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Open enrollment: UT delays dependent verification process until next year

The University will delay by one year a planned dependent eligibility verification process originally slated to be part of this year’s open enrollment process, UT leaders announced Friday in an email to the campus community.

Employees still need to re-enroll in their chosen health-care plan by Saturday, Oct. 31, via the employee tab inside the myUT portal.

“There have been concerns raised regarding the dependent eligibility verification process in this year’s open enrollment process and the submission of documents such as marriage and birth certificates,” wrote UT President Sharon L. Gaber and Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Jovita Thomas-Williams in a letter to all employees.

“In an effort to be responsive to the concerns expressed, we have decided to delay the dependent verification assessment until next year (October 2016). For this year, we are asking employees to simply attest that the individuals they are claiming are eligible dependents.”

Gaber and Thomas-Williams acknowledged and apologized for insufficient communication regarding the need for documents and the reasons for the request.

“UT has never completed a dependent verification audit,” they wrote. “These audits are best practices in human resources in both the private sector as well as in public higher education.”

The communication referenced more than a half dozen other Ohio public universities that have completed similar processes since 2009 and included a comprehensive listing of the documents that will be needed for the October 2016 open enrollment process next year.

“An assessment will educate us as to what types of benefits plans we should be offering to better meet the actual needs of employees. And it will provide a benchmark so that we can determine if we are improving as we work to meet the needs of employees in the years ahead.

“We can’t state definitively what the assessment will or won’t show until we conduct it. After our assessment next year, we will gladly share with any who are interested what the results of the assessment show and what benefits we feel we can derive from this initial benchmarking effort,” wrote Gaber and Thomas-Williams.

Employees with additional questions can reach out to Human Resources through email at benefits@utoledo.edu or by calling 419.530.4747 to set up an appointment.

UT Marching Band to make rounds Friday night

The University of Toledo Marching Band will psych up Rocket fans Friday, Oct. 9, by visiting downtown businesses.

For Homecoming, the Toledo Rockets will play the Kent State Golden Flashes at 3 p.m. in the Glass Bowl.

Members of the UT Marching Band and the UT cheerleaders went downtown last week for pop-up pep rallies.

Members of the UT Marching Band and the UT cheerleaders went downtown last week for pop-up pep rallies.

Below is the estimated schedule for the UT Marching Band Tour:

9 p.m. — Pizza Papalis, 519 Monroe St.

9:20 p.m. — Veritas Cork & Craft, 505 Jefferson Ave. #101

9:40 p.m. — Durty Bird, 2 S St. Clair St.

10 p.m. — Ye Old Cock N’ Bull, 9 N Huron St.

10:20 p.m. — The Blarney Irish Pub, 601 Monroe St.

Read more about the UT-Kent State game here.

Rocket Wheels to hold ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 12

Rocket Wheels, the new bike-sharing program that launched this month, will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday, Oct. 12.

The event will take place at 4:30 p.m. by Rocket Hall near the horse sculptures just south of the University Parks Trail.

Rocky shows off one of the bikes students can check out to ride through Rocket Wheels.

Rocky shows off one of the bikes students can check out to ride through Rocket Wheels.

Sponsored by the Office of the Provost, Rocket Wheels allows students to check out bikes on Main Campus at three locations: near the northeast entrance of Rocket Hall, by the south entrance of Palmer Hall and on the northeast side of West Parking Garage. Bikes must be returned to the same location from where they were checked out.

Registration is free and is available to all UT students in good standing.

To register, visit utoledo.edu/rocket-wheels. Processing may take up to 48 hours.

Bikes can be checked out for four-hour intervals Monday through Friday and eight-hour intervals Saturday and Sunday. A $10 hourly fee will be issued if the bikes are not returned within the given time or after operating hours.

Rocket Wheels will be available from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. during fall, spring and summer semesters. Availability will change to 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. from December through March and will be dependent on weather conditions.

For more information, go to utoledo.edu/rocket-wheels, email bikeshare@utoledo.edu or call UT Transit Services at 419.530.1026.

Theater named for UT planetarium’s first director

The University of Toledo honored the first director of its planetarium with the naming of the Helen and Elgin Brooks Theater inside the Ritter Planetarium.

Helen Brooks, who was one of two UT astronomy professors for many years and the first director of the planetarium, was the central figure in the creation of the Ritter Observatory and Planetarium.

The Helen and Elgin Brooks Theater in Ritter Planetarium was dedicated last month.

The Helen and Elgin Brooks Theater in Ritter Planetarium was dedicated last month.

“Naming the planetarium theater for Helen and Elgin Brooks is our way of recognizing their contributions both to the study of astrophysics and to The University of Toledo,” said Dr. Michael Cushing, UT associate professor of astronomy and director of the planetarium. “Helen was instrumental in the creation of an astrophysics group at UT, and this is one way that we are honoring her memory.”

The couple connected George Ritter, a lawyer interested in supporting education, to the incredible science programs happening at UT. With his financial support, Ritter Observatory and Planetarium, which the couple helped plan and design, opened in 1967 as Toledo’s Center for Astronomical Research and Education.



Brooks, who received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UT, as well as an honorary doctorate, retired from UT in 1972 but remained an active participant in Astronomy Department events for many years. She died in 2011, and her husband, Elgin, had passed away in 1999.

The Brooks’ support to UT also includes their 1987 contribution that established the Brooks Observatory atop McMaster Hall and a $1.26 million trust gift that established the Helen Luedtke Brooks Endowed Professorship of Astronomy.

The couple established the professorship to recognize and support a current UT astronomy professor’s research. The first award recipient is Dr. Karen Bjorkman, Distinguished University Professor and dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, who was recognized at the dedication ceremony for the theater Sept. 17.

UT president announces national search for next provost

In the coming weeks, The University of Toledo will begin a national search for the institution’s next provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, UT President Sharon L. Gaber announced Thursday.

“The position of provost will play a critical role in advancing UT’s academic standing on a national stage and advance an academic culture that ensures our students and faculty achieve success,” Gaber said.

“From the recruitment of strong students and top faculty to increased scholarship and research expenditures to greater philanthropic giving for academic priorities, UT’s next provost will leave an indelible mark on this University,” she said.

Gaber said Interim Provost John Barrett will continue serving in the role until a permanent provost begins his or her tenure.

“I deeply appreciate John’s work and am grateful for the time and dedication for UT he has demonstrated as interim provost,” she said.

“Serving as interim provost for President Gaber, as well as for Interim President Nagi Naganathan, has been an honor,” Barrett said, “and it has been my great pleasure during the past 15 months to help strengthen the University from this office.

“I’d like to thank the Board of Trustees, the senior leadership team, and the deans, my colleagues, the faculty and all of the members of the UT community for your support since last July and in the months ahead.”

Gaber said Dr. Kaye Patten Wallace, senior vice president for student affairs, will chair a search committee that is being established and a search firm will be engaged to ensure that a diverse pool of the highest-caliber candidates is identified for consideration.

“I look forward to a collaborative process that incorporates input from key stakeholders across the University and among our alumni, friends and supporters,” Gaber said.

President asks Morlock to temporarily resume CFO duties

UT President Sharon Gaber announced Thursday that the search process for the position of chief financial officer and executive vice president for finance and administration has concluded, and that she has decided that neither of the two remaining candidates are the best fit for the University at this time.

Gaber has asked Dave Morlock, who had previously served as both CFO of the University and CEO of the UT Medical Center, to resume that joint role for the time being.

“Dave has graciously agreed to continue providing leadership in both of these areas. I know that with the strength of the teams he has built at UTMC and in Finance and Administration that UT is in good hands,” Gaber said.

Gaber said the University is looking to quickly identify a person to serve as interim CFO while a national search is conducted.

Middle East scholar to speak Oct. 11 on ‘Prospects of Peace in Palestine and Israel’

For the last two decades, Dr. Thomas P. Abowd has been involved in activist and scholarly projects related to the Middle East.

At 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, Abowd will share some of that knowledge at the 15th annual Maryse and Ramzy Mikhail Memorial Lecture that will be held in the Driscoll Alumni Center Auditorium at The University of Toledo.

book coverHis free, public lecture is titled “Jerusalem and the Prospects for Peace in Palestine/Israel.”

Abowd teaches in the departments of Anthropology, American Studies and the Colonialism Program at Tufts University in Massachusetts. A Toledo native, Abowd completed his PhD in cultural anthropology at Columbia University in 2003 and has done extensive research in Palestine and Israel on the politics of urban space, housing policy, racial politics, and land law in contemporary Jerusalem.

In 2014, Abowd published his book, Colonial Jerusalem: The Spatial Construction of Identity and Difference in a City of Myth, 1948-2012. He also has written articles on the gendered politics of residential space in Jerusalem.

Dr. Jamie Barlowe, dean of the UT College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences, said, “The Maryse and Ramzy Mikhail Memorial Lecture is one of the oldest, continuous, and most important lecture series in the college. From its inception in 2001, featuring Noam Chomsky, to this year’s lecture by internationally recognized scholar Dr. Thomas Abowd, this lecture series has engaged the University and Toledo communities in greater understanding of Arab and Arab-American culture, history, literature, politics, economics, and issues of peace and justice.”

The Mikhail Endowment Fund was originally established through a donation from the Mikhail family to honor the work and contributions of Maryse Mikhail and her involvement in educational, philanthropic and interfaith organizations.

To help ensure that these lectures continue, consider donating. Secure online gifts may be made at give2UT.utoledo.edu. Be sure to designate fund #1301-005.

To mail in a donation, make checks payable to the UT Foundation with a notation of the Maryse and Ramzy Mikhail Endowment Fund (#1301-005). Gifts may be sent to The University of Toledo Foundation, P.O. Box 586, Toledo, OH 43607-0586.

This event is partially sponsored by the UT College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences and WGTE.

For more information, click here or email mikhaillecture@gmail.com.

Startup companies invited to compete in business pitch competition

Northwest Ohio’s largest entrepreneurial business pitch competition, Pitch & Pour, is seeking startup companies to compete for more than $10,000 in cash and services and the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to some of the Toledo area’s top entrepreneurial business investment groups.

Pitch & Pour 4.0 will take place Thursday, Nov. 12, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Tom and Elizabeth Brady Engineering Innovation Center located on The University of Toledo Main Campus.

Pitch and Pour screen shotThe deadline to apply to join the event is Monday, Oct. 12. Complete the online application at pitchandpour.com.

“We are still enlisting candidate companies and entrepreneurs to compete in the November event,” said Molly Reams Thompson, director of LaunchPad Incubation at The University of Toledo. “We’re looking for early stage technology based businesses, web businesses, enterprises demonstrating innovation, and business concepts with the potential to develop into successful companies here in northwest Ohio.”

Last year’s event attracted tech businesses, investors, mentors, angel investors and area businesses who listened to five budding companies make their business pitches to the audience and a team of judges made up of regional entrepreneurs and business leaders.

This year’s event will include a new partner, Toledo Web Professionals, and will be a celebration of innovation as part of World Usability Day on Nov. 12.

“We are offering over $10,000 in cash, startup business prizes, professional services, and mentoring for three winning business teams,” Thompson said. “The real prize, though, is the visibility your business or business concept gets by being in front of so many influential people who know how to spot successful ventures. It’s an opportunity to mix with Toledo’s tech business leaders and investors and make valuable contacts to help your business grow.”

Another benefit to Pitch & Pour competitors is the opportunity to be invited to join the LaunchPad Incubation Program at The University of Toledo. LaunchPad Incubation clients receive hands-on business model development, mentoring, discounted business services, financial and investor assistance, and the benefit of being located in a dynamic and innovative business environment with other enthusiastic companies working to grow their businesses.

Pitch & Pour is a competition like “Shark Tank.” Teams have five minutes and five slides to pitch their business concepts. Any early stage startup can apply, and selected teams will be able to pitch their submitted ideas for a chance to win cash and prizes. A panel of five experts serve as judges to determine the winner(s).

Student-run bowling tourney to raise money for cancer center

Two pre-pharmacy students at The University of Toledo want to put cancer where it belongs — in the gutter.

Ryan Brown and Jake Garfield, members of the Pharmacy Ambassadors & Pre-Professional Organization, are hosting a “Strike Out Cancer” bowling tournament to raise money for the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center.

Ryan Brown, left, and Jake Garfield, members of the Pharmacy Ambassadors & Pre-Professional Organization, are hosting a “Strike Out Cancer” bowling tournament Friday, Oct. 23, to raise money for the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center.

Ryan Brown, left, and Jake Garfield, members of the Pharmacy Ambassadors & Pre-Professional Organization, are hosting a “Strike Out Cancer” bowling tournament Friday, Oct. 23, to raise money for the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center.

The tournament will start at 9:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, at Southwyck Bowling Lanes, 5255 Heatherdowns Blvd.

“I wanted to do something to give back to the University because of all the opportunities that I have received here,” Brown said. “I couldn’t think of something better than the Dana Cancer Center.”

The event will be nine-pin, no-tap format, which means that nine pins will equal a strike. The tournament also will be a Dutch Doubles system, where two bowlers on each team play alternate shots throughout the night.

Each pair will play three games that are scored and totaled with the top three teams winning cash prizes of $80, $60 or $40. To be eligible for the cash prizes, the team must consist of one male and one female.

“It’s a fun way to bowl,” Brown said. “I did something similar in high school. It was on a smaller scale, but it was a good time. I thought if we brought it to UT, it would be a big hit.”

Brown and Garfield are trying to recruit 350 teams for the Halloween-themed tournament. Registration is $15 by Sunday, Oct. 11, and $20 afterward. The evening will include a costume contest, door prizes, a raffle, music, concessions and a cash bar for those 21 and older.

“Ryan and I have become close friends this past year, and we are really excited about the response we have received,” Garfield said. “We wanted to find a way to give back, and we think this is a great way to do so.”

“We also like that the money would stay in this area and benefit local people,” Brown said. “We have big goals for where we want to see this go and how much money and awareness this will raise. It all starts with us.”

To sign up for the tournament or donate toward the cause, go to http://utole.do/gp.

UT Health seminar to address lymphedema relief options

Lymphedema is a painful condition that can affect women who have undergone, or are undergoing, breast cancer treatment that, unfortunately, many women are never properly educated on.

Those who suffer from lymphedema, which is a lack of lymphatic drainage, experience severe swelling in their arms or other extremities. Sometimes it can be so bad that it leads to disfigurement.



“I noticed my left arm was swollen and it felt heavy, but I didn’t know it was lymphedema,” said Peggy Mercurio, a breast cancer survivor. “I also had lymphedema in my chest wall and in my back. For me, it is more bothersome but not necessarily painful. It just feels very uncomfortable.”

On Thursday, Oct. 15, the public is invited to learn about treating this condition, which is not exclusive to breast cancer survivors, during a “Focus on Lymphedema” educational night from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel on the Health Science Campus of The University of Toledo.

The free, public lecture is part of the Tie One On Awareness Lecture Series hosted by the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center.

Dr. Iman Mohamed, UT professor and chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology, will be one of the guest speakers talking about the causes, preventative methods and treatment for lymphedema. Lymphedema therapists from UTMC as well as ProMedica, Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, Blanchard Valley Rehab and Wood County Hospital will be among the experts offering advice and support.

“Any patient with lymphedema can benefit from this lecture, but it is especially crucial to talk about lymphedema during October because it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” Mohamed said. “Anytime you remove or disturb a lymph node, you have the chance to suffer from lymphedema. It can happen immediately or it might take years.”

Those at risk for developing lymphedema are advised to keep the affected arm or leg elevated above the level of the heart when possible; avoid tight clothing; forgo the use of a heavy purse on the affected arm; do not use hot tubs or heating pads; and avoid heavy lifting with the affected limb.

However, sometimes lymphedema will occur anyway, and patients need options for relief. Mohamed said elastic sleeves, bandages, manual compression and exercises can help.

Mercurio uses a compression sleeve and massages to ease her discomfort.

“It is very important for people to know about lymphedema,” Mercurio said. “I put off the swelling. It would have been great to know that it wasn’t just weight gain.”

Kelly Farley, UTMC lymphedema therapist, said sometimes people just live with the condition, which is unfortunate because relief is possible. Other people aren’t educated about the possibility of the condition and, therefore, do not follow any of the precautionary measures to avoid getting lymphedema.

“Lymphedema is not curable; it is a chronic disease,” Farley said. “Patients must be committed to long-term self-care to achieve positive outcomes. Through the course of the treatment, patients are taught components that are necessary to manage the lymphedema.”

Registrations can be made by calling Renee’s Survivor Shop at 419.383.5243 or by emailing eleanorndanacancercenter@utoledo.edu. Registration starts at 5:30 p.m.