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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.”

Study Examines Attitudes Toward Transgender Athletes

As several states draft legislation that would force student-athletes to play as their gender identified on their birth certificate instead of on a team that matches their gender identity, a team of political scientists investigated underlying factors that drive public opinion on transgender athletes.

The new study shows while women in general are more supportive than men of transgender athletes participating in sports by gender identity instead of biological sex, women who are sports fans are more likely to oppose it, holding views that resemble male sports fans.

The research recently published in the journal Sex Roles investigated public attitudes toward the participation of transgender people in sports by using data from a 2015 survey of 1,020 adults across the U.S.; the data was previously used by the same researchers to analyze public opinion on a variety of transgender rights issues.

Dr. Jami Taylor, professor of political science and public administration at The University of Toledo who focuses on transgender politics and policy, is part of the team who found that attitudes about transgender athletes are strongly shaped by an individual’s characteristics, political values and personality traits.

Also, the study shows people who have contact with transgender, gay and lesbian people, as well as those with stronger egalitarian attitudes, are more favorable toward transgender participation, whereas those with high moral traditionalism are more opposed.

“This is a very complicated area, and there are legitimate concerns about fairness for both transgender athletes and those who are not transgender,” said Taylor, author of the 2017 book “The Remarkable Rise of Transgender Rights.” “We need to have thoughtful policies that ensure fair competitions, but also ensure that transgender athletes aren’t discriminated against. As governments, nonprofits and businesses begin to craft policies that decide how and with whom transgender athletes will compete in sports, they need to avoid one-size-fits-all solutions because of the complexity of the issues.”

“Given the gendered nature of sports and the resistance to the issue among sports fans — both male and female — policymakers will likely need to tread carefully and should have a care in this area as they craft policy solutions. Our work might be helpful to inform policymakers, as well as advocates who promote inclusion.”

Research contributors include Taylor; Dr. Andrew Flores, assistant professor in the Department of Government at American University and lead author of the study; Dr. Donald Haider-Markel, professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Kansas; Dr. Daniel Lewis, associate professor of political science at Siena College; Dr. Patrick Miller, associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Kansas; and Dr. Barry Tadlock, professor of political science at Ohio University.

Current policy depends on the position of governing bodies, such as the NCAA at the collegiate level, and applicable laws that may vary by location. For instance, California law requires that transgender students be treated according to their gender identity, not biological sex.

The issue, according to lawmakers proposing new legislation in New Hampshire, Washington, Georgia, Tennessee and Missouri, is whether transgender-rights protections are leading to unfair competition in women’s sports, referencing male-to-female transgender students and arguing they have natural physical advantages over biological females.

However, the study cited a female-to-male case: Mack Beggs’ victory in the Texas Class 6A girls’ state wrestling championship in 2017, even though the female-to-male transgender student started his transition two years prior and took testosterone injections.

“It was a ridiculous situation. He wanted to wrestle with the boys and received harsh treatment from fans when he was forced to compete with girls,” Taylor said. “Due to his success, parents accused him of cheating, but the rule in Texas was he had to compete according to the gender on his birth certificate, which was a girl. If he was in California, he would’ve competed against boys.”

The study finds that 35.6% of women agreed with allowing transgender athletes to participate in sports aligned with their gender identity, compared to 23.2% of men.

As the 2020 Olympic games in Tokyo approach, Taylor calls the Olympics reasonably inclusive to transgender athletes and commends the International Olympic Committee for its attention to both human rights and fair competition.

“The International Olympic Committee no longer requires transgender athletes to have had surgery, but there is a strict requirement around hormonal management,” Taylor said. “It’s far less restrictive for female-to-male athletes than for male-to-female athletes, which seems to be a reasonable attempt to grapple with this complex issue. Importantly, the IOC’s approach looks at evidence in this evolving area.”

Growth of Craft Beer Linked to Record Number of States Harvesting Hops

Tasting terroir, or a sense of place, isn’t only reserved for wine lovers drinking a glass of burgundy or champagne from France.

It’s evident, too, in the U.S. craft beer boom and the growing preference for local hops.

Reid

Hops, a key ingredient in making beer, is a crop making a comeback on farms across the country thanks to the incredible rise of the craft brewing industry over the past decade.

Craft breweries and their customers’ thirst for new, locally grown flavors are playing a big role in fueling an unprecedented geographic expansion of hop production across the U.S., according to researchers at The University of Toledo and Penn State University.

Their findings, which were recently published in the Journal of Wine Economics, suggest that as more craft breweries emerge around the country, so may new opportunities for farmers.

“It is fantastic to see the re-emergence of hop production in states which, at one point, had abandoned the crop,” said Dr. Neil Reid, professor of geography and planning at The University of Toledo, who teaches a class titled The Geography of Beer and Brewing. “Hops provide aroma and bittering characteristics in beer. Looking to differentiate themselves from Molson Coors and Anheuser Busch, independent craft brewers demand locally grown hops, experiment with different varieties of hops, and use more hops in beer production compared to mass-produced beers.”

According to the Brewers Association, between 2007 and 2017, the number of breweries in the U.S. increased from 1,459 to 6,490.

The researchers found that the number of breweries in a state is associated with more hop farms and hop acres five years later. The number of hop farms grew from 68 to 817, and hop acreage expanded from 31,145 to 59,429 acres.

Before 2007, hop production in the country was limited to only three Pacific Northwest states—Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Hops are now produced in 29 states, according to the Hop Growers of America.

“Our study is the first to systematically show that the number of hop farms in a state is related to the number of craft breweries,” said Claudia Schmidt, assistant professor of agricultural economics in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. “It suggests that in areas where hop production is possible and not cost-prohibitive, breweries are expanding markets for farmers and providing an opportunity to diversify farm income.”

In fact, the growth positioned the U.S. as the largest producer of hops globally, both in terms of acreage and production.

Working with farm, brewery and climate data, the researchers developed a statistical model to determine whether new craft breweries in a state between 2007 and 2017 resulted in a larger number of hop producers and hop acres planted, by both new and existing growers in that state. They built a time lag into their model to identify the effect of new breweries over time. They also controlled for other variables that may influence farmers to start growing hops, such as average farm size, average net farm income and climate.

Their findings are correlational and do not point to a clear cause and effect. However, the time lag built into the model indicates that the growth in breweries preceded the growth in hop farms.

If more brewers are looking for hops grown nearby, then more farmers may be willing to try growing them, even if only on a small scale. For instance, in Pennsylvania, only 17 farms reported hop production in 2017, and their combined acreage is small — only 21 acres in all, according to the U.S. Census of Agriculture.

In contrast, in 2017, there were 100 acres of farmland devoted to hop production in Ohio. According to the Ohio Hop Growers Guild, there are more than 70 farms in Ohio that are growing hops.

While the growing of hops in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania is a relatively recent phenomenon, many Midwestern and Northeastern states have historical connections to the hop industry.

“In 1870, the three leading hop-producing states were New York, Wisconsin and Michigan,” Reid said. “A number of factors, including declining yields, disease outbreaks, high production and processing costs, and an inability to achieve economies of scale, contributed to the decline and disappearance of the hop industry in the Midwest and Northeast.”

Reid, who is affectionately known as “The Beer Professor,” is an expert on the craft brewing industry and its economic geography. His research is focused on the industry’s growth in the U.S. and its potential role in helping to revitalize neighborhood economies.

His previous research found that the craft brewery boom is good for home values. That study showed single-family homes in the city of Charlotte, N.C., saw their value increase by nearly 10% after a brewery opened within a half mile of the property, and center-city condos got a nearly 3% bump.

Reid will give the opening keynote address at the 2020 Beer Marketing and Tourism Conference Wednesday, Feb. 5, in St. Petersburg, Fla.

His new book titled “Agritourism, Wine Tourism, and Craft Beer Tourism: Local Responses to Peripherality Through Tourism Niches” will be published later this month. The book is co-edited with Maria Giulia Pezzi and Alessandra Faggian of the Gran Sasso Science Institute in L’Aquila, Italy.

Attending Propel Collegiate Leadership Summit 2019

Civic engagement involves working to make a difference in the civic life and improving the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political methods.

To me, civic engagement means volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to tutor students in inner-city schools, participating in community service opportunities with the Toledo women’s soccer team, encouraging family members and peers to vote in local elections, coaching soccer to my community’s youth, and staying active in the community by engaging with its leaders.

UToledo students who attended the Propel Collegiate Leadership Summit posed for a photo; they are, from left, John Young, Lexa Bauer, Rebecca Dangler, Liam Walsh, Myla Magalasi, Lexi Alvarado and Stephanie Smith.

When I was informed of U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s annual Propel Collegiate Leadership Summit, I jumped at the opportunity to apply. I am so grateful to have been accepted and to have had the pleasure of attending the summit with 400 other civically engaged students from across Ohio.

The theme for this year’s summit was civic engagement, and it was incredible to meet and listen to other students’ experiences and opinions. It was eye-opening to realize the number of people who exemplify the definition of being civically engaged so well.

I was lucky enough to accompany six other UToledo students to the summit: Rebecca Dangler, Liam Walsh, John Young, Lexi Alvarado, Stephanie Smith and Myla Magalasi. It was humbling to be surrounded by so many awesome leaders, and I loved knowing that six others were from the same community as I am.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Connie Schultz and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown spoke last month at the Propel Collegiate Leadership Summit.

The summit began with a tremendous discussion between Sen. Brown and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Connie Schultz. They discussed their backgrounds, opinions and gave advice on how to move forward. When the floor opened for questions, there were a number of thought-provoking, intellectual and fascinating questions asked by the students, including one asked by Dangler. Schultz and Sen. Brown had very good answers to the questions and did a great job engaging everyone and meeting us at our level.

Following their discussion, there was a panel of influential leaders from northwest Ohio that included Katy Crosby, chief of staff for the city of Toledo; Richie Webber, founder of a nonprofit for recovering addicts; and Ruth Chang, founder of Midstory, a nonprofit created to share the historic and social history of northwest Ohio through different multimedia mediums. Their panel was equally as groundbreaking and set a great tone for the remainder of the summit.

The keynote speaker for the summit, Monica Ramirez, spoke of her work with the migrant farming communities in Fremont and across the country. She told her story with a passion and articulateness that drew the audience in and truly left an impression. After the keynote presentation, Diana Patton took the stage to prompt discussion amongst the audience about what each of our individual stories looks like and what that means to us. She challenged us all to look within ourselves to find a passion, a gift, and a way to use them to change the world.

Patton’s talk was a great segue into the breakout sessions that followed. Each session had a different focus. The first that I attended focused on how to advance your career and professionalism. The second, called the Engagement Fair, gave everyone an opportunity to meet and reach out to organizations and professionals that promote civic engagement. The third and final session focused on how to tell your story and how to make it mean something to others.

The speakers in each session conducted themselves with such a high level of professionalism without presenting their lives as untouchable. It was so inspirational to be able to engage with these amazing leaders. I learned a great deal about myself, my career, and how to make this world a better place.

It was an honor to have been selected to attend this summit with so many other outstanding leaders and students. I appreciate all of the speakers’ willingness to dedicate their day to helping students like us succeed. They are true examples of what it looks like to be civically engaged.

My life, career aspirations and worldview were so positively affected by this experience, and I hope that many others feel the same. I also hope that future University of Toledo students go and continue to make differences in our communities.

Bauer is a pre-law sophomore majoring in political science in the College of Arts and Letters, and also a member of the soccer team.

Engineering Students Create Device to Help Actor With Muscular Dystrophy

A professional Chicago actor’s ability to bring characters to life on stage is stronger thanks to a team of engineering students at The University of Toledo.

As their senior design project, the engineering team of Cassandra Brown, Brandon Payeff, Adam Pusateri and Nicholas Wryst created a way for Joel Rodriguez, who has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, to more expressively conduct his arms by leveraging the full set of physical motion he possesses.

Joel Rodriguez performed on stage earlier this year at the Greenhouse Theater Center in Chicago during a performance of “All Quiet on the Western Front.” A team of UToledo engineering students designed a way for the actor, who has muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, to be more expressive on stage.

“Our medical device was designed for the stage, but also to make Joel’s everyday life a lot easier when it comes to assisting his arm movement,” said Payeff, who is graduating this month with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and starting a full-time job at Marathon Petroleum Corp. in Findlay, Ohio. “It’s low-key, not bulky or distracting.”

“Our biggest hurdle was communication,” Pusateri said. “Since Joel is in Chicago, we learned about his abilities and troubleshot our prototype through Skype and FaceTime. We shipped him our device to test it.”

UToledo engineering students, from left, Cassandra Brown, Brandon Payeff, Adam Pusateri and Nicholas Wryst worked on the device to help actor Joel Rodriguez.

Muscular dystrophy is a genetic disease that causes progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass over time.

“Joel has no shoulder strength, so we came up with something designed to fit on his existing wheelchair that improves his range of motion,” said Wryst, who is graduating this month with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and starting his career at Cook Medical in Bloomington, Ind.

“You rest your elbow and forearm on the device, and then can swivel it left and right, extend it to reach for something, and bring it back.”

It would cost about $65 to duplicate the device. The main mechanism consists of four parts created with a 3D printer and a layer of thermoplastic to give grip and protection from the bolts. It’s mounted to a slider track, using two pulleys to support the bungee cables.

“Products like this are what allow people with disabilities to continue to lead independent lives,” Rodriguez said. “As someone who is involved in the performing arts and acting, being able to send not only your energy vocally but physically to the back of the house is important. And because I have limited range of mobility, a product like this ideally will help me be able to bring that expressiveness to the characters that I get to portray on stage.”

Dr. Matt Foss, assistant professor in the UToledo Department of Theatre and Film, connected the students with Rodriguez, who performed in Foss’ adaptation of “All Quiet on the Western Front” in Chicago.

“They worked with Joel in an ethical and empathetic manner with incredible results,” Foss said. “It truly speaks to the commitment to innovation that UToledo has in all areas — the arts and the sciences.”

The engineering team is presenting the prototype at the Kennedy Center American College Theater festival in January.

“There’s still more to be done to improve our device,” said Brown, who graduates this month and will start a full-time job at GE Appliances in Louisville, Ky. “It’s designed to replace an existing arm rest on a wheelchair. Mounting is something we’re still working on. Next semester, another group of engineering students will take over the project.”

Free Will Topic of Dec. 12 Talk

The UToledo Humanities Café Series will present a discussion on “Moral and Social Responsibility Without Free Will?” Thursday, Dec. 12, at 5:30 p.m. at Curious Cat Café, 3059 W. Bancroft St.

Dr. Christopher Martin, visiting associate professor of philosophy and religious studies, and director of the UToledo Roger Ray Institute for the Humanities, will speak.

Martin

“One of the central assumptions behind our moral and social attitudes of responsibility is that our actions are in some important respect up to us; that though we chose to do X, we could alternatively have chosen to do Y,” he said. “What if we are mistaken about this? How should we think about moral and social responsibility if our actions are the product of forces outside our control?”

Martin will present a couple arguments supporting the claim there is no free will.

“We will then explore different rationales for why we might imprison someone who could not but have robbed a bank, and whether the altruist deserves praise for an action even if we accept that she or he could not have done otherwise,” he said. “Can our commitment to moral and social responsibility survive without the freedom to choose our actions?”

Refreshments will be provided at the free, public discussion.

For more information, email christopher.martin5@utoledo.edu.

Families Set to Celebrate Commencement Dec. 14

More than 2,000 students at The University of Toledo will graduate at commencement ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 14, in Savage Arena.

The University is holding two ceremonies to include both undergraduate and graduate students from each of the colleges.

A total of 2,070 degrees will be awarded: 1,474 bachelor’s degrees, 426 master’s degrees, 104 doctoral degrees, 41 associate’s degrees, 15 education specialist degrees and 10 graduate certificates.

The 9 a.m. ceremony will recognize all Ph.D. candidates and graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Engineering; Judith Herb College of Education; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; and Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The 1 p.m. ceremony will recognize undergraduate and graduate students receiving degrees from the colleges of Business and Innovation; Health and Human Services; Nursing; University College; and Medicine and Life Sciences.

Commencement is always a time to celebrate with family. Their support is critical to achieving success. For several students walking across the stage this year, family was literally at their side for the journey.

Lori and Jordan Boyer in 2001 and 2019

At 48 years old, Lori Boyer is set to take the stage and grasp her diploma on the same day as her son, Jordan.

Lori, a preschool teacher, started taking classes at UToledo in 1990, but stopped to raise her three children.

After returning in January to cross the finish line, the UToledo employee at the Early Learning Center is graduating from University College with a bachelor’s degree in an individualized program of early childhood education and educational leadership. Her son is graduating from the College of Engineering with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering technology.

“I am proud to share this special moment with my oldest son,” Boyer said. “It’s important to me to prove to all of my children that you can accomplish anything no matter what point you are in life. I accomplished something I set out to do a long time ago, and it has the potential to take me in different directions in my career.”

Fall commencement also is a family affair for a brother-and-sister duo who worked side by side as undergraduates in the same exercise biology research lab.

Nicole and Dylan Sarieh

Dylan and Nicole Sarieh, two-thirds of a set of fraternal triplets, both chose to study exercise science as pre-med students in the College of Health and Human Services, while their brother studies business at UToledo.

Together, Dylan and Nicole researched the molecular regulation of skeletal muscle growth under the guidance of Dr. Thomas McLoughlin, associate professor in the School of Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences, in order to help clinicians develop ways to help patients grow stronger after suffering from muscle loss.

“The opportunity to do real, meaningful, hands-on work in the lab definitely built our confidence and opened our eyes to what is important,” Dylan said about his undergraduate research experience. “My sister and I both plan to next go to medical school. She wants to be a dermatologist, and I want to be a general physician.”

“Whether at home, in the classroom or in the lab, I always had someone I could lean on who was tackling the same challenges,” Nicole said. “Putting our two brains together — even during car rides — made a big difference in our success.”

For some graduates, they found love and are starting their own family.

McKenna Wirebaugh completed a co-op at the BP Whiting Refinery in Whiting, Ind. This photo shows Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline.

McKenna Wirebaugh, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, met her soon-to-be husband at UToledo. Both she and Travis Mang, her fiancé, will receive degrees Saturday.

Turns out, planning their upcoming wedding is the only item left on the to-do list. Wirebaugh secured a full-time job as a process engineer at BP’s Cherry Point Refinery in Blaine, Wash., located about 40 minutes south of Vancouver. She is scheduled to start her new job in March, about a month after her honeymoon.

“I chose to go to UToledo because of the mandatory co-op program in engineering,” Wirebaugh said. “It guaranteed I would have a paycheck while in school and build my resumé. I’m grateful for my decision because it ended up launching my career.”

Wirebaugh completed four co-op rotations with BP while at UToledo. She also helped build a water purification unit that was sent to Ecuador through the nonprofit organization Clean Water for the World.

Her favorite experience as a student in the Jesup Scott Honors College was a class focusing on creativity. For a group project on the dangers of cell-phone use, they brought in a PlayStation 2 system and challenged students to text and drive on Mario Kart without crashing.

“My professors have truly cared about me inside and outside of my academic career,” Wirebaugh said. “I don’t see the friendships I’ve made here ending anytime soon.”

In the event of inclement weather, the approximately two-hour commencement ceremonies will be moved to Sunday, Dec. 15.

For those unable to attend, the ceremonies will stream live at video.utoledo.edu.

For more information, go to the UToledo commencement website.

UToledo Study Estimates Impact of Opioid Epidemic at $1.6B in Northwest Ohio

Fatal overdoses tied to Ohio’s ongoing opioid epidemic cost the metropolitan Toledo economy $1.6 billion and more than 2,000 jobs in 2017, according to a new study by The University of Toledo.

At $1.6 billion, the total economic impact of the opioid epidemic is equivalent to approximately 4.5% of the region’s gross domestic product — or roughly the same amount of economic activity generated annually by the entire private construction industry.

“The University of Toledo has an important role to play in addressing the major issues that affect northwest Ohio and beyond,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “This research provides another piece of the puzzle as we work together to confront the opioid epidemic.”

The research was led by Dr. Oleg Smirnov, associate professor of economics, in close collaboration with members of The University of Toledo Opioid Task Force.

“Over a relatively period of short time, the number of deaths from opioid overdose has skyrocketed, and the crisis doesn’t show any signs of abating,” Smirnov said. “This report helps give us a better understanding of how the epidemic affects our region and also provides a benchmark to evaluate the effectiveness of our community’s ongoing response.”

Among the report’s key findings:

• Fatal opioid overdoses directly resulted in $1.27 billion in lost economic output in 2017.

• Each overdose death costs the economy $8.67 million.

• The indirect, or spillover, effects of fatal opioid overdose were $329.2 million in 2017.

• Premature deaths caused by the opioid epidemic cost metropolitan Toledo the equivalent of 2,082 jobs in 2017.

• While Narcan is relatively expensive at approximately $130 per dose, there is clear evidence the economic benefit outweighs the cost of administering the drug.

“These new findings add valuable context to our understanding of and response to the opioid epidemic,” said Dr. Amy Thompson, vice provost for faculty affairs, professor of public health, and co-chair of the UToledo Opioid Task Force. “The research can be used to advocate for funding that goes toward prevention efforts and treatment of opioid use disorder. It also can be used to inform local businesses how this epidemic is affecting the job market and creating financial loss in the community.”

The report’s calculations are based on data from the Ohio Department of Health’s Ohio Public Data Warehouse, which documented 147 fatal opioid overdoses in Lucas, Wood, Fulton and Ottawa counties in 2017. Data from 2017 is the most recent finalized figures available.

State records show those four counties had 22 deaths attributed to opioid overdose in 2007. The state data relies on the official cause of death listed on state-issued death certificates and differs slightly from fatal overdose data from local sources.

“While it may seem morbid to put a price on human life, there are established economic models that show how an individual’s premature death ripples through the economy,” Smirnov said. “This report shows just how costly each death is to our entire community, on top of the personal loss of a friend, brother, sister or parent. The opioid crisis may appear hidden to some, but it affects all of us.”

To calculate the economic cost of a fatal opioid overdose in metro Toledo, researchers began with a federally established finding that a premature death has an economic cost of $9.4 million. By adjusting for northwest Ohio’s lower per-capita income and lower cost of living, they arrived at a figure of $8.6 million per premature death and $1.27 billion in lost economic output in 2017.

Each fatal overdose also hurts the economy indirectly. As spending and demand for goods and services shrink, employers may begin to reduce staffing. In turn, individuals who have lost their jobs cut back on their own spending. UToledo researchers calculated those indirect, or spillover, effects cost the local economy $329.2 million in 2017, while reducing full-time equivalent employment by 2,082 jobs.

The total economic burden in UToledo’s report does not include calculations from non-lethal overdoses. While those incidents do have costs associated with them — emergency room visits, criminal justice proceedings and mental health services, for example — the spending stays within the local community.

The report also offers some hints that the region’s response to the opioid epidemic is making a difference.

For example, a comparison of overdose-related 911 calls received by Lucas County dispatchers in 2016 and 2017 to the total number of overdose deaths in those years found the mortality of opioid overdoses declined from 8% in 2016 to 6% in 2017.

Researchers attribute that to first-responders dealing with opioid overdose more effectively, particularly with the use of naloxone.

UToledo’s research also supports the notion that the expanded use of naloxone prevents not only additional deaths, but also significant damage to the local economy.

While first responders in Lucas County administered an estimated $1 million-plus worth of naloxone in 2017, a single premature death would have cost the regional economy $8.6 million.

Access the full economic impact report online at utoledo.edu/economic-impact/opioids.

UToledo to Present ‘The Planets’ at Peristyle Dec. 6

The University of Toledo Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of its director, Dr. Matthew Forte, assistant professor of music, will perform Gustav Holst’s celebratory celestial work, “The Planets,” Friday, Dec. 6, at 8 p.m. in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle.

The orchestra will be accompanied by the ethereal voices of the Rocket Choristers, under the direction of Dr. Brad Pierson, director of choral activities and assistant professor of music.

They will perform all seven movements — Mars, the Bringer of War; Venus, the Bringer of Peace; Mercury, the Winged Messenger; Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity; Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age; Uranus, the Magician; and Neptune, the Mystic.

Each movement of the work, written between 1914 and 1916, captures the unique essence and personality of each of the planets known to be in the solar system and visible from Earth in Holst’s time.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for seniors 60 and older, and any students or children.

Tickets are available in advance from the Center for Performing Arts Box Office at 419.530.ARTS (2787) or online on the School of Visual and Performing Arts’ website. Tickets also will be available at the door.

Parking is free to museum members; otherwise, parking is $8. UToledo employees and students with University parking privileges can park free in the lot by the Center for the Visual Arts; just show your UToledo ID.

Rocket Marching Band to Perform Nov. 22 in Valentine Theatre

The University of Toledo Rocket Marching Band will take its show from the field to the Valentine Theatre. The Sounds of the Stadium concert will be held Friday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m. at the historic venue located at 410 Adams St. in Toledo.

The Rocket Marching Band will perform music from its 2019 fall season.

Highlights of the program will include the music of Motown, Top 40 hits, car-culture tunes, and traditional UToledo favorites.

Tickets are $9 each. Discount tickets are available for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are available through the UToledo Center for Performing Arts Box Office at 419.530.ARTS (2787) and on the School of Visual and Performing Arts’ website.

Tickets also are available through the Valentine Theatre Box Office at 419.242.ARTS (2787) and on the Valentine Theatre website.