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Rocket to Compete in USA Track & Field Junior Cross Country Championship

Freshman Jacob Harris will represent The University of Toledo as he competes in the USA Track & Field Junior Cross Country Championship Saturday, Jan. 18, at 12:15 p.m. Pacific Time (3:15 p.m. Eastern Time) at Mission Bay Park in San Diego.

The top six finishers will be offered a spot on the USA Track & Field team for the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Championships.

Jacob Harris placed sixth at the Mid-American Conference Cross Country Championship and was named Freshman of the Year.

“We are really looking forward to Jacob racing at the USA Junior Cross Country Championship in San Diego this weekend,” said Assistant Coach Nick Stenuf. “Coming off of his freshman season that saw him place sixth at the Mid-American Conference Championships and earn Freshman of the Year honors, we knew he was ready and fit enough to go and compete with the best [under 20] distance runners in the U.S.

“It will also be a great experience for him on the national level, as well as a great representation for Toledo and what we expect for the men’s program going forward,” Stenuf added.

Harris is coming off an impressive rookie campaign last fall. In his collegiate debut at the Northern Illinois University Huskie Challenge Sept. 6, he captured the individual title with a time of 25:52.1, helping the Rockets to a fourth-place finish. The Toledo native was the first Rocket to cross the finish line at the MAC Championships, stopping the clock at 25:42.3 to place sixth. Harris’ top-10 finish earned him First-Team All-MAC and MAC Freshman of the Year honors.

At the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Nov. 11, he set pace for the Rockets with a time of 31:48.2 to place 54th overall and help the Rockets to a 17th-place team finish.

Toledo Mayor, University President Invite Community to Unity Day Celebration

Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and University of Toledo President Sharon L. Gaber are inviting community members throughout northwest Ohio to the 2020 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unity Day Celebration.

The 19th annual Unity Day Celebration, which is free and open to the public, will take place Monday, Jan. 20, from 9 to 11 a.m. in Savage Arena. A free community breakfast will be served to begin the event.

This year’s theme of “Dream, Believe, Do” helps connect King’s iconic dream of freedom and equality with the belief and action needed to help make it a reality, according to organizers. As part of the celebration, winter kits will be packaged by community members for donation to Lucas County Children Services.

“At a time when our nation seems as divided as it has ever been, I encourage all Toledoans to join in the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr., whose life’s work was dedicated to bringing people together and finding common ground,” Kapszukiewicz said.

“As the city of Toledo’s university, we view outreach and education as a critical part of our mission,” Gaber said. “The UToledo community is proud to partner with our neighbors in celebrating Dr. King’s legacy.”

Alexis Means, reporter for WTVG-TV Ch. 13, is master of ceremonies for the Unity Day Celebration. The program will feature the awarding of scholarships, as well as songs, dance and spoken word performances by UToledo students, the UToledo Blue & Gold Pep Band, UToledo TRIBE Dance Team, students from Toledo School for the Arts, and Alicia Russell, soprano with the Toledo Opera.

Recipients of UToledo’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship, awarded each year based on academic excellence as well as civic and community service, also will be recognized.

The Unity Day Celebration is organized by a committee co-chaired by Sara Dastagir, assistant to Kapszukiewicz, and Dr. Willie McKether, UToledo vice president for diversity and inclusion, and vice provost.

Satellites to Hold Shoe Sale This Week

The 43-hour shoe sale will start at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15, and run through 2 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, in The University of Toledo Medical Center’s Four Seasons Bistro Atrium.

The Satellites Auxiliary and the UToledo Retirees Association in conjunction with Outside the Box Shoes will present the popular event.

“We love holding the shoe sale because it makes shopping for essentials so convenient,” Lynn Brand, president of the Satellites, said. “We hold this sale twice a year because our employees love it.”

Brand names expected at the event include Clarks, Klogs, Skechers, Merrell, Jambu, New Balance, Dansko, Bearpaw, Kamik, Grey’s Anatomy Softwalk and more.

Cash, credit cards and payroll deduction will be accepted.
Profits will benefit the auxiliary’s and association’s campus scholarships.

The Satellites Auxiliary promotes education, research and service programs; provides support of patient programs in accordance with the needs and approval of administration; conducts fundraising events; and offers volunteer services.

For more information on the shoe sale, contact Brand at lynn.brand@utoledo.edu.

UToledo to Spotlight Sustainable Energy Program That Repurposes Nuclear Reactors for Hydrogen Production

The University of Toledo College of Engineering is hosting a workshop to showcase a national program designed to use the country’s commercial nuclear reactors to produce hydrogen and help the transportation, chemical and steel industries close the carbon cycle.

The event, focused on the sustainable energy program, will start at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, in the Nitschke Hall Room 1027, and bring together representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy, scientists from U.S. national laboratories, UToledo faculty, representatives from Davis-Besse nuclear power plant, and industry leaders.

As part of the national project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Idaho National Laboratory is working with the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station on a pilot program to install an electrolysis system to produce hydrogen.

“The University of Toledo is proud to host a workshop to explore opportunities in repurposing light water nuclear reactors for hydrogen production through a hybrid systems design,” said Dr. Mike Toole, dean of the UToledo College of Engineering.

“The project is a win for regional industries and clean energy,” Dr. Connie Schall, UToledo associate vice president for research, said. “Nuclear electricity is a low carbon emission power source. The nuclear energy hub model opens many opportunities for regional industries, not only for green hydrogen, but also for other electrochemically driven processes.”

This workshop will explore the current state-of-the-art opportunities for industry, government and academic collaboration, identify current research-and-development gaps, and provide an overview of the U.S. Department of Energy programs that are leading the effort to build a hydrogen economy and innovative power grid solutions.

The agenda and registration information can be found at the workshop website.

The workshop comes three months after the U.S. Department of Energy selected UToledo to host National Lab Day, which connected students and researchers with preeminent scientists from world-class facilities across the country to explore opportunities for partnerships.

Toledo Women’s Basketball to Host Wine Night Jan. 29

The Toledo women’s basketball program will host Rockets’ Wine Night in Savage Arena before its showdown against Eastern Michigan Wednesday, Jan. 29.

Cost for this event is $30 and includes a game ticket, wine samples and appetizers. Tickets are $20 for fans who have already purchased their game tickets. The cost for designated drivers is $20 and includes a game ticket and appetizers with soft drinks.

Attendees for the event will be required to show a valid photo ID upon entry. No refunds or exchanges will be provided for failure to provide ID or failure to attend.

Wine Night will take place in the Fetterman Gym from 5:30 to 7 p.m. and is for fans 21 and older.

For more information, visit the Rocket Ticket Office in Savage Arena, call 419.530.GOLD (4653), or go to the Toledo Rockets’ website.

Purchase UToledo Beanie to Support Fight Against Pediatric Cancer

The University is selling UToledo-branded Love Your Melon beanies to support a good cause.

When you buy a beanie, another beanie will be donated to a child battling cancer.

In addition, for every UToledo beanie sold, $10 will be donated to the University Student Food Pantry.

Love Your Melon is an apparel brand dedicated to supporting the fight against pediatric cancer; 50% of net profits are given to support charitable programming and research through the Love Your Melon Fund and other nonprofits in the fight against pediatric cancer.

Since 2012, Love Your Melon has given away 191,425 beanies and $7,186,239 to nonprofit organizations that support the fight against pediatric cancer, conduct cutting-edge research, create therapeutic experiences, and fund programming initiatives for children and their families battling cancer.

The UToledo Love Your Melon beanie is for sale at The University of Toledo Copy Center for $35; accepted payment methods are cash and credit. The Copy Center is located in Thompson Student Union Room 1550 next to Chick-fil-A and is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

To learn more, visit the Love Your Melon website.

One of Exonerated Central Park Five to Speak at Conference for Aspiring Minority Youth

Dr. Yusef Salaam, whose story is documented in the 2019 Netflix series “When They See Us,” will give the keynote address at The University of Toledo’s 36th annual Conference for Aspiring Minority Youth Saturday, Jan. 11.

Salaam was one of five teenagers of color, ages 14 to 16, wrongfully convicted of the 1989 beating and rape of a female jogger in Central Park. More than a decade later, a murderer and rapist serving a life sentence confessed to the brutal crime, and DNA evidence cleared the five, who were exonerated.


Sponsored by Toledo Excel and the UToledo Joint Committee, the conference for seventh- and eighth-graders, high school students and parents will start at 8:30 a.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

“Social Justice: A Community Enterprise” is the theme of this year’s event.

“Dr. Salaam understands better than most that we have systems in this country that do not work equally for all of its citizens,” David Young, director of Toledo Excel and Special Projects, said. “However, he has dedicated himself to changing those systems as one of the leading advocates in the nation for criminal justice reform and change.”

In 2012, filmmaker Ken Burns made a documentary detailing the travesty; “The Central Park Five” chronicled the case from the perspective of the teens whose lives were changed by the miscarriage of justice.

Two years later, the quintet agreed to an approximate $40 million settlement from New York City to resolve the civil rights lawsuit over their arrests and imprisonment for the attack that made headlines around the globe.

Their story continues to educate and open eyes. “When They See Us,” a four-part miniseries, was released this year by Netflix and has received numerous awards.

“Since the day we were wrongfully arrested, others controlled the story about us without ever seeing us,” Salaam, an Innocence Project board member, said at the nonprofit legal organization’s 2019 gala.

Since his release more than two decades ago, Salaam has become an activist and inspirational speaker who addresses injustice and the importance of education, and facilitates discussions on race and class, prison reform, and capital punishment.

“This conference will educate students and parents about their basic rights and also advocate all attendees to be change agents where needed,” Young said. “We hope this will encourage a community and collective effort where social justice is needed.”

Following the keynote address, Salaam will participate in a panel discussion on social justice and criminal justice reform. He will be joined by RaShya Ghee, UToledo graduate, adjunct professor at the UToledo College of Law, and staff attorney at Advocating for Opportunity; Albert Earl, cultural educator and prevention education specialist; and UToledo Police Chief and Director of Public Safety Jeff Newton. Rhonda Sewell, manager of external and governmental affairs at Toledo Lucas County Public Library, will moderate the session.

Toledo Excel was established in 1988 to help underrepresented students, including African, Asian, Hispanic and Native Americans, for success in college. Through summer institutes, academic retreat weekends, campus visits and guidance through the admission process, students increase their self-esteem, cultural awareness and civic involvement.

Toledo Excel is part of the Office of Multicultural Student Success, which is in the Division of Student Affairs. The UToledo Joint Committee includes representatives from the University, Toledo Public and Parochial schools, and civic and community leaders from the city of Toledo. The mission of the committee is to bring together people in the community interested in the education of underrepresented youth. The UToledo Joint Committee also serves as an advisory board and support system for Toledo Excel.

Advance registration for the free, public conference is required; go to the eventbrite website.

For more information, email Young at david.young@utoledo.edu or call 419.530.3820.

Basketball Tickets Available for $8 as Part of Winter Spectacular

The Toledo men’s and women’s basketball programs are providing a holiday special to Rocket fans for six different games over the next five weeks with their annual Winter Spectacular.

With UToledo students home for winter break, fans can sit in the bleacher seats for just $8 (includes parking) for men’s games vs. Wright State Saturday, Dec. 21; Western Michigan Saturday, Jan. 11; and Central Michigan Tuesday, Jan. 14.

For women’s games, general admission tickets are available for just $8 (includes parking) for contests vs. Canisius Sunday, Dec. 29; Buffalo Wednesday, Jan. 8; and Akron Wednesday, Jan. 15.

Tickets are based on availability; prices will increase to $9 on the day of each game.

To purchase tickets for the Winter Spectacular, stop by the Rocket Athletic Ticket Office in the Sullivan Athletic Complex at Savage Arena, go to the UToledo Ticket Central website, or call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

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.


“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.