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Students recruiting 800 volunteers to help feed families in hurricane-ravaged Haiti

Three months after Hurricane Matthew unleashed a path of destruction through the southern peninsula of Haiti, devastation lingers for families who lost their homes, crops and livestock.

KLAR“It’s horrible,” said Ashley Jemerson, who studied criminal justice, forensic science and Spanish at UT before graduating last month. “Seeing the ongoing effects of the natural disaster makes me grateful for everything we have here in the United States.”

Jemerson and dozens of UT students selected by their colleges to participate in the Klar Leadership Academy in the College of Business and Innovation need 800 volunteers Friday and Saturday, Jan. 27-28, in the Health Education Building on Main Campus to help produce 140,000 meals that will be sent to Haiti for hurricane relief.

Participants from the Klar Leadership Academy’s November community service project posed for a photo after conducting a Box Out Hunger event at the Cherry Street Mission.

Participants from the Klar Leadership Academy’s November community service project posed for a photo after conducting a Box Out Hunger event at the Cherry Street Mission.

The public is invited to participate in the two-day community service event called Feed My Starving Children, which is the culmination of a global service project organized by the Klar Leadership Academy’s 75 students to feed families in the country where food is scarce.

Volunteers may sign up for shifts here. Shifts are from 3 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 27, and from 9 to 11 a.m. and from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28.

The 2016-17 Klar Leadership Academy students are 75 percent of the way to raising their goal of $31,000 to make the event called “Mobile Pack” a success.

“One of the biggest things we’ve learned in the academy is the importance of giving back,” said Anthony Dimodica, a senior studying human resource management. “Leadership also is about helping others. We’re hoping our University students, faculty and staff give up a little bit of their time to make a huge difference for people who don’t have a lot.”

The Klar Leadership Academy was founded in 2015 with the support of Stephen Klar, a 1971 alumnus of the College of Business and Innovation and a New York City builder and real estate developer.

“The Klar Leadership Academy is all about creating the next generation of exceptional leaders who will carry on the College of Business and UT legacy of leaders who are changing the world,” said Dr. Clint Longenecker, Distinguished University Professor and director of the Center for Leadership and Organization Excellence in the College of Business and Innovation. “This learning experience takes our best students across all undergraduate colleges on campus and leads them through a seven-month, transformational leadership development experience to increase their career trajectory and their ability to improve the human condition through high-performance servant leadership.”

Tight end to play in Senior Bowl Jan. 28

Toledo senior tight end Michael Roberts has accepted an invitation to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl. The game will be held Saturday, Jan. 28, at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

Roberts

Roberts

Kickoff will be at 2:30 p.m., and the game will be televised live on NFL Network.

Roberts will join teammate Kareem Hunt, a running back, in the Senior Bowl; read more here. Roberts also is scheduled to play in the East-West Shrine Game Saturday, Jan. 21; read more here.

Roberts caught 45 passes for 533 yards and led the nation’s tight ends with 16 touchdown receptions, eight more than the next tight end. A first-team All-America selection by the Football Writers Association of America, Roberts broke the Toledo record for touchdown catches in a season previously held by Lance Moore (14 in 2004). He shattered school record for TD receptions by a tight end, formerly held by Don Seymour (9 in 1973). A first-team All-Mid-American Conference honoree, Roberts had three TD catches in one game against both Western Michigan and Bowling Green.

Library renovations to include new veterans lounge named for UT alumnus

The second phase of renovations underway at Carlson Library will include a new veterans lounge, a glass wall spanning several stories allowing for more natural light, and an expanded concourse when you enter the building.

The $3 million renovations funded by state capital dollars will focus on the first and second floors of the library. The renovations, which are expected to be completed prior to the start of fall semester, follow the work on the third and fourth floors finished last year that included the creation of more than 20 new group study rooms and new paint, carpet, ceilings and lighting to transform the learning space.

This rendering shows what the Lt. Col. Thomas J. Orlowski ’65 Veterans Lounge may look like when finished on the second floor of Carlson Library this summer.

This rendering shows what the Lt. Col. Thomas J. Orlowski ’65 Veterans Lounge may look like when finished on the second floor of Carlson Library this summer.

“The south side of the second floor will be renovated to include group study rooms and study carrels like those that have become popular on the recently completed third and fourth floors,” said Barbara Floyd, interim director of University Libraries. “We recently conducted a survey asking students if they were satisfied with the renovations done, and the comments were overwhelmingly positive, with many students crediting the renovations with their success in the classroom.”

The second floor of the library also will be the new home for the University’s Veterans Lounge, which will relocate from its current location in Rocket Hall.

“Our student veterans were interested in a more centrally located space and in this academic setting they also will have better access to library resources for research and homework with longer hours to take advantage of the lounge,” said Navy Reserve Lt. Haraz Ghanbari, UT director of military and veteran affairs.

Lt. Col. Thomas Orlowski spoke after being recognized by the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes with its Hometown Hero Award and the news that the veterans lounge at his alma mater will be named in his honor. Orlowski, who graduated from UT in 1965 before his 20-year career in the U.S. Army, is being recognized with the naming of the Lt. Col. Thomas J. Orlowski ’65 Veterans Lounge that will be relocated to the second floor of Carlson Library.

Lt. Col. Thomas Orlowski spoke after being recognized by the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes with its Hometown Hero Award and the news that the veterans lounge at his alma mater will be named in his honor. Orlowski, who graduated from UT in 1965 before his 20-year career in the U.S. Army, is being recognized with the naming of the Lt. Col. Thomas J. Orlowski ’65 Veterans Lounge that will be relocated to the second floor of Carlson Library.

A $20,000 donation from the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes supports the creation of the new lounge, which also will be larger with a separate social area and private study section.

The coalition’s gift was made in recognition of Lt. Col. Thomas J. Orlowski, a UT alumnus and Army veteran who is the immediate past chairman of the organization’s board. The lounge will be named the Lt. Col. Thomas J. Orlowski ’65 Veterans Lounge in his honor.

“It’s a fantastic idea, and I’m proud of the University for doing it. I’m just very humbled to be honored as part of the project,” Orlowski said. “The exchanges that will occur in this lounge will start with, ‘What are you studying and with what professors?’ But after that familiarity builds up, then the war stories come up. It will definitely help veteran students academically, but a secondary benefit that people may not realize is the camaraderie of others who have been where you’ve been and done what you’ve done.”

Orlowski graduated from UT in 1965 with a degree in English literature, and he also was a middle linebacker for the football team. He joined the Army later that year, and his 20-year military career included assignments in the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam, 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized), HQ U.S. Army Europe, HQ U.S. Continental Army Command and the Office of the Adjutant General of the Army. For his service in Vietnam, he was awarded the Purple Heart, Silver Star, Bronze Star for Valor with two Oak Leaf Clusters and Air Medal.

The new Veterans Lounge is expected to open in early summer.

Library renovations will continue through the summer, with the addition of a glass wall on the east side spanning the height of the building that will open up the library with more sunlight. The staircase from the first to second floors also will be redesigned with a mezzanine area on the second floor further opening up the space.

The separate hallway that you currently pass through when walking into the library will be removed so that guests will immediately be in the lobby when they walk in from outside. The redesign also will bring all of the library’s patron services — including circulation, reference and instruction — to the first floor. The information technology help desk recently moved from the back of the floor to share space with the circulation desk at the front. 

Rockets earn a 3.202 grade point average; fifth-highest semester GPA in school history

University of Toledo student-athletes earned a combined grade point average of 3.202 in the 2016 fall semester, the fifth-highest department semester GPA in school history.

thumb-rocket-color-logoIt is only the fifth time UT student-athletes have had a semester GPA above 3.2, and the 16th consecutive semester in which the Rockets earned a combined GPA of 3.1 or higher.

“Excellence in the classroom is what we’ve come to expect from our student-athletes, and this past semester was no exception” said Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “A department-wide GPA of over a 3.2 is a great accomplishment for our student-athletes, and all those behind the scenes who support their efforts — parents, coaches, faculty, tutors and our student-athlete academic services staff.”

2016-fall-semester-gpaIndividually, 37 student-athletes earned President’s List honors with a perfect 4.0 GPA, while more than 41 percent (154 of 374) earned a spot on the Dean’s List by garnering at least a 3.50 GPA, and more than 66 percent (249 of 374) achieved a 3.0 grade point average or better for the 2016 fall semester.

Fourteen of UT’s 16 varsity sports teams had combined GPAs of at least 3.0. Women’s soccer set the pace with a team GPA of 3.679. Women’s golf (3.672), women’s volleyball (3.556), women’s cross country (3.546) and men’s golf (3.512) also were above 3.5 as a team this past fall.

New assistant vice president named to improve student success, inclusion

Dr. Michele Soliz has been named assistant vice president for student success and inclusion within the Division of Student Affairs.

In addition to leading the Office of Multicultural Student Success, Soliz will focus on strategic retention initiatives across the division and will have a reporting relationship to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Soliz

Soliz

“This position will support the University’s goals to enhance student success with a focus on the overall student experience on campus,” said Dr. Kaye M. Patten, senior vice president for student affairs. “Dr. Soliz’s experience as a dean of students and leading academic support services on campus and her passion for student engagement make her the perfect fit to fill this new role.”

Soliz will work to ensure the University is enhancing the student experience both inside and outside the classroom, Patten said.

“I am pleased that Dr. Soliz will have a formal role with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion,” said Dr. Willie McKether, vice president for diversity and inclusion. “This not only provides a clearer path for our divisions to collaborate on multicultural initiatives, but also enables Dr. Soliz to better utilize her retention expertise. This is an excellent move for the University and, most importantly, our students.”

Soliz, who was named to the new position effective Jan. 10, pending approval by the UT Board of Trustees, most recently served as the executive director for academic support services in the Office of the Provost, where she provided leadership to the Learning Enhancement Center, Writing Center and TRIO Student Support Services. In collaboration with partners across the institution, she has increased the usage and visibility of the services that help retain students and put them on the path to graduation.

Soliz, who previously served as the University’s dean of students, has been a committee member of the Latino Youth Summit and Multicultural Emerging Scholars Program since their inceptions. She is active in the UT Latino Alumni Affiliate, serves as a mentor to African-American female students in the Talented and Aspiring Women Leaders program, and teaches the course Managing Diversity in the Workplace.

“I am excited to engage students and colleagues in inclusion and retention efforts,” Soliz said. “I look forward to collaborating across campus to have a greater impact on the overall student experience.”

She received a bachelor of arts degree in ethnic studies from Bowling Green State University and earned her master’s and doctoral degrees from UT in higher education, with a research focus on Latino student baccalaureate completion rates and student engagement.

UT calendar of events relaunching

To improve communications, the University’s calendar of events is being relaunched as a single site and more convenient online tool that will house all on- and off-campus, UT-sponsored events to better serve students, faculty, staff, trustees and the public.

calendar-utnewsIn addition to featuring student and University events, this master calendar will include research, athletic and recreation events, as well as University lectures and conferences.

“This one-site master calendar will aid in planning and promoting events, plus ensure that major events don’t overlap,” Dr. Andrew Hsu, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said. “We also want the calendar to reflect that the University is welcoming, student-centered and richly diverse in its offerings.”

Everyone has access to submit events to the calendar. Activities that should be posted on this master calendar include:

• University-sponsored events that the campus community and public may attend.

• UT-sponsored meetings that support transparency (for example, Board of Trustees and Faculty Senate meetings).

• Official academic calendar dates.

• Campus-wide student organization events and activities.

• Campus-wide alumni and UT Foundation events, such as Homecoming and pregame events, that are open to the public.

• Campus-wide athletic events and activities, including varsity athletic schedules.

• Events featured in UT News, UT NewsBreak and on the myUT portal.

Room scheduling, department meetings and events, personnel meetings, retirement announcements, and events not sponsored nor supported by the University should not be included on this calendar.

Individual areas within the University may continue posting these types of activities and meetings on their own calendars; however, the bulleted list of University-sponsored and campus-wide events above should always be mirrored on the master UT calendar of events.

Within the next couple of weeks, members of the UT calendar steering group will discuss use of the updated calendar with University deans.

To view the calendar, visit calendar.utoledo.edu, and a listing of the day’s events can be found on the myut.utoledo.edu page.

Three Rockets selected to play in East-West Shrine Game Jan. 21

Toledo senior tight end Michael Roberts, senior offensive lineman Storm Norton and senior defensive tackle Treyvon Hester have accepted invitations to play in the 92nd East-West Shrine Game.

The contest will be held Saturday, Jan. 21, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., kicking off at 3 p.m. and televised live on NFL Network.

Roberts

Roberts

Roberts was named first-team All-America by the Football Writers Association of America and Phil Steel Publications. He caught 45 passes for 533 yards and led the nation’s tight ends with 16 touchdown receptions, eight more than the next tight end. A first-team All-Mid-American Conference honoree this season, Roberts broke the Toledo record for touchdown catches in a season previously held by Lance Moore (14 in 2004). He shattered the school record for TD receptions by a tight end, formerly held by Don Seymour (9 in 1973). He had three TD catches in one game against both Western Michigan and Bowling Green.

Norton

Norton

Norton, 6-8, 306 pounds, is a two-time, first-team All-MAC selection at left tackle. He was the leader of a unit that allowed just 14 sacks in 2016 and powered a Rocket offense that led the MAC in total offense (517.8) and passing offense (322.8). This past season, he was on the official watch list for the Outland Trophy, awarded annually to the nation’s top interior lineman. He recently was named to SB Nation’s All-America Team.

Hester

Hester

Hester, however, will not be able to participate due to an injury. The 6-3, 300-pound defensive tackle is a three-time All-MAC player who earned second-team honors in 2016. In his four-year college career, Hester has totaled 153 tackles, 31.5 tackles for loss and 13.0 sacks. Hester led the Rockets with 5.0 sacks this season.

These Rockets join an elite list of football greats, such as John Elway, Tom Brady, Brett Favre and 74 NFL Hall of Famers who have played in the East-West Shrine Game, in addition to more than 265 East-West Shrine Game alumni on NFL rosters each year. More than 100 players from the 2016 game signed with professional teams last spring, and more than 70 made final NFL rosters.

While the teams are divided by East and West, the players come together for the beneficiary of the event, Shriners Hospitals for Children, an international pediatric specialty health-care system.

Running back to suit up for Senior Bowl

UT senior running back Kareem Hunt has accepted an invitation to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

Hunt

Hunt

The game will be played Saturday, Jan. 28, at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala., kicking off at 2:30 p.m. and televised live on NFL Network.

Hunt led the Mid-American Conference in rushing with 1,475 yards and is a three-time All-MAC honoree. He has run for 4,945 yards in his career as a Rocket and is UT’s all-time leading rusher. His career-high rushing game came in Mobile when he gained 271 yards in a 63-44 victory over Arkansas State at the 2015 GoDaddy Bowl Jan. 4, 2015. Hunt also rushed for five TDs that game, tying a bowl record held by Barry Sanders of Oklahoma State.

The Senior Bowl began in 1950 and has been played in Mobile every year since 1951. Some of the biggest names in college football history have competed in the Senior Bowl, including 17 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

UT recognized as first university in U.S. to dedicate both Blue and Gold Star Memorial markers on campus

The University of Toledo is nationally recognized as the first university campus in the country to simultaneously honor all service members of the armed forces and the families who lost a loved one defending the United States by dedicating both a Blue Star Memorial marker and a Gold Star Memorial marker.

UT unveiled the new markers at the Veterans Memorial Plaza on Veterans Day.

The Blue and Gold Star Memorial markers were unveiled in November at the UT Veterans Memorial Plaza, an outdoor area that honors individuals and groups who served in the U.S. military.

The Blue and Gold Star Memorial markers were unveiled in November at the UT Veterans Memorial Plaza, an outdoor area that honors individuals and groups who served in the U.S. military.

Andrea Little, national chair of the Blue Star and Gold Star Families Memorial Marker Program, recently wrote a letter on behalf of the program and National Garden Clubs to Navy Reserve Lt. Haraz Ghanbari, UT director of military and veteran affairs, to notify the University of the pioneering honor.

“By these actions taken, you and your staff have elevated this program’s standards; and a distinct precedent has been established by which all other university campuses should emulate,” Little noted. “There is no greater way to honor all our armed forces and their families.”

UT student Clinton Grantham, a senior studying social work, spearheaded the effort with Ghanbari. Grantham, who is a medically retired, active-duty Army veteran, served a tour in Afghanistan as a member of the 10th Mountain Division based at Fort Drum, N.Y.

“UT has a lot of student veterans, and I wanted to do something special not only for them, but for families who lost a loved one in combat,” Grantham said. “When I started the process, I had no idea that no one had done this before. I’m proud we accomplished it in seven weeks, on time for Veterans Day. Future students will walk by every day, hopefully read the memorial markers, and understand what service members and their families sacrifice to serve and defend their country.”

The Blue Star Memorial reads, “A tribute to the Armed Forces who have defended the United States of America.”

The Gold Star Memorial reads, “A tribute to Gold Star Families whose loved one paid the ultimate price defending the United States of America.”

The University has long been recognized as a military friendly school for its commitment to providing exceptional assistance and support to service members, veterans and their families.

In 2017, UT was again recognized by Military Times in its Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 rankings and by Military Advanced Education & Transition as a top school in its 2017 Guide to Colleges & Universities research study.

UT receives award for being military friendly

The University of Toledo has consistently been recognized for accommodations to student veterans and their families.

After being recognized as a top school for supporting student veterans by Victory Media, UT has been named a Bronze Award recipient for being a Military Friendly School.

military-friendly-bronze-award-2017This award is given to large public schools with outstanding programs and support for veterans and their families.

UT’s name was published on militaryfriendly.com last month and was printed in the December issue of G.I. Jobs and the Guide to Military Friendly Schools. Both publications are produced by Victory Media.

“This recognition demonstrates the commitment of our university and our community to our service members, veterans and their families,” said Navy Reserve Lt. Haraz N. Ghanbari, UT director of military and veteran affairs. “With increased support, we can continue to build upon the solid foundation we have created over the last several years.”

UT has been consecutively recognized by Victory Media for being military friendly since 2010 and also has been recognized by the KMI Media Group and the Military Times.

Ghanbari wants UT to be the most veteran friendly school in the region by implementing impactful programs and services that provide military students the opportunity to have successful transitions from military service to the classroom and beyond.

“I encourage our faculty and staff to contact the Military Service Center at 419.530.VETS to schedule Green Zone Training to help provide a better understanding of our service members, veterans and their families, as well as the resources we have on campus and in the community to make sure we are best-positioned and equipped to support our military students,” Ghanbari said.