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New vice president for advancement named, will lead newly merged division

A top fundraising executive for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Health System has been selected to lead The University of Toledo’s Advancement Division, pending approval of UT’s Board of Trustees.



UT President Sharon Gaber announced Thursday that Samuel McCrimmon, executive director of clinical development at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh, would join the University as vice president of advancement. He will start at UT Sept. 8.

“Philanthropy is key to the continued positive momentum of The University of Toledo, and in Sam, I’ve found a leader who will help elevate UT’s fundraising and messaging on a national and international level,” Gaber said.

Since her selection in March, Gaber has repeatedly identified as a priority a dramatic increase in fundraising, saying such a move is needed to increase the number of student scholarships, establish endowed professorships to help attract top-tier faculty, and to ensure that UT has the facilities it needs to advance research and expand its profile and reputation.

McCrimmon will oversee the merger of UT’s Institutional Advancement Division and its External Affairs Division into a single Division of Advancement, including Alumni Relations, Development, University Communications, University Marketing and Special Events.

“I’m incredibly excited to be joining UT at such a transformational time,” McCrimmon said. “I have seen the impact philanthropy can have on institutional growth, and it’s clear to me this University can increase funding to leverage its strengths, improving the lives of students and the community.”

McCrimmon said the ability to integrate the University’s branding and messaging strategy into advancement will be key to ensuring that all members of the University family have a clear vision of where UT is headed and how they can help UT achieve its goals.

“My wife and I consider ourselves to be Midwesterners, so we are thrilled to become a part of the Toledo community because it feels like a move home,” he said.

He and his wife, Courtney, have two children, Evangeline and Duncan.

Gaber also expressed her thanks to members of the search committee for their time and expertise during the past several months.

McCrimmon started his fundraising career at Wheeling Jesuit University and served as director of programs for the Executive Service Corps of Western Pennsylvania. In 2004, he joined the University of Detroit Mercy, where he advanced to leading the major and planned gift programs, providing strategic direction that resulted in record fundraising in fiscal 2010-11. He joined the UPMC Health System in 2011 and has overseen growth both of fundraising and infrastructure.

McCrimmon holds a juris doctorate from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, a master of theological studies degree from Duke University and a bachelor of arts degree from Wabash College.

UT’s new disability studies degree first of its kind

A new undergraduate degree in disability studies at The University of Toledo is the first of its kind in the country rooted in the humanities and social sciences and offered on campus.



“Disability has long been studied as a biomedical issue, but disability studies is dramatically different,” said Dr. Jim Ferris, the Ability Center of Greater Toledo Endowed Chair in Disability Studies. “Rather than focusing on the characteristics of bodies and functional limitations or impairments, disability studies focuses on disability as a social construct.”

Disability studies is a growing field with minors, certificate programs and graduate degrees being offered at more colleges across the country, but the new bachelor of arts degree at UT is the first such undergraduate program in the social sciences that is not exclusively online, said Ferris, who is professor of disability studies and director of the Disability Studies Program.

The Disability Studies Program at the University is an interdisciplinary program with the goal of fostering understanding of the contributions, experiences, history and culture of people with disabilities. The program was created in 2001 with the Ability Center of Greater Toledo and at the time was the first of its kind in the state.

“Disability studies is the scholarly understanding of disability as a sociocultural phenomenon rather than simply as a medically defined condition,” Ferris said.

UT has previously offered the discipline as a minor, which is being expanded into the bachelor’s degree program for students interested in careers in social service, public education, advocacy, government policy, health-care administration, human resource management or other fields.

People with disabilities make up the largest minority group in the United States with more than 56 million people or 19 percent of the population, according to 2010 Census Bureau data; that number is expected to grow as the population ages, Ferris said.

“Everyone becomes disabled if they live long enough. It’s part of the aging process,” Ferris said.

The disability rights movement started in the 1970s and advanced with the Americans With Disabilities Act, which was signed into law 25 years ago by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. The growing scholarly field of disability studies works to advance the conversation further beyond discrimination and accessibility, Ferris said.

“At its heart, disability studies is about what it means to be human: who gets to participate in society and to what extent,” Ferris said. “It’s about recognizing and respecting diversity. It’s about how to think about and talk about the ways of being different in the world.”

The Ohio Board of Regents approved the bachelor’s degree program in December, and the University is recruiting its first class of students to begin their studies in the fall.

The degree program includes study of disability culture and history, disability law and human rights, deaf studies, gender and disability, and autism and culture, as well as a mandatory internship.

For additional information on the Disability Studies Program, visit utoledo.edu/llss/disability.

Student trustee wants to connect with students, be their voice

“I cried. Then I called my mom.”

That was Anna Crisp’s reaction when she was selected by Ohio Gov. John Kasich as the new student trustee at The University of Toledo.



Crisp, a Bluffton, Ohio, native and junior public health major at UT, has always had a passion for helping others and saw this position as a natural extension of that.

“It has always been a passion of mine to be the voice of others whose voices may not otherwise be heard,” she said. “Now I’m the voice for 24,000 students, which is very intimidating to me but also an incredible opportunity.”

Crisp, who will hold the position until July 1, 2017, is looking forward to educating students about the student trustee position and helping them better understand what the Board of Trustees does.

“I think a lot of students have no idea that the position exists, and that’s troubling to me because as a student, you should feel that you’re represented in some way and that you have someone that’s speaking on your behalf,” she said.

One of the ways she plans to connect with students is through student organizations and a relationship with Student Government.

“We have hundreds of student organizations on campus, and I think that’s a logical avenue to go down to reach a larger amount of students,” she said.

When she’s not fulfilling her student trustee duties, Crisp will be busy making an impact in other ways. She is involved with several organizations such as International Service Learning, which has allowed her to go on two medical mission trips; Mortar Board Honor Society, where she helps with the annual Wrap Up Toledo event; and Food Recovery Network, an organization she helped start at UT that collects excess food from restaurants and dining halls and takes it to Toledo’s hungry.

On top of that, Crisp recently accepted a part-time position at The University of Toledo Medical Center as a patient advocate student assistant in the Department of Service Excellence. She will be helping to improve patient care by building relationships with patients and helping them connect with their physicians.

When asked why she is so involved at UT and why she thinks other students should do the same, her answer is simple.

“It’s your future,” she said. “Take advantage of your time here. If you spend four years here and get the degree but that’s it, is that all that you wanted to get out of college?”

Rockets picked to win 2015 Mid-American Conference Championship

The University of Toledo football team was picked to win the Mid-American Conference’s West Division and the 2015 Marathon MAC Championship Game in voting by members of the league’s media contingent.

Rocket football logoThe annual preseason poll was released today at the conference’s 2015 Football Media Day held at Ford Field in Detroit.

The Rockets received 11 first-place votes and a total of 121 points in the annual poll, just one point ahead of second-place Western Michigan, which had eight first-place votes. Defending MAC West Champion Northern Illinois (113 points) was picked third, with Ball State (66), Central Michigan (56) and Eastern Michigan (28) rounding out the West.

Bowling Green was picked to repeat as MAC East Division Champion, with Ohio and Akron tied for second place.

Toledo Head Coach Matt Campbell welcomes back 46 letter winners and 15 starters from last year’s team that went 9-4 overall, 7-1 in conference play. The Rockets shared the West Division title and chalked up an impressive 63-44 win over Arkansas State in the GoDaddy Bowl.

The Rockets offense will be paced by junior running back Kareem Hunt, who rushed for 1,631 yards and 16 touchdowns in 10 games last season. Wide receivers Corey Jones, with 842 yards and five touchdowns and Alonzo Russell, with 770 yards receiving and eight touchdowns, provide the Rockets with additional threats at the skill positions.

Defensively, Toledo returns eight starters, including defensive end Trent Voss, who had 77 tackles and 15 tackles for loss in 2014, and a pair of All-MAC tackles, senior Orion Jones and junior Treyvon Hester.

The Rockets will open the season at home vs. Stony Brook Thursday, Sept. 3, and then travel to Southeastern Conference opponent Arkansas Saturday, Sept. 12.

Professor takes top prize for satirical cartoon caption

In a recent competition, a University of Toledo professor of geography and planning stood out with his environmental commentary.

Dr. David Nemeth won the May edition of Inside Higher Ed’s cartoon captioning competition. The contest, which is held monthly, requires participants to come up with a creative caption for a cartoon provided by the magazine.

Nemeth cartoon“The thing about this publication is that it’s online; everybody knows about it that’s in academia, especially professors and administrators,” Nemeth said. “It’s got over a million people that tune in. You figure there’s only one winner per month, and these professors and administrators that enter this contest come from all over: Berkeley and Harvard, for example. So to see Toledo win is really cool.”

The cartoon Nemeth wrote for depicted a large slug at a podium at what appeared to be a university graduation ceremony. When Nemeth saw the image, he said he immediately thought of Chernobyl — a nuclear accident in Ukraine in 1986 that caused environmental damages and animal mutations. His caption read: “And who might have imagined that I, a humble slug from Chernobyl, would someday achieve this honor …”

“When I saw this image, I was almost immediately thinking that slug was a mutation from that tragedy and yet the mutation had given it intellect and a sense of humility,” he said. “So the students are facing the tragedy that ironically comes from where they’re going. They’re all going on to be scientists and bio-theorists, and they could be contributing to the problem of more potential Chernobyls.”

Nemeth also has used cartoons and other unique literary works as methods of teaching throughout his career.

“For us as teachers, we have a challenge of articulating the human comedy we have here, the absurd world we live in,” he said. “The challenge or the opportunity to teach — using cartoons, folklore, proverbs from the Bible — in a pithy way something that’s really profound or hard to articulate in a few words and use it as a chance to teach critical teaching. You can do that in a classroom by having students write captions.”

In addition to having the caption and cartoon published in the magazine for a month, Nemeth received a signed copy of the comic by artist Matthew Henry Hall and a cash award for his efforts.

UT Health cardiologists address FDA warning on painkillers

The newest federal health regulation is warning people that anti-inflammatory pain relief pills such as Advil, Aleve and Motrin can increase the risk of heart-related problems and strokes.



But that doesn’t mean that these non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) need to be removed from your medicine cabinet altogether, especially if you are in otherwise good heart health, according to UT Health physicians.

Dr. Samer Khouri, professor of medicine and associate chief of cardiology at The University of Toledo Medical Center, said that ibuprofen, Naproxen and other NSAIDs should be taken in the correct dosage for the shortest amount of time.

“There is a risk and the risk is real,” Khouri said. “This new warning is a good idea because people sometimes think that over-the-counter pills don’t come with any risks because they can buy them so easily.”

The Food and Drug Administration’s new warning states that an increased risk of heart attack and stroke can occur even in the first few weeks of taking NSAID drugs. The current label only warns that high dose and/or long-term use can increase the risk of heart-related problems.

While Khouri supports the new label, he wants to make sure that the public knows that taking an aspirin like Bayer is still recommended for patients with heart disease or if you suspect you are having a heart attack or stroke. The new warning does not apply to aspirin, even though it’s technically an NSAID, he said.



“I think the public might be getting confused in this area because aspirin does not fall under this new FDA warning, although no drug is without risk,” he said. “Aspirin by itself can be an excellent medication to decrease cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, while also helping with headaches, fevers and arthritis.”

Dr. Rajesh Gupta, a cardiologist at UTMC and assistant professor of medicine, said it comes down to weighing the risks versus the benefits.

“If a 25-year-old person with tennis elbow or a sprained ankle wants to take an Aleve, then that is low risk while the treatment benefit is fairly good,” Gupta said. “However, for a 70-year-old with heart disease and a prior stent procedure, the benefits don’t outweigh the risks.”

If patients already are on a long-term Naproxen treatment, for instance, they might want to consider finding an alternative treatment, he said.

“We have known for a many years that long-term NSAID use is associated with gastric ulcers, kidney disease and high blood pressure. This new FDA warning adds heart attack and stroke risk to this list,” Gupta said. “In general, these medications are not suited for long-term use, but the bottom line is each person should get individualized advice from his or her doctor because not every case is the same.”

Interim dean of College of Nursing named

Dr. Kelly Phillips, a member of the UT College of Nursing faculty since 1993, has been named interim dean of the college.



Phillips, associate professor and chair of the Department of Population and Community Care, and director of the Master of Science in Nursing Program, will lead the college while a search is conducted for a permanent dean to replace Dr. Timothy Gaspar, who is stepping down after seven years as dean.

“As the nursing profession evolves to become more specialized, the UT College of Nursing has responded with a stronger focus on graduate education and research. I am grateful for Tim’s leadership in that effort,” Interim Provost and Executive Vice President John Barrett said. “Kelly’s expertise in advanced professional nursing education is critical in maintaining and elevating the college’s leadership position as we move forward.”

“It is my privilege to serve as interim dean of the College of Nursing,” Phillips said. “My priorities will be to lead the College of Nursing through accreditation and new curricular initiatives and to highlight the College of Nursing’s accomplishments.”

Phillips holds a PhD in higher education from UT, a master of science in nursing from the Medical College of Ohio, a bachelor of science in nursing from Franklin University in Columbus, and a diploma from Providence Hospital School of Nursing in Sandusky.

She is certified as a clinical nurse leader and recently received national recognition from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing for her contributions to clinical nurse leader education.

Interim leader announced as Honors College dean moves to University of Akron

As Dr. Lakeesha Ransom heads to the University of Akron to lead its Honors College as vice provost and dean, a law professor is named interim dean of the UT Jesup Scott Honors College.

Ransom joined UT as dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College in early 2013 after a career in corporate, nonprofit, educational and government organizations. She completes her tenure at the end of the month.

“One of the things I appreciate most about my time at UT was the opportunity to work with faculty and staff across the University to create momentum within the Jesup Scott Honors College,” Ransom said. “It is an exciting time at UT. Even though I won’t be here to participate, I am excited to see what the next level will be for the Jesup Scott Honors College and the University.”



Kelly Moore, vice provost for college and faculty relations, academic governance and program review, and associate professor of law, will serve as interim dean beginning Aug. 1.

“Lakeesha’s diverse professional background enabled her to enhance the reputation of our Jesup Scott Honors College, and we thank her and wish her the best in her new position,” Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs John Barrett said. “Kelly Moore truly embraces our culture as a student-centered university and will continue the ongoing efforts to elevate the college as we attract and serve more well-prepared students.”

Moore, whose scholarship focuses on tax and related property issues, joined the UT College of Law faculty in 2009. He has served as vice provost since July 2014.

“I am excited to serve the Jesup Scott Honors College as interim dean,” Moore said. “Building on the momentum of the college and the quality of the already great student experience are among the key priorities for the next year.”

Prior to joining UT, Moore was director of the Master of Laws in Tax Program at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, and taught courses at both Washington University School of Law and Saint Louis University School of Law. During his career, he also served in the staff attorneys’ office of the Federal Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, in St. Louis and as an associate with the law firms Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal and the Stolar Partnership in Missouri.

Moore holds JD and master of laws degrees from Washington University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Southern Illinois University.

UT pharmacy alum tests her trivia on ‘Jeopardy!’ [updated]

This University of Toledo alumna is a contestant on “Jeopardy!” tonight.

Who is Dr. Erin Saelzler? Correct!

Alex Trebek and Dr. Erin Saelzler posed for a photo on the set of the game show.

Alex Trebek and Dr. Erin Saelzler posed for a photo on the set of the game show.

There are many ways to prepare for one of America’s favorite quiz shows, but Saelzler said her 2012 doctor of pharmacy degree from UT played a large role in getting on the popular game show and ready to compete.

“Going through pharmaceutical school helped me with the science questions as did my elective classes,” Saelzler said.

While the 31-year-old Toledo resident placed third on her July 23rd appearance, her misspelling of Brigham Young University in the final round caused a stir on social media. Fans of the show wanted the answer to count, but “Jeopardy!”

“I actually thought I had spelled it correctly because that is the way I had always pronounced it,” Saelzler said. “Alex Trebek gave it to me, but the judges came in and overruled him. We had to reshoot that part of the show.

“It was still fun,” she said. “I know that it isn’t the first time that something like that has happened with a spelling mistake.”

Saelzler remembers watching the show with her parents in their Oregon home when she was a teenager. Sometimes they would go over to her grandparents’ house to watch it. She yelled out as many answers as the adults, if not more, she said.

In January 2013, she took the online Jeopardy test, which led to a live audition in Detroit in July that year.

“I took another written test, and then the contestant coordinator interviews you and pairs you up with people to have mock games,” Saelzler said. “I felt pretty confident, tempered by the fact that the contestant pool was a couple thousand and they only choose a couple hundred contestants per season.”

Saelzler didn’t think she had made the cut after the 18-month window for a decision had elapsed.

“But then they called me six weeks before they wanted me on the show,” she said. “I was so surprised because I had heard stories of people auditioning five times before they got on the show. I was preparing to audition again before they called me.”

Saelzler flew out to Los Angeles in April to tape. Contestants are required to pay for their flight and hotel, but it works out, she said, because the third-place contestant still takes home $1,000.

“It is kind of a surreal thing to be on the show,” she said. “It is one thing to watch it at home and say, ‘It would be neat to be on the show,’ but it is a whole other experience to be giving Alex Trebek your answers.”

Basketball star signs with Italian club

Former Rocket Inma Zanoguera will get the opportunity to continue her basketball career: She signed with Italian Club Techmania Battipaglia, according to lovewomensbasketball.com.



Zanoguera becomes the fourth UT women’s basketball player to play professionally under three-time Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year Tricia Cullop, joining Melissa Goodall (Italy and Spain), Naama Shafir (Israel) and Andola Dortch (Belarus) on that list.

Techmania Battipaglia is a professional basketball club based in Battipaglia, Italy. The team plays in the Italian top league, Serie A1. Last season, Battipaglia finished ninth in the league.

This past season, Zanoguera led the Rockets in scoring (15.4 points per game), rebounding (6.7 per game), assists (5.0 per game, No. 37 in NCAA), steals (1.8 per game), minutes played (35.7 per game), overall field-goal percentage (.458, 178 of 389, minimum 175 attempts) and free-throw percentage (.866, 129 of 149, No. 21 in NCAA), en route to earning first-team All-MAC recognition.

The three-time All-MAC selection ranked second in the league in dimes, free-throw percentage and minutes played, third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.9, 166-88, No. 60 in NCAA), fourth in thefts, eighth in scoring and overall field-goal percentage, 15th in defensive boards (4.5 rebounds per game), and 18th in overall rebounding.

Zanoguera wrapped up her collegiate career fourth in school history in minutes played (3,936), fifth in free-throw percentage (.819, 258 of 315) and games played (132), sixth in steals (195), ninth in overall rebounds (781), 10th in overall field goals made (548) and assists (375), and 13th in scoring (1,424 points).

Zanoguera helped Toledo win 88 games over the last four seasons, including 44 league victories. She was a part of two MAC West Division Championships (2011-12, 2012-13), one MAC regular-season title (2012-13), and played a key role in UT securing three postseason appearances (2011-12, 2012-13, 2014-15).