Paul Blackburn, Rochelle Owens and Jackson Mac Low. Corinth Books published some of Ossman’s transcripts in 1963.

Sullen ArtAn expanded edition of “The Sullen Art: Recording the Revolution in American Poetry” recently was published by The University of Toledo Press. The 268-page work includes 28 interviews and a CD recording of Ossman’s 1961 radio documentary.

“At the moment ‘The Sullen Art’ was on the air, I felt was doing my listeners a service by playing out to them something they couldn’t have known unless they were grubbing around in the Beat bookstores in Greenwich Village,” Ossman said during a call from his home on Whidbey Island, Wash.

“There were poetry readers on the air, but no one was talking about what was really going on, and by this time, it had been going on for five years where everything — since “Howl” and “On the Road” and “Naked Lunch” — had changed in the world.”

Being a poet, novelist and playwright helped Ossman easily converse with other artists who wielded words.

“I really think [the book] is a slice of history and shows when poetry began to go in several directions. The ’60s lay spread out for the poets and the writers who were writing in 1960, and if you look at that decade, how tumultuous and political and violent it was, well, all of those things were about to happen,” Ossman said. “At the moment of the interviews, and I made this comment to many of the writers: It seems like nothing is happening; it seems like an interregnum; it seems like a quiet spot just between the election and the inauguration, just when Kennedy came into office. 

Sullen Art event info box“So it’s a snapshot, to use another cliché word, of that year — what people were talking about, what moved them, what kind of writing they wanted to do, who they liked, who they didn’t like. And so much of it centers around Ginsberg as the guy who was famous.

“Other than the novels [Jack] Kerouac was churning out and long, long poems that Allen was turning out, general readers didn’t know about anybody else. It was censorship; it was the press: Should we talk about that? It was a weird moment in time. And I think everything in the ’60s precipitated from that, including really the end of poetry as an influence, which Allen carried all the way through the ’60s, through the Vietnam War, and became almost a folk hero.” 

Ginsberg’s interview offers a peek into his innovative process.

“It’s a moment in Allen’s creative life that he was willing to share very informally; I just pointed at the tape recorder and said, ‘Go,’ and it started. That to me is the centerpiece — where he was at that moment as a writer, where he was famous, but it was before he became a real pop culture figure, and how everyone else in the community of writers felt about it. And the impassioned writers of the time really cared about method and influences, and everybody is corresponding with everybody else and talking about Ezra Pound, I mean, it’s really serious stuff. That disappeared by the mid-60s. I was happy to go into comedy,” Ossman said and laughed.



Ossman headed west and helped create the comedy troupe, The Firesign Theatre, which received three Grammy Award nominations. The witty writer also penned a novel, “The Ronald Reagan Murder Case,” a memoir titled “Dr. Firesign’s Follies,” and is finishing a second memoir called “Fighting Clowns of Hollywood.” His latest collection of poems is “Marshmallows & Despair,” and his forthcoming second novel is “The Flying Saucer Murder Case.” Other credits include directing “The War of the Worlds 50th Anniversary Production” and providing the voice of Cornelius in Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life.”

Meanwhile, in 1977, thanks to encouragement from Noel Stock, UT professor emeritus of English, the University obtained the recordings of poets who appeared on Ossman’s radio show. The tapes and related materials are housed in the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections in Carlson Library.

Two years ago, Ossman and his wife, Judith Walcutt, contacted the Canaday Center about the possibility of an expanded edition of “The Sullen Art.”

“The inspiration was: Can we get this published and on CD? And the answer was yes,” Ossman said. “I love the book, and I love the way it turned out.”

Thanks to the Alice Ohlinger Weaver Endowment Fund, the reel-to-reel tapes were digitized so a CD could be included with the book.

“I’m proud that this important work has been given new attention through this updated edition,” Barbara Floyd, director of the Canaday Center and UT Press, and interim director of University Libraries, said. “The interviews in this book reveal these poets at a time when their styles were still evolving, and they were only just becoming well-known and critically acclaimed.”

“The Sullen Art” is $29.95 and available at utoledopress.com.

In honor of Ossman’s 80th birthday, members of the Toledo Poets Museum will read excerpts from “The Sullen Art” Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. in Carlson Library Room 1005. The free event is co-sponsored by the UT Press and the UT Department of English Language and Literature.

UT Health physician warns allergy season extends into fall and winter

As the warmth of early fall gives way to crisp evenings and the start of the holiday season, thoughts of raking leaves and a crackling fire come to mind. But not everyone can enjoy the crunch of drying leaves and the scent of wood burning in the fireplace.

The 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children who are affected by nasal allergies in the United States know the sneezing, stuffy nose, sinus pressure, itchy eyes and cough of seasonal allergies are not always resolved the change of seasons.



University of Toledo Health Allergist and Immunologist Dr. Svetlana I. Kriegel recommends
those affected learn their triggers and symptoms and ways to avoid exposure to allergens to reduce the misery of nasal allergies.

“The most common are seasonal pollen allergies in the spring, summer and fall. About 70 percent of patients with spring allergies also have allergy symptoms in the fall,” Kriegel said. “We have seen a drop in temperature and with it a drop in ragweed pollen, the primary fall allergen.”

Kriegel said patients are starting to notice a change, but we aren’t out of the woods yet, and other allergens like mold are actually triggering allergic symptoms.

“The fungi take advantage of the fallen leaves and decaying vegetation this time of year and can be found in compost piles, cut grasses, wooded areas, soils, lawn debris and other moist surfaces,” Kriegel said. “In order to reduce the exposure to molds, I suggest avoiding raking leaves altogether or wearing a particle mask if you must work outside.”

A hard frost will eventually kill the foliage and bring the outdoor molds to the dormant state. However, Kriegel said indoor molds can still be troublesome, especially with humidity levels more than 50 percent. The damp air allows molds to flourish in poorly ventilated areas like attics, bathrooms, basements and under kitchen sinks.

“As we close windows and start running heaters, indoor allergens, including dust mites, pets, cockroaches and molds, become predominant allergy triggers,” Kriegel said. “Luckily, effective avoidance measures can diminish exposure, thus decrease nasal, eye and chest symptoms. I always teach my patients this first line of defense.”

Kriegel said it is important to consider other indoor allergens as we settle in for the winter.

“As we are coming to the holiday season, we all should be jolly and happy,” she said. “Be mindful of your guests who could have an allergic or asthmatic reaction to indoor triggers.”

Smoke from fireplaces or wood burners, scented candles and pets can cause problems for allergy sufferers.

“If you purchase a live Christmas tree, you are at risk for carrying millions of mold spores into your home in its bark,” she said. “This mold can cause worsening of allergies and asthma in sensitive adults and kids.”

When avoidance measures are not enough to minimize suffering from allergies or when patients also experience episodic cough, wheezing or chest tightness, Kriegel develops an individualized care strategy for each patient.

“Pharmacological therapy for patients with allergies and asthma made great advances in recent years,” she said. “Medicines can significantly improve the quality of life of allergic individuals. Nontheless, for the most bothersome, persistent and difficult to treat symptoms, allergen immunotherapy offers a great advantage. For the right patient, allergy shots can reduce suffering from asthma and potentially cure his or her allergies.”