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Archive for September, 2009

Inaugural UT talk to focus on history of medicine, surgery

As the national debate over health care reaches a fever pitch in the halls of Congress, a classroom on The University of Toledo’s Health Science Campus will be home to a discussion about the history of medicine and surgery that will help provide context to the political conversation.



On Monday, Oct. 5, at 5 p.m. in Health Education Room 100, UT will host the inaugural S. Amjad Hussain Visiting Lectureship in the History of Medicine and Surgery. The talk, “Surgery of the Heart,” will be presented by Dr. Jeffrey P. Gold, UT provost, executive vice president for health affairs and dean of the College of Medicine.

“The only way to fully understand the practice of medicine and surgery as it exists in the present is to know the path it has traversed to reach this point. It is by examining the past that we understand the present and chart a coherent course for the future,” said Dr. S. Amjad Hussain, professor emeritus in surgery in the College of Medicine. “It is our hope that the lessons explored during this annual lectureship will help to better inform present-day issues related to health-care delivery.”

“I am honored to have been asked by Dr. Hussain to serve as the inaugural speaker,” Gold said. “In our journey toward excellence, an examination of the past is key, and it is my hope to provide a forum that is a benefit to our students, faculty, staff and community at large.”

In the first of what will become an annual event, Gold will explore the evolution of heart-related care and draw parallels to the debate raging today in Washington, D.C.

“The timing of this event could not be better,” Gold noted. “We are in the midst of a national conversation on what is perhaps the single most important issue Americans face today. It is my hope that this event can help better contextualize the conversation.”

“It is entirely appropriate that this event come under the name of Dr. S. Amjad Hussain,” said UT President Lloyd Jacobs. “He has deep interest in history, and as a teacher and a physician, he has brought that extra dimension to his students and colleagues.”

Over the course of his career, Hussain has served as president of the Academy of Medicine of Toledo and Lucas County, Toledo Surgical Society, the Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America and the Khyber Medical College Alumni Association. He currently serves on the UT Board of Trustees and the board of WGTE Public Media.

Conference to address local, national, international prostitution

Did you know that Toledo is one of the nation’s top cities for the recruitment of children into prostitution and trafficking?

Find out how to change that at the Sixth Annual Conference on Prostitution, Sex Work and Human Trafficking Thursday and Friday, Oct. 1 and 2, in Student Union Rooms 2582, 2584 and 2591 on UT’s Main Campus.

The international conference will bring researchers from around the globe together to lay the groundwork for future collaborative work, advocacy and program development.

Dr. Celia Williamson, UT professor of social work and a founder of the conference, said these two days are a great way for the people of Toledo to learn about why prostitution is so prevalent.

“We have people coming from all over the world and the United States. There will be speakers from Germany, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and more,” Williamson said.

Conference speakers will address issues on human trafficking, and the needs and risks of those victimized by the commercial sex industry.

Sessions available to attendees will include why human trafficking networks succeed in the 21st century, opening a safe house for trafficked youth, and how street-level prostitution affected a survivor’s life.

The conference is open to survivors, researchers, practitioners, activists, and workers in the social service, criminal justice and health-care fields.

Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m., and sessions will run from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

For conference fees and more information, contact Williamson at 419.530.4084 or visit www.prostitutionconference.com.

Newsweek editor offers insight on liberal arts education

To Jon Meacham, life is at once trying and fantastic. Flawed and perfect.

Jon Meacham chatted with Dr. Rosemary Haggett, Main Campus provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, right, as Dr. Nina McClelland, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, listened.

Jon Meacham chatted with Dr. Rosemary Haggett, Main Campus provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, right, as Dr. Nina McClelland, interim dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, listened.

Meacham, who delivered the fifth lecture in the Edward Shapiro Distinguished Lecture Series, said the value of a liberal arts education is in how it helps us realize and understand that duality.

Comparing a liberal arts education to an E.B. White quote about democracy being the “dent in the high hat” and the “mustard on the hot dog,” Meacham said understanding this inherent contrast unlocks the human ability to learn from mistakes.

“I believe the liberal arts offer a kind of redemption from the sins and omissions of the past,” Meacham said. “It offers us a way of knowing and thinking so that perhaps we can right the wrongs and leave the world a little better place than we found it.”

As a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer of former President Andrew Jackson, Meacham knows about the mistakes of the past. As editor of Newsweek magazine, he knows about the realities of the present. And from the issuance of the Magna Carta in 1215 all the way up to the election of Barack Obama in 2008, a common thread weaves it all together — individuals.

“The actions of individual men and women determine our course,” he said. Society doesn’t progress or advance, he noted, without the catalyst of individuals knowing and understanding how those before them have failed.

“The story of a man who was born a man and becomes a monument is more meaningful and instructive than the story of a man who was born a monument,” Meacham said.

Because a liberal arts education is the way individuals learn which mistakes, sins and omissions to correct, Meacham said, it’s important to spread the ability to obtain such opportunities as far and as wide as possible.

“The classical liberal arts education is in danger,” he said. “Families are looking anew at what they’re getting for their money and their time. But this cannot be allowed to become the exclusive providence of the already affluent.

“It’s about living a good life,” he added. “Not the good life.”

Meacham, who wrote the 2009 Pulitzer Prize-winning biography American Lion, spoke on Thursday, Sept. 24, in a full Student Union Auditorium.

Support freedom of expression, right to read

banned-books-art“Read, Know, Speak” is the theme of the 12th annual Banned Books Week Vigil, which will take place Thursday, Oct. 1, on UT’s Main Campus.

UT faculty members and students, as well as librarians and authors, will give short presentations from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the second floor of Sullivan Hall.

“The battle for the First Amendment is never won,” said Dr. Paulette D. Kilmer, UT professor of communication and one of the organizers of the event. “Every fall, we join with libraries, educational places and civic centers across the nation to recognize the role of reading and thinking freely in our democratic society where everyone matters and knowledge is often the key to making a difference.”

Kilmer and event committee members Dr. Linda Smith, UT senior lecturer in the Honors Program, Brian Hickam, UT assistant professor of library administration, and Elaine Reeves, UT lecturer and information literacy librarian, have met off and on for the past year to coordinate the event.

In the fourth week of September for more than two decades, the American Library Association, the Book Sellers of America and hundreds of other sponsors of Banned Books Week have inspired citizens across the nation to plan events celebrating intellectual freedom.

During UT’s event, banned books, T-shirts, mugs, coupons and other items will be given as door prizes throughout the day.

Topics and speakers for the vigil will be:

• 9 a.m. — “Speech, Reading and the Banning of Thoughts” by Dr. Jim Benjamin, UT professor and chair of communication, after greetings from Dr. Marcia Suter, UT associate professor and director of library services;

• 9:30 a.m. — “Radical Islamists and Fear of Radical Islamists — Both Are Significant Threats to Free Speech” by Dr. Douglas Oliver, UT associate professor of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering;

• 10 a.m. — “When Censorship Goes Soft: The Case of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn and the Publication of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” by Dr. Larry D. Connin, UT administrative coordinator for the Honors Program;

• 10:30 a.m. — “We Are Strangers” by Warren Woodbury, Toledo author;

• 11 a.m. — “1984: From Orwell to Amazon” by Dr. Paul Many, UT professor of communication;

• 11:30 a.m. — “The Book Corner TV Show,” a performance by Dr. K and the IC Players — Kilmer and Independent Collegian Editor in Chief Joe Griffith, Sports Editor Zach Davis, Assistant Sports Editor Michael Bauman and Staff Writer Jason Mack;

• Noon — keynote address, “Book Burning in Nazi Germany,” by Dr. Larry Wilcox, UT professor emeritus of history;

• 1 p.m. — “Censorship, Dissent and Etiquette” by Dr. Ben Pryor, UT associate professor and chair of philosophy;

• 1:30 p.m. — “Remembering Judith Krug: Librarian and Founder of Banned Books Week” by Reeves;

• 2 p.m. — “Indecency in Broadcasting: Why Bother?” by Dr. David Tucker, UT associate professor of communication;

• 2:30 p.m. — “The Politics of Bad Ideas” by Dr. Carter Wilson, UT professor of political science;

• 3 p.m. — “Jeopardy!” with Hickam and Reeves;

• 3:30 p.m. — “Censoring Bob Dylan in the Sixties” by Dr. Tom Barden, UT professor of English and director of the Honors Program;

• 4 p.m. — “Feminism Does Not Equal Censorship: Toward a Feminist Politics of Representation” by Dr. Renee Heberle, UT associate professor of political science;

• 4:30 p.m. — “Homosexuality in Children’s Books” by Dr. Sharon Barnes, UT associate professor of interdisciplinary studies; and

• 5 p.m. — Poetry reading by Dr. Glen Sheldon, UT associate professor of interdisciplinary studies, who will read “The Story of Giles Corey,” an original poem he penned for the vigil.

Benefactors of the free, public event are the Society of Professional Journalists, the University Honors Program, The Independent Collegian, University Libraries, UT Department of Communication, UT English Department, and the UT Theatre and Film Department.

Sponsors who contributed door prizes and food include Barry Bagels, Curb’s Candle Co., Dunkin’ Doughnuts, Glacity Theatre Collective, People Called Women, Rite Aid Pharmacy at Westgate, Toledo Free Press, UT Bookstore, UT Business Technology, UT Career Services, UT-MUO Federal Credit Union, UT Starbucks, and UT Theatre and Film Department.

For more information on the free, public event, contact Kilmer at 419.530.4672 or paulette.kilmer@utoledo.edu.

UT establishes Minority Business Incubator to help early-stage companies

The University of Toledo, already instrumental in assisting the transformation of ideas into commercial businesses in the alternative energy and technology fields, is extending its expertise to other businesses with the establishment of a Minority Business Incubator.

A grand opening of the Minority Business Incubator will be held Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 10 a.m. outside of the Engineering Technology Center on the Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation.

“The University of Toledo is deeply committed to both diversity and playing a leadership role in the rejuvenation of the northwest Ohio economy,” said UT President Lloyd Jacobs. “This new incubator serves both initiatives well.”

UT’s business incubators nurture entrepreneurial and economic development by providing office space and conference rooms, furniture, utilities, data package/broadband Internet, security, a mentoring program and a network of professional advisers.

The Minority Business Incubator will provide accommodations for six businesses at a time; however, it also will serve other minority businesses as a resource for information, networking and source for specific business needs.

In addition, the incubator will support UT’s educational mission by offering student internships that provide real-world experience, as well as potential school credit in the marketing, finance and accounting fields.

“Community collaboration is particularly essential to the ultimate success of the Minority Business Incubator,” said Lawrence J. Burns, UT vice president for external affairs and interim vice president for equity and diversity. “That is why we have been working with several local organizations, including the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Toledo African-American Bureau of Commerce and the Northwest Ohio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.”

Applicants wishing to be located within the incubator must meet several criteria, including having up to six months of working capital, sound management and/or product development team, the potential to produce both local jobs and significant revenues, and the intent to remain in the Toledo business community.

Applications for entry into the Minority Business Incubator can be found at utoledo.edu/diversity or may be obtained by calling 419.530.5538.

Confucius Institute to hold first event, celebrate Chinese culture

webconfucious_institute-logo2The newly formed Confucius Institute at The University of Toledo will hold its first event, a Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration, Tuesday, Sept. 29, from 7 to 9 p.m. in Doermann Theater.

The traditional Chinese celebration will be co-sponsored by the Chinese Student Associate and include performances by faculty artists Dr. Michael Boyd (piano) and Amy Chang (cello), Toledo’s Masterworks Chorale, the Toledo International Youth Orchestra, a three-man Chinese yo-yo team, and local high school students. The program also will include traditional dancing, singing, martial arts expositions and more.

Aige Guo, interim director of the Office of Global Initiatives, said the event is a fitting way to kick off the new program.

“Participating in something like the Mid-Autumn Festival Celebration and being part of a traditional Chinese gathering is a wonderful way to share culture and spread understanding and appreciation,” Guo said. “And that’s what the Confucius Institute is all about.”

The Confucius Institute is an international network of organizations with the common goal of promoting the understanding of Chinese language and culture and helping pave the way for more meaningful cultural exchanges with the Chinese people.

Lee Heritage, interim senior associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and chair of the board of directors for UT’s Confucius Institute, said the program is an essential next step in furthering UT’s relationship with China.

“There are hundreds of Confucius Institutes around the world working to eliminate language barriers and increase understanding of Chinese language and culture,” Heritage said. “That’s something UT has been working to build and encourage for some time.”

In 2007, UT President Lloyd Jacobs signed a memorandum of understanding with Yanshan University in Qinhuangdao, China, starting an ongoing association that has since provided the greater UT community with free, native-speaker-taught Chinese language classes, study abroad opportunities for students, and access to the resources of one of China’s biggest universities.

“China has a tremendous influence on our world — not only economically, but culturally,” Heritage said. “Interest in learning Chinese language and culture is increasing, and now that we have the Confucius Institute at UT, we can use more resources to help meet those interests in a variety of ways.”

With the help of $150,000 from the Chinese government to start the Confucius Institute, UT is doing just that.

“We’ve used the institute to broaden our relationship with Yanshan University and strengthen some of the programs we already have in place,” Heritage said. “We’ve increased the number of visiting Chinese teachers, and we’re starting to offer more services and events celebrating Chinese culture.”

The Confucius Institute also has expanded the reach of that work into the community. The visiting Yanshan University professors have gone to several area high schools and middle schools, providing the students with an initial cultural exposure and introductory language lessons.

In addition to cultural activities and language courses, the Confucius Institute offers consultations for Chinese students who are having difficulty adjusting to and learning in English.

“The professors we have from Yanshan University are here to teach the community about the Chinese language and culture, but we’re also using them in the opposite way,” Guo said. “They’re able to help Chinese-speaking students get past English barriers that they may have encountered themselves.”

The opening ceremony for the Confucius Institute scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 11:30 a.m. on Centennial Mall has been postponed; it will be rescheduled later this semester. Free egg rolls, cookies and soda will still be available on the mall, along with information booths about the Confucius Institute and the Chinese Student Union.

Glendale Medical Center getting facelift

The Glendale Medical Center is getting a fresh coat of paint and updated signage starting today.

Faculty, staff and visitors should use caution around the building during the refurbishment process, which will take three to four weeks to complete.

The center is located near the corner of Glendale and Byrne roads.

Satirical writer to return to hometown to speak at College of Law



Best-selling humorist P.J. O’Rourke will speak at The University of Toledo College of Law Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 11:45 a.m. in the Law Center Auditorium on Main Campus.

His speech, “The Invisible Hand of the Market vs. the Government’s Visible Fist,” will be presented as part of the Stranahan National Issues Forum. It is free and open to the public.

“In troubled times like these, it will be refreshing to hear a discussion of important issues of public policy that is laced with humor,” said Daniel Steinbock, UT associate dean of the College of Law. “We look forward to a provocative and entertaining presentation from one of Toledo’s stellar native sons.”

The visit is just the latest in a string of nationally high-profile speakers who have visited the College of Law in recent years.

O’Rourke has written 15 books, including Parliament of Whores, Give War a Chance, Eat the Rich, The CEO of the Sofa, Peace Kills and On the Wealth of Nations. His most recent book, Driving Like Crazy, was published in June.

Both Time and The Wall Street Journal have called him “the funniest writer in America.” He was born in Toledo and is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

The Toledo native is the H.L. Mencken Research Fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, D.C., and is a regular correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, The American Spectator and The Weekly Standard. He also is a frequent panelist on National Public Radio’s game show “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!”

The Stranahan National Issues Forum is a joint program of The University of Toledo College of Law and its chapter of the Federalist Society. It is made possible by an endowment from the Stranahan Foundation.

Former Rocket swimmer channels efforts to reach lifetime goal

He lost 35 pounds. He endured freezing temperatures. He sacrificed countless hours away from his family. He battled through sea waves and waves of jellyfish attacks. He waited patiently for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

John Muenzer swam the English Channel.

John Muenzer swimming the English Channel.

And, in the end, John Muenzer proudly could say that he was one of the few to successfully swim across the English Channel.

“What Mount Everest is to climbers, the English Channel is to swimmers,” said the 1983 Toledo graduate who was inducted into the UT Hall of Fame in 1992 for his accomplishments in the pool.

“A lot of good swimmers can’t complete this type of swim,” he continued. “You can train for the distance, but you can’t train for the elements. The conditions are the ultimate test.”

For Muenzer, it had always been his goal to cross the English Channel. Many have tried, but few have succeeded. And though he was no stranger to long-distance swims — in 1983, he navigated across Lake Erie, starting in Point Pelee, Ontario, and reaching Cedar Point — crossing the English Channel proved an entirely new challenge.

“For one thing, there’s a big difference between being 47 years old and being 21,” he said and laughed.

John Muenzer raised his arms triumphantly on a beach in Wissant, France, after swimming the English Channel.

John Muenzer raised his arms triumphantly on a beach in Wissant, France, after swimming the English Channel.

Muenzer, a native of Maumee who now resides in Elgin, Ill., first had to train his body to handle the swim. And that required dropping 35 pounds, as he went from 260 to 225 pounds in three months. That was the beginning of nearly a yearlong training regimen to prepare for the rigors of his swim.

The first step was a qualifying swim in Lake Michigan last October, in which he had to spend a minimum of six hours in water that was 59 degrees or colder. He was in the water for seven hours before calling it quits.

“I never had any cold-water training before,” said Muenzer, who began swimming as a sophomore in high school and eventually set seven school records at UT. “It was very painful, and I thought about quitting then.”

But he stuck with it, training for up to four hours per day — longer on weekends. In April, Muenzer swam 24 miles across Tampa Bay in conditions that called for a “gut check,” as he put it.

“It was a brutally hard swim,” he said. “It wasn’t just the mileage; it was the salt water, the waves, everything. But I felt confident after I completed it.”

Muenzer still had one last step to conclude his training — more cold-water swimming in Lake Michigan throughout May. He did two six-hour swims and an eight-hour swim in water temperatures that were in the mid-50s. By that point, “the cold didn’t really bother me at all,” he said.



The entire time he trained, Muenzer had great encouragement from his family and friends. “Without their support, I couldn’t have made the swim,” he said. “The physical part was easy. The tough part was missing family dinners and trying to balance my schedule, like taking the kids to practice. Most of my training started at 4 a.m. so that I could still be around my family as much as possible.”

Muenzer departed for Dover, England, July 9. When he arrived, he was surprised to see hundreds of swimmers there from around the world. Like Muenzer, they were all waiting for what would perhaps be their one shot at glory.

Unfortunately, many never even got that chance. Weather conditions were gruesome, with winds whipping and waves ranging from 6 to 10 feet, and most hopefuls had to return home without leaving the shore. Muenzer, too, feared his window of opportunity would close.

“I waited for nine days,” he said. “I only had a day and a half left before I had to go. Mentally, it was very, very tough, because I never knew if I would have a chance.”

Finally, the call came July 20; the weather had cleared enough for Muenzer to attempt a crossing. The opportunity he had waited more than 25 years for, that he had trained endlessly for a year for, was now upon him. There was, though, one little snag.

He had to swim at night.

“It was very intimidating to think about,” Muenzer said. “With no sun, not only is it pitch dark, but the water is freezing. Plus, the waves were still very high by the harbor — about 4 or 5 feet. I didn’t know if I could do it.”

But once he got to the beach, everything came together for Muenzer, and he dove into the water, escorted by a boat. Fighting against the waves, it took him an hour and a half to get through the coastline. Almost as soon as he cleared that obstacle, another one loomed.

“About the three-hour mark, I was stung on the forearm by a jellyfish,” he said. “Then I was stung again in the face.”

Muenzer estimated he was stung 10 times in two minutes before he stopped his swim completely. Muenzer yelled for the boat captain to shine his spotlight straight down at the water.

“I was surrounded by hundreds of thousands of jellyfish,” he said. “They covered the water. I thought my swim was over.”

Showing his resourcefulness, Muenzer used a broom pole from the boat to clear a path through the jellyfish, which took half an hour. That half-hour, though, ended up costing him three hours on his swim because of the changing currents, which pushed him away from his original destination and toward a beach in Wissant, France.

Finally, just before 11 a.m. July 21, Muenzer walked on shore at Wissant and raised his arms in triumph. It had taken 13 hours and 12 minutes, not to mention the numerous hardships along the way, but he had done it.

“It was an unbelievable experience,” he said. “There are mountain ridges overlooking the beach, and two German bunkers from World War II. It really put in perspective what others faced coming in to the beach.”

There wasn’t much time for Muenzer to celebrate. After his boat ride back to England, he had to head to the airport at 3:15 a.m. for his flight back home.

Though he said he has several more swims that he’d like to complete someday — such as the Straits of Magellan and Loch Ness — there’s not much left for an encore.

“My bucket list is empty,” he said. “The English Channel is the pinnacle, and nothing else can compare. Now I’m back to doing chores around the house.”

Main Campus key policy to change

In a similar change to that which happened on Health Science Campus in May, approval and distribution of new keys for employees on Main Campus will be shifted to the control of the UT Police Department starting Monday, Sept. 28.

After that date, requests will be examined, approved and finished keys distributed by UTPD, instead of Facilities and Construction. Those making key requests will be able to pick up finished keys in the parking enforcement office in the Transportation Center.

Also, the key request documents will change and move to a new online location at Police.utoledo.edu.

After printing and filling out the form, Sherri Kaspar, event and parking enforcement manager for UTPD, said forms will need to be sent to Mail Stop 207.

“Information Technology has been wonderful in creating a new database that is much more robust than what is currently being used,” Kaspar said.

The new database and the change of key distribution ownership is just the first of many changes coming to the keying policies on all of UT’s campuses, according to Jeff Newton, UT chief of police.

“We are still looking at moving toward more significant changes,” he said. “We need to make the process more electronic and more accessible, because right now it’s a lot of pen and paper.”

The changes in the process are still fluid, Kaspar said, adding that as the modifications progress, the bugs will be worked out. Future additions to the process will allow UTPD to keep better track of who has what keys, how long they’ve had them, and various other data that is hard to bring together with the current system.

Questions about the key policy changes can be directed to 419.530.KEYS.