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UT ecologist elected Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science

A University of Toledo ecologist is being honored for her work to advance science as a newly elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Carol Stepien, Distinguished University Professor of Ecology, is among the 391 AAAS Fellows elected in 2016 who will be recognized at the association’s annual meeting Feb. 18 in Boston.

AAAS is the world’s largest multi-disciplinary scientific and engineering society. Since 1874 it has elected fellows to recognize members for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

Stepien

Stepien

“You are being honored for distinguished contributions to the fields of molecular evolutionary ecology and conservation genetics, particularly invasive and native populations, and mentorship of graduate and undergraduate students,” Rush D. Holt, AAAS chief executive officer, said in a letter to Stepien informing her of the honor.

“I am honored to be recognized by our nation’s scientific community,” Stepien said. “My special emphasis has been helping to train and mentor UT graduate and undergraduate students, and our local high school students in aquatic ecology, to aid conservation efforts in the Great Lakes.”

Stepien is internationally recognized for her research in the areas of invasive species and fish genetics. She joined UT’s Department of Ecology in 2004 and also served as director of the Lake Erie Center until 2016. Dr. Stepien was appointed a Distinguished University Professor in 2012.

“Recognition as an AAAS Fellow is an enormous honor and a credit to Dr. Stepien and her impressive body of research to advance our knowledge of marine biology,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “The University of Toledo is proud to have a faculty member selected to the AAAS and looks forward to more faculty receiving prestigious national awards.”

Stepien is currently on a leave of absence from UT while continuing her active research program and working with UT graduate students. She is serving as an Ocean Environment Research Division Leader at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle.

Stepien is the author of the book “Molecular Systematics of Fishes” published in 1997 and reprinted in 2002, as well as more than 90 other scholarly publications. She has received more than $12 million in grants and awards for her studies of molecular ecology, population genetics, evolutionary patterns and genomics.


World AIDS Day forum to be held on UT Main Campus

The University of Toledo Medical Center’s Ryan White Program will host a forum discussing the many challenges of HIV and AIDS.

The free event will take place on World AIDS Day, Thursday, Dec. 1, in the Driscoll Alumni Center Auditorium on UT’s Main Campus. Light refreshments will be served at a reception from 5 to 5:30 p.m. followed by a panel discussion.

“The goal of the Ryan White Program and World AIDS Day is to reduce the stigma surrounding the HIV epidemic and to open a dialogue to educate the public about the myths and facts associated with HIV,” said Kennyetta White, minority outreach coordinator. “We need to work together to change public perceptions. While HIV infection rates are down, we still need to talk about risk factors and preventative measures.”

Panel members will include individuals living with or affected by HIV, as well as community health-care and service providers. The panelists will offer insight into the world of HIV and field questions from audience members.

World AIDS Day has been recognized every year since 1988 to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic and recognize those who have lost their lives to the disease.

“This forum is open to students, faculty, the HIV community and anyone else interested in learning more about HIV,” said Te’Anne Townsend, senior public health major and intern with the Ryan White Program. “This is an opportunity to separate fact from fiction, educate the public, and work to end stigma.”

UTMC’s Ryan White Program offers high-quality comprehensive HIV/AIDS care services. The program uses a multidisciplinary model that incorporates health care, mental health services and case management for those affected by HIV/AIDS in Lucas County and the surrounding counties in northwest Ohio.

“We encourage UT students and young adults in the community to attend,” said Megan Cooper, master of public health student and intern with the Ryan White Program. “It’s important for young people to understand risks of contracting HIV and the effects it has on a community to make a difference for future generations.”


Activist/artist to visit UT for Native American Heritage Month

Acoma Pueblo poet Sara Marie Ortiz will give the keynote address for The University of Toledo’s celebration of Native American Heritage Month.

She will speak at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 28, in the Student Union Ingman Room. 

Ortiz is the author of a collection of poems, Red Milk, published in 2013. Her works have appeared in Ploughshares and New Poets of the West, as well as a 2011 anthology, Sing: Indigenous Poetry of the Americas. 

A filmmaker, she has worked on “Search for the World’s Best Indian Taco” (2010), “Indios Primeros” 2010 and “Made in New Mexico” (2012). She is making a documentary on the life and legacy of her father, poet Simon J. Ortiz.

An indigenous peoples activist and performing artist, Ortiz received a bachelor of arts degree from the Institute of American Indian Arts and a master of fine arts degree from Antioch University Los Angeles. She is an education administrator in Burien, Wash.

The free, public talk is sponsored by the Office of Excellence and Multicultural Student Success, the Division of Student Affairs, and the Department of English Languages and Literature.


UT named 2017 Military Friendly School

The University of Toledo has been recognized as a top school for supporting student veterans.

Victory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs, STEM JobsSM and Military Spouse, announced today that UT earned the 2017 Military Friendly School designation.Military Friendly

First published in 2009, the Military Friendly Schools list each year helps service members and their families select the best college, university or trade school to receive the education and training needed to pursue a civilian career.

“Our ability to apply a clear, consistent standard to the majority of colleges gives veterans a comprehensive view of which schools are striving to provide the best opportunities and conditions for our nation’s student veterans,” said Daniel Nichols, a Navy Reserve veteran and chief product officer at Victory Media. “Military Friendly helps military families make the best use of the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other federal benefits while allowing us to further our goal of assisting them in finding success in their chosen career fields.”

Institutions that earn the designation are evaluated using both public data sources and responses to a Victory Media survey. More than 1,600 schools participated in the 2017 survey and 1,160 were awarded the designation. To view the 2017 recipients, visit militaryfriendly.comBest for Vets

“We are grateful for our student veterans’ service to our nation and the positive impact they have on our University and in our communities,” said Navy Reserve Lt. Haraz N. Ghanbari, UT director of military and veteran affairs. “Being named a Military Friendly School reflects the University’s commitment to honoring our veterans and helping them succeed.”

Military Times and Military Advanced Education & Transition also recognized UT in their 2017 rankings for the service and support provided to service members, veterans and their families.

Military Times lists UT in its Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 rankings that evaluate the factors that make colleges and universities a good fit for members of the military and veterans.

Military Advanced Education & Transition named UT a top school in its 2017 Guide to Colleges & Universities research study.MAE&T

The University of Toledo’s Military Service Center provides accessible educational and degree completion opportunities and a range of customized support services to service members and veterans, including educational benefit processing, mentoring, advocacy and networking. The center also partners closely with veteran service organizations to assist with the transition from military service to the classroom.

For more information, the Military Service Center can be reached at 419.530.VETS (8387) or online at utoledo.edu/military.


UT student veterans to host flag retirement ceremony today

The Student Veterans of America UT Chapter will host today an American flag retirement ceremony outside the Lancelot Thompson Student Union.

The University of Toledo students will share the history of the flag, the proper way to dispose of a flag that is no longer suitable for display, and preside over the retirement of several American flags at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 10 on the steps outside the Union.

The flag retirement ceremony is part of a series of events at the University to honor veterans and active military for their service.

The 12th annual Veterans Appreciation Breakfast and Resource Fair will take place at 9 a.m. Friday, Nov. 11 in Savage Arena. Doors open at 8 a.m.

Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp, a Vietnam veteran who received the Bronze Star for his service as a combat medic, will give a keynote address for the appreciation event on Veterans Day that includes a breakfast and fair to provide the community access to military-focused resources.

Two World War II veterans — Army Sgt. Richard Perry, UT professor emeritus, and Pfc. David Schwartz — also will be awarded the French Legion of Honor, the highest award that can be bestowed by the French government. Consul General Vincent Floreani from the French Consulate in Chicago will present the honors to the local veterans designating them as models of French civic service.

Following the annual appreciation event, UT also will unveil new markers at the UT Veterans Memorial Plaza, an outdoor area that honors individuals and groups who served in the U.S. military. The new Gold Star Memorial and Blue Star Memorial markers pay tribute to the Gold Star families whose loved ones paid the ultimate price defending the country and to those Blue Star families who have defended, are defending, or will defend the United States of America.


Veterans to be recognized at UT’s annual service Nov. 11

Two World War II veterans will be recognized during a special ceremony at the annual Veterans Appreciation Breakfast and Resource Fair at The University of Toledo, where the community honors veterans and active military for their service.

Army Sgt. Richard Perry, UT professor emeritus, and Pfc. David Schwartz will be awarded the French Legion of Honor, the highest award that can be bestowed by the French government.veterans day 2016

The special recognition is part of the 12th annual Veterans Day celebration that will take Friday, Nov. 11, place 9 a.m. in Savage Arena on UT’s Main Campus. Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp, a Vietnam veteran who received the Bronze Star for his service as a combat medic, will give a keynote address for the appreciation event that includes a breakfast and fair to provide the community access to military-focused resources.

Consul General Vincent Floreani from the French Consulate in Chicago will present the honors to the local veterans designating them as models of French civic service. The French Legion of Honor is founded on the principles of rewarding individual merit, universal recognition, and contribution to the public good and is awarded to people who have carried out actions of great value.

“It is important for the community to come together to show appreciation for the men and women who have served our country, and this year we have the great opportunity to welcome a representative of the French government to join us in doing so as they recognize two local World War II veterans with their highest honor,” said Navy Reserve Lt. Haraz N. Ghanbari, director of military and veteran affairs at UT.

Perry served 57 years at UT teaching education courses and holding various administrative positions. He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943 and was honorably discharged in 1946 with the rank of sergeant. He then earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from UT and began his career at his alma mater.

He was presented last year with the Soldier’s Medal during a ceremony at UT that was awarded for his bravery during a 1945 explosion of an ammunition trailer in Germany during which he carried injured men to safety and removed unexploded ammunition to protect others. Perry also has received a Purple Heart and two Bronze Stars, including one for valor.

Following the annual appreciation event, UT also will unveil new markers at the UT Veterans Memorial Plaza, an outdoor area that honors individuals and groups who served in the U.S. military. The new Gold Star Memorial and a Blue Star Memorial markers installed at the plaza pay tribute to the Gold Star families whose loved ones paid the ultimate price defending the country and to those Blue Star families who have defended, are defending, or will defend the United States of America.

The University has long been recognized as a military friendly school for its commitment to providing exceptional service and support to the nation’s service members, veterans and their families.

In 2017, UT was again recognized by Military Times in its Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 rankings and by Military Advanced Education & Transition as a top school in its 2017 MAE&T Guide to Colleges & Universities research study.

The Student Veterans of America UT Chapter also will host an American flag retirement ceremony Thursday, Nov. 10, at 11 a.m. on the steps outside the Student Union, where they will share the history of the flag, the proper way to dispose of a flag that is no longer suitable for display, and preside over the retirement of several American flags.

Free parking for the Veterans Appreciation Breakfast and Resource Fair will be available in lots 3, 5 and 6 near Savage Arena. A shuttle also will transport visitors from the event to the Veterans Memorial Plaza.

This year’s event is sponsored by The University of Toledo, Lucas County Commissioners, Lucas County Veteran’s Service Commission, American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio, Columbia Gas and Fifth Third Bank.


Student Union to be dedicated in honor of longtime university leader

The hub of Main Campus will be dedicated today in honor of Dr. Lancelot C.A. Thompson, a trailblazing University of Toledo professor and administrator who devoted his career to student success.

A dedication ceremony for the newly renamed Lancelot Thompson Student Union will be held at 2:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 7, inside the main entrance of the building near the Office of Multicultural Student Success. The event follows the November meeting of the UT Board of Trustees where they are slated to vote to officially rename the building in his honor.

Thompson

Thompson

“As we look forward to continue to strengthen The University of Toledo, it’s important that we take these opportunities to honor our past,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “Dr. Lance Thompson dedicated his life to this great university, and we benefit from the strong foundation he built.”

The president announced during a memorial service in September the University’s intent to rename the building in his honor, as well as the creation of the Dr. Lancelot Thompson Student Activities and Diversity Fund to support programming to benefit the student experience and advance the University’s diversity initiatives.

The dedication ceremony will include remarks from Gaber; Dr. Kaye M. Patten, senior vice president for student affairs; Dr. John Kirchhoff, Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; and Dr. Willie McKether, vice president for diversity and inclusion. A portrait and plaque inside the main entrance honoring Thompson will be unveiled, and new signage on the outside of the Student Union will be on display, sharing the new building name with campus.

Thompson, who died Sept. 10 at the age of 91, was professor emeritus of chemistry who served 20 years as the University’s first vice president for student affairs.

He was a trailblazer at UT as the first African-American full-time faculty member at the University in 1958 and the first black faculty member to receive tenure. He went on to become the first African-American vice president.

Thompson was dedicated to students as a classroom teacher receiving one of the University’s first Outstanding Teacher Awards and as an administrator helping to organize UT’s annual Aspiring Minorities Youth Conference, which continues to this day.

To support student activities and diversity efforts through the Dr. Lancelot Thompson Student Activities and Diversity Fund, visit give2ut.utoledo.edu/lance.asp.

Click here to download photographs of Thompson.


Award-winning author to give reading Nov. 3 at UT

Danzy Senna, the author of the bestselling novel, Caucasia, will give the annual Richard M. Summers Memorial Lecture at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, in Student Union Room 2592.

She will give a public reading, which will be followed by a reception when she will sign books.

Senna

Senna

Her first work, Caucasia, has been translated into 10 languages, and Senna won the Book of the Month Club Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the American Library Association’s Alex Award. Senna

She also has written the bestselling novel, Symptomatic (2004); a memoir, Where Did You Sleep Last Night: A Personal History (2009); and a collection of short fiction, You Are Free: Stories (2011).

“We chose Ms. Senna because her work deftly and fearlessly explores — with grace, humor and emotional honesty — the complex and often thorny issues of race, class and gender in the contemporary United States,” said Dr. Kimberly Mack, UT assistant professor of English. “Senna confronts the constructed nature of race while developing characters who are tasked with finding ways to live authentically within those structures. Her novel, Caucasia, is also widely taught in our department, with students responding enthusiastically to her work.”

Mack encouraged attendance to the free, public event for the chance to hear from an influential writer.

“I hope that members of the UT and larger Toledo communities are inspired by their encounter with an important contemporary American writer whose work engages salient topics of contemporary relevance,” Mack said.

The Richard M. Summers Memorial Lecture was established by Marie Summers to honor her son, a member of the UT Department of English from 1966 until his death in 1988. The lecture is designed to bring a distinguished literary scholar, critic or writer to the University.

“The Summers Memorial Lecture offers the UT and larger Toledo communities an exciting opportunity to experience significant creative writers and literary scholars in a vibrant intellectual environment. For students who are studying literature or creative writing, the Summers Lecture exposes them to writers whose works can inform their own,” Mack said.

For more information on the Summers Memorial Lecture, call the UT Department of English Language and Literature at 419.530.2318.


UT Catholic studies lecture to examine election, morality

“Morality and the Election: Why Liberals and Conservatives Can’t Understand Each Other” will be the topic of the Center for Religious Understanding’s Annual Murray/Bacik Lecture in Catholic Studies at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3, in the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.

Feldmeier

Feldmeier

Dr. Peter Feldmeier, who will give the lecture, is the Murray/Bacik Endowed Professor of Catholic Studies, a position he has held for the last five years at The University of Toledo.

“This lecture is important because of its timeliness as it comes the week before the election,” Feldmeier said. “It deals with how one comes to make moral decisions and how the moral framework regarding politics works with that process.”

He said one thing he hopes the community takes away is a better understanding of the moral principles people draw on to make political assessments.

“Much of our moral intuitions are just that, intuitions. We rely more on our emotional lives and uncritically assess moral values to either confirm or reject political philosophies, policies and candidates. Our rational lives end up working more to justify our already determined conclusions,” Feldmeier said.

“Breaking down how and why this is the case helps us toward better self-understanding. It also helps us to understand the political other. Both liberals and conservatives are often sure that they vote morally, and they cannot see how the political other could ever vote differently and still be moral. It turns out that they are drawing on different moral foundations or at least weighing them differently.”

The lecture is free, but tickets are required; RSVP at cfru.eventbrite.com.

Free parking is available in lots 12 (near the Law Center) and 12E (near the Center for the Performing Arts).


UT seeks community input on strategic plan

The University of Toledo’s strategic planning committee is seeking input from the greater Toledo community about UT’s future direction.

A discussion session open to the public will take place 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, in Rocket Hall Room 1555 on the UT Main Campus.

The community discussion follows a series of discussion sessions with faculty, staff and students held on the University’s Main and Health Science campuses.

The discussions are led by strategic planning committee co-chairs Dr. Laurie Dinnebeil, Distinguished University Professor and chair of early childhood, physical and special education, and committee co-chair Dr. Anthony Quinn, associate professor of biological sciences and assistant dean for diversity and inclusion in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

The discussion will begin with a brief overview of the strategic planning process, after which participants will split into small groups to provide input on their views of the University’s future.

Individuals who want to provide their opinions but cannot attend the sessions are encouraged to submit their ideas at utoledo.edu/strategicplan.