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Archive for March, 2014

Cooper Tire CEO and wife donate $1 million for engineering leadership institute [video]

An institute created to teach University of Toledo engineering students leadership skills was the recipient of $1 million gift from Roy Armes, CEO of Cooper Tire and a 1975 UT mechanical engineering graduate, and his wife, Marcia.

During a ceremony honoring the couple at the College of Engineering Thursday afternoon, Dr. Nagi Naganathan, dean of the College of Engineering, thanked the Armes and announced that the Engineering Leadership Institute would be renamed the Roy and Marcia Engineering Leadership Institute.

“The Engineering Leadership Institute is a transformational initiative for our students,” Naganathan said. “We are grateful and delighted that Roy and Marcia have set a strong foundation for not only our current students, but for generations of students to come.”


The Engineering Leadership Institute, which was launched with philanthropic support from the Armes family in 2009, provides leadership opportunities for 12 to 15 sophomores and juniors in the college.

Students are nominated by their departments and are selected through a rigorous process that includes interviews with the dean. The students will participate in seminars, team-building exercises, and public speaking opportunities, including attending one or more national conferences.

“The Engineering Leadership Institute is about selecting top students out of engineering and helping them develop their leadership skills along with their academic skills,” said Roy Armes, noting that success in the field of engineering extended beyond just the subject matter.

“As a business leader, [leadership skills] are the kinds of things I’m looking for when we look for students or new hires in our company,” he said. “This provides students with a competitive advantage, and it’s something a lot of other universities don’t offer.”

“It is very exciting to see these young adults emerge,” said Marcia Armes. “It’s very satisfying, and I feel very fortunate that we are able to give back to the University and to this group of students.”

Author to speak about new book on FDR, polio

Author James Tobin believes Franklin Delano Roosevelt would not have become president if he had not contracted polio.

book jacket The Man He BecameTobin will discuss his theory and his new book, The Man He Became: How FDR Defied Polio to Win the Presidency (Simon & Schuster, 2013), Wednesday, April 2, at 3 p.m. in the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections on the fifth floor of UT’s Carlson Library.

The free, public talk will be followed by a book signing and reception.

In his new work, Tobin, who won the National Book Critics Circle Award for his previous book titled Ernie Pyle’s War, examines how FDR used his battle with polio as the narrative that helped get him elected president in 1932.

“The conventional wisdom is that FDR became president in spite of polio. I think the evidence suggests an alternative truth — that he became president because of polio,” he said.

Tobin contends that Roosevelt’s long recovery period kept him out of the presidential race in the mid-1920s when he would not have stood a chance of winning. He also believes that FDR’s public battle to overcome the effects of polio established him as a fighter in the minds of the American public, and this narrative helped him to get elected in the darkest years of the Great Depression. Before polio, FDR was hampered by his image as an aristocrat, but after polio, FDR could present himself as a man of the people willing to fight for the nation’s recovery.

“Polio by itself did not make Roosevelt the man he became,” Tobin concluded. “But one cannot see Roosevelt in full without a deep understanding of his encounter with disease and disability. Without the polio virus and what it did to FDR, the history of American life since the 1920s would not be what it has been.”

Copies of Tobin’s book will be available for sale at the event.

For more information, contact the Canaday Center at 419.530.4480.

Pharmacy students to present research at annual exposition

Students from The University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will present their work at the annual American Pharmacists Association Meeting and Exposition Friday through Monday, March 28-31.

The meeting will take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.

This is the first year the American Pharmacist Association accepted oral presentations. UT students will present three out of the 12 posters that were accepted.

“We encourage our faculty and students to present their research at professional symposia such as the American Pharmacists Association annual meeting,” said Dr. Steve Martin, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice. “Not only does it allow them to share their cutting-edge work with the profession, but also it showcases the very high level of pharmacy practice here in northwest Ohio.”

Giving poster presentations will be:

• Kelly Gaffney, pharmacy student and undergraduate research assistant in the Center for Pharmaceutical Care and Outcomes Research Lab, who will present “Evaluating Patients’ Perceptions of Blister Packs Dispensed in a Community Setting and Its Impact on Their Ddherence.”

• Kevin Omerza, pharmacy student and first-year graduate student, who will discuss “A Qualitative Analysis Assessing Patients’ Perceptions of Services Offered in an Adherence Pharmacy Program.”

• And Tessa Conner, first-year graduate student, who will cover “Cost of Intermittent Participation in Medication Therapy Management.”

Four other presentations will be given by UT students at the conference as well.

“We are lucky here at UT to have outstanding faculty practitioners who provide patient care at our medical center, clinics and outpatient pharmacies,” Martin said.

Eastern vehicle production topic of Asian Forum

“Asian Automotive Firms: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities” will be the topic of the next Asian Forum, which will take place Wednesday, April 2.

The Asian Studies Institute will host the luncheon from 12:30 to 1:40 p.m. in Stranahan Hall North Room 3140.

Schedule to speak are Dr. Paul Hong, UT professor of information operations and technology management; Dr. Huilan Zhang, UT doctoral student in manufacturing and technology management; and Dr. Yue Zhang, UT assistant professor of information operations and technology management.

“They will discuss the growth patterns of the Asian automotive firms, their emerging strategic challenges and opportunities, and the implications to North American markets,” said Dr. Gene Chang, UT professor of economics and director of the Asian Studies Institute, who will moderate the talk.

Pizza and refreshments will be provided at the free, public forum.
For more information, contact Chang at gene.chang@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4677.

UT Innovation Enterprises announces interim CEO, looks to next five years

Rhonda Wingfield, director of budget and planning at The University of Toledo, has been named interim CEO of UT Innovation Enterprises (UTIE), officials announced Wednesday.



Wingfield will serve in both roles until a permanent CEO is determined.

Joyce McBride, former UT director of budget and planning who is transitioning to flexible work hours as she moves toward retirement and spending more time with her family, has been named assistant director of budget and planning.

“Rhonda has more than 20 years of financial management experience in the public sector, industry and in start-up organizations, and has been highly involved in Innovation Enterprises operations during her tenure at UT,” said C. William Fall, chair of the UTIE Board of Directors. “As we plan for UTIE’s next five years, we are fortunate to have Rhonda’s strategic mind and detailed financial knowledge during this interim period.”

Wingfield, who has overseen the finances of UTIE since shortly after her arrival at UT in 2010, will assume the role created following the separation of the chair and CEO positions, one of several recommendations made following a six-month review of UTIE and its processes led by board member Bill McCreary.

Given the success of UTIE following its establishment in 2009, Wingfield said she was excited to accept the post, though she acknowledged that the nationwide addition of economic development as part of universities’ missions was a cultural change that hasn’t come easily to everyone.

“We have a very promising portfolio, which is still very young. During the years I’ve worked with UTIE, I’ve been incredibly impressed with the innovation and potential of these start-up companies,” Wingfield said.

“Some of our society’s most impressive inventions and advancements have come from university research, and we cannot allow our fear that an individual idea might not pan out to stop us from investing in people and ideas that may strengthen our region economically,” she said.

UT President Lloyd Jacobs said the goal of cultural change encompassed the entire community.

“We have no intention of leaving the next ‘dorm-room business success story’ only to the Harvards or the Stanfords of the world,” Jacobs said. “Our students and our faculty are accomplishing great things in both social and business entrepreneurship. And it is our job to explain to the UT family, to the media, and to the overall community that prudent investment in the ideas of the UT faculty and entrepreneurs is one of the surest routes to long-term and sustained economic growth in northwest Ohio.”

Fall emphasized that stringent due diligence and investment procedures remain in place. With this type of innovation-based economic development, it is clearly a fact that not all such early-stage investments succeed, he said.

“But in the case of Innovation Enterprises, this is an incredibly strong showing for an investment portfolio of this type at this early point in UTIE’s lifespan. Like a mutual fund, you invest in a wide range of organizations knowing that even if some underperform, over the long term the fund as a whole will be successful,” Fall said.

Fall expressed his thanks to all who have worked so hard to make UTIE a success in the first five years: board members, researchers and faculty, students and support staff. He made special mention of McCreary’s contribution, a sentiment Jacobs echoed.

“The University of Toledo and UT Innovation Enterprises is so fortunate to work with a person of such superior personal character, intellect and experience as Bill McCreary. He will play an important role as Bill Fall and Rhonda Wingfield lead UT and this community to continued economic successes,” Jacobs said.

Free hearing tests to be offered on UT’s Main Campus

Beginning Monday, March 31, free hearing tests will be offered at the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic on the Main Campus of The University of Toledo.

Tests will be available Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. March 31 through April 16.

The Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic is located outside of the Health and Human Services Building near parking lot 1-S.

Students in the Speech Pathology and Language Program will administer the tests in order to earn their audiology and practicum hours. They will be supervised by Dr. Jessica Bernath, UT instructor in the Speech Pathology and Language Program.

To schedule a free hearing test, call the clinic at 419.530.4339.

Medical students learn of residencies at Match Day reception [video]

Shouts of “Congratulations!” and tears of joy filled the Great Hall of Stranahan Theater as fourth-year medical students opened envelopes to reveal their residency placements.

Megan Lawlor, who matched with the University of Kentucky in obstetrics and gynecology, right, hugged Jessica Chang, third-year medical student, during the ceremony.

Megan Lawlor, who matched with the University of Kentucky in obstetrics and gynecology, right, hugged Jessica Chang, third-year medical student, during the ceremony.

Match Day is an annual event where medical students learn where they will spend the next three to seven years and, possibly, their entire medical careers.

“Match Day is a key milestone in the developmental life of a physician. The process of obtaining a residency is much more competitive and much more difficult than it used to be,” said Dr. Ron McGinnis, interim dean for the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “The class of 2014 matched in a number of highly competitive specialties.”

The 167 students matched with institutions across the country, including Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Tufts Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic.

Hallie Baucher is headed to Dartmouth to study pediatrics.

“I just love working with kids and when I visited Dartmouth; it felt like a second home,” Baucher said.

Thirteen students will continue their training at The University of Toledo Medical Center, with 65 total matching in Ohio.

Cheryl Chen and Eric Hu are both headed to the Cleveland area for their residencies. Chen matched in psychiatry at Case Western, and Hu matched in anesthesiology at the Cleveland Clinic.

“There is a lot of work that needs to be done in the field of psychiatry, and my goal is to be an advocate for mental health,” Chen said.

“I chose anesthesiology because it is a combination of thinking and doing. The job is hands-on, but there is also a lot of thinking through what you are doing and what needs to be done next,” Hu said.

Chen and Hu made a couple’s match to ensure they would be placed in the same region.

The UT students matched into 22 specialties, with 72, or 43 percent, in primary care fields, and 95, or 57 percent, entering other specialties. The top specialties for this graduating class were internal medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine and orthopedic surgery.

Michigan was the most popular behind Ohio with 25 students matching, followed by California with 13, Illinois with 12 and Pennsylvania with 10. Overall, students matched with programs in 29 states.


UT Parkinson center recognized by Michael J. Fox Foundation

The Gardner-McMaster Parkinson Center at The University of Toledo Medical Center placed second in a competition against 23 other Parkinson centers across the United States and Canada.

Fox Foundation logo copyThe goal of the three-month competition, hosted by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, was to enroll the most volunteers into the Fox Trial Finder, which matches patients and age-matched controls with clinical trials examining new potential treatments for Parkinson’s disease. The competition added more than 1,400 new volunteers — 505 of them coming from UTMC.

“Getting as many Fox Trial Finder volunteers as possible ensures that when a new study starts, researchers have a well-characterized database at their fingertips to pre-screen people who are primed to participate in research,” said Claire Meunier, director of research partnerships at the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Volunteers in the Fox Trial Finder system consist of more than 27,500 patients with Parkinson’s disease and control participants without the degenerative disorder. Clinical trials remain one of the most crucial steps on the path to developing better treatments for Parkinson’s patients; however, finding people to participate in these studies often can be difficult.

When participants can’t be found, it delays the completion of the study — which could postpone possible approval of new experimental treatments by months or years. The Fox Trial Finder works to match people with Parkinson’s to studies they are appropriate to participate in, speeding the whole research development and approval process.

“For years, one of the major challenges facing clinical research in Parkinson’s disease was the need for an efficient and effective way to identify and recruit potential clinical trial candidates,” said Dr. Lawrence Elmer, director of the UT Gardner-McMaster Parkinson Center. “Fox Trial Finder is certain to benefit patients and their families, but most importantly, advance breakthroughs in the treatment and cure of Parkinson’s disease far more rapidly than any of us could have ever imagined.”

The University of Colorado Hospital Movement Disorders Center in Denver won first place in the competition, referring 563 volunteers.

Next month, patients in the greater Toledo area with Parkinson’s disease and their families can get the latest information about research and treatments at the 17th Annual Parkinson’s Disease Symposium. In honor of the second-place performance of the UTMC group, Michael J. Fox representatives will be in attendance, and the Fox Foundation will co-sponsor the day’s activities.

In addition, Dr. Brian Fiske, vice president for research programs at the Michael J. Fox Foundation, will be the featured speaker.

The event, presented by the Gardner-McMaster Parkinson Center and Parkinson Foundation of Northwest Ohio, will take place Saturday, April 5, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Parkway Place, 2592 Parkway Plaza in Maumee.

UT Engineers Without Borders to host annual Building Bridges 5K

The University of Toledo chapter of Engineers Without Borders will host its annual Building Bridges 5K Saturday, April 12, to raise money for a project in Los Sanchez, Honduras.

engineers without borders 5KThe Building Bridges 5K will be at 9 a.m. beginning at the UT Student Recreation Center.

Registration is $16 prior to Saturday, March 29, when the fee will increase to $20. Register here.

The organization is hoping to have 200 participants this year, an increase over last year’s 114.

Engineers Without Borders partnered with the community of Los Sanchez, Honduras, in 2008 to find a sustainable solution to the lack of access to potable water. After implementing a water distribution system in 2009, the people of Los Sanchez approached the organization about building a pedestrian bridge across the river, Rio Buscaga.

Rio Buscagua separates Los Sanchez, a rural community of about 200 to 250 people, and other small communities in the area from the nearby town of Orocuina. This separation can be life-threatening during the rainy season. The inability to cross the river severs access to doctors, hospitals, markets, sources of employment and schools. Community members believe that year-round access to Orocuina is vital and would have a substantial effect on their growth.

“The people of Los Sanchez are very hard-working,” said Lisa Kingsolver, chemical and environmental engineering student and president of the UT Engineers Without Borders chapter. “The people are very community-minded. They know what’s best for them, and they want to make sure they reach their shared goals.”

The bridge team submitted a design proposal to Engineers Without Borders USA in December 2012. On its implementation trip to Los Sanchez in August, the travel team and members of the community agreed that the bridge would need to be redesigned.

The team consulted with the Los Sanchez community, the town of Orocuina, faculty and technical advisers to rework the design and submitted a new proposal to to Engineers Without Borders USA in February. The team is anticipating approval soon, pending a few minor changes to the design and construction plan, and hopes to implement the new bridge design this summer.

“We have had several meetings with community leadership. They are very opinionated, but very respectful,” Kingsolver said.

More than $14,000 has been raised toward the goal of at least $30,000 through grants, corporate partnerships, individual donors and proceeds from the Building Bridges 5K. The project was awarded major grants from Henkel, a manufacturing company, and the Association for Bridge Construction and Design.

For more information on the run or to make a donation, contact Kingsolver at lisa.kingsolver@rockets.utoledo.edu.

Huntingon regional president, UT business students to receive Pacemaker Awards

The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation and the Business Engagement and Leadership Council will recognize both business and academic excellence during their 51st annual Pacemaker Awards Friday, March 28, at the Inverness Country Club.



The 2014 recipient of the Business Pacemaker Award is Sharon Speyer, president, Northwest Ohio Region, Huntington National Bank.

Speyer has been with Huntington Bank and its predecessor banks since 1992. Huntington National Bank, a subsidiary of Huntington Bancshares, is a $59 billion regional bank holding company headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. In addition to her role as president, Speyer previously served as general counsel for Sky Bank.

She received her juris doctorate from The University of Toledo College of Law after earning her bachelor of arts degree in international studies from Ohio State University.

Speyer serves on numerous boards and committees, including Aspire, Marathon Classic executive board, Regional Growth Partnership board, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority board, and the Toledo Symphony Board of Trustees. She is also vice chair of The University Toledo Board of Trustees.

“Sharon Speyer’s highly successful career, community involvement and outstanding leadership make her the ideal business professional to receive this year’s Pacemaker Award,” said Dr. Thomas Sharkey, interim dean of the UT College of Business and Innovation. “Furthermore, her commitment to The University of Toledo, both as an alumna and as a concerned officer of the Board of Trustees, is to be applauded.

“From Stephen Stranahan to Robert Savage, Harold McMaster to Marianne Ballas, recipients of the Pacemaker Award over the past five decades read as a who’s who of current and legendary business leaders in the Toledo region,” Sharkey added. “As the college’s highest honor, the Pacemaker Award recognizes an individual for outstanding achievement in business as well as contributions to the community and the University.”

Student Pacemaker Awards are presented to UT College of Business and Innovation graduate and undergraduate students for their outstanding academic achievement, University and community service, and leadership.

The 2014 student Pacemakers are: Accounting — Todd Fry and Megan Massi; Finance — Ethan Barteck and Justin Blake; Information Operations Technology Management — Robert Cagle and Cody Mohler; Management — Taylor Juza and Amy Cress; Marketing/International Business — Nicholas Dorner and Nicole Diegel; MBA — Leandra Hutchinson; PhD — Nehemiah Scott.