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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.

Saevig

“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.

Bosse

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.

Day of Giving Support Grows to $859,990

Alumni and friends, faculty and staff, students and UToledo retirees came together to support “Rocket Forward: You Launch Lives,” the third annual Day of Giving fundraising campaign. A total of 2,778 donors contributed $859,990 to the campaign, which took place Oct. 15 and 16.

The goal of the campaign was to create awareness about the impact philanthropy can have at UToledo when the University’s community members support this annual fundraiser.

Alexa Gaydos, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Letters, wrote a thank-you postcard to donors during the Day of Giving Fall Festival on Centennial Mall.

This year, activities took place on both Health Science Campus and Main Campus. These included a fall festival on Centennial Mall with student organizations providing games and activities to raise money for the Student Activities Fund. President Sharon L. Gaber visited both campuses Oct. 15 to help spread the word about the fundraising campaign, which supports many individuals, programs and opportunities across campus.

Gifts, designated for a wide variety of uses, were made to this third annual Day of Giving, during which campaign advocates took to social media to encourage giving.

Brady basked in the glow of the sun and adoration surrounded by, from left, Andrew Oster, Lea Westerhold and Britany Ortiz. The dog-petting station was among many events to raise funds during the Day of Giving Fall Festival on Centennial Mall.

“We want to thank all of our University of Toledo students, alumni, faculty and staff, and friends who contributed to the 2019 Day of Giving campaign,” said Cheryl Zwyer, senior associate vice president for development at The University of Toledo Foundation. “Each year, we see Rockets join together in support of so many important programs across campus. Collectively, you have created opportunities for students and faculty to complete degrees, pursue innovative research projects, and impact many of the biggest issues facing our communities. We are grateful for your generosity.”

Contributions will support scholarships and faculty research across the disciplines that impacts the northwest Ohio region and beyond.

WNBA’s All-Time Winningest Coach to Speak at Women’s Basketball Fundraiser

WNBA Washington Mystics Head Coach and General Manager Mike Thibault will be the featured speaker for the Toledo Women’s Basketball Tipoff Event Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 6:30 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

A record-tying best three-time WNBA Coach of the Year, Thibault is the league’s all-time winningest coach. Thibault and the Mystics recently finished the regular season with the best record in the East, were the top seed in the WNBA Playoffs, and won the WNBA Championship by defeating the Connecticut Sun. It is the first championship in Washington’s franchise history.

“We’re thrilled to have such an exceptional coach join us at our event,” Toledo Head Coach Tricia Cullop said. “Mike is one of the best in the business. We feel very honored to have Mike spend the evening with our fans and program.”

The cost to attend the fundraiser is $55 per person, $100 per couple and $10 per child (age 12 and younger) with all proceeds going to the women’s basketball program.

Attendees also can purchase an eight-person table for $500 or reserve the MVP package for $1,000, which includes a reserved table for eight and a signed Toledo basketball.

Attendees will eat food donated by local restaurants while vying for numerous prizes throughout the course of the event.

For more information or to reserve your spot/table for the event, contact Director of Operations Lauren Flaum at 419.530.2363 or lauren.flaum2@utoledo.edu. RSVPs are request by Tuesday, Oct. 22.

Day of Giving College Events and Giving Stations

UToledo’s third annual Day of Giving will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 15 and 16.

The 36-hour campaign, “Rocket Forward: You Launch Lives,” will begin at midnight Oct. 15 and end at noon Oct. 16.

Several events are planned Tuesday, Oct. 15:

Day of Giving Fall Festival — 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Centennial Mall

• Student organizations will host booths with games.

• The Rocket Marching Band and UToledo cheerleaders will perform.

• President Sharon L. Gaber will greet students from noon to 12:30 p.m.

• The festival also will offer a dog-petting station, corn hole games, a basketball contest, pie in the face, pumpkin bowling and pumpkin golf.

College of Business and Innovation — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Savage & Associates Business Complex Second-Floor Atrium

• Giving station with ice cream.

Judith Herb College of Education — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Gillham Hall

• Giving station with popcorn.

College of Health and Human Services — 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct. 16, 8 to 10:30 a.m. in the Health and Human Services Building Atrium

• Giving station with popcorn, other snacks and prizes.

Jesup Scott Honors College — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside MacKinnon Hall

• Giving station with snacks.

College of Law — 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Law Center Patio

• Fall Fest hosted by the Student Bar Association: Donate to decorate mini-pumpkins; play corn hole, ring toss and horseshoes; and eat kettle corn, caramel apples and cider.

Student Recreation Center — 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

• Giving station; popcorn from 2 to 6 p.m.

University College — 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Wednesday, Oct. 16, 9 to 10:30 a.m. in Rocket Hall

• Giving station with popcorn, snacks, and a chance to spin the wheel to win prizes with a donation.

The University of Toledo Medical Center — starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 15 and 16, in the Four Seasons Bistro

• Giving station in the cafeteria.

Colleges of Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and Medicine and Life Sciences — 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Collier Building Lobby

College of Nursing will host a Day of Giving party with a giving station, snacks, a pumpkin decorating contest, music and entertainment. President Sharon L. Gaber and Health Science Campus deans will be on hand for Day of Giving selfie photos with students, faculty and staff.

Give online at rocketforward.utoledo.edu Oct. 15-16 and share your UToledo story on social media at #RocketForward.

Hussain Lecture to Chart Transformation of Medical Science

The great Greek physician Galen of Pergamon was one of the most influential forces in medical history, with his theories informing the profession for centuries.

Unfortunately, many of Galen’s ideas were wrong.

“For nearly 2,000 years, we were practicing medicine like it was the Stone Age. There was nothing scientific about it,” said Dr. Syed Tasnim Raza, a cardiothoracic surgeon and associate professor of surgery at Columbia University Medical Center.

Tasnim Raza

Thankfully, real scientific discovery eventually won out, helping to lead medicine into the cutting-edge field it is today.

Tasnim Raza, who has spent the last decade studying the history of medicine after more than three decades as a heart surgeon in Buffalo, N.Y., will outline those radical changes at the 11th annual S. Amjad Hussain Visiting Lecture in the History of Medicine and Surgery Thursday, Oct. 17, at 5 p.m.

The free, public lecture will be held in Health Education Building Room 110 on Health Science Campus. RSVPs are requested; email hscevents@utoledo.edu or call 419.383.6300.

One of Galen’s primary mistakes was assuming the anatomy of animals he dissected was wholly applicable to humans. For 1,300 years, no one dared question him.

“The thinking was, ‘If Galen said it, it has to be true,’” said Tasnim Raza. “We need to have the strength to challenge conventional wisdom, dogma and current thinking to improve and continue to change.”

The S. Amjad Hussain Visiting Lecture in the History of Medicine and Surgery was created in honor of Hussain, professor emeritus of cardiovascular surgery and humanities, a former member of the UToledo Board of Trustees, and columnist for The Blade.

“Dr. Tasnim Raza has had a deep interest in the history of medicine and has just finished a book manuscript on the history of heart surgery. He is a man who is well-versed in not only the subject of surgery, but also in the arts and humanities,” Hussain said. “The study of the history of medicine is important because it shows us the distance we have covered and the path we have traversed to reach the present. History being a continuum, we cannot chart a future unless we know the past.”

In part, the lecture series helped further inspire Tasnim Raza’s interest in the history of medicine after he came to Toledo in 2013 to hear author Wendy Moore speak about her biography of the 18th-century Scottish physician Dr. John Hunter.

Tasnim Raza’s sister also has presented the Hussain lecture. Dr. Azra Raza, a well-known oncologist and cancer researcher, and Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine at the Columbia University Medical Center, visited Toledo in 2017.

Azra Raza will join Tasnim Raza in Toledo to kick off a book tour for her forthcoming title, “The First Cell: And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last.”