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Archive for January, 2009

UT emphasizes diversity with new vice president position

The University of Toledo yesterday provided tangible evidence of its commitment to diversity on campus with the creation of a new vice president for equity and diversity position.

Lawrence J. Burns, vice president for external affairs, will serve in the role on an interim basis, while continuing to oversee the University’s enrollment, academic and health-care marketing, and communications areas, as well as the Center for Creative Instruction.

“Larry has a long history of involvement with community outreach and has demonstrated significant positive impacts on the diversity of the University community,” said President Lloyd Jacobs. “As we sought to better formalize our equity and diversity initiatives, he seemed a natural person to provide leadership.”

Burns was recommended for the role by The University of Toledo Diversity Council based on several accomplishments over the course of his 18-year career in Toledo. Among those accomplishments:

• The UT Guarantee — A scholarship program for students in the Urban 21 school districts wherein The University of Toledo covers tuition and general fees for financially challenged students who have a 3.0 grade point average or above.

• The President’s Committee for African-American Recruitment, Retention and Scholarship Support on UT’s Health Science Campus — A group that includes UT senior administrators, faculty, staff, students and community members that originally was established by Burns through the former Medical College of Ohio Foundation. Charged by the president and led by individuals in the African-American community, the committee works to support UT’s ongoing efforts of increasing the amount of cultural diversity within health science majors and providing support to current students of color.

• The African-American Festival — A weekend event celebrating African-American culture that Burns brought to UT’s Scott Park Campus in summer 2008 following several years of local success.

“I’m honored and humbled to have been asked to serve in this capacity,” Burns said. “The University of Toledo is working to take a leadership role in diversity not only locally, but among institutions of higher education nationwide. I look forward to serving as an ambassador of those efforts.”

Inauguration as history — both personal and collective

So I find myself sitting on the National Mall at 10:15 a.m. on Jan. 20, with a page from the Washington Post serving as a blanket, looking out at a sea of thousands of heavy boots that undoubtedly contained multiple pairs of socks and a few foot warmers. I had been standing since before 6 a.m. and needed to give my knees a break. I was cold, tired and feeling a little claustrophobic in a crowd that would eventually number two million. We were about a half mile from the Capitol, dependent on a Jumbotron to glimpse the day’s events. At that moment I asked myself, “What am I doing here?” There were still two hours before the new president would take the oath of office, and I was in no mood to wait.

UT professors Barbara Floyd and Dr. Andy Jorgensen posed for a photo during the inauguration.

UT professors Barbara Floyd and Dr. Andy Jorgensen posed for a photo during the inauguration.

But wait I did, and as tears welled up in my eyes when Barack Obama took the oath of office at 12:04 p.m., I realized why I was there — to witness history. And all of my doubts melted away and all the inconveniences became inconsequential.

There were so many images of that day and the two previous days that I will never forget. On Sunday, the “We Are One” concert produced many memorable moments, like a crowd of 500,000 singing “This Land Is Your Land,” led by folk legend Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen, and Garth Brooks leading a chorus of “American Pie.” People standing in line for up to an hour to have their pictures taken with the now-famous stylized portrait of Obama by Shepard Fairey hanging in the National Portrait Gallery. Whole families getting their photos taken in front of the Canadian Embassy’s banner that proclaimed “Canada Welcomes President Obama.” Seeing the not-yet-president’s motorcade speed down the street. People eagerly buying any souvenir with Obama’s image (or, even more desirous, his family’s image.) Crowds so large that it took 30 minutes to get out of the Metro station. Waiting 20 minutes to cross the street as tens of thousands tried to get to their destinations. Arriving on the mall at daybreak Tuesday morning as a beautiful pink sunrise served as a backdrop to the Capitol, which was adorned with flags and seemed to glow from within. The image seemed to symbolize a new day for America.

This shot of the Capitol at dawn on inauguration day was taken by Bill Little, Barbara Floyd's husband.

This shot of the Capitol at dawn on inauguration day was taken by Bill Little, Barbara Floyd's husband.

But what I will remember most is the joyousness of the people who gathered Tuesday. Despite the difficulties and indignities that come with packing two million people together in the cold and making them stand for seven or eight hours, no one complained. Everyone shared stories about why they were there, how long they had traveled to get there, and what it meant to them to be there. It was like a family reunion, but with people you did not know. Much has been reported about the diversity of the crowd, and I can attest that all those reports are true. There were people of every color, gender, sexual orientation, age, economic status and nationality.

And at 12:04, when the president placed his hand upon Lincoln’s bible, you could have heard a pin drop (if that were possible in a grassy lawn.) Two million people stood silent, with the exception of an occasional sniffle that signaled the emotion of the moment. As President Obama addressed the nation, there were many cheers that punctuated his speech, and the sounds of millions of gloved hands clapping. The crowd hung on every word.

The event made me think a lot about my late father. My interest in politics developed at the kitchen table when my father would almost nightly rant about the latest injustice he perceived against the “workin’ man.” There was never any question about which political party we belonged to — in our house, there was only one.

But despite his strong sense of equality and justice, there was one group of people he could never bring himself to see as his equal — African Americans. Growing up in several small Ohio towns, he never personally knew any such people, but he was sure they were different. And as someone who struggled to earn a living in heavy construction, he undoubtedly saw African Americans as competitors on the ladder of upward mobility. I stopped encouraging him to vote in 1968 when he cast his ballot for George Wallace. No one could ever convince him that his racist views were unfounded, and we learned the futility of challenging his racial epithets.

But this past June, as he lay gravely ill in the hospital, he told my husband in what would be his last conversation before he slipped into a coma that if Barack Obama got the nomination, he would vote for him.

As I watched President Obama take the oath of office, I was reminded that like my father, we are all shaped by our personal histories. But on a few rare occasions, our collective history as a nation can redefine that personal history. I believe my father would have been proud of his country on Tuesday.

Floyd is director of the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections, university archivist and professor of library administration.

Three College of Pharmacy faculty members earn board certification

Three College of Pharmacy faculty members — Drs. Todd Gundrum, Gayle Kamm and Basirat Sanuth — have earned certification as pharmacology specialists from the Washington, D.C.-based Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties (BPS).

The certification is the highest credential in pharmacotherapy.

Three College of Pharmacy faculty members, from left, Drs. Gayle Kamm, Todd Gundrum and Basirat Sanuth earned certification as pharmacotherapy specialists from the Washington, D.C.-based Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties. Congratulating them are College of Pharmacy Dean Johnnie Early II, left, and Dr. Steven Martin.

Three College of Pharmacy faculty members, from left, Drs. Gayle Kamm, Todd Gundrum and Basirat Sanuth, earned certification as pharmacotherapy specialists from the Washington, D.C.-based Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties. Congratulating them are College of Pharmacy Dean Johnnie Early II, left, and Dr. Steven Martin.

Gundrum is a UT Medical Center clinical pharmacist; Kamm, a pharmacy practice clinical faculty member; and Sanuth, a pharmacy resident in critical-care medicine. The trio, who had to meet rigorous eligibility requirements to sit for the exam, successfully passed a 200-question examination.

Through board certification, pharmacotherapy specialists demonstrate a defined level of education and training as well as mastery of the knowledge and skill necessary to meet the public’s demand for expert pharmaceutical care. Only 1.8 percent of the 250,000 pharmacists in the country have earned board certification as pharmacology specialists.

Thirteen College of Pharmacy faculty members and UT Medical Center clinical specialists have earned the certification, according to Dr. Steven Martin, chair of the College of Pharmacy’s Department of Pharmacy Practice.

“I’m delighted that Drs. Gundrum, Kamm and Sanuth have earned certification,” Martin said. “Today, pharmacists are playing a much more active role in caring for patients, and pharmacists with specialty certification bring an advanced level of knowledge, education, experience, skill and expertise to the bedside. Hospitals and medical centers in which they practice have an advantage because these individuals improve patient-care efficacy and safety.”

To maintain certification, pharmacotherapy specialists must keep an active pharmacy license and recertify their qualifications every seven years through either an examination or completion of a BPS-approved professional development program.

Pharmacists also can become board-certified in nuclear, nutrition support, oncology or psychiatric pharmacy.

Saturday Morning Science programs set

The University of Toledo is offering Saturday Morning Science programs that answer commonly asked scientific questions.

“Saturday Morning Science is an important way for The University of Toledo to reach out to the people of our community,” said Dr. Joseph Schmidt, UT assistant professor of chemistry, who organized the programs. “I believe we have another excellent agenda for this year and look forward to seeing a broad swath of people in attendance.”

The programs will take place in Bowman-Oddy Laboratories Room 1059 on Main campus from 9:30 to 11 a.m.

The programs offer tutorials, demos and hands-on activities.

Listed by date, topics and speakers scheduled are:

Jan. 31: “Wind Farming: Making Energy Is a Breeze” with Kevin M. Maynard, director of utilities for the city of Bowling Green.

Feb. 14: “Flames, Flashes and Foam: A Chemistry Demo Show” with the UT American Chemical Society student affiliate.

Feb. 28: “Inflammation: Why Is My Arm Turning Hot and Red?” with Dr. Randall Worth, UT assistant professor of medical microbiology and immunology.

March 28: “Fish: Choices and Issues for Consumers — The Good, the Bad and Maybe the Ugly” with Dr. Joseph Regenstein, professor of food science at Cornell University.

April 18: “Aluminum: Its Early History in Ohio and How This Metal Changed the World” with Dr. Norman Craig, professor emeritus of chemistry and biochemistry at Oberlin College.

Complimentary coffee, milk and doughnuts will be provided at these free, public programs, which are funded by a grant from the UT Office of the Provost’s Academic Excellence Program.

For more information, visit http://homepages.utoledo.edu/dronnin/SMS/Site/Saturday%20Morning%20Science.html.

Hospital auxiliary group donates $43,000 for equipment

The University of Toledo Medical Center Satellites auxiliary, at a Jan. 6 luncheon, awarded $43,350 to eight UTMC patient-care programs and departments to purchase equipment.

Representatives from five UT Medical Center departments were all smiles after they received funds to purchase equipment for their departments. They are, from left, Jerry Allen of the Kobacker Center, Michelle Giovanoli and Dianne Adams of the Department of Radiation Oncology, Dr. Dalynn Badenhop of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, Jeffrey McAnall of Rehabilitation Services, and Ann Locher of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. Joining them was Mark Chastang, second from right, vice president and UTMC executive director.

Representatives from five UT Medical Center departments were all smiles after they received funds to purchase equipment for their departments. They are, from left, Jerry Allen of the Kobacker Center, Michelle Giovanoli and Dianne Adams of the Department of Radiation Oncology, Dr. Dalynn Badenhop of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, Jeffrey McAnall of Rehabilitation Services, and Ann Locher of the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program. Joining them was Mark Chastang, second from right, vice president and UTMC executive director.

The auxiliary raises money to support the hospital through events such as book fairs, jewelry and poinsettia sales, and through the operation of the gift shop in the hospital, according to Lynn Brand, Satellites president.

Last fall, the Satellites awarded more than $40,000 in scholarships to UT students.

Mark Chastang, vice president and UT Medical Center executive director, recognized and thanked the organization, noting that the group’s service and commitment embodies the hospital’s mission of providing safe, compassionate, high-quality, patient-centered care.

The funds will be used to purchase:

• An ice/water machine for the Department of Radiation Oncology to help cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy who often experience dry mouth and mouth sores. The department also was awarded funds to buy furniture and a television for a soon-to-be-established patient education room.

• A computerized exercise management system to monitor the oxygen levels, heart rate and blood pressure of patients enrolled in the hospital’s phase IIII cardiac rehabilitation program.

• A late-model sedan for the hospital’s driver rehabilitation program that offers behind-the-wheel driver assessments by occupational therapists for people with disabilities. UT Medical Center has the only hospital-based driver evaluation and rehabilitation program in northwest Ohio that is licensed by the Ohio Department of Public Safety.

• Stuffed animals that are given by the UT Police Department Cheer Program to calm pediatric patients in the Emergency Department.

• Nintendo Wii game systems to improve the motion, strength, motor control and balance of patients enrolled in inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs.

• Two-way radios for the Kobacker Center day treatment program to improve the safety of faculty, staff and patients. The center also received funds for a multimedia projector and screen for patients, staff and families, and Nintendo Wii games, relaxation CDs, therapeutic recreational materials and stereo equipment for patients.

• Flat-screen television panels in Orthopedic Center patient examination rooms that will be used to show instructional and educational videos.

• Printed materials distributed to hospitalized patients and their families by the Pastoral Care Department.

Also funded was a teen-support group of the Ryan White Program for HIV/AIDS patients. Adolescents who are infected or impacted by an HIV infection and their families get together for monthly meetings for social support and to develop life goals.

The Satellites auxiliary, which was founded in 1975 at the former Medical College of Ohio, works to promote and support education, research and patient care programs and to increase community awareness and interest in UT. Since 1975, the group has donated more than $2 million to the hospital, according to Brand.

Toledo-Lucas County Public Library branches out to UT

The Toledo-Lucas County Public Library has partnered with the University to offer two extension branches on UT campuses to allow students to check out a collection of some 200 popular and best-selling books.

First-year pharmacy students Heather Dillinger, left, and Brittany Larkins checked out new books by Stephen King and Michael Flynn last week in the new Toledo-Lucas County Public Library section in Carlson Library.

First-year pharmacy students Heather Dillinger, left, and Brittany Larkins checked out new books by Stephen King and Michael Flynn last week in the new Toledo-Lucas County Public Library section in Carlson Library.

UT students, faculty and staff can check out books at the designated Toledo-Lucas County Public Library areas in Carlson Library on Main Campus and Mulford Library on Health Science Campus. Both areas are identified with banners.

Officials from both UT and the public library want students and employees to have access to popular books in order to promote lifelong learning. Both entities point to a 2004 National Endowment for the Arts survey of literacy reading in America. The study revealed a high correlation between reading literary works and interest in civic and cultural engagement.

“The study also found the steepest decline in literary reading often occurred among those age 18 to 24, the very group that traditionally makes up the majority of college-age students,” said Dorcel Dowdell, main library manager.

Dr. John Gaboury, dean of University Libraries, added, “Our students, faculty and staff will enjoy being able to check out popular fiction and best-sellers. These are titles we typically do not purchase in academic libraries.

“We look forward to a long partnership with the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library and the many benefits it will bring to the University and Toledo community,” he said.

UT students and employees need their ID to check out items from the popular book collection. The books will rotate every month so that new titles will be available.

WWE to bring brawn, bravado to UT

The University of Toledo will host World Wrestling Entertainment at Savage Arena Saturday, Jan. 24, at 7:30 p.m.

The show’s main event will be a tag-team match with John Cena and Triple H taking on Randy Orton and Edge.

This event is a super show, which means it will feature wrestlers from all three WWE television programs: Raw (Mondays on USA Network), SmackDown (Fridays on MyNetwork TV) and ECW (Tuesdays on SciFi).

The super show also will spotlight matches with Matt Hardy versus Jack Swagger and CM Punk versus William Regal.

Other wrestlers climbing into the ring will include Cryme Tyme, John Morrison, the Miz, Candice, Beth Phoenix, Maryse and Maria.

Tickets — $62, $42, $32 and $22 — are available by calling the Savage Arena Box Office at 419.530.GOLD (4653).

Tickets also are sold at Ticketmaster outlets, www.Ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at 419.474.1333.

Singer-songwriter talks about solo career, reuniting Verve Pipe

I used to be a big star, depending on who you ask
Made a million friends in minutes, but the minutes didn’t last …
With everything we have in mind for you
It’s most important that you find
That ‘use to be’s’ mean nothing and ‘gonna be’s’ are fine …
When everything is said and done, the beauty is the best is yet to come …

“Evangeline” by Brian Vander Ark

Vander Ark

Vander Ark

After concentrating on his solo acoustic career, Brian Vander Ark is ready to rock.

“I’m writing right now for a new Verve Pipe record, and it’s a little bit of a different style, but I’m getting into that rock mode again,” he said. “I feel like it’s time for me to collaborate again. I’ve done three solo records, and I feel really good about the quality of those records, but I feel it’s time to work with other people and to explore new ground.

“I’m sure once I get back into the studio with the band and start dealing with the idiosyncratic behaviors of everyone again, I’m going to long for the solo days,” the singer-songwriter-guitarist joked.

Vander Ark reunited with guitarist A.J. Dunning, drummer Donny Brown and keyboard player Doug Corella for a few concerts around the holidays. John Conners strapped on the bass for some shows, and Joel Ferguson played bass for a few gigs.

The Verve Pipe is best-known for its 1996 release, Villains, which featured “The Freshmen” and “Photograph.” The band’s last disc, Underneath, was released in 2001.

Since then, Vander Ark has recorded three solo efforts: Resurrection (2003), Angel, Put Your Face On (2006) and Brian Vander Ark (2008).

Vander Ark

Vander Ark

For his latest CD, the Holland, Mich., native teamed up with producer Bill Szymczyk, who worked with The Eagles, The Who and Joe Walsh, among others.

“These are albums that I grew up with, The Eagles’ record especially, Hotel California, which was one of the first songs I learned to play on acoustic guitar,” Vander Ark said during a phone interview from his home in Grand Rapids, Mich. “[Szymczyk’s] a phenomenal producer, a great engineer and a real song guy — he knows a good song when he hears it and he knows a bad one, too, and he let me know that some of the stuff I’d written was not up to par.”

Songs that made the cut include “Evangeline” and “Lily White Way.”

“ ‘Evangeline’ is kind of a father-to-daughter advice song — I don’t know what advice an ex-rock star can give to a little girl — but the whole point is just go out and don’t listen to the naysayers,” he said. “Just be yourself. If you want to be an artist, be an artist, and if you want to work at a bank, work at a bank.”

Vander Ark said “Lily White Way” is a social comment.

“We moved from the very edgy part of town in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to a less artistic, more suburban area because the edgy part of town wasn’t very conducive for raising a little one. And it was just an observation of suburbia, I think, and the darkness underneath it all. And I had that misconception of our neighborhood until I actually got to know my neighbors and found out they were closet liberals and really loved this song.”

Vander Ark is touring in support of his self-titled disc and will play Friday, Jan. 23, at 8 p.m. in UT’s Doermann Theater on Main Campus. Tickets are $15 and available at Danberry Realtor offices, Ramalama Records, www.brianvanderark.com and at the door. UT students with ID can purchase $10 tickets at Rocket Copy, Student Union Room 2525.

Opening the show will be Lux Land. The singer-songwriter’s most recent release is Summer Hours (2007), and she is working on a disc to be titled After the Avalanche. She is married to Vander Art.

A portion of ticket and merchandise sales will go to the Danberry Treasure Chest/Toledo Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“It’s important to me that I leave some sort of legacy as a songwriter,” he said. “There would be no greater joy on my deathbed than to look back on a catalog of music and know that I’ve affected people in a positive way.”

CWA unit directors elected

Members of Communication Workers of America Local 4319 voted Thursday for UT blue- and white-collar unit directors.

Bob Glover, auto mechanic 2 with Transit Services, defeated Donnell Garrett, maintenance repair worker 3 in Maintenance, by a 138-85 vote and will retain the blue-collar unit position.

Lynn Gowing, printing coordinator in the Marketing Office, was re-elected to the white-collar unit director position, defeating Joann Golembiewski, secretary 2 in the Environmental Sciences Department, 155-71.

Each director will serve a three-year term that will start Feb. 1.

Honors, medical students receive Wallenberg Award for exemplary service

Noah Gillespie and Andrew Sitzmann have been chosen as the 2008-09 recipients of the Raoul Wallenberg Scholar Award.

Noah Gillespie receives the Raoul Wallenberg Scholar Award from Dr. Tom Barden, director of the Honors Program.

Noah Gillespie receives the Raoul Wallenberg Scholar Award from Dr. Tom Barden, director of the Honors Program.

Gillespie is a student majoring in economics in the Honors Program; he maintains a 4.0 grade point average while undertaking several efforts to promote social justice. He has been an advocate for rights for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered individuals at the University and in the community. He has spent the past school year developing and launching the “Safe Place Program,” where stickers are placed at UT locations that offer support for all students regardless of sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender or religion.

“What would UT look like if more students could live out an abiding sense of compassion?” Gillespie asked. “I think a great force for good and for change would be found, similar to the greatness Wallenberg achieved.”

Sitzmann is a 32-year-old medical student who has dedicated his life to service. He graduated from Northern Iowa University with a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education and music. Sitzmann taught elementary school for six years but a call to serve led him to pursue a career in the medical field. He has immersed himself in community service, using his skills as an educator and musician.

Medical student Andrew Sitzmann, center, received the Raoul Wallenberg Scholar Award from Dr. Jeffrey Gold, provost and executive vice president for health affairs and dean of the College of Medicine, and Dr. Patricia Metting, College of Medicine associate dean for student affairs and vice provost for student affairs on the Health Science Campus.

Medical student Andrew Sitzmann, center, received the Raoul Wallenberg Scholar Award from Dr. Jeffrey Gold, provost and executive vice president for health affairs and dean of the College of Medicine, and Dr. Patricia Metting, College of Medicine associate dean for student affairs and vice provost for student affairs on the Health Science Campus.

When Sitzmann thinks about the kind of physician he wants to become, he looks to role models like Wallenberg who remind him to follow his heart and work to help, empower and heal the less fortunate in society.

“As we become professionals of tomorrow, examples like Wallenberg are necessary to show us that the goodness of individuals is powerful enough to triumph over seemingly unbeatable odds,” Sitzmann, a member of the 2011 medical class, said. “Wallenberg challenges others to be their best selves, believe in the common goodness of humanity, and fight with determined tenacity to uphold the highest of values.”

Wallenberg, a 33-year-old neutral Swede, undertook a mission at the behest of the U.S. War Refugee Board to go to Budapest in 1944 and saved tens of thousands of Jews by giving them documents that identified them as Swedish nationals. He was arrested by the advancing Soviet Army in January 1945 and was never seen free again.

Wallenberg’s example of courage and compassion points to the potential within all humankind for goodness and high morality, according to Robert Karp, founder and administrator for the UT Raoul Wallenberg Scholar Award.