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Archive for June, 2012

AFSCME Local 2415, UT finalize contract extension

Members of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2415, the collective bargaining unit representingnearly 2,000 University of Toledo employees on Health Science Campus, votedJune 27 to approve a one-year contract extension.

The UT Board of Trustees previously had approved the extension at its June 18 meeting.

“The reason our hospital is recognized as the best in the region is due to the commitment of our employees to ensuring patients receive university-quality care,” said Chuck Lehnert, vice president of administration. “I want to thank all AFSCME members for their leadership and their daily efforts to make UT an incredible organization.”

Randy Desposito, president of AFSCME Local 2415, said the agreement amounted to a win-win situation.

“Our membership spoke,” Desposito said of the vote in favor of the extension. “Everyone knows these are tough economic times, and we worked hard to reach an agreement that protected our membership. We look forward to working with the University as we strive to keep our hospital No. 1 in our community and in the region.”

The extension maintains the terms of the final year of AFSCME’s current contract that expires June 30, 2012, and extends those terms to June 30, 2013.

Media Coverage
The Blade (June 29, 2012)

UT Law professors available on Supreme Court Health Care ruling


UT College of Law Professors Rebecca Zietlow (bio) and Lee Strang (bio) are available to speak to the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the 2010 Affordable Care Act coming Thursday.

During arguments before the court in March, Zietlow and Strang took opposite sides in the debate over what the Court would ultimately decide.

Zietlow has said she believes the Court will and should uphold the law.

“I think the Court should and will uphold the 2010 Affordable Care Act because it always has deferred to congressional power to regulate the economy and it should continue to do so,” Zietlow said.


“This case is really about the type of policy issues that are best suited for the politically accountable legislature, and not the unaccountable federal courts. If the Court does strike down the Act, it will widely and correctly be viewed as a political decision,” she said.

Meanwhile Strang has said he believes the Court will find the individual mandate in the law unconstitutional and called the decision “one of the most significant cases in a generation.”

“At stake is whether the federal government will remain limited to its enumerated powers,” Strang said. “The threatened loss of this foundational principle will, I believe, lead the Court to strike down the individual mandate.”


Media Coverage
WNWO Today (July 2, 2012)
WTOL 11 (July 2, 2012)
WTOL 11 (July 2, 2012)
Leading Edge with Jerry Anderson (July 2, 2012)

Country music group Gloriana to perform at Music Fest 2012

Gloriana, from left, Rachel Reinert, Tom Gossin and Mike Gossin, will headline Music Fest 2012.

The University of Toledo is bringing a rare opportunity for fans of country music’s Gloriana to see the 2009 American Music Awards Breakthrough Artist of the Year for free during Music Fest 2012.

The free, public event will take place Friday, Sept. 14, on UT’s Main Campus and will feature a mix of national and local recording artists.

Gloriana has been on the rise for the past four years since their debut single, “Wild at Heart.” With the recent single, “Kissed You Goodnight,” which was premiered on the television show, “The Bachelorette,” Mike Gossin, Rachel Reinert and Tom Gossin have reached No. 9 on the Billboard Country Singles Chart.

“Music fans will be in for a real treat when Gloriana takes the stage at the third annual Music Fest,” said Lawrence J. Burns, UT vice president for external affairs. “They are riding a wave of popularity and that will only grow when they release a brand new album, A Thousand Miles Left Behind, on July 31.

“Music Fest is becoming bigger and bigger,” Burns added, “and the addition of Gloriana will make this year’s festival one of the largest yet.”

Gloriana will perform along with several other artists from 3 p.m. until midnight in the grassy area south of the Memorial Field House,adjacent to Centennial Mall.
One lucky local band will open the event after being selected through a Facebook-based contest. Fans can vote for that group andparticipate in the Local Band Challenge by visiting between July 1 and July 14.

The complete band line up for Music Fest 2012 will be unveiled when the contest winner is announced Monday, July 16.

For more information about Music Fest 2012, contact Amelia Acuna in the Office of University Communications at 419.530.5874 or Amelia.Acuna@utoledo.edo.

Media Coverage
The Blade (July 26, 2012)
The Independent Collegian (Sept. 12, 2012)

International students create film about America

Students taking a classthrough The University of Toledo American Language Institute have created ashort documentary, “American Identity: Made in the U.S.A.,” which will be screened Thursday June 28, at noon in Student Union Room 3020.

American pop culture is the topic of the Advanced Speaking and Listening class taught by Sherris Anne Schwind, UT English as a second language specialist.

“We began our topic exploration by examining identity via Muhammad Ali — name change, religious conversion, media manipulation, war protest, etc. — and moved on to examine elements of the American dream, the great recession, and the distortion/representation of those via popular American media,” Schwind said.

To practice their English, the students traversed campus to survey UT students, faculty, staff and alumni about how they defined American identity and how the economy affects American identity.

It was a challenging four-week process for the class.

“This was our first experience with making a documentary, but we had help from students and professors who were experienced in the whole process,” said Mohammad AlOqab, undergraduate student. “I am very proud of the outcome and excited to do it again.”

View a trailer for the film:


The American Language Institute is an intensive English program that offers classes to students from all over the world and businesses.

If you are not able to make the screening, download the film at

UT Athletic Director is NACDA Northeast Region Athletic Director of the Year

University of Toledo Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien was named the Under Armour Northeast Region Athletics Director of the Year for 2011-12 by the National Association of College Directors of Athletics (NACDA).

O’Brien will be recognized during the association’s 47th Annual Convention at the Hilton Anatole Hotel Wednesday, June 27, at the James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon in Dallas.

“I would like to thank the NACDA awards committee for honoring me with this prestigious award,” O’Brien said. “I am truly humbled by this honor, as I acknowledge that something like this happens due to the efforts of a terrific staff, coaches and student-athletes. I see this as less of an individual honor for me, but rather a recognition of the accomplishments of our entire athletics program at UT.”

According to the NACDA website, criteria for the honor include service as an athletics director for a minimum of five academic years; demonstration of commitment to higher education and student-athletes; continuous teamwork, loyalty and excellence; and the ability to inspire individuals or groups to high levels of accomplishments.

Now in his 11th year at UT, O’Brien presided over one of the finest seasons in UT history. A few highlights from this past year include:

  • MAC championships in women’s cross country, women’s swimming and diving, and women’s soccer;
  • 9-4 record in football that included a 42-41 victory over Air Force in the Military Bowl;
  • MAC West co-championship for the women’s basketball team, which advanced to the Elite Eight of the WNIT;
  • First-ever MAC West Division title for the baseball team;
  • Jacoby Trophy as the top women’s athletic program in the Mid-American Conference, the first time in the 30-year history of the trophy that UT took first place; and
  • Record grade point average of 3.266 in spring semester for UT student-athletes, shattering the previous high mark of 3.167 set in fall 2011.

O’Brien has been an instrumental force in initiating one of the most ambitious construction schedules in school history. No fewer than five major projects have been completed during his reign; these include the renovation of Savage Arena and construction of the Fetterman Training Center.

O’Brien, who has the second-longest tenure among Mid-American Conference athletic directors, also has guided the Rockets into position as one of the strongest programs in the conference. The Rockets have won or shared 22 league titles in eight different sports under his watch. In the classroom, UT has produced overall department grade point averages of above a 3.1 in each of the past seven semesters. Among O’Brien’s other accomplishments are adding Ohio State, Miami (Fla.), Colorado, Purdue, Arizona, Missouri, Navy, Fresno State, Boise State, Wyoming and Cincinnati to the home football schedule; working with the Inverness Club to bring the 2009 NCAA Men’s Golf Championships to Toledo; and securing a multi-year deal with Learfield Sports to increase UT’s advertising revenue.

He has served as a member of the NCAA Division I Football Issues Committee and chaired the MAC Athletic Director’s Committee. He is also the conference’s athletic director representative to the Bowl Championship Series.

Prior to his appointment at UT, O’Brien had 15 years of experience in athletics administration at four universities: Kansas State (associate athletic director 1997-2001), Lamar (athletic director 1993-1997), Pittsburgh (director of development 1989-1993) and Ball State (marketing and development 1986-1989).

A native of Iowa City, Iowa, O’Brien earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Missouri Valley College in 1975, and has master’s degrees in education from Wisconsin-River Falls in 1982 and in sports management from Western Illinois in 1986.

Prior to his administrative career, O’Brien was an assistant basketball coach at three different schools from 1982 to 1986.

O’Brien and his wife, Michelle, have a son, Jack (10).

Media Coverage
The Blade (June 25, 2012)

UT College of Law experts available on Supreme Court decisions



UT College of Law Dean Daniel Steinbock is available today after 12 p.m. to comment on the Supreme Court ruling that found parts of the Arizona immigration law unconstitutional.

Click here for Dean Steinbock’s biography information.

Also, UT College of Law Professor Jelani Exum is available today for phone interviews to comment on the Supreme Court ruling that found unconstitutional the sentencing of juveniles to life in prison without parole.

Access Professor Exum’s biography information here.

Media Coverage
The Blade (June 26, 2012)

UTMC to celebrate start of renovations for new Parkinson’s center

The University of Toledo Medical Center will mark the beginning of a six-month renovation project to create one of the leading Parkinson’s centers in the nation with a ceremonial groundbreaking Tuesday, June 26, at 10 a.m. on the first floor of Dowling Hall’s southwest corner.

Click image to download a high-res rendering of the Gardner/McMaster Parkinson’s Center

The nearly 6,000-square-foot center will be named the Gardner/McMaster Parkinson’s Center, recognizing generous donations from the family of Findlay businessman Philip Gardner, as well as the Harold and Helen McMaster Foundation.

In addition to numerous other private donors who will be recognized when the center opens early next year, the Parkinson’s Foundation of Northwest Ohio has raised more than $160,000 to help offset the approximately $1.35 million in renovation costs.

“There have been tremendous advances in the past 10 years that have greatly expanded our understanding of Parkinson’s disease and the ways we care for people with this disease,” said Dr. Lawrence Elmer, professor of neurology and medical director of the Center for Neurological Health.

“This new center will increase accessibility for patients, optimize and maximize the care provided to our patients and their families, and place them in close proximity to physical and occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, and other health-care professionals who are alsoexperts in Parkinson’s care,” said Elmer, a specialist in the treatment and research of Parkinson’s disease for more than 20 years.

“One of the keys we have learned over the years is the value of exercise in slowing the progression of Parkinson’s and the importance of a team-care approach in combating complications of the disease,” he said.

And the center’s resources aren’t just for patients.

“As our society on average gets older, more and more people are diagnosed with or know someone who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. At this center, we also want to help educate family members caring for someonewith this disease so they know what to expect and how to assist when needed,” Elmer said.

Dr. Jeffrey P. Gold, chancellor and executive vice president for health affairs, emphasized this isn’t a resource only for northwest Ohio.

“Larry Elmer is recognized internationally for his research and expertise in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease,” said Gold, who also serves as dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “Advanced clinical treatment facilities like UTMC’s Gardner/McMaster Parkinson’s Center separate academic medical centers from other health-care organizations and attract patients from all corners of the globe seeking the most current treatments available.”

Elmer also emphasized his thanks to the center’s donors.

“None of this would have been possible without the generosity of the Gardner and McMaster families, the Parkinson’s Foundation of Northwest Ohio, and the many, many people who made individual gifts to helpfight, treat and one day cure this disease,” Elmer said. “In spite of our nation’s economic challenges, this overwhelming degree of community and University support is breathtaking; our commitment to people with Parkinson’s disease and their families is to serve them in a way that exceeds all theirexpectations and to enhance their quality of life to the highest possible level.”

UT to host summer camp for gifted and talented students

The future promises to challenge tomorrow’s leaders, scientists, and creators who are the students of today. And a unique summer program at The University of Toledo is preparing these future leaders with activities that challenge thinking and celebrate learning.

The Gifted, Talented, Creative Summer Camp 2012, known as GT@UT, next week on the UT Main Campus will challenge primary, middle and junior high students with interesting programs 8:30-11 a.m. daily June 25-29.

The UT women’s basketball team will assist with a “CSI Toledo” mystery in which the campers are called to help solve a “crime” in Savage Arena and participants will pitch their innovations to a panel of business and community leaders as part of an “Entrepreneurship Shark Tank.”

The camps also includes “The Great Outdoors – Campus Edition” botany experiments, and “The Writer’s Life” and “Occupy Earth: Becoming Global Citizens” activities to document their experiences via the written word and directing and producing a new media short video.

“This is a positive experience for gifted and talented children who get the opportunity to explore their interests beyond a traditional school setting,” said Robert Schultz, program director and UT professor of gifted education and curriculum studies. “The number of participants has doubled since last year’s camp and we look forward to the program continuing to grow.”

The camp is open to students currently enrolled in third through eighth grade who have been identified as gifted/talented/creative by their school district or can provide a letter of recommendation by a teacher or gifted program coordinator.

GT@UT is in its third year and is the only gifted and talented program offered in northwestOhio and southeast Michigan. The program will conclude Friday, June 29 when parents and guests are welcomed to hear the students share their experiences.

Click here for more information about the Gifted, Talented, Creative Summer Camp.

Area youth participate in National Youth Sports Program at UT

More than 150 youth ages 10-16 from across the Toledo area are participating in the 43rd annual National Youth Sports program at The University of Toledo.

The athletic camp runs through Thursday, June 28 with youth participating in weekday activities such as track, soccer, softball and swimming throughout the afternoons.

The camp begins each day at 10:30 a.m. with a lunch and address from a “hometown hero” before they break into groups for athletic activities until 3:30 p.m., most of which take place at the Intramural and Inter-Collegiate Athletic Fields off the east entrance to Main Campus off Douglas Road. Click here to view a schedule of the activities.

The National Youth Sports Program provides economically disadvantaged youths the opportunity to participate in fitness, recreation and educational programs. When the program started in 1968, UT was one of the first universities in the country to host it.

In addition to the athletic activities, the youth also participate in educational and health programs, and math and science tutoring, as well as nutrition, personal hygiene, career education, and alcohol, tobacco and other drug seminars. The program also teaches lifetime leisure activities such as fishing, swimming and fitness walking.

The 2012 program kicked off June 11 and concludes Thursday, June 28 with an appreciation banquet.

For more information visit the National Youth Sports Program website.

Media Coverage
The Blade (June 21, 2012)

Local bands to compete for chance to perform at UT Music Fest 2012

Local bands interested in playing in front of a live crowd at one of the area’s largest outdoor music festivals will have that opportunity at Music Fest 2012 at The University of Toledo.

Think you have it in you to become famous? This is your chance. Local bands waiting to be discovered can upload a live performance YouTube video to Music Fest’s Facebook page for a chance to be selected as an opening act for the popular music festival that will take place Friday, Sept. 14 on UT’s Main Campus.

“After two successful years of Music Fest we wanted to do something a bit different this year and get the community involved in selecting the performers,” said Lawrence J. Burns, UT vice president for external affairs. “We have such amazing musical talent here in northwest Ohio and this is a great way to give local bands the opportunity to share their music with a huge audience of music lovers.”

Videos no longer than five minutes can be uploaded to the MusicFest Facebook page from Monday, June 18 through Wednesday, 27. The YouTube video should include the band name and the words “UT Local Band Challenge” in the title.The top 10 bands with strong musical talent, unique sound and energetic performances will be selected as finalists and have their videos posted on Facebook starting Sunday, July 1 for the public to vote for their favorites.

The lucky winner will be announced on Monday, July 16 and will receive $750 and the opportunity to play in front of hundreds of excited fans at Music Fest 2012.

For more information visit

Click here to download a high resolution Music Fest logo.


Media Coverage
The Blade (June 15, 2012)
13 ABC (June 19, 2012)