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UT alumnus donates $500,000 to energy engineering program

A University of Toledo alumnus is ensuring future engineers will have the right combination of technical and business skills needed to meet the growing energy needs of the world.

Gary Leidich, retired executive vice president and president of FirstEnergy Generation and FirstEnergy Corp., is donating $500,000 to the UT College of Engineering in support of a new academic initiative in energy engineering.

An event to celebrate the generosity of Gary and Eileen Leidich will be held Friday, Dec. 18, at 10 a.m. in the Nitschke Hall SSOE Seminar Room.

“It is very clear that energy dependence is not going away. The energy needs in the United States and around the world are going to be significant,” Leidich, chair of the UT Foundation Board of Trustees, said. “We have become accustomed to a lot of energy use. You plug in your cell phone and it’s all magic, but there is a lot behind it.”

Leidich, who received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s degree in engineering science from UT, remembers well the power systems courses where he learned about energy conversion that prepared him for the technical aspects of his career.

He saw a need for increased specialization for today’s engineers not only in power systems, but also with oil, gas and other alternative energy sectors. So he was intrigued when Dr. Nagi Naganathan, dean of the UT College of Engineering, approached him with an idea to create a unique energy engineering concentration as a graduate degree option. Naganathan also invited Leidich to chair a task force of faculty, alumni and representatives from corporate partners DTE Energy Co., Owens Corning and First Solar Inc. to shape the curriculum.

“I saw my role in stepping up and demonstrating some leadership for this program that I think will get a lot of traction,” Leidich said.

“We cannot thank Gary and Eileen Leidich enough for their generosity and commitment to the success of future engineers,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “Graduates of this new energy engineering concentration will be prepared to advance the world’s energy needs with the strong foundation Gary laid during his successful career in the energy sector.”

According to Naganathan, both in the United States and across the world, there will be an increased need for uniquely qualified engineering professionals who understand the energy portfolio not only technically, but also with a good knowledge of complementary topics in management, law and social sciences. Every organization that has a significant energy footprint would want to hire such professionals as the energy demand increases, he said.

“The success of the UT College of Engineering and our graduates is directly tied to the strong relationships we have with leaders like Gary Leidich and the corporations they represent to be sure our curriculum is current, relevant and engaging,” Naganathan said. “Thanks to Gary and Eileen’s generosity and the support of alumni and corporate partners, we can now launch a program to produce a new cadre of graduates who will be innovative leaders of energy portfolios in the future.”

Leidich, who retired from FirstEnergy Corp. in 2011, began his career with Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. (CEI) during the construction of the Perry Nuclear Power Plant. During his career, he held a number of positions with Centerior Energy, the parent company of CEI and Toledo Edison that merged with Ohio Edison in 1997 to form FirstEnergy Corp., including director of system planning, director of human resources, vice president of finance and administration, and president of the power generation group. As an administrator with FirstEnergy, Leidich also held the roles of president and chief nuclear officer and senior vice president of operations prior to retiring as executive vice president.

Leidich continues to do consulting work for the electric utility industry and serves as chair of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council.

“Our society has grown completely dependent on energy, and this is something we are going to need forever,” Leidich said.

Donor lives up to daughter’s ideal

Tom Litzinger is the last person who would want any publicity for what he’s doing for the College of Medicine and Life Sciences at The University of Toledo.

But he knows he can’t help a future medical school student without drawing attention to his cause.

Litzinger

Litzinger

In memory of his late daughter, Litzinger donated his $100,000 life insurance policy to the College of Medicine to support the Amie Litzinger MD Class of 2013 Endowed Scholarship Fund. This is in addition to his $25,000 pledge after Amie’s death.

Amie died Jan. 1, 2013, from a genetic heart disease, just months prior to her scheduled graduation from medical school. She was awarded her diploma posthumously, the only student in the history of the College of Medicine to be so recognized.

“Amie loved the College of Medicine,” Litzinger said. “Amie could not say enough kind words about her fellow classmates, staff, faculty, administration and friends.

“As a father, how can I not give back to the institution that provided so much for Amie? Amie loved her role at the UT College of Medicine. It truly is an incredible institution that deserves my commitment and dedication.”

Howard Newman, UT associate vice president for development, said Litzinger has been active in raising money and awareness in the University medical community. He has been a champion for medical students.

“In addition to being a truly generous philanthropist, Tom has been a tireless volunteer for Amie’s Fund,” Newman said. “He has motivated people in the auto industry, his local community and at UT to support this wonderful scholarship as a legacy to his daughter’s spirit of caring.”

Litzinger, who lives in Brighton, Mich., said education is expensive and he doesn’t want someone to forgo medical school because of the cost.

“I will continue to give so we can secure any potential medical school student the opportunity to attend medical school,” he said. “Amie, unfortunately, will never become the caring physician that she desired to become. Her patients must have viable replacements to pick up where Amie left off.”

For information about how to donate to Amie’s Fund, contact Newman at 419.383.6840 or email howard.newman@utoledo.edu. Donors can also give online at https://give2ut.utoledo.edu/litzinger.asp.

Medical student receives top honors

Committed, intelligent and extremely busy are just a few of the qualities professors used to describe Adam Blatt.

When he heard that his professors had spoken well of him, Blatt sipped his coffee, chuckled and joked, “They’re just keeping it professional.”

But his repertoire proves that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Blatt

Blatt

Blatt is the recipient of two prestigious honors: the Dr. Freimer Excellence in Microbiology and Immunology Award and the Dr. Freimer MD/PhD Scholarship. The first is awarded to the student who receives the highest marks in the Infection and Immunity block of the medical curriculum, a course every medical student is required to take. The second is a $1,500 endowed fund that has been established to help support MD/PhD students conducting research in the Infection, Immunity and Transplantation track — and it’s not even awarded on a yearly basis.

“I was shocked when I found out,” Blatt said. “There were three other candidates that were all very good, so I was just shocked and felt a little lucky because I know they all do exceptional work.”

Blatt’s research takes up the majority of his time. Focusing on a group of proteins in the immune system, he looks at their role in cardiovascular diseases. The primary goal of his research is to identify targets for therapeutics to treat or prevent diseases associated with increased thrombosis — the clotting of blood in the circulatory system — and inflammation. The dissertation project is co-funded by a National Institutes of Health R01 grant and his American Heart Association Pre-Doctoral Fellowship.

“I really like the work; it’s challenging but definitely worth it.”

He’s completed two years of medical school and is spending his third year researching in the lab. Depending on the current round of experiments, he hopes to transition back to his final two years of medical school next summer.

“Adam has the qualities of an ideal graduate student, and I feel privileged to have him in my lab,” said Dr. Viviana Ferreira, associate professor of medical microbiology and immunology. “I am consistently impressed by his intelligence, resilience, commitment, drive, team spirit, and ability to learn and apply this knowledge. He is highly creative, with an excellent ability to detect pitfalls and propose alternative approaches when difficulties arise.”

Blatt works in Ferreira’s lab on his dissertation project. She’s also his PhD adviser.

“Aside from excelling in his medical training during his first two years of medical school, he has won many graduate awards, which are testament to his exemplary work ethic. I have no doubt he will make highly significant contributions as a future independent physician-scientist,” she said.

In addition to being exemplary in the classroom and the lab, Blatt was a student representative on the MD/PhD Faculty Committee, serves as president on the Council for Biomedical Graduate Students, assists with the microbiology labs for medical school, and volunteered to arrange dinners for MD/PhD student applicants during their interviews.

Dr. Earl Freimer, who the awards were named for, a co-founder of the Medical College of Ohio in 1968. He also served both as the founding chairman of the Department of Microbiology and as founding chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine. Freimer passed away in 2011; these scholarships were created in his honor after his death. Gifts may be made to the Earl H. Freimer Endowed Scholarship Fund at the UT Foundation.

UTMC garden area receives makeover

A spot for relaxation and reflection at The University of Toledo Medical Center was rejuvenated this summer.

UTMC redid the landscaping and replaced the monument at the Dorothy and Ashel Bryan Academic Commons, which is located between the Eleanor N. Dana Center and the Radisson Hotel.

New plants were added to the Dorothy and Ashel Bryan Academic Commons on Health Science Campus this summer.

New plants were added to the Dorothy and Ashel Bryan Academic Commons on Health Science Campus this summer.

Howard Newman, UT associate vice president for development, said the cosmetic improvements revitalized the garden area, which is frequented by patients, visitors and UTMC staff.

“We have always been so appreciative of the Bryans and their generosity, so we wanted to make sure that their namesake was well-maintained and represented the intent of their donation.”

David Bryan’s family started the Bryan Commons more than 20 years ago. His late father, Ashel, was a member of the MCO Board of Trustees and of the MUO Foundation Board of Trustees.

“It was my father’s idea because he knew that families of patients might stay in the hotel and want to go out to the garden area after a long and stressful day at the hospital,” Bryan said. “He thought there ought to be a peaceful place to go and spend quiet time given their situation.”

Bryan said his father worked with the hospital and designers to make sure the area, which includes a small water fountain, was beautiful and soothing.

“I am very happy with the improvements. I think this is an example of my parents’ philanthropy, and it shows that they were thoughtful about their philanthropy,” Bryan said.

Student Part-Time Job Fair to be held Aug. 28; prep sessions available Aug. 25

Looking to build your resumé or gain extra spending money? Go to the Part-Time Job Fair Friday, Aug. 28, in the Student Union Ingman Room from noon to 4 p.m.

“Employers are looking for not only that degree and credentials, but for experience as well,” said Sabina Elizondo-Serratos, associate director of the Center for Experiential Learning and Career Services.

The job fair will feature various campus student employment opportunities, as well as community and campus federal work-study jobs.

“This year we are combining our community work-study job fair along with the part-time job fair,” Elizondo-Serratos said. “We are inviting community agencies and nonprofits on campus to interview our work-study students and hopefully get them connected so they can get that hands-on learning experience in the community.”

The event will feature student employment opportunities several the following campus entities:

• Aramark;

• College of Natural Science and Mathematics;

• Department of Art;

• Department of Foreign Languages;

• Institutional Advancement;

• Jesup Scott Honors College;

• Office of Student Experience;

• Office of Student Involvement;

• Transit Services and more.

“Working on campus, you get 20 hours a week, but employers realize you’re a student so the departments will work with students’ schedules; that’s something you don’t always get off campus,” said Joshua Vail, student employment specialist in the Center for Experiential Learning and Career Services.

Community and campus federal work-study jobs opportunities include:

• Food for Thought;

• Kids Unlimited;

• MetroParks of Toledo;

• Nightingales Harvest;

• School for Autistically Impaired Learners;

• Toledo Botanical Garden;

• Toledo Campus Ministry;

• Toledo Museum of Art; and

• United Way.

“A number of our students are awarded federal work-study,” Elizondo-Serratos said. “It’s a mutually beneficial experience for both the community agencies and the students.”

Students should bring resumés and wear professional attire at the event.

Six pre-fair one-hour prep sessions are available to students Tuesday, Aug. 25. Those who qualify for federal work-study status must attend. Register here.

“We will go over interviewing tips that students should know about, resumés to make sure it’s presentable, and professional attire to make sure that students understand what that is and should be,” Elizondo-Serratos said.

For more information, visit the Center for Experiential Learning and Career Services in Student Union Room 1533 or call 419.530.4341.

Celebrity Wait Night to raise money for cardiology endowment

UT Health cardiologist Dr. Christopher Cooper will be collecting tips, not giving them, when he works as a celebrity waiter Monday, Aug. 24.

Cooper, executive vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, will be among the celebrity wait staff raising money for the college’s Mundt Cardiology Endowment Fund from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at Loma Linda, 10400 Airport Highway, Swanton.

Women’s Basketball Coach Tricia Cullop talked to customers at last year’s Celebrity Wait Night at Loma Linda.

Women’s Basketball Coach Tricia Cullop talked to customers at last year’s Celebrity Wait Night at Loma Linda.

The University of Toledo Medical Center and the Mundt family are hosting “From the Heart,” which is the fifth annual celebrity wait event.

“It is an event we have been doing for five years. It has been very popular from the first year on and we have been very successful,” said Al Mundt, whose family owns Loma Linda.

Mundt had a heart transplant in 1998 at the former Medical College of Ohio.

“My heart was giving out; it was working only 12 percent,” he said. “I have had this new heart for 17 years and it has been going very well.”

Established in 2008, the endowment supports new and innovative programs such as the Left Ventricle Assist Device that will one day make heart transplantation again available in Toledo.

“All the tips raised by the celebrity waiters will go toward the fund,” said Laura Robinson, senior major gifts officer. “Every year, we are fortunate enough to raise $30,000 to $40,000 for this incredibly worthy cause. In addition, the patrons truly enjoy seeing their doctors and other UT staff as waiters. ”

Wait staff will include UT Women’s Basketball Coach Tricia Cullop and UT Men’s Basketball Coach Tod Kowalczyk. UTMC cardiologists Dr. Mark Bonnell, Dr. Mark Burket, Dr. Jeffrey Hammersley, Dr. Samer Khouri, Dr. George Moukarbel and Dr. Thomas Schwann will serve as celebrity waiters as well.

The evening will feature a raffle with a grand prize of $5,000. Tickets, which are $10 each, can be purchased at either Loma Linda or Ventura’s restaurants, or through Robinson or Felicia Guerrero.

Cooper hopes that the community comes out for a good cause — and a good meal.

“I love the food at Loma Linda’s, and my favorite is shrimp tacos,” he said.

For more information about the event and raffle tickets, or to make a contribution to the Mundt Endowment Fund, contact Robinson at 419.383.6645 or Laura.Robinson@utoledo.edu.

Women & Philanthropy at UT announces 2015 grant award winners

Women & Philanthropy, a volunteer organization that promotes The University of Toledo through grants to UT initiatives, has given 2015 grants totaling $49,216.

The first grant, in the amount of $21,146, has been awarded to the College of Communication and the Arts to create event signage for Main Campus.

The funding will be used to build a foundation with a core construction of concrete masonry units. The core will feature stone that matches the aesthetics of the University. The construction will house an 89-inch-by-97-inch full-color electronic material change digital display screen.

The proposed location of the electronic messaging system will be in a high-traffic area near the Driscoll Alumni Center on Bancroft Street. The board will be used to promote public events such as art exhibitions, theatrical performances, workshops, musical performances, and lecture and colloquium series.

The objective of this project is to increase awareness and attendance at UT public events and to increase awareness of the exceptional offerings that the University brings to the community, according to Debra A. Davis, dean of the College of Communication and the Arts.

“The College of Communication and the Arts is extremely pleased to receive grant support from Women & Philanthropy for 2015,” Davis said. “The college is very excited to have this addition to our PR efforts. This will bring attention to our concerts, theatre performances, film screenings, and exhibitions and lectures, many of which are collaborations with community and business partners, and help spread the word that culture and the arts are alive and well in Toledo.”

She added that the signage also will benefit the University.

“Each year, UT invites the public to join us at the Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series, the Geography and Planning Colloquium Series, and the Edward Shapiro Distinguished Lecture Series where renowned speakers examine the issues and topics affecting our contemporary lives,” Davis said. “We invite all Toledoans to attend our offerings and learn more about what the University has to offer.”

The second grant, in the amount of $28,070, has been awarded to the Kobacker Center on Health Science Campus for the Women & Philanthropy Playground.

The grant will be used to fund the construction of a new outdoor playground for children who receive services through UT Medical Center’s Kobacker Center, which has been a leader in northwest Ohio for treating the emotional and behavioral needs of children younger than 18.

The funds will cover the expenses for a fence and new play equipment to update the physical environment. Women & Philanthropy was able to leverage its grant with a match from UTMC to cover the entire cost of the project ($56,140).

“This generous grant from Women & Philanthropy will cultivate an enjoyable, safe, child-friendly environment for our patients,” said Dr. Michele Know, professor in the Department of Psychiatry. “It creates the ideal environment to enable our treatment teams to help children and families recover, thrive, even prosper in response to these services.”

“Positive peer interaction, problem solving and emotion management skills are key components to the treatment we provide through our program,” said Katie Cotton, a social worker at the center. “Having a new playground will provide our patients with a safe place to play and practice these skills.”

Women & Philanthropy at The University of Toledo was chartered in 2006 and made its first award to UT in 2008. Through this giving circle, members of diverse backgrounds and interests work collaboratively to make positive, meaningful and immediate impacts at the University.

In just eight years, the group has gifted $298,047 in 14 grants to the University, according to Chris Spengler, director of advancement relations in Institutional Advancement, member and administrative contact for Women & Philanthropy.

Through their generous support, members of Women & Philanthropy have created a permanent legacy at The University of Toledo.

“Our goal is to unify and collaborate with many women to make a difference at The University of Toledo. These gifts are examples of what we can do with a membership of only 70 women. We invite all women to research our group and consider a membership. Collective and collaborative giving is powerful, and that’s what Women & Philanthropy is all about,” said Marianne Ballas, chair of Women & Philanthropy at The University of Toledo.

Applications for 2016 grants will be available in late fall.

Additional information about Women & Philanthropy is available here.

Brothers on the Rise helps students stay, succeed

College requires a major adjustment for many new students. They face various problems, based largely on their previous educational experience, culture and family situation.

“Students come to The University of Toledo with varied levels of academic preparedness, maturity and cultural readiness,” said Dr. Willie McKether, associate dean and associate professor in the College of Languages, Literature and Social Sciences. “First-generation, direct-from-high-school, and low-income students particularly face unique challenges.”

Demond Pryor, director of the Office of Recreation and vice chair of mentoring with Brothers on the Rise, shook hands with Deon Brown, a sixth-grader at Bennett Venture Academy, last month when students from the Toledo school visited campus.

Demond Pryor, director of the Office of Recreation and vice chair of mentoring with Brothers on the Rise, shook hands with Deon Brown, a sixth-grader at Bennett Venture Academy, last month when students from the Toledo school visited campus.

Being part of a predominantly white campus population, and often coming from an underperforming urban school district and a low-income household, he noted, can be intimidating and overwhelming.

Founded in 2011, Brothers on the Rise offers these students a lifeline. The group’s objective is to help UT males, especially African-American and Latino, make the transition from high school to college.

“We targeted this population because it has the lowest first- to second-year retention and graduation rates on campus,” McKether, Brothers on the Rise president, said.

In 2013, 18 percent of UT’s African-American male students and 39 percent of Latino males graduated after six years, compared with 51 percent of the University’s white male students. The greatest gap is in the retention between the students’ first and second years of college.

“When you see guys on campus one semester and you don’t see them the next, it hurts,” McKether said. “This is nothing short of a crisis. We lose kids all the time who want to be here but don’t know how to be here.”

To assist this transition, the group’s dozen faculty volunteers conduct biweekly “real talk” discussions with members to address concerns such as study habits and social issues. The group also assigns each student a UT mentor — faculty or staff member or graduate student — and connects him with another mentor from the community.

“We attempt to match students with members from the community in the profession or type of work in which the student hopes to engage upon graduation,” McKether said.

Victor Aberdeen Jr., who graduated in May with a bachelor of arts degree in English and communication, was matched with a local lawyer.

“My biggest off-campus mentor has been Pariss Coleman. He is an attorney here in Toledo,” Aberdeen said. “Pariss has taught me the importance of discipline, planning and professionalism.”

Aberdeen, who has been involved with Brothers on the Rise since 2012, will begin his first year as a law student at UT this fall.

He credited Brothers on the Rise leaders and on-campus mentors as well.

“Dr. McKether and Dr. [Anthony ] Quinn [assistant dean and associate professor in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics] both did a great job of encouraging the students to be active and take leadership roles at the University. I believe that taking on any role on campus, regardless of how big or small, allows for the student to grow as a leader and professional,” Aberdeen said.

As an undergraduate, Aberdeen was president of the African Peoples Association and served as a Presidential Ambassador.

In addition to McKether and Quinn, Aberdeen mentioned Dr. Sammy Spann, assistant provost for international studies and programs.

“Dr. Spann has been a constant source of support and encouragement for me from when I arrived at UT as a freshman. He has taught me that any idea is never out of reach regardless of how big of an idea it may be,” Aberdeen said.

As Brothers on the Rise enters its third year, efforts are paying off. Many students have experienced improvements in their grades, and many, like Aberdeen, are in leadership roles on campus. In addition, the majority of members are returning to UT year after year.

Thanks to a request from Xavier Owens, principal of Bennett Venture Academy in Toledo, Brothers on the Rise recently expanded its reach.

“I talked to Dr. McKether some time ago to express an idea that counters the ‘school house to jail house track,’ a process too many urban families are too familiar with. We want to create a school house to college track,” Owens said.

“One parent recently told me she took her kid to a Scared Straight Program; I told that mom that won’t work because our students understand this process all too well. I suggested taking him to a university so he can see what’s on the other end of the spectrum.

“After that conversation, I immediately called Dr. McKether. He made things happen with an all-day university visit for some of my most challenging students,” Owens said.

Ten Bennett Venture Academy students — nine boys and one girl — spent a day at UT last month.

“Xavier wanted these young students to meet African-American college students, professionals and professors,” Quinn said. “Many of these students had never been on UT’s campus and never imagined themselves attending college.”

“Too many urban youth do not understand that college is reachable and doable. Our primary goal for the visit was to put students around highly positive and successful black men,” Owens said.

Spann arranged for vans to transport the local students to and from the University. Demond Pryor, director of the Office of Recreation and vice chair of mentoring for Brothers on the Rise, provided meeting space in the Student Recreation Center.

“Brothers on the Rise undergraduate and graduate students took the lead in fielding questions from the students,” McKether said. “We were amazed and impressed with the quality and quantity of questions these young people had about attending college.

“We’re now discussing with Bennett the possibility of Brothers on the Rise adopting this school on a pilot basis to establish a mentoring program where we spend more time with these and other potential future Rockets.”

Even with these successes, Brothers on the Rise faces some hurdles.

“A major obstacle we face is lack of infrastructure and staffing to coordinate the program,” McKether noted. “Despite our knowing what works in retention, the volunteer nature of the organization makes it difficult to sustain and sub-optimizes efforts.”

The key to the organization’s continued success is financial support, according to Vern Snyder, UT vice president for institutional advancement.

“Dr. McKether and Dr. Quinn have accomplished a lot with very few resources. They have done wonders,” Snyder said. “Brothers on the Rise is worthy of support from our alumni and friends.”

For information on supporting Brothers on the Rise, contact Snyder at vern.snyder@ utoledo.edu or 419.530.4249.

Retirement reception set for vice president for institutional advancement

It may seem like déjà vu: Vern Snyder, UT vice president for institutional advancement, will retire July 15.

Snyder

Snyder

That’s because Snyder retired last year, but he returned to his post at the request of Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, then president of the University, who asked the administrator to come back for one year to help through the leadership transition.

“I was honored by the request and happy to return as the presidential search was conducted,” Snyder said. “I believe Dr. Sharon Gaber will bring a new level of energy and excitement to the campus and community.”

Witt/Keiffer of Oak Brook, Ill., which assisted with the UT presidential search, is helping to find candidates for the University’s next vice president for advancement.

That person will have some big shoes to fill.

More than $200 million was raised in support of the University during Snyder’s tenure, which began in 2002. He led UT’s “The Time Is Now” capital campaign, which surpassed its goal and raised $106 million.

Also under Snyder’s leadership:

• Fundraising was successful for several capital projects, including the Savage & Associates Complex for Business Learning and Engagement, Savage Arena, Fetterman Training Center, George Isaac Minimally Invasive Surgery Center and Veterans’ Plaza.

• The largest gift in UT’s history, $15 million, was secured to name the Judith Herb College of Education.

• UT’s donor recognition program was revamped to more effectively honor contributors across campuses.

• The UT Division of Institutional Advancement began a merger with the UT Foundation, which will save the University approximately $4.7 million in operational costs annually when complete.

UT is in the midst of a $200 million capital campaign, “A University Rising,” and Snyder will leave the person chosen as his successor a strong team and a record of outstanding philanthropic success, according to UT Interim President Nagi Naganathan.

“The University of Toledo continues to be a special place for so many students thanks to Vern and his great team,” Naganathan said. “Their hard work and dedication combined with donors’ generosity have made higher education affordable for thousands who have benefited from scholarships.”

In 2010, Snyder earned the Advanced Certified Fundraising Executive credential, the highest certification from the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Two colleagues in the UT Foundation, Barbara Tartaglia-Poure and Brett Loney, followed his example and achieved the distinction earlier this year. UT is the only institution in the nation that has three members who have the distinguished designation, which is held by 107 professionals in the world.

“Vern exemplifies the very best of the profession,” said Brenda Lee, UT Foundation president. “He is a tremendous colleague and friend. The University community was fortunate to have him serve so long. He will be missed.”

For those who want to stop in and say goodbye, Snyder will be honored at a reception Monday, June 29, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Driscoll Alumni Center Schmakel Room.

Trustees thank interim president for service, approve budget at June meeting

The University of Toledo Board of Trustees recently thanked Dr. Nagi Naganathan for moving the University forward during a time of transition as he completes his year as interim president.

Board Chair Joseph Zerbey presented Naganathan with a resolution honoring his service to the institution.

“Under your leadership as interim president, the Board of Trustees acknowledges and thanks you for your guidance and efforts to build the morale of students, faculty and staff, while continuing to grow the University’s educational foundation, as well as your tireless commitment to academics, research and philanthropic growth,” Zerbey said.

When he assumed the interim presidency, Naganathan held a retreat with student and faculty leaders, vice presidents and deans to identify key initiatives for the year and then focused his time on achieving those goals.

Among those initiatives were faculty hiring and retention plans that led to new tenure-track faculty in 34 departments and lecturers in 17 departments; improvements in the student experience with an overhaul of the Title IX policies and procedures; and the implementation of a student recruitment and retainment council to work to increase enrollment with early indicators predicting more students this fall.

Naganathan also provided leadership for efforts underway that include a campus master planning process, an affiliation agreement between the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences and ProMedica, and UT’s Capital Campaign.

He thanked the board for the opportunity to serve the institution.

“It truly has been a great honor,” said Naganathan, who will resume his position as dean of the College of Engineering July 1.

The Board of Trustees also approved the $932 million budget for fiscal year 2016 and ratified the employment contract of the incoming president, Dr. Sharon Gaber.

The budget includes a 2 percent increase in tuition and general fee for in-state undergraduate students contingent on the requirements embedded in Ohio’s two-year budget, which continues to be developed by state lawmakers

Also included in the budget are a 3 percent increase in room and board costs and a 3 percent price increase for UT Health clinical operations. Non-union salary groups will receive a 2 percent wage increase, and there are pay increases for union salary groups according to collective bargaining agreements.

An additional $7.4 million is invested in scholarship dollars for students.

The board also elected officers for the 2015-16 year. Sharon Speyer will serve as chair, and Steven Cavanaugh will serve as vice chair.

The June meeting was the last for John Szuch, executive officer at Signature Bank, who was named to the UT Board of Trustees in 2006 to a term set to expire June 30.