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Canaday Center closed for renovation

Renovations are underway in the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections, which is closed to the public with limited reference services.

Renovations started Jan. 17 in the Canaday Center.

Work began Jan. 17 in the exhibition area and reading room of the center, which is located on the fifth floor of Carlson Library. The project is expected to be complete in March.

“We can still assist our remote users via email or phone; however, visitors to the center must email or call ahead to make an appointment,” Sara Mouch, university archivist and curator, said.

Patrons needing assistance should email canadaycenter@utoledo.edu or call 419.530.4480.

Renovations will include replacing walls for a lighter look, upgrading electrical outlets, and installing a projector.

“We’re also planning to showcase artwork that is preserved in the center,” Mouch said.

For updates, go to the Canaday Center website.

Three Rockets to play in all-star football games Jan. 19

Three former University of Toledo football standouts will play in post-season all-star games Saturday, Jan. 19.

Cody Thompson and Ka’dar Hollman will participate for the West squad in the 94th annual East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m., and the contest will be broadcast on the NFL Network.

Jon’Vea Johnson will play in the National Football League Players Association Collegiate Bowl at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, Calif. The game will be broadcast on FS1 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

Thompson was a two-time, first-team All-Mid-American Conference wide receiver for the Rockets. He caught 181 passes for 3,312 yards and a school-record 30 touchdowns in his career. As a senior, he had 48 receptions for 647 yards and 10 TDs, and was named second-team Academic All-America. He also has been invited to attend the NFL Combine Feb. 26-March 4 in Indianapolis.

Hollman was a three-year starter at cornerback. For his career, he compiled 114 tackles, two interceptions and 27 pass breakups. As a senior, he tied for the MAC lead with 12 breakups.

Johnson, a wide receiver, was a two-time All-MAC pick, earning second-team honors in 2016 and third-team honors in 2018. For his career, he caught 123 passes for 2,224 yards and 24 TDs. This past season, Johnson had 32 receptions for 660 yards and nine scores.

Rockets earn 3.247 grade point average, second highest fall semester GPA in school history

University of Toledo student-athletes earned a combined grade point average of 3.247 in fall semester 2018. It is the second highest fall term GPA in school history and the eighth consecutive semester in which UT student-athletes have earned a semester GPA of 3.2 or higher.

Thirteen UT varsity sports compiled a team GPA of 3.0 or higher, with eight squads cracking the 3.5 mark. Women’s volleyball set the pace with a team GPA of 3.751, followed by women’s swimming and diving (3.638), women’s soccer (3.631) and women’s tennis (3.608).

“Our student-athletes have achieved a consistent level of academic excellence for which we take great pride,” said Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “The fact that our teams have earned a 3.2 GPA in each of the past eight semesters makes it clear that academics are very important to our student-athletes.

“Congratulations to our student-athletes and to all the dedicated people who support their efforts — our Student-Athlete Academic Services staff, our faculty and our coaches,” O’Brien said. “I would also like to extend additional recognition to Head Coach Jason Oliver and our women’s volleyball program for recording the highest team GPA last semester.”

This past semester, 46 UT student-athletes earned President’s List honors (4.0 GPA), second only in school history to the 49 Rockets who had perfect GPAs in spring 2016. In addition, 44 percent (165 of 375) earned a spot on the Dean’s List by garnering at least a 3.50 GPA.

“Congratulations to our student-athletes for all of their hard work and for achieving another outstanding semester GPA,” said Ericka Lavender, associate athletic director for academic services. “I would like to thank the Student-Athlete Academic Services staff, our faculty and staff, and the coaches for all of their support and hard work with our student-athletes. We are proud to know that our student-athletes can succeed at the highest level academically in addition to handling their athletic commitments every semester.”

UT Department of Art students’ work appears on area electronic billboards

The creations of University art students are on display throughout the Toledo area for the next several weeks, appearing on electronic billboards as part of an annual exhibition.

Each fall, Barry Whittaker, UT associate professor of art, organizes the exhibition of juried student work. The digital billboard space was donated by Lamar of Toledo.

“While studying art, it is important to see how images can move beyond classroom and gallery walls to interact with the city where you live,” Whittaker said. “Lamar has been a great partner in this project by providing students with the opportunity to see their work illuminated and at a large scale in many locations around the city of Toledo.”

A total of 19 works from 14 artists are featured in the exhibition.

The digital billboard locations are at Reynolds Road at Airport Highway, Glendale Avenue at Byrne Road, Tremainsville Road at Laskey Road, Washington Street at Huron Street, Woodville Road at East Broadway Street, the Anthony Wayne Trail at Western Avenue, I-75 at Berdan Avenue, and I-75 at Monroe Street.

Works on the billboards were created by 14 student artists: Austin Baker, Donna Beauregard, Taylor Carey, Colin Chalmers, Jason Chappuies, Alaina Coote, McKenzie Dunwald, Chen Gao, Lindsay Haynes, Alexa McLaughlin, Tyler Saner, Ashley Simmons, Valerie White and Lydia Yant.

UT online programs move up in U.S. News rankings

The University of Toledo continues to improve its place in the U.S. News & World Report list of the top online bachelor’s programs.

UT is ranked 114 out of 348 total institutions listed in the 2019 Best Online Programs ranking, an increase from 125 last year and 142 in 2017. The University is ranked 67 out of the public universities.

The rankings are determined based on criteria that includes student engagement, student services and technology, faculty credentials and training, and expert opinion.

Specific to online programs, there is a focus on graduate indebtedness, course delivery, and academic and career support made available to students remotely. UT made improvements in each of those categories in the most current rankings list.

“The University of Toledo is committed to student success, and an important part of achieving that goal is providing flexible learning options and supportive faculty and staff whether students are on campus or online,” UT Interim Provost Karen Bjorkman said.

The UT College of Nursing also is now ranked in the 2019 Best Online Nursing Programs. The University offers online RN to bachelor of science in nursing completion, and Master of Science in Nursing — Nurse Educator and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs designed to help nurses achieve their professional advancement goals.

For additional information about the rankings, visit the U.S. News & World Report website.

UT research assistant to appear on ‘Jeopardy!’

This microbiologist studies Lyme disease at The University of Toledo and finally made good on his lifelong dream to appear on “Jeopardy!”

Who is John Presloid?

Correct. The UT research assistant will make his “Jeopardy!” debut Wednesday, Jan. 16.

UT alumnus and employee John Presloid, right, posed for a photo with Alex Trebek during an appearance on “Jeopardy!”

“It felt like an accomplishment just being there, just being on the stage,” said Presloid, who works in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology in UT’s College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “I watched the show every day growing up. My first audition was actually like a week after my 18th birthday. Pretty much as soon as I turned 18, I’ve been applying nonstop.”

He finally broke through in October after his fourth in-person audition, earning the right to fly to Culver City, Calif., meet longtime host Alex Trebek, and go head to head with two other trivia superstars.

The questions he answered and where he placed is a closely guarded secret — you’ll need to tune in to find out — but Presloid said the overall experience was even better than what he had expected.

“I thought it was going to be very serious and I’d be really nervous. But I just had a blast the entire time,” he said. “One of the things they tell you is they want a poker face; they want you to look serious and not give anything away.”

“One of the handlers kind of jokingly wagged her finger at me for smiling, but she was like, ‘Question right, question wrong — you’re always smiling or laughing. That is your poker face.’ It was just so much fun.”

Presloid earned a bachelor’s degree in pharmacology from UT in 2004 and a master of science degree in biomedicine in 2008. He’s spent the last four years working in the lab of Dr. Mark Wooten, UT professor of medical microbiology and immunology, who studies Lyme disease and melioidosis, a bacterial infection common in tropical climates.

He was actually working in the lab when a colleague knocked and said he had a phone call from a “Jeopardy!” producer.

A dedicated reader who naturally soaks up information, Presloid said he felt well-prepared, though he did brush up on some fine arts topics such as classical composers and opera.

“I tried to cram a little bit, but I didn’t want to drive myself crazy,” he said. “I kind of balanced between feeling comfortable but not losing sleep over it.”

Presloid likened being on “Jeopardy!” to playing sports. There were a few anxious jitters at the start, but once you’re involved in the game, you sort of fall into the zone.

“It goes by really fast. I’m actually kind of excited to see it on TV because there’s so much I don’t remember,” he said. “All the contestants were hanging out all day and most of them were really, really cool. You expect some people might be too competitive or off-putting, but I think everyone had the same goals and the same dream, and everyone is just so excited to be there. It was just unbelievable.”

In Toledo, the episode featuring Presloid will air at 7:30 p.m. on WTOL-TV Channel 11.

Renovations underway for Mulford Library

Improvements are in the works for Mulford Library on The University of Toledo’s Health Science Campus.

Plans call for new floor coverings, replacing much of the existing furniture, and reorganizing the fifth floor to better take advantage of the building’s architecture.

“It’s actually a really beautiful space, it just needs a little TLC,” said Beau Case, dean of University Libraries. “There are large windows on each end of the fifth floor and a huge glass skylight overhead. We want to bring in more of that natural light.”

To accomplish that, the library will be removing the book stacks on the fifth floor and consolidating most of its print collections to the sixth floor. Crews also have begun removing all of the wooden carrel desks in favor of sleek, modern furniture, including adjustable-height desks — something Mulford Library Director Jolene Miller said many students have requested.

The fourth-floor entrance area also will be spruced up with new paint, flooring, and the addition of a featured titles section that will include board exam preparation materials, books on research and scholarly writing, and other heavily used titles.

“How people use libraries is changing,” Case said. “We recognize our medical students and others don’t rely on printed texts as much as they once did, which is part of the reason we’re moving the stacks off the fifth floor. But the library is still an important place for studying or taking a break between classes. These renovations will make Mulford a much more comfortable and usable space for the UT community.”

The work at Mulford follows a series of improvements at Carlson Library on Main Campus. Case said there was a 40 percent increase in usage after those renovations were completed.

“I’m most excited we’re going to be able to make the facility more professional and better-suited for our students,” Miller said. “Even if people aren’t checking out physical books, there’s something to be said for having a place where the expectation is ‘I can go in and do heavy reading, I can get really engrossed in thinking and writing and engaging with material.’”

The first step will be moving the books. The new flooring should be complete by February, with the new furniture coming over the next few months.

Case said they are scheduling the most disruptive work during low-usage periods to limit the impact to students.

“Our students on Health Science Campus require a quiet study environment, and we’re going to do our best to accommodate that,” Case said.

UPDATED: UT president, Toledo mayor: Attend MLK Unity Celebration to honor civil rights leader

The University of Toledo President Sharon L. Gaber and Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz will host a news conference Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 9:30 a.m. in Libbey Hall to invite community members throughout northwest Ohio to the 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Celebration.

The 18th annual Unity Celebration, which is free and open to the public, will take place Monday, Jan. 21, from 10 a.m. to noon in Savage Arena on the UT Main Campus. A free community luncheon will follow the ceremony.

“It’s never been more important to come together as a community toward building a better future,” Gaber said. “As the city of Toledo’s university, we view service as a critical part of the college experience, and UT is proud to partner with the entire region in celebrating Dr. King’s legacy.”

“At a time when our nation seems as divided as it has ever been, I encourage all Toledoans to join in the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., whose life’s work was dedicated to bringing people together and finding common ground,” Kapszukiewicz said.

Kristian Brown, anchor for WTVG 13 ABC, will emcee the Unity Celebration. The program will feature re-enactments, songs and performances by the Scott High School Marching Band, UT Gospel Choir, UT FIRE Squad and TRIBE dance teams, as well as students from Toledo School for the Arts and other individual artists.

Recipients of the MLK Scholarship and African-American Leadership Council of United Way Scholarship Awards also will be recognized.

The Unity Celebration is organized by a committee co-chaired by Dr. Willie McKether, UT vice president for diversity and inclusion, and Angela Lucas, executive assistant to the mayor.

The 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Celebration is made possible by support from ProMedica, Paramount Advantage, Balance Pan-Asian Grille, Smoot Construction, Crestline Paving & Excavating, Peak Electric Inc., the Taylor Automotive Family, Fifth Third Bank, the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium, Kokosing Construction Co. Inc., Mercy Health, Destination Toledo, the Toledo Branch of the NAACP, United Auto Workers Community Action Program Council, United Way of Toledo, Buckeye Broadband, Buckeye Community Arts Network, Area Office on Aging of Northwest Ohio Inc., Lady Irish Basketball, and Zeta Alpha Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.

Interim dean named for College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Dr. John Plenefisch, associate dean for the UT College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, has been named interim dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Plenefisch

Plenefisch will lead the college effective Tuesday, Jan. 15, while Dr. Karen Bjorkman serves in her new role as interim provost and executive vice president of academic affairs.

“The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics is recognized for its high-quality educational programs, excellent faculty and staff, and has a growing reputation as a center of internationally recognized research,” Plenefisch said. “I look forward to working, through my new position, with faculty, staff and students in the college and stakeholders across the University on the continued academic success of students in our sciences and mathematics programs, and on the support and enhancement of our faculty’s research efforts.”

Plenefisch, who joined UT in 1996, is an associate professor of biological sciences.

Prior to joining UT, Plenefisch worked at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Connecticut.

He earned his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut.

UPDATED: UT Lake Erie Center Jan. 17 talk canceled

The UT Lake Erie Center announced Monday afternoon this talk is canceled.

The University of Toledo Lake Erie Center is hosting a free, public event about the collaborative efforts to re-establish a self-sustaining lake sturgeon population in the Maumee River.

Dr. Chris Vandergoot, research fishery biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, will give a talk Thursday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. at the Lake Erie Center, 6200 Bayshore Road in Oregon.

Dr. Chris Vandergoot, research fishery biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, held a young lake sturgeon prior to its release in the Maumee River last fall.

“We want to bring awareness to the importance of the Maumee River watershed and restore a native fish species to the Lake Erie ecosystem,” Vandergoot said.

UT is a partner in the regional, state and federal teamwork to restore giant, ancient sturgeon to Lake Erie that culminated in thousands of juvenile sturgeons being released into the Maumee River in October.

“Lake sturgeon populations were once abundant throughout Lake Erie, particularly in the western basin. Currently, only two self-sustaining populations occur lake-wide. Those are in the Detroit and Niagara rivers,” Vandergoot said. “Our reintroduction efforts seek to re-establish a spawning population in the Maumee River, which is one of the spawning aggregations extirpated due to over-fishing and habitat degradation.”

Vandergoot is an expert in using acoustic telemetry to track fish. Acoustic telemetry involves implanting fish with special tags that produce sound that can be detected by a large network of receivers installed around the Great Lakes. It is a way to determine where fish are moving within the lakes and learn about their behavior and habitat use. Some of the sturgeon released into the Maumee River last year have these tags.

Two years ago, a UT graduate student helped the Toledo Zoo secure $90,000 in federal grant money to build a sturgeon rearing facility along the Maumee River. Dr. Jessica Sherman-Collier, who has since received her doctorate in ecology from UT, assisted the project by verifying that spawning and nursery habitat still exist in the Maumee River to sustain a population of the fish that can live to be 150 years old and grow up to 300 pounds and eight feet long.

The Lake Erie Center is UT’s freshwater research and science education campus focused on finding solutions to water quality issues that face the Great Lakes, including harmful algal blooms, invasive species and pollutants.

Water quality is a major research focus at UT. With more than $14 million in active grants underway, researchers are looking for pathways to restore the greatest natural resource for future generations.

Vandergoot’s talk is part of the Lake Erie Center’s Public Lecture Series.

A shuttle will be available to transport passengers from UT’s Main Campus to the Lake Erie Center and back. The shuttle will depart at 6:15 p.m. from the south side of Bowman-Oddy Laboratories, 3100 West Towerview Blvd. Passengers must reserve a spot. Email lakeeriecenter@utoledo.edu or call 419.530.8360 to make a reservation for the shuttle.