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Holi Toledo event at UT canceled due to weather

Organizers of the Holi Toledo celebration at The University of Toledo have canceled the event this afternoon due to the weather.

Holi Toledo, an all-campus celebration of the Indian holiday Holi, was scheduled to take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 27 on the grounds outside Memorial Field House on Main Campus.

This year’s event had already been postponed once. Last week, thunderstorms forced organizers to push the event back to today.

With finals next week, there is no plan to reschedule the event this semester.

The annual event features students throwing colored powder, as well as music, dancing and a T-shirt giveaway sponsored by the Center for International Studies and Programs.

“Holi is a popular springtime festival that is celebrated with great fanfare in India,” said Dr. Yonatan Miller, director of the Center for Religious Understanding. “It is a colorful celebration — both cultural and religious — of the change of seasons and the triumph of good over evil. And, significantly, it is also a time when, at least for one day, all people are considered equals; the usual social hierarchy is suspended.”

Holi Toledo was the brainchild of Dr. Jeanine Diller, former director of the Center for Religious Understanding. The event, which draws on the festivity, color and seasonal meaning of the holiday, has the blessing of the Hindu Temple of Toledo.

“Holi Toledo also serves a more immediate purpose here in the UT community, which is to highlight our diversity, promote unity, and foster improved understanding of the religions represented on campus,” Miller said.

Community invited to celebrate National Astronomy Day at Ritter Planetarium

The solar eclipse set to occur this summer will be prominently featured at the sixth annual Astronomy Day celebration hosted by The University of Toledo.

The free, public event, which will start at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 29, in Ritter Planetarium, will include hands-on, family-friendly activities for kids, UT astronomers sharing their latest research, shows in the planetarium, and a chance to look through the largest optical telescope in the Midwest.

“Astronomy Day is a special event for us each year,” said Alex Mak, UT associate planetarium director. “It is one of the ways we give back to the community for the tremendous support they give us year after year. It also is an opportunity to invite young people to campus to learn about our solar system.”

Programs and activities will include:

• The planetarium show titled “One World, One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure” at 1 p.m. followed immediately by Moon Adventure, a hands-on education experience that includes making craters and exploring the “moon” with binoculars;

• A discussion at 5 p.m. about the solar eclipse that will occur Monday, Aug. 21, and be visible from Toledo;

• The Fulldome Festival at 6 p.m., which will include a presentation of three programs along with a live tour of the night sky and a look at the Discovery Channel Telescope;

• A session for adults called Research Talks at 8 p.m. to learn about the cutting-edge investigations that UT faculty and students are involved in, while younger guests watch episodes of “The Zula Patrol” in the planetarium; and

• An open house to tour Ritter Observatory at 9 p.m. Weather-permitting, guests will have the chance to look through UT’s 1-meter telescope, the largest optical telescope in the Midwest.

Members of the Toledo Astronomical Association will be available to answer questions about telescopes and provide solar observing, weather permitting.

Sign up for UT team to make strides toward cancer research

Join thousands of others by taking to the streets Saturday, May 6, for the 11th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk to help the American Cancer Society end the pain and suffering of those with breast cancer.

The 5K walk will take place at the Town Center at Levis Commons in Perrysburg. Registration will open at 8 a.m. with the walk beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Before the walk, an opening ceremony will take place to help inspire participants to take action as well as to symbolize the uplifting and energizing commitment people have made in making sure that no one has to face breast cancer alone.

“This event is important to the community and the breast cancer survivors and families. Not only does it bring awareness, but the funds generated from this walk benefit research, and free events for patients undergoing treatments, programs on educating the public to prevent it, catch it early and treat it,” said Michelle Giovanoli, manager of radiation oncology at UT Medical Center. “Their goal is to create a world without pain and suffering of breast cancer.”

Last year, more than 5,000 participants raised more than $130,000 for cancer research. The money raised was able to support programs to fight breast cancer in areas such as research, education, advocacy and patient services.

So far this year, 1,600 participants have raised more than $154,000.

Giovanoli serves as a co-chair for the event, but also has a deeper connection to the walk as she herself is a two-year breast cancer survivor.

“My mom and my aunt both were diagnosed and are survivors; my best friend is as well. I am sad to say that my sister-in-law died of the disease when she was in her 40s,” Giovanoli said. “I want people to know they are not forgotten; we walk in support of those who have survived as well as those who have passed from their disease.”

The walk also will honor Renee Schick, manager of Renee’s Survivor Shop in the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center, as this year’s honorary survivor. She is celebrating 16 years as a breast cancer survivor.

A limited number of T-shirts will be available at the event for $20. Parking will be free at the Town Center at Levis Common. The parking lots on the back side of the mall also will be available for participants.

The University of Toledo has a team called Rocket to a Cure, and people are encouraged to register for it. Rocky and Rocksy also will be in attendance.

The walk is family-friendly, and there is no registration fee to sign up. Participants are encouraged to fundraise or donate, but are not required.

UT Health will sponsor a photo booth for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

To sign up for the event or to donate, click here.

Share pride in heritage, learn about other cultures at April 29 international festival

The eighth annual Toledo Sister Cities International Festival will be held Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Savage Arena.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn about and experience cultures from around the world.

The event will start with a parade of nations at 10 a.m. After that, there will be an opportunity every 30 minutes for participants to learn a little bit of a different language including Urdu, Arabic and Hungarian.

Ethnic food and crafts will be available for purchase.

“The basic premise of Sister Cities International is that the road to global peace is built with the small bridges that citizen diplomats create among each other through business, and educational and cultural exchanges,” said Christine Weisfelder, treasurer of Toledo Sister Cities International. “The international festival brings new people into this process and helps all of us appreciate this mosaic we call Toledo.”

Last year, more than 3,000 people attended the event that featured music, dance, and the celebration of people and diverse cultures.

“I think people should come to the international festival because the event celebrates the wonderful diverse cultures of the people who live in Toledo and surrounding communities,” Weisfelder said. “Toledo Sister Cities International exists to build bridges — internationally among our citizens and the citizens of our sister cities, and locally among our ethnic communities here in Ohio. Our lives are enriched when we appreciate each other.”

Admission is $5 for seniors 65 and older and students with their ID; $7 for general admission; and free for children 10 and younger.

For more information, visit toledosistercities.org.

Changes made to cell phone stipends

To reduce costs and align the University with best practices, all current cell phone stipends will end effective Friday, June 30.

The University of Toledo has developed a new program for monthly cell phone stipends to employees whose duties and responsibilities require substantial business use of a cellular telephone.

The following criteria will be applied in awarding stipends:

• Job requirement as a first responder on call before and/or after assigned work hours;

• Substantial job duties conducted away from campus;

• Safety requirements making cellular phone service an integral part of performing job duties; or

• Critical decision-maker.

Stipend amounts will include $25 per month for moderate use and $40 per month for heavier use.

To obtain a new stipend, employees must complete an authorization form that will be reviewed and recommended by the director or dean of an employee’s area, with approval sought from the area vice president.

Reviews and approvals may be for a single month or for multiple months, up to the number of months remaining in the current fiscal year. The reviews and approvals are to be conducted annually and in place before May 31 of each year. This allows the stipend to apply in the first pay period of the new fiscal year.

Employees are encouraged to work through Rocket Wireless to obtain equipment and their service plans, which can provide convenience and save money. Employees who receive stipends are responsible for selecting a carrier, equipment and service plan, paying their bills, and maintaining their availability via their cell phone.

The stipend is taxable income and will be included on W-2 wages, subject to income tax reporting.

UT major gifts officer one of five in nation recognized as Outstanding Young Professional

Nicholas Kulik, major gifts officer for the College of Engineering, is among five fundraisers younger than 31 recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

For his impressive fundraising achievements, he recently was named to the association’s first group of Outstanding Young Professionals.

Kulik

In his first year with The University of Toledo, Kulik raised more than $2 million for the major gift programs of two of UT’s largest colleges.

“Nick’s personal contributions have been a tremendous asset to the Advancement team,” said Brenda S. Lee, president of the UT Foundation. “This national honor is a testament to his exemplary efforts and enthusiasm.”

The Outstanding Young Professionals designation honors exemplary work in raising funds, inspiring donors, helping manage campaigns, and giving back to the profession.

“Nick’s focus on meeting donor objectives, while working to further the University’s mission, has been a great part of his success,” said Michael Harders, vice president for advancement. “Not only is he an outstanding fundraiser, he also is skilled at building relationships throughout the University community.”

Kulik and the other four honorees will be recognized at the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ International Fundraising Conference in San Francisco Sunday, April 30.

“It’s an honor and humbling experience being recognized with a great class of young professionals,” said Kulik, a Certified Fund Raising Executive. “Through the guidance of my mentors, support of my family, especially my wife, and experiences through the Association of Fundraising Professionals, I’ve turned my career into my passion.”

An alumnus of Pi Kappa Phi, Kulik also was recognized with the fraternity’s Thirty Under 30 Award in 2014. It was through Pi Kappa Phi that he realized he wanted to make fundraising his career.

“While in college, I started raising funds for people with disabilities through Pi Kappa Phi and wanted to make it my life’s pursuit to help people,” Kulik said. “Working with philanthropists to create transformation change in a community, hospital or university has been personally rewarding.”

After graduating from Bowling Green State University, Kulik spent most of his career with the United Way network, where he worked on multiple $13 million annual campaigns in northwest Ohio. Kulik also worked at the United Way of Racine County, where he led a campaign that raised a record-setting $5.4 million.

In addition to his United Way experience, he was a major gifts officer for Bowling Green State University and ProMedica Health System focusing on securing major gifts for their comprehensive campaigns.

He is pursuing a master of studies in law from The University of Toledo.

UT engineering students to show off senior projects April 28

More than 70 projects will be on display Friday, April 28, during The University of Toledo’s Undergraduate Research and Senior Design Engineering Project Exposition.

Projects include an aromatic alarm clock, a motion-activated vacuum pump for lower limb prosthetics, and an Internet-enabled, smart-mirror medicine cabinet.

The College of Engineering event, which is free and open to the public, will be held from noon to 3 p.m. on the first floor of Nitschke Hall.

The exposition showcases projects created by more than 250 graduating seniors from the departments of Bioengineering; Civil and Environmental Engineering; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; Engineering Technology; and Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering.

Projects are the required senior design capstone project where students form business-consulting units to develop a solution for a client’s technical or business challenge. Businesses, industries and federal agencies sponsor these projects.

Several projects over the last few years have gone on to become patented. This semester, a team of bioengineering students plans to pursue a patent for its project called SpecuLIFT, which is being designed to reduce discomfort and residual pain during pelvic exams.

Spring plant sale through April 28 in Wolfe Hall

Graduate students in The University of Toledo Department of Environmental Sciences are holding their spring plant sale this week.

The fundraiser benefits the community gardens and student groups.

“We offer a huge variety of vegetable and herb plants,” said Jessica Sherman, PhD student researcher in UT’s Department of Environmental Sciences and vice president of the Graduate Student Association. “All three- and four-inch pots are $1.50 each or four for $5. We also offer some larger perennial wildflowers that cost up to $10.”

The sale is open from noon to 5 p.m. through Friday, April 28, inside the northeast entrance of Wolfe Hall.

Outstanding staff members honored

More than 30 nominees were recognized at a ceremony April 19 in the Thomas and Elizabeth Brady Engineering Innovation Center.

Winners this year were:

President Sharon L. Gaber posed for a photo with this year’s Outstanding Staff Award winners, from left, Jon Pawlecki, Sarah Farkas, Anthony Edwards, Alexandria Kraft Luneke and Tony Gibson. Also in the photo is Candace “Candy” Busdiecker, right, who won the Diane Hymore Exemplar of Excellence Award.

Anthony Edwards, custodial worker in Environmental Services on Health Science Campus. He has worked at the University since 1986.

“Anthony is one of the most positive and kind individuals you may meet on Health Science Campus. He truly embraces all employees and patients with his high standard of excellence and old-fashioned manners and demeanor. Anthony never has a bad day and spreads his infectious cheer anywhere he goes,” one nominator wrote. “Anthony does not just stick to the responsibilities of his specific position; he stops what he is doing to hold the door for someone and will set down his supplies to walk someone to the right place when they are lost. This is just something Anthony does naturally because he has a kind heart.”

Sarah Farkas, customer service liaison in Parking Services. She began her career at the University in 2012.

“Sarah always receives my calls with excitement, confidence, empathy, urgency and respect. Honestly, talking to her is like catching up with an old friend, when, truth be told, I’m not sure we’ve even had the pleasure of formally meeting,” one nominator wrote. “Because of Sarah, I’ve been able to help my visiting students assimilate into the University system in a timely manner, allowing them to have a more comprehensive experience. It’s clear to me that Sarah goes out of her way to help those requiring assistance, providing exemplary customer service to all she encounters.” Another noted, “I always feel like my students are a priority to Sarah.”

Tony Gibson, custodial worker in Building Services on Main Campus. He joined the staff in 1997.

“Tony is exceptionally diligent, dedicated and hard-working. He approaches his many responsibilities in the Snyder Memorial Building with consistent good humor and without complaint. When I arrive to the building early in the morning, Tony is well into his rounds and tasks: He is predictably systematic and organized, and completes all his tasks with zeal and pride,” one nominator wrote. “Tony is intelligent and innovative in his approach to his career. He is jovial and charismatic, and these are major prerequisites for successful leadership. I recommend that UT administration recognize Tony’s leadership potential and deploy it to improve campus harmony and efficiency in the future.”

Alexandria Kraft Luneke, aquatics and safety program coordinator in the Office of Recreational Services. She has worked at UT since 2012.

“Alex works toward the University’s vision of improving the human condition by being a steward of very important safety and risk education within our department. She makes sure those that use and participate in programs, services and facilities offered by the office do so knowing that it is a safe and risk-free environment,” one nominator wrote. “She is an outstanding teammate and teacher in the area of aquatics, aquatics management and aquatics safety. Alex is committed to the departments’ values of diversity and inclusion, student development, community services, and healthy lifestyle options. Alex also has worked to be student-centered, mentoring students who are working toward their professional pursuits.”

Jon Pawlecki, director of student services in the College of Engineering. He joined the UT staff in 2003.He joined the UT staff in 2003. Pawlecki has two degrees from the University and is pursuing a doctoral degree in higher education at UT.

“Jon’s role in the College of Engineering revolves around recruitment, retention and student success. He is tireless in his efforts to promote the College of Engineering, whether it is in large-scale recruiting events, daily tours, or during individual meetings with students and their families. Our undergraduate enrollment has increased 60 percent over the past decade, and Jon’s contributions are an essential component of this success,” one nominator wrote. “Jon has created numerous extracurricular and leadership opportunities for our students outside the classroom. He is the adviser to a number of college-wide organizations. Engineering students are among the most active on campus, and his contributions have been essential to this outcome.”

Executive assistant selected for Hymore Award

Candace “Candy” Busdiecker, executive assistant and liaison committee on medical education coordinator in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, is the 2017 recipient of the Diane Hymore Exemplar of Excellence Award.

Busdiecker received the honor named for the longtime executive secretary to former President Lloyd Jacobs April 19 at the Outstanding Staff Awards in the Thomas and Elizabeth Brady Engineering Innovation Center. The award is presented annually to an individual whose work defines the core values of the University in Hymore’s spirit of support, encouragement and service.

Dr. Kaye M. Patten, senior vice president for student affairs, left, and President Sharon L. Gaber, right, presented the Diane Hymore Exemplar of Excellence Award to Candace “Candy” Busdiecker.

“Candy wears many hats in her position. She provides assistance to the administrative director of operations for the dean, which is an extremely busy office. She is also taking calls, emails or visits in her capacity as ‘concierge’ for specific needs for UT Medical Center,” one nominator wrote. “She is always calm, smiling, happy and welcoming. No matter how small or large of an issue, she maintains professionalism throughout. She follows through and also follows up. She does not consider any matter resolved until she knows it has been satisfactorily done.”

She joined the University in 1995 as a secretary in the Department of Medicine in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, becoming a secretary II in 1999. One year later, Busdiecker took on the role of administrative research coordinator staying within the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. She joined the College of Medicine Dean’s Office as administrative assistant to the chancellor in 2011.

“Candy is a very patient person. One of her biggest assets is the art of how she listens. She honors each person as unique and knows that it is not a one-size-fits-all type of approach in doing her job,” one nominator wrote. “She understands that the success of UTMC and UT as a whole is built one person at a time. Whether she is dealing with members for the affiliation, faculty, staff or students, her mission is that they have a positive experience however she is able to help.”

“I enjoy the people at UT and working with such a great team in the College of Medicine Dean’s Office,” Busdiecker said. “There is no way to express my gratitude to everyone for nominating and choosing me for this award. Ms. Hymore was an amazing lady and will always have a special place in my heart.”