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Rockets Start GoFundMe Page to Assist Family of Player; Scholarship Fund to be Established

A GoFundMe page has been created to assist the family of University of Toledo defensive lineman Jahneil Douglas, who was shot and killed Tuesday night in Toledo. The fund will help pay for funeral costs, as well as assist Douglas’ children.

The page was started by former teammate Mitchell Guadagni, the Rockets’ starting quarterback the past two seasons.

“We all loved Jahneil and we loved his family,” Guadagni said. “[Former Rocket teammate] Nate Childress and I were talking about Jahneil and decided we wanted to do something to help his family and his beautiful children. Jahneil will always be a Rocket, and he will always be in our hearts.”

Toledo Head Football Coach Jason Candle said he is proud of the way the players have come together to help their teammate’s family.

“Yesterday was a terrible day for the Rocket football family,” Candle said. “We are still reeling from the loss of JD. Coming together as a family is important during these trying times, and I am happy to see our Rockets step up like this. JD’s impact will be forever felt on Toledo football.”

UToledo Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien added that a scholarship fund in Douglas’ name will be forthcoming.

“This has been such a tragic loss for Jahneil’s family and for our football program,” O’Brien said. “Jahneil was a fine young man and a great Rocket, so we felt it was only fitting to create some kind of lasting legacy to honor his memory.”

Access the GoFundMe page for Douglas’ family.

Postel Begins Role as Interim President

The University of Toledo is under new leadership with Interim President Gregory Postel.

Postel began his appointment as the University’s interim president on July 6 following the departure of Dr. Sharon L. Gaber, who accepted the position of chancellor at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. He had served as a special advisor to the Board of Trustees since June 17.

Gregory Postel

Postel

Postel is the former interim president and executive vice president for health affairs at the University of Louisville (UofL). Prior to joining UToledo, he served as the senior client partner representing healthcare services and higher education at Korn Ferry, a global organizational consulting firm.

Postel has more than 25 years of leadership experience with university operations, academic medical centers and clinical research, as well as university governance, teaching and research.

“I am truly appreciative of and humbled by the vote of confidence from the Board of Trustees,” Postel said. “I am thoroughly impressed by the mission of The University of Toledo and the outstanding work that has been performed by the campus community under the leadership of President Gaber. This is a very strong foundation on which to build. I’m eager to get started and to work together to make The University of Toledo an even better place.”

In addition to an accomplished career as an academic interventional neuroradiologist, Postel served 18 years as chair of the Department of Radiology at the UofL School of Medicine and held the positions of vice dean for clinical affairs and chair of the board at University Medical Center in Louisville. He was the founding board chair and later CEO of University of Louisville Physicians. Postel served as interim president of UofL in 2017-18 and also spent four years as its executive vice president for health affairs.

During his time in leadership at UofL, Postel oversaw the design and implementation of two academic affiliations, including an eight-year, $33 million per year pediatric affiliation with Norton Healthcare and a $23 million per year adult affiliation agreement with KentuckyOne Health. He also led the planning and construction of the $80 million Pediatrics Medical Office Building; management transition and subsequent board leadership of University of Louisville Hospital; complete restructuring and implementation of the health sciences center budget and creation of two consecutive balanced budgets in the context of flat tuition and with no program closures; and reorganization of the athletics department.

A graduate of the College of Wooster and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Postel completed a residency in radiology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and a fellowship in neuroradiology at the Mayo Clinic Foundation.

The University plans to launch a national search for its 18th president in the coming months.

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

Johnson

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 Faculty Athletics Representative Named

Dr. Sharon L. Gaber, president of The University of Toledo, has named Dr. Dana Hollie to serve in the position of Faculty Athletics Representative.

The Faculty Athletics Representative serves as an essential liaison between the University’s president, its athletic department, the Mid-American Conference and the NCAA. Hollie replaces Dr. Mary Powers, professor of pharmacy practice, who concluded her term as Faculty Athletics Representative after serving in that role for the past five years.

Hollie

“Dr. Hollie’s academic background, integrity and knowledge of the University make her an ideal choice to serve as our Faculty Athletics Representative. The University will be well-served by her leadership in collaboration with Athletic Director Mike O’Brien, coaches, academic advisers and student-athletes,” Gaber said. “I’d also like to recognize Dr. Powers for her service in this role and the impact she has had on the University as an alumna and dedicated faculty member.”

Hollie is an associate professor of accounting in the College of Business and Innovation, and holds the Alan H. and Karen A. Barry Endowed Professor of Accounting Chair in the college. Hollie earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and later earned a master of business administration from George Mason, a master of science in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Ph.D. in accounting from Washington University. She served as a visiting academic scholar with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the 2019-20 academic year.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve as the NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative for The University of Toledo,” Hollie said. “UToledo has very talented student-athletes and coaches, and serving as the Faculty Athletics Representative provides me an opportunity to be even more engaged with students’ athletic and academic successes.”

UToledo student-athletes have an impressive history of academic accomplishment. The Rockets have earned a collective semester GPA of 3.3 or higher in each of the past three semesters, including a record 3.527 GPA this past spring. Toledo also has been the recipient of the Mid-American Conference Institutional Academic Achievement Award in six of the past nine years. That award is presented annually to the conference institution that achieves the highest overall institutional GPA for student-athletes for the academic year.

“The academic success our student-athletes have earned demonstrates our commitment to ensuring their excellence in the classroom,” O’Brien said. “The Faculty Athletics Representative is an important part of maintaining that culture, and Dana’s experience and leadership will only make our team stronger. I would also like to personally thank Mary Powers for her outstanding service and commitment to our athletic program and our student-athletes these past five years.”

Former Toledo Women’s Basketball Player Signs Pro Contract in Italy

Former Toledo women’s basketball player Mariella Santucci has signed a professional contract to play for Passalacqua Ragusa in her home country of Italy.

Santucci becomes the eighth Rocket to play professionally overseas under three-time Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year Tricia Cullop, joining Melissa Goodall (Italy and Spain), Naama Shafir (Israel), Andola Dortch (Belarus), Inma Zanoguera (Italy), Brenae Harris (Spain), Janice Monakana (Great Britain) and most recently Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott (Spain and Great Britain) on that list.

In addition, former Rockets Kaayla McIntyre, Janelle Reed-Lewis, Dortch and Harris currently play for the Toledo Threat, which is part of the Women’s Professional Basketball Organization.

“Since the first day Mariella stepped on campus at Toledo, it was her goal to play professionally,” Cullop said. “I’m incredibly happy to see her goal become a reality. We’re so appreciative of the hard work, dedication and leadership that she brought to our program, and I now look forward to becoming a fan of Passalacqua Ragusa and cheering for her.”

Passalacqua Ragusa plays in Italian-Serie A1, the premier national league for women’s basketball clubs in Italy.

This past year, Santucci averaged 10.9 points, a squad-best 6.3 rebounds, a team-high 5.2 assists and a team-best 1.5 steals in 30.5 minutes per game for Toledo. The only Rocket to start every contest in 2019-20, Santucci led the Mid-American Conference in helpers (160), and she ranked second in assist/turnover ratio (1.70, 160-94), 10th in free-throw percentage (.719, 105 of 146), 12th in defensive caroms (4.77 rebounds per game, 148), and 15th in overall rebounding (194).

A 2019-20 team captain, Santucci scored in double figures on 16 occasions during her final season wearing the Midnight Blue and Gold, the third-highest total on the team, including a career-best 31 points against Miami.

A school-record three-time Academic All-MAC honoree, Santucci wrapped up her collegiate career fifth in program history in career assists (614) and minutes played (3,878), sixth in steals (202), eighth in games played (130) and 24th in points (1,103). She graduated as the only player in school annals to tally at least 1,000 points, 600 assists, 500 rebounds and 200 steals in a career.

Rockets Move to Digital Ticketing for Athletic Events

The University of Toledo Athletic Department has announced it will transition exclusively to digital ticketing for all ticketed athletic events, beginning with the 2020 football season. All season tickets, single-game tickets and parking passes are now fully digital and accessible via smartphones.

Digital ticketing provides the ultimate in convenience and increases safety by eliminating the physical handling of tickets. Digital ticketing also reduces frequent issues related to paper tickets, including theft, lost tickets, shipping delays, and the need for an early confirmation of a shipping address. Other advantages feature the ability for ticket purchasers to easily transfer tickets and manage their account via a smartphone.

Digital ticketing is the safest, quickest, most cost-efficient and sanitary way for Rocket fans to receive their season tickets, mini-plan tickets, single-game tickets or parking passes. With this new process, fans can download and store their tickets to their smartphone, transfer tickets to a friend via text at the push of a button, and manage their account utilizing the new My Account 2.0 page when logging into their account on utrockets.com/myaccount.

“Many of our fans have already been using digital ticketing, so they are familiar with its many advantages over paper tickets,” said Deputy Athletic Director Dave Nottke. “We truly believe digital ticketing will enhance the game-day experience for fans and will allow us to provide improved customer service.”

For assistance or questions, go to UTRockets.com/digitalticketing, call the Rocket Ticket Office at 419.530.GOLD (4653), email at athleticticketoffice@utoledo.edu, or stop by the ticket office during normal business hours.

To renew or purchase 2020 Toledo football season tickets, go to the Toledo Rockets website.

UToledo Students Examine Human Consumption in International Biodesign Challenge Summit 2020

Four University of Toledo students have teamed up to critically investigate the behaviors of human consumption. Their project is competing in the international Biodesign Challenge Summit 2020, held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The competition is being held online June 15-19, but the video presentations are available for view anytime. Winners will be announced June 19 on the Biodesign Challenge Summit website.

The UToledo project, “Wastr: Reassessing Our Trash,” was the brainchild of students Jarrett Cunningham, who graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in film and video in May; Madalyn Jones, a senior majoring in environmental science; Michael Miller, a bioengineering major with an economics minor; and Mohamed Nawras, who received a bachelor of science degree in biology in 2018 and is a doctor of medicine candidate for fall 2020.

The team developed a presentation highlighting the paradox of creating an eco-friendly product that adds to consumptive behaviors. The ultimate goal is to get people to become more aware of the amount of waste they personally generate.

A video presentation of the project states, “Landfills are reaching capacity at alarming rates, impacting the environment tremendously while also contributing to a culture of consumption.”

Students from UToledo prepare for the competition every year through a class offered in the Department of Art. The spring 2020 Biodesign Challenge course brought together students from multiple disciplines into the Department of Art under the direction of faculty members Brian Carpenter and Eric Zeigler. Students worked in interdisciplinary teams to research real-world problems and then sought to solve those problems with biotechnology and/or biomaterials. This year’s groups addressed potential eutrophication solutions, antimicrobial structures, innovative health testing devices, and consumption.

The Biodesign Challenge course asks students to stretch their known capabilities by making meaningful connections between disciplines and designing unique solutions to complex problems in a normal year. As the COVID-19 pandemic struck and the course moved to virtual learning, the teams continued to work extensively on their projects.

“We are truly amazed at the tenacity of our students, and the outcomes from remote research they were able to accomplish in such a difficult time,” Carpenter, assistant professor of art and gallery director, said.

“We are proud of the work every student has done, and we are excited to compete internationally again,” Zeigler, associate lecturer of art, said.

UToledo College of Law Named Among Top Schools for Public Service

The University of Toledo College of Law was ranked nationally in preLaw magazine’s “Best Law Schools for Public Service” in the area of public interest law.

In identifying top schools, the magazine reviewed employment data (50%), curricula (40%), and debt and loan repayment options (10%).

The UToledo College of Law has a rich history of training students for successful careers in public interest law. Public interest lawyers use the legal system to promote justice and the advancement of the public good. Graduates have a passion for public service and may choose to work for government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or law firms focused on public interest work.

The college offers numerous opportunities for students to gain real-world experience in public interest law through legal clinics, commendation program, fellowships and externships.

Legal clinics within the law school place students in supervised settings to provide community members with legal services at low and no cost. Students benefit from a rigorous and dynamic experience that combines a structured classroom curriculum with individualized instruction and collaborative learning.

The UToledo College of Law’s Public Service Commendation Program recognizes and encourages student pro bono engagement in the community and region. Students earn a commendation each academic term in which they complete 30 or more documented hours of unpaid, law-related service work. Students can secure their placements or work with the college to find volunteer opportunities with area organizations, including the Pro Bono Legal Services Program, Legal Aid of Western Ohio, and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality. Since the program’s inception in 2007, students have dedicated more than 24,500 volunteer hours.

In addition, the College of Law offers several public interest fellowships and public service externships for students to gain experience in courts, government agencies and public service organizations.

Students also can join the Public Interest Law Association student organization to explore career opportunities, raise funds for public interest fellowships, and partner with organizations on community outreach.

“One distinct mission that we have at the UToledo College of Law is to ensure that we provide our students with experiences that encourage them to develop awareness of and a dedication to public service and public interest during law school and beyond,” said Maara Fink, clinical professor of law and director of externship programs.

“A vast majority of our students enroll in at least one semester of our Public Service Externship Program during their time at the college. This program provides them with opportunities to explore various areas of public interest practice at placements throughout northwest Ohio and beyond — with many choosing employment at the same offices and agencies upon graduation,” Fink said.

She added, “In addition, through the Civil Advocacy Clinic, our students provide direct legal services to members of our community in need and recognize the importance of ensuring that legal representation is not just limited to those who can afford it. Due in large part to these and other opportunities at the College of Law, our students leave aware of and committed to a lifetime of public service in practice.”

Read the full article “Best Schools for Public Service” in the Winter 2020 issue of preLaw magazine.

Rocket Ticket Office to Reopen June 15

The University of Toledo Athletic Ticket Office will reopen for in-person service beginning Monday, June 15.

The ticket office, located in the Sullivan Athletic Complex in Savage Arena, will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fans visiting the ticket office will be asked to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Park in the designated ticket office parking spaces located near Rocky’s Locker and enter the east side of the building. Signage will indicate the proper entrances and exits, and six-foot markers will be placed at the ticket windows.

Fans are strongly encouraged to wear face masks while inside the Sullivan Athletic Complex lobby.

“We are pleased that our ticket office is reopening so that we can better serve our fans,” said Deputy Athletic Director Dave Nottke. “While we are still encouraging our customers to order their tickets online or by phone, we know that it is important to be able to offer in-person services in as safe an environment as possible.”

Fans also may renew or purchase 2020 season tickets for the 2020 football season online at the Toledo Rockets website or by phone at 419.530.GOLD (4653).

The Rockets will open the season at Tulsa Saturday, Sept. 5, before hosting San Diego State in the Glass Bowl Saturday, Sept. 12. A week later, Toledo will travel to East Lansing to face Michigan State.

Read updates on University and Athletic Department information related to the COVID-19 pandemics.