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Rocket football great to lead Toledo holiday parade Nov. 17

Former UT and NFL quarterback Bruce Gradkowski will be the grand marshal for The Blade Holiday Parade.

The 31st annual parade will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, in downtown Toledo and include more than 70 participants, including color guards, giant balloons, clowns, marching bands and dance teams.

Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski led the Rockets to the 2004 Mid-American Conference Championship.

The parade will start on Summit Street at Jefferson Avenue and proceed north on Summit to Jackson Street, west on Jackson to Huron Street, south on Huron to Washing Street, and east on Washington to Summit.

Santa Claus also will be in attendance during the parade and afterward at Imagination Station.

Gradkowski played for Toledo from 2001 to 2005 and led the Rockets to the 2004 Mid-American Conference Championship and two bowl appearances. He earned first-team All-MAC honors as a senior in 2005, finishing his career with a 45-13 triumph over the University of Texas at El Paso in the GMAC Bowl.

After a record-breaking career as a Toledo Rocket, Gradkowski played 11 seasons in the NFL with Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Oakland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

The 2005 UT alumnus now shares his expertise as a color analyst for the Rocket Football Radio Network and is a co-host of a weekly NFL radio show on SiriusXM.

Gradkowski is a local restaurant owner and a community ambassador for ProMedica. He recently received a 20 Under 40 Leadership Award from Leadership Toledo, which honors individuals who have distinguished themselves in their career and/or as a volunteer in the community.

UT Opera Ensemble to present ‘Così Fan Tutte’ this weekend

The UT Opera Ensemble will present Mozart’s comic Italian opera, “Così Fan Tutte” (“Women Are Like That”) with a modern country-western twist. Set in a country bar, a friend of two young men bets them that their girlfriends would be unfaithful if left unattended. So, the men take the bet and put their ladies to the test.

The opera will be sung in the original Italian, with subtitles provided.

Be there before the performance for barbecue, beer and free line dancing lessons. Beer is cash bar, and the barbecue will be sold by Deet’s BBQ.

Performances will take place Friday through Sunday, Nov. 16-18, in the UT Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall. Friday and Saturday performances will be at 7 p.m., and Sunday’s show will be at 2 p.m.

Cast members are UT student Alana Scaglioni, soprano, as Fiordiligi; UT alumna Katherine Kuhlman and UT student Kate Walcher, mezzo-sopranos, as Dorabella; UT Music Instructor Justin Bays, baritone, as Guglielmo; UT student Moises Salazar and UT alumnus William Floss, tenors, as Ferrando; UT student Paige Chapman, soprano, as Despina; Jonathan Stuckey, bass baritone, as Don Alfonso; and UT students Kaitlyn Trumbul, Kailyn Wilson, Sterling Wisenewski and Jasmin Davis as the chorus.

Dr. Denise Ritter Bernardini, UT assistant professor of music, is producing and directing the show. Wayne Anthony is the music director, and Scaglioni is the assistant director. Kent Lautzenheiser-Nash is the choreographer.

Tickets $10 to $15 are available through the Center for Performing Arts Box Office by calling 419.530.ARTS (2787), online at the School for Visual and Performing Arts website, and at the door.

For more information, visit the UT Department of Music opera page.

UT alumnus/doctoral student to hold book-signing event Nov. 17

Jeremy Holloway, who is pursuing a doctorate in curriculum and instruction in the Judith Herb College of Education, has published a book titled “God Wants You to Smile Today: 25 Epiphanies of God’s Goodness — Secrets to Living With Radical Peace, Joy and Hope.”

He will sign his debut book Saturday, Nov. 17, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Intersection Church, 1640 S. Coy Road in Oregon, Ohio. Entertainment, giveaways and refreshments will be provided at the event, where the book will be for sale for $8.99.

Proceeds will go to Celebrate Recovery, which is a program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain or addiction of any kind.

Holloway wanted his first book to inspire others.

“‘God Wants You To Smile Today’ is an inspirational book about using your talents and lives to put a smile on the face of our Creator, and on the faces of others around you,” he said.

“This book is a constant reminder of how good life can be, and that the gift of a smile is a precious and powerful thing,” Holloway said. “This book reminds me to smile when I meet someone or smile when I wake up in the morning. ‘God Wants You to Smile Today’ reminds me I have been given talents and gifts that can make other people smile and I intend to use them.”

Holloway is using his talents to help many. He is a mentor for undergraduate students through the University’s Brothers on the Rise, which helps UT males, especially African-American and Latino, make the transition from high school and college. He also is involved with UT’s Multicultural Emerging Scholars Program, represents the Judith Herb College of Education in the Graduate Student Association, and is a leader for the Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society in Education. In addition, he is a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Holloway

His work and dedication have been noticed. In 2017, he received the 20 Under 40 Leadership Award, which is presented annually by Leadership Toledo to 20 individuals who are 39 or younger in the Toledo community who have demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities.

The native of Toledo received a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish and a bachelor of education degree from UT in 2005. He taught Spanish at area schools and graduated from the University in 2014 with a master’s degree in English as a second language.

“The opportunities I’ve received at UT have surely made me smile, and I consider them to be a gift that I intend to share to make other people smile as well,” Holloway said.

In the future, he intends to write academic books to engage the mind, but he also plans to write inspirational books to engage the soul, heart and spirit.

“God Wants You to Smile Today” will be for sale at the Nov. 17 event and also is available at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle form.

UT among schools named Best for Vets

The University of Toledo has again been recognized as a top school for supporting student veterans.

UT is among 208 schools receiving the Best for Vets 2019 designation, according to the Military Times.

“We are happy to help our service men and women who enroll at The University of Toledo, and this Best for Vets designation recognizes our commitment,” Dr. Barbara Kopp Miller, dean of University College, said. “It is an honor to help our veterans succeed.”

“Military Times’ Best for Vets designation is trusted throughout the veteran community as the mark of excellence for schools and other organizations that work with veterans, service members and military families. It can’t be bought with advertising dollars — unlike some other supposedly veteran-friendly rankings — only earned through a record of steadfast service and dedication to those who have served,” said George Altman, Military Times editor in charge of the rankings.

“Fewer than half of the roughly 500 colleges and universities that competed for the recognition earned the right to call themselves Best for Vets in 2019,” he added. “Their efforts should be commended.”

The rankings are based on the results of Military Times’ annual survey — a comprehensive school-by-school assessment of veteran and military student services and rates of academic achievement — as well as a detailed review of public data collected by federal agencies.

Military Times’ annual survey asks colleges and universities to disclose academic outcome and input data; describe many aspects of veteran culture on campus; and document a wide array of services, special policies, accommodations and financial incentives offered to students with military ties. Military Times also factors in data from the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments, as well as three Education Department sources: the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data Center, College Scorecard data and the Cohort Default Rate Database.

See the 2019 Best for Vets list on Military Times’ website.

Trivia challenge to pit students against alumni Nov. 14

The UT Alumni Association is bringing together University graduates and students for a trivia night Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. at Phoenicia Cuisine, located on the fourth floor of the Thompson Student Union.

Students, alumni, guests, individuals and friends are welcome to attend. Teams will consist of four to eight players. Individuals or groups of less than four may be placed on a team.

Trivia night is free to students and alumni, and food and beverages will be available for purchase during the event.

Sporcle Trivia, a company that runs trivia nights at local restaurants in Toledo, is sponsoring the event.

“It will be their Sporcle Live format,” said Paul Smith, assistant director of alumni engagement. “This includes a random sampling of questions from various categories — everything from music, pop culture, gaming, entertainment, sports, just for fun, and language.”

For a full list of categories, visit the Sporcle website.

Students can register on the UT Alumni Association website, and alumni and others can register at the trivia night website. Or call 419.530.2586 to register or for more information.

Check-in will begin at 6:30 p.m. and it is required to participate.

Free parking will be available in lot 13 and the west parking garage until 10 p.m. the night of the event.

UT College of Law to hold panel discussion on sexual assault Nov. 13

The University of Toledo College of Law is hosting a panel of experts for a conversation about the legal, practical and emotional consequences of sexual assault Tuesday, Nov. 13, at noon in the Law Center McQuade Auditorium.

Using a question-and-answer format, the panel will address common questions and attempt to debunk many of the myths surrounding sexual assault.

The three panelists are local experts in sexual assault investigation, as well as victim support. Shahrazad Hamdah is the sexual assault and domestic violence advocate at the Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness at The University of Toledo. Hamdah provides support and resources to campus victims of sexual and domestic assault. Jennifer Reed, a 2012 UT law alumna, is an assistant prosecutor in the Ohio Attorney General’s Office with numerous years of experience prosecuting sexual assault and other violent felonies. And Elizabeth Seney, a 2011 UT law graduate, is the assistant director and deputy Title IX coordinator at the University of Michigan, responsible for university investigation of sexual assault cases.

Nicole Buonocore Porter, professor of law and associate dean for faculty research and development at the UT College of Law, will moderate the panel. Porter is the faculty advisor for the Women’s Law Student Association at the UT College of Law and teaches relevant courses such as criminal law, feminist legal theory, and employment discrimination.

“Sexual assault has obviously been in the news quite a bit because of both the #MeToo movement and the Kavanaugh confirmation,” Porter said. “The purpose of this panel is to provide a safe place for students and other audience members to have a conversation with our panelists about sexual assault. Although these conversations are difficult, they are vitally important. In addition to discussing perspectives and experiences of those who have been sexual assault victims, we hope to dispel common myths about sexual assault.”

The free, public event is sponsored by the UT College of Law.

First-Gen College Student Celebration set for Nov. 8

One in three students at The University of Toledo is a first-generation college student, or a student whose parent(s) have not completed a bachelor’s degree. This means that they and their siblings are the first in their family to attend a four-year university to attain a bachelor’s degree.

The First-Gen College Student Celebration will take place in the Thompson Student Union Ingman Room from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8.

UT staff and faculty members who are first-generation college graduates posed for a photo last month outside the Thompson Student Union.

“This celebration is a space to connect with other first-gen students, get to know faculty and staff who are first-gen, and find out about the great resources and support services we have in place here at The University of Toledo,” Robin Stone, director of TRIO Student Support Services, said. “Connecting with people who can relate to the first-generation experience, plugging in to programs and services, and recognizing the challenges to first-gen students helps students feel connected and increases likelihood of success.”

The First in Family Office, TRIO Student Support Services, Academic Support Services, the Office of Multicultural Student Success, Residence Life, and others will be there to share information about academic and social opportunities to enrich the first-gen experience.

“We want students who are first to launch at UT to know that we are here to partner with them. We recognize the pressures of being a first-generation student and want to continue to celebrate and support their accomplishments,” Dr. Willie McKether, vice president for diversity and inclusion, said.

For more information, contact Stone at 419.530.3848 or robin.stone@utoledo.edu.

UT research links states’ medical marijuana laws with increased use among college students

A University of Toledo study has found college students in states that have legalized medical marijuana are twice as likely to use the drug than students living in states that broadly prohibit marijuana.

Those students also are more likely to use marijuana on campus and believe their peers would be more accepting of their use of the drug than their peers in states that do not allow medical marijuana.

“Medical marijuana laws have to some extent normalized marijuana use,” said Dr. Tavis Glassman, a professor in the UT School of Population Health and one of the study’s authors. “The presence of permissive laws may lead some people to believe incorrectly that the drug is not harmful.”

Glassman worked with Dr. Amy Thompson, interim associate vice provost of faculty affairs and a professor in the UT School of Population Health, and Dr. Alexis Blavos, who earned her PhD at The University of Toledo and is an assistant professor at the State University of New York, to analyze a 2013 survey of more than 34,000 college students from 37 states about their drug usage.

The UT researchers separated out the approximately 3,100 students who were attending school in states with legalized medical marijuana to compare their experiences against those students who did not reside in states with medical marijuana laws.

They identified a number of correlations between more permissive marijuana laws and increased drug usage.

Among their findings:

• Students attending college in states that allow medical marijuana were twice as likely to have used marijuana in the last 30 days than those in states without medical marijuana laws.

• Students attending college in states that allow medical marijuana were significantly more likely to use tobacco, cocaine, opiates and synthetic designer drugs.

• Students attending college in states that allow medical marijuana reported higher rates of negative consequences associated with their substance use, regretting their actions, and suffering academic challenges.

The study was published recently in the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice.

“There’s this momentum to pass medical marijuana laws throughout the country, and there’s often not enough research being done on what the side effects can be,” Thompson said. “However, there is some related research by others that has found an increase in emergency room visits and mental health issues.”

The researchers said the findings highlight the need for more robust programming on drug and alcohol education and prevention on college campuses, as well as for state legislators to more deeply consider the direct and indirect health outcomes associated with passing medical marijuana laws.

“The take-home message of this is that, in some ways, when people have more access to marijuana, it creates more of a social norm that it’s OK to use it, so we see usage go up as a result,” Thompson said. “Just because something is legalized or considered to be a prescription-type drug doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good or healthy for recreational use. There are health risks associated with its use.”

Women’s basketball team ready to hit the hardwood

The women’s basketball team will play two contests against each of the five other Mid-American Conference West Division schools, as well as 2018 Postseason WNIT participant Miami (Jan. 9 on road, Feb. 20 at home) and archrival Bowling Green (Jan. 19 on road, Feb. 2 at home) from the East Division as part of its 18-game league schedule.

Kaayla McIntrye enters her senior year ranked first in Mid-American Conference history in overall field-goal percentage at 64.3 percent.

“Last season proved to be one of the best in MAC history, as our league was rated the eighth-toughest in the country by season’s end,” said Head Coach Tricia Cullop, a three-time MAC Coach of the Year honoree. “With two members advancing to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament and three others gaining berths to the Postseason WNIT, it was obvious just how strong our teams were. We had six league members finish in the Top 100 Ratings Percentage Index. This season should once again prove to be a great one.”

Toledo also will tangle with the remaining East Division teams once, with Kent State (Jan. 12) and Ohio (Feb. 13) visiting the Glass City, and the Rockets traveling to Akron (Jan. 26) and 2018 NCAA Championship Sweet 16 participant Buffalo (Feb. 6).

“Our fans will be thrilled to see us face BGSU twice, and we will also play Miami home and away,” said Cullop, who ranks ninth in MAC history in conference winning percentage (116-54, .682). “Toledo faithful will also recognize the new BG coach as a former Rocket assistant, Robyn (Flewelling) Fralick.”

The Midnight Blue and Gold will commence league play against division rival Ball State (Jan. 5) at home. UT and BSU have squared off in the conference opener on six occasions with each team winning three matchups.

“We will open up MAC play against Ball State for the fourth time in my 11 years at UT,” Cullop said. “I can’t wait to see our amazing Toledo fans at that game. We’re so grateful for their amazing support, as we ranked 31st in the country last year and tops in the MAC for the 28th straight year.”

Toledo is slated to return nine letterwinners in 2018-19, including four starters, from last year’s squad that posted an 18-15 overall record and an 8-10 ledger in the MAC.

The Rockets, who finished fourth in the MAC West Division standings, made their 11th overall appearance in the 2018 Postseason WNIT and sixth in 10 years under Cullop. UT defeated Horizon League member Wright State, 64-50, in the first round before falling at Big Ten foe Michigan State, 68-66, in the second round.

Two-time All-MAC honoree senior Mikaela Boyd (12.1 points per game, 8.0 rebounds per game, 4.2 assists per game), 2017-18 third-team All-MAC selection senior Kaayla McIntyre (16.0 points per game, 7.7 rebounds per game, 2.4 assists per game, 1.4 blocks per game) and 2016-17 All-MAC Freshman recipient junior Mariella Santucci (6.4 points per game, 2.5 rebounds per game, 4.1 assists per game, 1.6 steals per game) will be the focal points of UT’s offense in 2018-19.

As far as numbers go, the Rockets welcome back 66.7 percent of their scoring, 69.3 percent of their rebounding, 76.0 percent of their assists, 78.2 percent of their blocks, and 83.5 percent of their steals.

Toledo will open its 2018-19 season at NCAA Championship participant Maine Saturday, Nov. 10. Less than one month later, UT entertains 2018 NCAA Champion Notre Dame Saturday, Dec. 8. Toledo will welcome the Fighting Irish to Savage Arena for the second time in the last three years.

For season tickets information, go to the Toledo Rockets website, call 419.530.GOLD (4653), or stop by the UT Athletic Ticket Office at Savage Arena.

Full-time UT employees and retirees may purchase up to two season tickets at half-price. Additional season tickets may be purchased at the full price. UT students are admitted free to home games with ID.

Men’s hoops schedule set for 2018-19 campaign

The University of Toledo men’s basketball program will open and close its Mid-American Conference campaign inside Savage Arena. UT will open its league slate Jan. 5 vs. Ball State before closing its regular-season schedule with home matchups against Western Michigan March 5 and Eastern Michigan March 8.

Jaelan Sanford is Toledo’s leading returning scorer with 16.3 points per game and has started all 100 games in a Rocket uniform.

“I think the MAC is going to be really competitive and strong from top to bottom again this season, and there are a number of teams that will challenge to win the league title,” Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk said. “I think we took some huge steps last year. Our goal was to win the MAC Tournament, but we fell just a little bit short. That is serving as great motivation for our entire program as we try to take the next step.”

Kowalczyk and the Rockets will play defending league champion Buffalo, a team UT dropped a narrow decision to in the 2018 MAC Championship Game. Toledo will visit the Bulls in Alumni Arena Jan. 8 before hosting UB in Savage Arena Feb. 16.

Toledo also will face East Division foe Miami on two occasions, hosting the RedHawks Jan. 15 prior to visiting Millett Hall two weeks later Jan. 29.

The Rockets’ remaining East Division contests will be single meetings at Bowling Green (Feb. 9) and Kent State (Jan. 22) and home matchups vs. Akron (Feb. 5) and Ohio (Jan. 29).

The remainder of Toledo’s conference home games will include matchups vs. Central Michigan (Jan. 26) and Northern Illinois (Feb. 23). The Rockets also will play at Western Michigan (Jan. 12), Northern Illinois (Feb. 2), Eastern Michigan (Feb. 19), Ball State (Feb. 26) and Central Michigan (March 2) in their conference schedule.

Kowalczyk has guided the Rockets to three 20-win campaigns in the last five years, marking the first time for this accomplishment since Bob Nichols recorded five straight seasons of 20-plus victories from 1976 to 1981. UT registered a 23-11 record with a 13-5 mark in league play last year and its 55 MAC victories over the last five seasons rank second in the league.

The Rockets will return four starters in the 2018-19 campaign, led by seniors Jaelan Sanford and Nate Navigato. Sanford, a second-team All-MAC selection last year, ranked ninth in the league with 16.3 points per game and a 40.3 three-point shooting mark. Navigato set a school record last year with 94 three-pointers and led the MAC last season with 2.8 treys per game and ranked second with a 42.7 three-point percentage.

Also returning for Toledo will be the junior duo of center Luke Knapke (10.8 points per game, 6.3 rebounds per game) and forward Willie Jackson (7.6 points per game, 5.6 rebounds per game), as well as All-MAC Freshman Team member Marreon Jackson (8.0 points per game, 2.7 assists per game).

The MAC Tournament will begin with first-round games at campus sites March 11 with the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship game March 14-16 at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena.

Toledo will open its 2018-19 campaign at Oakland Friday, Nov. 9, as part of a non-conference schedule that will see UT face a minimum of three 2018 NCAA Tournament squads in addition to perennial Conference USA frontrunner Middle Tennessee (Dec. 15). Toledo also will compete in the top mid-major tournament in the country when it travels to Estero, Fla., for the Gulf Coast Showcase Monday through Wednesday, Nov. 19-21.

For ticket information, stop by the UT Athletic Ticket Office in Savage Arena, go to the Toledo Rockets website, or call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

Full-time UT employees and retirees may purchase up to two season tickets at half-price. Additional season tickets may be purchased at the full price. UT students are admitted free to home games with ID.