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Posts Tagged ‘College of Communication and the Arts’

Tribute set for longtime communication department faculty member

A memorial service honoring Don Reiber, who taught communication courses for 36 years at The University of Toledo, will be held 2 p.m. Sunday, April 24 in Savage Arena.

Reiber, associate professor of communication and the director of the Department of Communication’s Media Services, passed away Sept. 20 at age 68.

ReiberHe taught television production, live-truck production, and radio production and programming. His students and alumni number in the thousands, working in broadcasting in Toledo, across the United States and for national news organizations, including CNN.

“Everything you’ve heard about Don Reiber is true,” Paul Helgren, UT associate athletic director, said. “What made him a great employee was his work ethic, professionalism and dedication to UT — especially UT students. What made him a great person was his easy-going nature and his genuine interest in others. He touched so many lives, probably many more than he ever realized. Don helped make this University great. His influence will be felt here for many years to come.”

The memorial service will be emceed by Dan Saevig, UT associate vice president of alumni relations and longtime friend. It will include several speakers who will share their remembrances and a video tribute, which is fitting for the man who lived and breathed broadcasting.

“We have alumni from as far away as California coming for the service,” Saevig said. “We expect several hundred to be there to celebrate a great human being who did so much for students and this University.”

The University is establishing an endowed fund in Reiber’s memory with the intention of dedicating the production control room in Savage Arena in his honor, pending approval by the UT Board of Trustees and the completion of a fundraising campaign. Contributions can be made to the Don Reiber Student Production Fund to The University of Toledo Foundation via

“Don was and still is a true inspiration to all that had the pleasure to have worked with him. He made us all want to be better at what we do,” said Tyler Mattson, a student who will receive a bachelor’s degree in communication in May and who received a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutics in 2014. “I knew Don for seven years from helping at events across campus. We all know that everything he did at UT wasn’t because he had to, but because he wanted to. It was with this that he showed and inspired all of his students and those who had come to know him. Don will always have a place not only at UT, but in our hearts as well.”

Media Coverage
The Blade (April 23, 2016)
13 ABC (April 23, 2016)
NBC 24 (April 25, 2016)
WTOL 11 (April 26, 2016)
The Independent Collegian (April 27, 2016)

UT theater designer lights up NBA All-Star Game events

If we’ve learned anything from the blackout at Super Bowl XLVII, it’s that lighting has a critical role in live entertainment.

Going into the NBA All-Star Game, a University of Toledo lighting designer has accepted the responsibility as part of the team in charge of lighting the stage for half-time performer Sting, the pre-game performance by Cirque du Soleil and other All-Star Game events.

Stephen Sakowski, assistant professor of lighting and sound design in the UT Department of Theatre and Film, will be working closely this week with Otis Howard, an Emmy Award-winning lighting designer who runs Otis Howard Design, Inc., a company that has lit the stage for TV shows on BET, VH1, MTV, HSN and more. Howard has been in charge of lighting the NBA All-Star events for the last five years.

“It’s nice to be a part of something on this scale because it’s reaffirming that I’ve made good choices along the way,” Sakowski said.

Sakowski first began working alongside Howard during an internship in college. After graduating from Otterbein University, he freelanced in New York City for several years before getting his master’s degree from UC San Diego. He joined UT’s faculty last year.

“Teaching lighting design, there’s theories and approaches, but so much of this job is real-world experience and application,” Sakowski said.

Doing these projects provides a sense of accreditation for his students, Sakowski said, because they can see his experience in the field and learn about the work he does. He also is exposed to some of the best technologies and techniques in the industry, which he can then teach his students about, Sakowski said.

Sakowski routinely does production coordinating remotely for Otis Howard Design working on technical drawings and lighting plots, but for this large national event Sakowski will travel to Toronto to ensure it goes off without a hitch.

NBA All-Star events will take place Thursday, Feb. 11 through Sunday, Feb. 14 and the NBA All-Star game tips off at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 14 at Air Canada Centre. It will be televised on TNT.

Click here to download the photo of Sakowski.

CNN journalist to deliver UT Commencement address Dec. 19

Christi Paul, anchor of CNN New Day Weekends and HLN’s Daily Share, will address graduates at The University of Toledo’s fall commencement 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 19 in Savage Arena.

The UT graduate and Bellevue-native, who also will receive an honorary degree during the ceremony, will address more than 2,000 candidates for degrees, including 138 doctoral candidates, 556 master’s candidates and 1,372 bachelor’s candidates.

This marks the first University of Toledo commencement for President Sharon L. Gaber.

Christi Paul

“From her time at UT to her successful career at CNN, Christi Paul has devoted her life to thoughtful curiosity, learning, and helping others with the power of information,” Gaber said. “She has been at the forefront of many major news stories of our time. The award-winning journalist and advocate for women and children is an inspiring voice who will offer a passionate message to our graduates and guests.”

The national journalist graduated from UT in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication degree with a focus on broadcast journalism.

“I’m humbled and honored to give the commencement speech and so grateful to UT, the professors who helped me grow, the staff who guided me to solid internships, and the friends I made along the way,” Paul said. “I will always credit UT for giving me my springboard into the journalism arena.”

Paul has covered many high-profile events throughout her distinguished career, including President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, Hurricane Sandy, and the Casey Anthony murder trial. She was in the anchor chair walking heartbroken viewers through the early hours of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and Virginia Tech.

Prior to joining CNN and HLN in 2003, Paul worked as an anchor and reporter in Phoenix, Ariz., and Boise, Idaho. The Idaho Press Club honored Paul for her series about a brave four-year-old girl who underwent a five-organ transplant. Paul began her career at WDTV in Clarksburg, W.Va.

The wife and mother of three also is passionate about helping children. Along with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Paul is co-founder of the “Find Our Children” series that airs on HLN. Viewers have helped bring home 35 missing kids as a result of the news profile segments. The center honored Paul in 2012 with its prestigious Hope Award for her efforts to make the world a safer place for children.

Paul serves on the National Advisory Council for the One Love Foundation, which works with teens to help end dating violence. Paul also serves on the Advisory Board for When Georgia Smiled that helps victims of domestic violence and sexual assault find healing, safety and joy.

UT recognized Paul in 2006 as an Outstanding Alumna of the former College of Arts and Sciences.

The fall commencement ceremony will recognize graduates from the Colleges of Adult and Lifelong Learning, Business and Innovation, Communication and the Arts, Judith Herb College of Education, Health Sciences, Languages, Literature and Social Sciences, Medicine and Life Sciences; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and Social Justice and Human Service.

Other college specific commencement ceremonies taking place are:

  • College of Engineering: graduate commencement 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17; undergraduate commencement 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19. Both ceremonies will be held in Nitschke Auditorium.
  • College of Nursing: 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18 in Nitschke Auditorium.

For more information, visit

Media Coverage
The Blade (Dec. 19, 2015)
The Blade (Dec. 20, 2015)

UT’s Banned Books vigil to take place Oct. 1

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird has garnered a great deal of recognition: a 1961 Pulitzer Prize and the Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and status in 2011 as the American Library Association’s 10th most banned book.

The last week of September marks the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week. The University of Toledo will join the celebration Thursday, Oct. 1, on the fifth floor of Carlson Library for the 18th annual Banned Books Week Vigil.

The free, public event will begin at 9 a.m. with programs running every half hour until 5 p.m. Speakers will celebrate the right to read, think and speak freely with the campus and Toledo community.

“Our festival is a mirror of how greatly this campus believes in intellectual freedom,” said Dr. Paulette D. Kilmer, UT professor of communication, founder and coordinator of the event, which the UT Banned Books Week Coalition spends months planning.

“This campus’ belief is evident in many ways — our library, our IT and computer support, the free access for Wi-Fi, The Independent Collegian, UT:10, the radio station — these all show that intellectual inquiry is very important here,” she said.

Light snacks and refreshments will be available all day, with free banned books and prizes distributed every half hour.

“We are proud to host this campus-wide celebration of the right to read and think freely,” Kilmer said. “Our event gives UT people an opportunity to support freedom of expression. We set aside all sorts of holidays — for groundhogs, Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day — and they’re all good, but we could really afford to add a holiday for reading, too.”

Topics and speakers for the event will be:

• 9 a.m. — “Welcome,” Barbara Floyd, director of UT’s Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections and interim director of UT Libraries, and Dr. Jeffrey Wilkinson, professor and chair of the UT Communication Department;

• 9:30 a.m. — “Reflections” by UT Interim Provost John Barrett;

• 10 a.m. — “Silencing Through Stereotypes: Native Americans in Children’s Literature” by Dr. Sharon Barnes, associate professor and interim chair of the UT Women’s and Gender Studies;

• 10:30 a.m. — “Toledo Free Press Memories” by Sarah Ottney, Toledo freelance journalist;

• 11 a.m. — “The Helicopter Problem” by Dr. David Tucker, UT professor of communication;

• 11:30 a.m. — “Women Who Know Better” by Warren Woodbury, Toledo author;

• Noon — The Dr. Linda Smith Lecture: “Do Criminals Have First Amendment Rights? Civic Death and the U.S. Constitution” by Dr. Renee Heberle, UT professor of political science;

• 1 p.m. — “Innocence Seduced: A Brief History of Comic Book Censorship” by Dr. Matt Yockey, UT associate professor of theatre and film;

• 1:30 p.m. — “The Shifting Lines of Intellectual Property in the Digital Age” by Wilkinson;

• 2 p.m. — “College Confidential: Censorship of College newspapers” by The Independent Collegian Editor-in-Chief Amanda Pitrof and Forum Editor Morgan Rinckey;

• 2:30 p.m. — “Trigger Warning Here! A Reflection on ‘Trigger Warnings’ in Higher Education” by Dr. Glen Sheldon, UT honors professor of humanities;

• 3 p.m. — “Jeopardy!” hosted by The Independent Collegian staff;

• 3:30 p.m. — “Naughty Girls or Nasty Minds? The Evolution of Pin-Up Models” by Torrie Jadlocki, local photojournalist;

• 4 p.m. — “You Can’t Teach That!” by Cindy Ramirez, English teacher at Bedford Senior High School; and

• 4:30 p.m. — “Banned Books, Birds and Expressing Beliefs Through Art,” by Lee Fearnside, associate professor of art at Tiffin University.

Media Coverage
La Prensa (Sept. 29, 2015)
WTOL 11 (Oct. 1, 2015)
13 ABC, NBC 24 and WTOL 11 (Oct. 1, 2015)

CEO of Owens Corning to address graduates Dec. 20

A nationally renowned leader will address The University of Toledo graduates at the fall commencement ceremony Saturday, Dec. 20 in Savage Arena at 10 a.m.

Mike Thaman, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Owens Corning, will address the graduates from the colleges of Health Sciences, Adult and Lifelong Learning, Social Justice and Human Services, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Business and Innovation, Communication and the Arts, Languages, Literature and Social Sciences and the Judith Herb College of Education.

“Mike Thaman’s vision and leadership are truly aligned with the University’s commitment to best equip our students with the knowledge and guidance that will help them succeed,” said Dr. Nagi Naganathan, interim president.

There are 2,252 candidates for degrees including 113 doctoral candidates, 594 master’s candidates and 1,461 bachelor’s candidates. The remaining 84 candidates are for education specialist, graduate certificates or associate’s degrees. The ceremony will be broadcast live on

In the event of inclement weather, the ceremony will be rescheduled for Sunday, Dec. 21 at 10 a.m. in Savage Arena.

Thaman has held positions in manufacturing, corporate development and international business since joining Owens Corning, a world leader in building materials and composite systems, in 1992.

He has held numerous positions including vice president and president of the Engineered Pipe Systems business, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium; vice president and president of Owen’s Corning’s Exterior Systems Business; and senior vice president and chief financial officer.

A longtime corporate strategist and leader, Thaman emphasizes a human-emphasized approach in helping American businesses thrive.

When he accepted a company leadership award from the National Safety Council earlier this year, he focused on the human-rights aspect of company safety. “For more than 75 years, Owens Corning has understood the importance of having engaged, productive employees who arrive home to their families and friends, without incident, the same way they left.”

Prior to joining Owens Corning, Thaman spent six years as a strategy consultant at Mercer Management Consulting, where he was a vice president in the New York office. He serves as director of Florida Power & Light Co., Owens Corning Fabricating Solutions and Advanced Glassfiber Yarns LLC. For NextEra Energy Inc., Thaman served as an independent director for more than 10 years and as its lead director until this year. He served as a director of AGY Holding Corp., and as director of Florida Power & Light Group, Inc.

Thaman earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton University.

Other commencement ceremonies taking place include:

  • College of Engineering: graduate commencement 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18; undergraduate commencement 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20. Both ceremonies held in Nitschke Auditorium.
  • College of Nursing: 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 19 in Nitschke Auditorium.

For more information, visit

Media Coverage
The Blade (Dec. 13, 2014)
The Blade (Dec. 21, 2014)

UT Theatre and Film Department to spotlight “50 Years of Wow!”

This weekend marks the 50th birthday of The University of Toledo’s Department of Theatre and Film.

Several events will take place Friday, Sept. 19 through Sunday, Sept. 21 to celebrate “50 Years of Wow!” Most of the events are free, unless otherwise mentioned. Registration is required by Wednesday, Sept. 17. To register, visit or call 419.530.2452.

The schedule for the weekend includes:

Friday, Sept. 19

•  Bernie’s Bash, 4 to 7 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts. Dr. Bernie Coyne, department founder and former chair, will get things started with a welcoming reception. Food is provided, and a cash bar will be available.

•  Evening Party, 6:30 p.m. to midnight at the Toledo Club, 235 14th St. Check out animation created by UT film students, and enjoy music by country-rock and rhythm and blues band, Mustang Sally. In the red room, local jazz musicians Candice Coleman, “American Idol” semifinalist, and Chris Brown will perform. UT will provide a free shuttle to the event, with the last bus leaving the Toledo Club at 10 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 20

•  Historical walking tours of the Center for Performing Arts, 10 a.m. to noon. Check out the installation of photos, posters, programs, memorabilia, costumes and more from recent and historical productions.

•  Cabaret in the Afternoon, noon to 3 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts. Enjoy performances and films by current students, past performers, alumni and others. The event includes a free lunch and a cash bar will be available.

•  Cocktail Hour, 6:30 p.m. at the Toledo Club. Cost is $45 per person; payment is required in advance.

•  After-Dinner Program, 8:30 p.m. Tributes and memories will be shared.

Sunday, Sept. 21

•  Brunch, 10 a.m. to noon at the Toledo Club. Cost is $20 at the door.
“Pirates of Penzance,” 2:30 p.m. at the Toledo Repertoire Theatre, 16 10th St. Tickets are $15 with online registration.

For more information, visit or

Media Coverage
The Blade (Sept. 28, 2014)