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President Emeritus Who Helped Lead Merger With MUO Passes

Dr. Daniel M. Johnson, who became president of The University of Toledo in 2001 and helped lead the 2006 merger with the Medical University of Ohio (MUO), died July 1.

Johnson, who was known for his work promoting a student-centered culture and fostering community engagement during his tenure as the University’s 15th president, served in higher education leadership positions for more than 40 years throughout his career. He developed collaborations and partnerships among public universities, government entities, industrial corporations and international organizations.

Dan Johnson at Podium


He was instrumental in the UToledo and MUO merger that set the University apart as one of just 27 comprehensive public universities in the country with its breadth and depth of academic programs.

In his final State of the University Address on Jan. 19, 2006, Johnson described UToledo in a “state of readiness” to begin shaping the future of the new University of Toledo.

“UT is poised and is now ready to take a giant step that will put it in a new league of universities. Our university — the University to which we all have linked our professional lives — is ready to embrace a future that will include a nationally recognized medical school, a world-class health campus and a distinguished university hospital,” he said. “The University of Toledo is ready for the new opportunities and responsibilities that will come with our merger with MUO. It is a new beginning for two major universities with deep roots in our community and region. The time for the merger has come.”

During his tenure up to the merger, Johnson led the campus through refining its mission, developing and implementing a strategic plan, completing a master plan for campus, and initiating a $100 million capital campaign. He spearheaded presidential initiatives to advance UToledo’s mission as a metropolitan university, including a Commission on Diversity, Council on Outreach and Engagement, and Commission on the River.

“President Johnson was instrumental in shaping the UToledo we know today and for setting this University on our current path of positive momentum that has benefited countless students, graduates and members of our greater community,” said Al Baker, chair of the UToledo Board of Trustees, who also previously served as a member of the MUO Board of Trustees during the merger process. He was the first trustee to complete his service after the 2006 merger when his term ended in 2007. “On behalf of the trustees and our entire University community, we thank Dr. Johnson for his service and express our sincere condolences to his loved ones.”

Ohio Gov. Bob Taft signed on March 31, 2006, House Bill 478 signing the merger legislation into law with UToledo President Dan Johnson and MUO President Lloyd Jacobs.

Following his term as president, Johnson was named president emeritus and distinguished professor of public policy and economic development.

In 2008, he was invited to serve as provost and chief operating officer of Zayed University in United Arab Emirates. He returned to UToledo in 2011 as director of global initiatives and worked to establish partnerships in Lebanon, South Africa, China, India and other nations until 2013.

Prior to coming to Toledo, Johnson was provost of the University of Alaska Anchorage. His career also included administrative positions at University of North Texas in Denton, Texas; Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond; Sangamon State University in Springfield, Ill.; and Blackburn College in Carlinville, Ill., as well as additional faculty positions at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kan., and Christian College in Columbia, Mo.

He is the author of numerous books, chapters, study reports and papers, including “Leading Economic Development: A Toolbox for Public Officials and Civic Leaders” published by University of Toledo Press in 2015.

In his final letter to the campus community upon becoming president emeritus, Johnson described UToledo as “poised for greatness” and wrote that it was time to aim higher to produce more graduates and more research funding and be a powerful force for economic development.

“At historic times like this we are often tempted to look back to see how far we have come, to reminisce about the good things that have happened, and to congratulate ourselves on our progress,” Johnson wrote. “I would urge us not to yield to this temptation but rather spend our limited and valuable time looking ahead, setting high goals and charting a strategic course that will enable us to achieve these goals and our larger mission.”

Johnson is survived by his wife, Elaine Johnson, and two sons, Darin and Brent Johnson. Funeral arrangements are to be handled by Walker Funeral Home.

UToledo Establishes George Floyd Memorial Scholarship

In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota that sparked protests across the country calling for racial justice and police reform, The University of Toledo created the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship to support students with a demonstrated passion for social justice who have financial need.

“Following the worldwide outcry against police brutality and racism targeting African Americans in the United States, coupled with the ongoing protests of beautifully diverse people, this fund is one of many ways our University is taking action to strengthen our continued commitment to unfettered opportunity for success and upward mobility for students of color,” Dr. Willie McKether, UToledo vice president for diversity and inclusion, and vice provost, said. “Diversity is a core value of our University. Preference for this scholarship will be given to students of underrepresented minority populations.”

The University of Toledo Foundation is collecting private donations to fund the new scholarship. Once the minimum endowment goal of $25,000 is met, students can begin applying for the scholarship through the Financial Aid Office.

The plan is to begin awarding a $1,000 scholarship to one student each year and grow the endowment to be able to offer half a dozen $1,000 scholarships in honor of George Floyd every year.

To be eligible for the scholarship, a student has to have demonstrated financial need, a GPA of at least 2.5, and involvement in initiatives to promote diversity, inclusion, equity and social justice.

Make a donation and learn more on the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship Fund campaign website.

UToledo Benefactor Passes Away

Helen McMaster, a local philanthropist who had a passion for helping others and was known for giving to The University of Toledo, died June 14 in Perrysburg. She was 103.

Known for her kind, generous nature, McMaster had the vision and the desire to provide funding to make others’ ideas come to fruition.

Harold and Helen McMaster received honorary degrees from The University of Toledo during the McMaster Hall dedication ceremony in 1987.

Harold A. McMaster, her husband of 66 years, died in 2003. He was an inventor who made a name for himself in the glass industry and solar energy field, and later shared his wealth with several area educational institutions.

He co-founded Glasstech Inc., Glasstech Solar Inc. and Solar Cells Inc., and formed McMaster Energy Enterprises, a Toledo umbrella organization for Solar Cells, Solar Fields Inc., McMaster Fuel Limited and the McMaster Motor Co. Inc.

The McMasters donated approximately $4.5 million to The University of Toledo.

The couple’s gift of $1.2 million in 1986 — combined with $7.9 million from the state — led to the construction of the physics and astronomy building that bears their name. The five-story building with more than 42,000 square feet for classrooms and research labs opened in 1987, and the McMasters received honorary degrees from the University during the dedication ceremony. Two years later, bronze busts of the two were unveiled in the lobby of McMaster Hall.

In 1989, the McMasters gave a $1.5 million gift to UT Corp. to help extend the University’s participation in solar energy research with Solar Cells Inc. For years, UToledo researchers worked with the company, now known as First Solar LLC, and received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.

In addition, the couple personally funded two long-range UToledo research projects to produce an efficient, low-cost, non-polluting source of vehicular power and a new concept rotary engine to utilize power derived from solar energy.

Tributes are suggested to the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorder Program, account number 2600275, through The University of Toledo Foundation.

ProForma Specialty Printing Launches T-Shirt Fundraiser to Support UToledo COVID-19 Student Emergency Support Fund

ProForma Specialty Printing is launching a T-shirt fundraiser to support The University of Toledo COVID-19 Student Emergency Support Fund.

The shirts, representing the Fueling Tomorrows brand, will be supplied by longtime UToledo supporter ProForma Specialty Printing. Each shirt will cost $20 plus shipping and will be available at utoledostrong.buyproforma.com.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward the COVID-19 Student Emergency Support Fund and UToledo scholarships.

“We’re very excited about the opportunity to add to the great work being done to help UToledo students through the COVID-19 Student Emergency Support Fund,” said Billy Pierce, UToledo associate vice president of alumni engagement. “We think a T-shirt fundraiser will be another great way to continue to support this important initiative, and we hope the Rocket community will agree.”

The fundraiser will run through Monday, June 15.

Rocket Golf Classic Canceled Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

The 2020 Thomas Baither Memorial Rocket Golf Classic presented by UBS Financial Services has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The annual event, which was originally scheduled for June 18 at Stone Oak Country Club, is held every year and helps benefit The University of Toledo Athletic Department.

The 2020 Thomas Baither Memorial Rocket Golf Classic has been canceled this year.

“The Rocket Golf Classic is an event that many of our supporters look forward to every year, so we are very disappointed that we have to cancel it this year,” said Deputy Athletic Director Dave Nottke. “We appreciate their enthusiasm and support for our student-athletes, and look forward to the day in the very near future when we can once again gather together and celebrate our passion for the Rockets.

“We also very much appreciate any contributions to the Rocket Fund as we move into a significant fiscal challenge for our athletic department,” he added.

In light of the cancellation of the golf tournament, supporters may make contributions to the Athletic Department on The University of Toledo Foundation website.

Orders for Rocket Face Masks Extended to May 24

Rocket fans will have one last chance to order face masks that show off their school pride, and help UToledo students in the process.

Team Sports, a sportswear company located in Holland, Ohio, and a longtime supporter of Rocket athletics, is taking orders for Rocket logo face masks until Sunday, May 24, at 11:59 p.m. This will be the final order placed by Team Sports for the face masks.

In addition, fans can still place orders for “Toledo Rocket Strong” T-shirts.

Team Sports is contributing a substantial portion of the proceeds from the sale of both items to UToledo’s COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund. Online sales of the masks and T-shirts so far have contributed more than $10,000 to the fund, which aids UToledo students who are facing financial challenges due to the pandemic.

Face masks and shirts can be ordered on the Team Sports website.

Face Mask Sale Extended; More Than $7,000 Raised for UToledo Students

Team Sports, a sportswear company located in Holland, Ohio, and a longtime supporter of Rocket athletics, has raised more than $7,000 for UToledo students through the sale of face masks that feature the Toledo Rocket logo.

Team Sports also has been selling T-shirts with “Toledo Rocket Strong” emblazoned on the front as part of its fundraising initiative.

Matt Eberly of Team Sports models the Toledo Rocket face mask.

Matt Eberly, senior account representative of Team Sports, said more than 1,000 online orders were placed in 10 days, raising more than $7,000 for UToledo’s COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund.

Initial orders were so successful that Team Sports is now taking additional orders through Sunday, May 3, at 11:59 p.m. Face masks and shirts can be ordered online at UTRockets.com/Facemask.

“We want to thank The University of Toledo for partnering with us to help support the Rocket/COVID-19 Emergency Fund,” Eberly said. “We also want to thank everyone in Rocket Nation who purchased a face mask or a ‘Toledo Strong’ shirt. Their response has been absolutely amazing as we have raised well over $7,000 so far. We hope to break the $8,000 barrier to help support this great cause.”

“We are more than grateful for the generosity of Team Sports and their willingness to support UToledo students,” said Billy Pierce, UToledo associate vice president of alumni engagement. “Because of them, and everyone that purchased items in support of this effort, we can assist more students that need help during this pandemic.”

Eberly said orders that have been placed should be received by mail soon.

Healthcare Entrepreneur, UToledo Benefactor Passes

Frederic D. “Fritz” Wolfe, who built an empire in the long-term healthcare field and shared his wealth in the community, died April 5 at Kingston Rehabilitation of Perrysburg. He was 90.

He joined the family business, the Lima Lumber Co., after attending Yale University and the Harvard Business School. His education was punctuated by a two-year stint as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.


In 1963, Lima Lumber built its first nursing home. Four years later, Wolfe, at the helm of the family business, ventured into the skilled nursing industry and started two companies — one to manage nursing homes and one to invest in the construction and acquisition of nursing homes.

Wolfe co-founded the Health Care Fund in 1970. It was the first real estate investment trust in the nation to focus solely on nursing homes and clinics. By 1980, the company counted more than $25 million in assets. That company became Welltower, which was valued at more than $25 billion by the late 2010s.

In addition, Wolfe founded Health Care and Retirement Corp. of America in 1981. The nursing home operator was sold for $99 million in 1984.

The generous business mogul shared his wealth with several institutions, including The University of Toledo. In 1997, Wolfe Hall opened on Main Campus. The Wolfe family gave $1.5 million for the state-of-the-art research laboratories for the departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry, and, at the time, the College of Pharmacy.

After UToledo merged with the Medical University of Ohio, the Wolfes donated $2.5 million to support diabetes research through the Center for Diabetes and Endocrine Research, a collaboration between the College of Medicine and Life Sciences and the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. To honor that gift, the new home for the College of Pharmacy on Health Science Campus was named the Frederic and Mary Wolfe Center. It opened in 2011.

Wolfe was a trustee emeritus of The University of Toledo Foundation Board, on which he served from 1992 to 2003.

The philanthropist was honored by the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2009 when he received an honorary doctor of humane letters.

Donate to Assist UTMC Caregivers

Brave and selfless healthcare workers report to work every day to help those in need. Their sacrifices have never been more important than during this pandemic.

“Healthcare providers treating patients with COVID-19 are juggling the new normal, which includes finding daycare and elder care, as well as homeschooling children,” Dr. Sharon L. Gaber, president of The University of Toledo, said. “We are working to show support for our everyday heroes at The University of Toledo Medical Center.”

A campaign for the Bryan Family UTMC Emergency Assistance Fund has launched.

UToledo benefactor David Bryan is broadening the scope of the fund established by his father, Ashel G. Bryan, former chair of the Medical College of Ohio Board of Trustees and well-known businessman and philanthropist, so more UTMC personnel can receive assistance during this unprecedented time.

“We are expanding the fund to help not only nurses, but also medical technicians, therapists, nurse aides and janitorial staff members who clean and sanitize rooms daily,” Bryan said. “This fund needs to grow to meet the tremendous sacrifices these individuals make every day.”

As of April 14, $2,180 has been raised; the goal is to have 50 donors contribute to this campaign.

“I’m humbled by the outreach of members of our community who want to assist our caregivers, employees and all our team members who are working on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Michael Ellis, UTMC chief medical officer. “Thank you for your support and compassion. Together we will get through this.”

Make a donation and learn more about the drive on the Bryan Family UTMC Emergency Assistance Fund campaign website.

“Gifts will provide critical financial support to UTMC healthcare employees who are supporting us during this difficult time,” Bryan said. “This fund will be used for an employee assistance program that will provide grants to help with unexpected expenses associated with the COVID-19 environment.”

UTMC employees can complete the application to apply for the grant.

Applications will be reviewed by a committee, which will decide how to distribute the funds.

“It’s our time to help our dedicated team of UTMC caregivers and employees who make sacrifices every day to care for our community members,” Bryan said.

For more information, contact Jennifer Schaefer, senior director of development in The University of Toledo Foundation, at jennifer.giesige2@utoledo.edu.

Local Business to Sell Masks Featuring Rocket Logo

Rocket fans can show their school pride while helping fight the spread of the coronavirus and aid others in the process.

Team Sports, a sportswear company located in Holland, Ohio, and a longtime supporter of Rocket athletics, is branding and marketing face masks that feature a Toledo Rocket logo.

In addition, Team Sports is selling a “Toledo Rocket Strong” T-shirt.

The company is selling the products online and giving all proceeds to UToledo’s COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund and the American Red Cross.

“Like everybody else, we wanted to do something to help,” said Matt Eberly, senior account representative of Team Sports. “This was a perfect way to provide masks to people who want them, as well as let people show their Rocket pride.”

Eberly said he originally contacted William “Billy” Pierce, UToledo associate vice president of alumni engagement, for ideas to help with marketing a face mask to alumni. Pierce suggested a Rocket-branded mask with a portion of the proceeds going to the Rocket to Rocket/COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund and the UToledo Student Food Pantry Fund.

“Since so many people are wearing face masks now, I knew that UToledo alumni would love to have a Rocket logo on theirs,” Pierce said. “It’s a win-win. It provides support to our students who need it, and it helps get our brand out there. It’s also a chance to show support to a local business that has been a loyal supporter of our athletics program for a long time.”

Face masks and T-shirts can be ordered on the Team Sports website. The deadline for all orders is Sunday, April 19, at 11:59 p.m.