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UToledo Launches COVID-19 Emergency Support Crowdfunding Campaign to Help Students

As the world grapples with the growing coronavirus pandemic, The University of Toledo has created a fund to assist students during this unprecedented time.

Rocket nation is asked to consider donating to the COVID-19 Student Emergency Support Crowdfunding Campaign.

The University of Toledo Foundation is partnering with the UToledo Division of Student Affairs with a goal to raise $30,000 by the end of the fiscal year. The campaign collected $10,000 in a matter of hours after launching, and, as of March 23, more than $20,000 has been raised.

“The outpouring of support since this fund launched has been amazing,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We want to thank alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the University who are coming together to assist our students. We are Rockets helping Rockets.”

“So many UToledo students are being impacted by this new reality we are living,” Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell, vice president for student affairs and vice provost, said. “Within a week, 1,159 of our students can no longer work on campus, and 125 students are not able to return home to their native countries.”

“Gifts through this campaign will alleviate some financial stress and worries for UToledo students who are struggling to maintain basic needs,” said Dr. Michele Soliz, associate vice president for student success and inclusion.

This online giving campaign will provide emergency relief for students in need. Donations will help students facing financial hardships pay for housing, utilities, car repairs, medical bills, food and toiletries.

“Together, we can make a difference for our UToledo students,” Cockrell said. “Gifts of any amount will be appreciated.”

Make a donation and learn more about the drive on the COVID-19 Student Emergency Support Crowdfunding Campaign website.

UToledo students can apply for up to $500. For details, go to the Division of Student Affairs website.

“We encourage students in need to apply for help,” Soliz said. “We will review applications and work with the Office of Financial Aid to distribute funds.”

For more information, contact the Office of Multicultural Student Success at omss@utoledo.edu.

Eberly Center Honors Legacy of Past While Looking to Future

Catharine S. Eberly, a member of The University of Toledo’s Board of Trustees in the 1970s, served as an advocate for women. In 1978, she helped to establish a campus women’s center and sat on its advisory board.

The following year, Eberly died in a tragic car accident. In 1980, the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women was named to honor her legacy.


“I never met my grandmother, but from the stories I hear she was a remarkable woman — kind, thoughtful and generous,” said her granddaughter, Sloan Eberly Mann. “At her funeral, John Straub, president of The University of Toledo Board, stated, ‘I believe Kate’s most lasting contribution … is her pressure on us for sensitivity to the goals and aspirations of women. She did this by example, by her calm logic, and, when necessary, with forceful, but always polite, persuasion.’”

Focusing on advocacy, education, empowerment and student financial assistance, the Eberly Center has evolved through the past 40 years to reflect the changing needs of women on campus and in the community. Current programs include:

Kate’s Closet — professional women’s clothing at no cost;

Courageous Conversation — community dialogue series on intersectional gender equity;

Monthly Teach-Ins — exploring personal, professional and political issues that impact women;

Suffrage Summit — Wednesday and Thursday, Sept. 16 and 17, in partnership with the League of Women Voters; and

Scholarships — for women in STEM careers, seeking a second degree, impacted by domestic violence, and those who are single parents.

Eberly Mann’s father, Michael, who died in August 2018, also served on the center’s advisory board. Now she fills that position. “My grandmother and my father believed education is the key to equality,” she said, “and I will continue to honor both of their legacies as best I can.”

Last fall, the Eberly Center welcomed a new director.

“Dr. Angela Fitzpatrick is shaping a strong vision for the center’s future, which honors the legacy of the past, but also recognizes the importance of meeting needs of women today,” Eberly Mann said.

“It is a remarkable time to be a woman,” Fitzpatrick said. “Over the last few years, we have seen a powerful resurgence among women mobilizing to end social and political inequities.”

She said the center is “tapping into this power by creating spaces where women feel empowered and valued, and can develop tools for personal and professional growth.”

Despite the gains women made in the past century, significant inequities still exist in political office, student loan debt and wage gap.

“I believe it is our responsibility to advocate for gender equitable practices and policies,” she said, “and assist women in reaching their full potential.”

As a first-generation college student who was a young mother, Fitzpatrick noted, “Sometimes we need someone to remind us of our strength and to help us find the way forward. I feel passionate about using my position here to open doors for women and remove barriers that
might prevent them from walking through those doors.”

The Eberly Center is developing its strategic plan, exploring the needs of women on campus and in the community, and making data-driven decisions about programs and services to best address those needs.

“I am a firm believer in collaboration and building power together,” Fitzpatrick said. “Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you want to partner.”

For more information about the Eberly Center, or to make a financial contribution, contact Fitzpatrick at angela.fitzpatrick@utoledo.edu or 419.530.8574.

Pianist to Play Art Tatum Memorial Jazz Scholarship Concert Feb. 19

The University of Toledo Department of Music will welcome jazz pianist Ellen Rowe as the guest artist for the 2020 Art Tatum Memorial Jazz Scholarship Concert Wednesday, Feb. 19.

She will take the stage at 7 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.


Her program will feature selections by Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin, Irene Himmelhoch, Bronislaw Kaper and Ned Washington, and Nacio Herb Brown and Gus Kahn, as well as three original compositions.

Rowe is the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation at the University of Michigan. She is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where she studied with Rayburn Wright and Bill Dobbins. Prior to her appointment at Michigan, Rowe served as director of jazz studies at the University of Connecticut.

She has performed at jazz clubs and on concert series throughout the United States and has toured in Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, South Africa and Australia. Also active as a clinician, Rowe has given workshops and master classes at the Melbourne Conservatory in Australia; Hochshule fur Musik in Cologne, Germany; Grieg Academy in Bergen, Norway; and the Royal Academy of Music in London. In addition, she has appeared as a guest artist at festivals and Universities around the country.

CDs out under her name include “Sylvan Way,” “Wishing Well,” “Denali Pass” and “Courage Music.” Her 2019 project, “Momentum — Portraits of Women in Motion,” features Ingrid Jensen, Tia Fuller, Marion Hayden and Allison Miller.

Rowe’s compositions and arrangements have been performed and recorded by jazz ensembles and orchestras around the world; these include the Village Vanguard Orchestra, BBC Jazz Orchestra, U.S. Navy Commodores, Berlin and NDR Radio Jazz Orchestras, London Symphony, DIVA and the Perth Jazz Orchestra. Many of these works can be heard on recordings, including “Leave It to DIVA,” “The Perth Jazz Orchestra,” “Bingo” by The Bird of Paradise Orchestra, and “I Believe In You” by DIVA. She recently was a composer-in-residence at the Eastman School of Music and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

When not leading her own trio, quartet or quintet, Rowe is in demand as a sideman, having performed with a wide variety of jazz artists, including Kenny Wheeler, Tim Ries, Tom Harrell, John Clayton and Steve Turre. She also was a guest on two installments of Marian McPartland’s “Piano Jazz” on National Public Radio.

Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the UToledo Art Tatum Memorial Scholarship program.

Tickets — $15 for general admission, and $5 for students, children and seniors — will be available at the door, but purchasing them in advance is recommended. Go to the School of Visual and Performing Arts’ website or call the Center for Performing Arts Box Office at 419.530.ARTS (2787).

Rocket Romance in the Air: Show Love for UToledo and Donate

Love is in the air with the Rocket Romance campaign, which launched Feb. 1 and runs through Saturday, Feb. 29.

All month long, the University is celebrating love for UToledo and the many Rocket romances that have bloomed on campus throughout the years.

Brittany Seigneur Kupresanin and Marshall Kupresanin were members of Blue Crew when they met in 2008. They married in 2017 and welcomed a new little Rocket, Oliver, in November.[/caption]More than 70 couples spanning from their 20s to their 90s are featured in a multi-channel fundraising campaign to help Rockets fall in love with UToledo all over again.

“The campaign is a great way to reignite your passion for the University while sharing your love stories,” said Heather Slough, director of annual giving and leadership engagement. “Help inspire others to give and create the next chapter for future generations of Rockets.”

Fueling futures and love — that’s The University of Toledo. Blue Crew members Triplicious and Mr. Business met when they were freshmen in 2008.

“We were friends for two years before we started dating,” Brittany Seigneur Kupresanin, success coach in the Center for Success Coaching, said. “We spent so much time together traveling to games and events.”

So when Marshall Kupresanin decided to pop the question in 2016, he engineered a surprise on campus.

“He proposed to me at the exact spot on campus where we met. We’re still involved with Blue Crew as alumni, and he said there was an initiation ceremony on campus for a new Blue Crew member,” Seigneur Kupresanin recalled. “As we turned the corner to enter the east courtyard by University Hall, I see all these people, and Blue Crew members held up signs that said, ‘Will you marry me?’ And Marshall got down on one knee. It was very sweet, especially because our family and friends were there.”

The two married in 2017. Brittany received a bachelor’s degree in bioengineering in 2013 and a master’s degree in counselor education in 2015, and Marshall graduated with bachelor’s degrees in history and theatre in 2012, and a law degree in 2015.

Falling in love on campus runs in the family. Seigneur Kupresanin’s parents met while students. Mark Harris, a 1981 UToledo alumnus, met Ann Seigneur Harris at a Sigma Phi Epsilon party in 1980.

And the family welcomed a new member, Oliver, who was born in November. Coincidentally, Brittany went into labor exactly 11 years to the date she and Marshall met on campus.

“We all hope Oliver is a future Rocket,” said Seigneur Kupresanin, who just returned from maternity leave to work at her alma mater.

This month, UToledo alumni, employees, students and fans are asked to ignite the flame in others and show they care. Make gifts to the Rocket to Rocket Fund to provide emergency assistance for students in need, to the Rocket Fund to provide unrestricted support for Rocket athletics, or to the UT Foundation General Scholarship. Then spread the love and post or tweet favorite love stories or photos on social media with #RocketRomance to celebrate.

All gifts to the campaign are tax-deductible, and there are a variety of payment options available; these include installments and payroll deduction for UToledo employees.

“Whether you give $5 or $5,000, every gift is valued and appreciated, regardless of amount,” Slough said.

“Because we’re sharing the love, too, all donors to this campaign will receive a special gift,” Slough added.

For more information or to make a pledge, visit the Rocket Romance campaign website.

Associate VP of Alumni Relations to Retire

Dan Saevig has been part of The University of Toledo every day for more than half of his life, first as a student and then as an employee at the institution he loves.

That will change soon: The associate vice president of alumni engagement and executive director of the UToledo Alumni Association will retire Monday, March 2.


“I love The University of Toledo; I know its life-changing powers,” Saevig said.

The native of Oregon, Ohio, received a bachelor of arts degree in communication and a master of business administration degree from UToledo in 1984 and 1989, respectively.

Then Saevig joined the staff at his alma mater as assistant director of alumni relations in 1990. Three years later, he was promoted to executive director of alumni relations. He left the University in 1999, but returned to campus in 2002 as associate vice president of alumni relations.

“Dan has dedicated his life to The University of Toledo. With his Rocket passion and energy, he has helped grow UToledo’s alumni participation, as well as alumni programs and donations,” President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We thank Dan for his tremendous service to the University for 27 years.”

Under Saevig’s leadership, the Office of Alumni Engagement has:

• Upped its annual programs from 40 in 1990 to 200 in 2019.

• Grown UToledo Alumni Association membership five consecutive years; this includes an 8% increase last year and an 8% increase so far this fiscal year, totaling more than 27,000 members around the globe.

• Helped increase alumni donations from 2.59% in 2015 to 5.37% last year as measured by U.S. News & World Report, with a portion of membership dues as a gift to the UT Foundation; 66% of donors last year were members of the UToledo Alumni Association.

“When I started working in the alumni office, we were mostly promoting events in Toledo. Now we truly are a national program,” Saevig said.

He added he is proud of the diversity of the UToledo Alumni Association Board and how the Koester Alumni Pavilion was a project that came together in six months in 2012. “The Koester Alumni Pavilion, a gathering spot just west of the Glass Bowl, is a real point of pride for alumni and friends of the University,” Saevig said.

In addition, he played a pivotal role in the expansion of Art on the Mall, the UToledo Alumni Association’s signature event that started in 1992 and has become a summer tradition. The UToledo Alumni Association also is financially secure, having increased its reserves by 300% during his tenure.

“I can leave UToledo knowing we have the right person to lead the Office of Alumni Engagement for the next 20 years,” Saevig said. “[William] Billy Pierce is that person. He’s an alumnus, he’s well-liked, he’s personable — alumni will enjoy connecting with him.”

Pierce, senior director of alumni engagement, will succeed Saevig.

A longtime UToledo donor, Saevig is giving a $150,000 parting gift to his alma mater — provided there is no official sendoff celebration.

“The donation is a thank-you for the University’s impact on me and my family,” he said. “It’s important for employees to give back. We are blessed to be working at UToledo. I wouldn’t be who I am without the friendships and relationships I developed here over the years. I want to show my support for the institution that I love.”

Women & Philanthropy Offering up to $65,000 for 2020 Grant

Friday, Feb. 14, is the deadline to apply for a grant from Women & Philanthropy at The University of Toledo.

UToledo employees and students from all campuses are eligible to apply for funding up to $65,000. To be considered for a grant, all application guidelines must be followed. Grant applications are available on the Women & Philanthropy website.

The Women & Philanthropy Grants Committee will review and evaluate the applications, and the general membership will vote to determine the recipient(s). Grant amounts vary from year to year.

Grant recipients will be announced in May.

The inaugural grant, in the amount of $15,000, was awarded in 2008 to Carlson Library to commission a glass sculpture by artist Tom McGlauchlin. That sculpture titled “A University Woman” is on display in the library concourse and has become the model for the Women & Philanthropy logo.

Since then, Women & Philanthropy has funded classrooms; an art gallery; locker room enhancements; a sensory-friendly medical examination room; the hospitality area in the William and Carol Koester Alumni Pavilion; renovations to the Savage Arena media room; computer-based educational displays in Ritter Planetarium and Lake Erie Center; a computer lab in the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women; a playground at the Kobacker Center; a student family room in University College; an interactive periodic table display; a Genetics Analysis Instrumentation Center; the Thrombosis and Hemostasis Research Center; and a Germ-Free Facility for Biomedical Research.

A complete list of awards and winners is available on the Women & Philanthropy website.

Since 2008, Women & Philanthropy has gifted $558,687 in 20 grants to a wide array of programs and initiatives to The University of Toledo. Women & Philanthropy is able to give substantial gifts to the University by pooling its members’ resources and making monetary awards in the form of grants.

For more information, contact Sarah Metzger in the Office of Alumni Engagement at sarah.metzger2@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4237.

University Opens New Germ-Free Research Facility

The University of Toledo is expanding its microbiome research capabilities with the creation of a new germ-free laboratory that will provide unique opportunities for scientists investigating the link between gut bacteria and chronic conditions such as hypertension.

Researchers in the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences have been at the forefront of innovative research that suggests the particular makeup of our individual gut bacteria has major implications on our health.

Doing the honors to mark the creation of a new germ-free laboratory on Health Science Campus were, from left, Scott Bechaz, associate director of the Department of Laboratory Animal Resources; Dr. Lisa Root, attending veterinarian and director of the Department of Laboratory Animal Resources; Dr. Matam Vijay-Kumar, director of the UToledo Microbiome Consortium; Dee Talmage, chair of Women & Philanthropy; Marja Dooner, chair of the Women & Philanthropy Grants Committee; Dr. Bina Joe, Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology; and Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and executive vice president for clinical affairs.

The research is particularly promising with relation to high blood pressure — so much so that the University has recognized the work among its spotlight areas of unique distinction.

“We have been working with available models asking as many research questions as we can. We are getting definitive links, but we haven’t yet found definitive answers for mechanisms,” said Dr. Bina Joe, Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. “It is our hope this new lab will help provide those answers and open avenues for new therapeutic methods.”

By studying germ-free animal models that completely lack microbiota, Joe and other UToledo researchers will seek to further their understanding of how the colonies of tiny organisms that call our bodies home benefit or harm human health.

The project received $65,000 in grant funding from Women & Philanthropy and matching funds from the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

While germ-free models are used for a variety of research applications, UToledo’s lab will be one of the only academic sites in the country with germ-free rats, which Joe said more closely mimic human disease states.

Preliminary work on the new Women & Philanthropy Germ-Free Facility for Biomedical Research is underway, with the facility expected to be up and running in 2020 under the guidance of Dr. Matam Vijay-Kumar, director of the UToledo Microbiome Consortium.

“The Women & Philanthropy grant is what is fueling this. We’re extremely grateful for their investment,” Joe said. “I think they see the value in promoting a woman scientist, and they see the value in the technology. We at The University of Toledo want to remain the first to fully understand these links and mechanisms in order to develop new clinical approaches. Rather than taking pills and monitoring your blood pressure every day, you might eventually be monitoring your microbiota and transferring beneficial ones as needed.”

“Women & Philanthropy is proud to be a part of such critical research and cutting-edge technology here at The University of Toledo,” Dee Talmage, chair of Women & Philanthropy, said. “It is a pleasure to support this important medical research, particularly when it has such a national impact.”

Women & Philanthropy has allocated up to $65,000 for 2020 grants to be awarded next spring. Learn more on the Women & Philanthropy website.

Activist to Talk About Global War on Terror

Author, activist and policy analyst Phyllis Bennis will present the 19th Annual Maryse and Ramzy Mikhail Memorial Lecture Sunday, Nov. 16, at The University of Toledo.

She will discuss “Syria, Turkey, the Kurds, ISIS, and the New Global War on Terror” at 3 p.m. in the Law Center McQuade Auditorium.

“We are honored to welcome Phyllis Bennis to campus to speak on such a timely topic,” Kate Abu-Absi, outreach and retention specialist in the College of Arts and Letters, said. “She writes and speaks widely around the world on Middle East issues, including Palestine-Israel, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, and U.S. foreign policy.”

Bennis is a Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington and of the Amsterdam-based Transnational Institute.

She is a co-founder of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights and the Iraq-era anti-war coalition United for Peace and Justice. She co-chaired the United Nations-based civil society International Coordinating Network on Palestine and serves on the national board of Jewish Voice for Peace.

Bennis’ most recent books are “Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Primer” and “Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror: A Primer.” She appears in the media, lectures at universities and teach-ins, and briefs parliamentarians and government officials.

She has served as an informal adviser to several top UN officials on Palestine issues, and was short-listed twice to become the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied territory.

The free, public lecture has been held continuously at The University of Toledo since 2001, and is co-sponsored this year by the College of Arts and Letters, with WGTE as the media sponsor.

The Mikhail Lecture Series is sponsored through the Mikhail Endowment Fund, 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.

The fund supports an annual lecture dealing with Arab culture, history, politics, economics and other aspects of life in the Middle East, including issues of peace and justice.

More information about the event is available on the Maryse and Ramzy Mikhail Memorial Lecture website.

Those who wish to make a tax-deductible contribution to the fund can go to the UT Foundation website.

Catholic Studies Lecture to Discuss Women Priests

“I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent,” according to St. Paul in the Bible (1 Timothy 2:12).

In the modern age, this thousand-year-old scripture is being challenged in many Christian denominations.

The University of Toledo Annual Murray/Bacik Lecture in Catholic Studies will tackle this question. The presentation titled “Should Catholics Have Women Priests?” will take place Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. in the Law Center McQuade Auditorium.

Dr. Peter Feldmeier, the Murray/Bacik Professor of Catholic Studies at the University, will be the speaker.

“My hope is that people coming to the lecture become informed on the complexity of the issue, its arguments for and against, and perhaps even come to their own conclusions,” Feldmeier said. “While it is something of an in-house debate in Catholicism, it ought not to be imagined as merely a Catholic issue.”

It also is a cultural issue: Should feminism as it is being advanced in the larger culture be advanced in religion?

Feldmeier said he and Dr. Yonatan Miller, director of the UToledo Center for Religious Understanding and assistant professor of religious studies, pondered the Catholic Church’s investigation on the possibility of ordaining women as deacons. The conversation moved to the priesthood itself and how Catholicism has responded to the challenge — or failed to respond.

Presented by the UToledo Center for Religious Understanding, the free, public lecture will be followed by a dessert reception.

For more information, email cfru@utoledo.edu.

Serving Healthcare Needs of Transgender Population Topic of Upcoming Lecture

Providing culturally sensitive care to transgender individuals will be the topic of the 12th annual Dorothy Hussain Distinguished Lectureship hosted by The University of Toledo College of Nursing.

Dr. Jordon Bosse, a registered nurse and project manager of research and education for Boulder Care Inc., will be the keynote speaker.


The free, public lecture, “What’s the ‘T’? How to Provide Patient-Centered, Culturally Sensitive Care to Transgender People,” will be held Tuesday, Oct. 29, from 1 to 3 p.m. in Collier Building Room 1000. Register in advance through the College of Nursing website. Students do not need to register.

Bosse, who holds a Ph.D. in nursing science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has worked with vulnerable and marginalized populations in both the social service and healthcare fields for more than two decades. Much of his work has been focused on the needs of the LGBTQA+ community.

According to Bosse, many transgender or nonbinary people have had negative experiences in healthcare because of difficulty finding providers who have the knowledge, skills and experience to work with transgender and nonbinary people, a lack of understanding from physicians, or even the binary choices presented on forms and electronic medical records.

One of the best things healthcare providers can do, he said, is educate themselves.

“Caring for transgender and nonbinary patients isn’t a clinical specialty. You will likely come in contact with people from diverse gender groups in the course of your practice. The only way to know is to ask,” he said. “Get in the habit of asking all patients what they would like to be called, what pronouns they use and then use them. If people give responses you’ve not heard before, it’s OK to ask for more information.”

Bosse will be joined by Dr. Michelle Boose and Dr. Robert Gottfried, both assistant professors in the Department of Family Medicine in the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, for the conversation on serving healthcare needs of the transgender population.

The lecture is named after the late Dorothy Gladys Hussain, whose professional career spanned 32 years as a staff nurse and critical care nurse at the former Medical College of Ohio Hospital. She was known for patient advocacy and championing patients’ rights.