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Archive for March, 2016

Songfest to raise money for The Daughter Project April 2

Millennial pop music is making a comeback for one night at The University of Toledo as students square off on stage and raise money to fight human trafficking at the competition tradition known as Songfest.

SongfestAfter months of practice, nearly two dozen fraternities, sororities and co-ed organizations will debut their harmonic vocals, mashups and choreographed dance moves at 5 p.m. Saturday, April 2 in Savage Arena.

The theme of this year’s Songfest is “Throwback to Millennial Pop Culture” and will feature popular songs from 1990 to 2010 that the current generation of college students grew up singing.

Now in its 79th year, Songfest brings together campus organizations, students, alumni and the Toledo community to entertain the audience with song and dance and raise money for a chosen charity.

This year’s philanthropy is The Daughter Project.  It’s a non-profit organization that operates a recovery home in Wood County for victims of sex trafficking, who are usually girls between the ages of 10 and 17. The home, which is Ohio’s only licensed group home for girls who have been rescued from sex traffickers, gives survivors a place to live where volunteers and staff can help them heal.

“Human trafficking is a serious issue in the Toledo community and one that is not always talked about,” said Alex Wisniewski, a fourth-year biology major and one of the Songfest coordinators. “These girls who are freed from trafficking many times do not have a home waiting for them, and The Daughter Project is able to [fulfill] the most essential needs that many of us take for granted.”

Songfest is presented by Blue Key National Honor Society and Mortar Board National Senior Honor Society, both of which have put on various fundraisers this year to collect money for The Daughter Project. Songfest attendees also will be asked to donate if they are able to do so.

Last year, $10,000 was raised for the Wounded Warrior Project. This year, the goal is to exceed that amount for The Daughter Project, according to Wisniewski.

A total of 21 fraternities, sororities and co-ed organizations will compete in this year’s event. Students began practicing months in advance to perfect their routines in the hopes of winning one of the coveted awards.

“The day of Songfest definitely makes all the months of hard work worth it,” said Katie McGough, Songfest director in the Alpha Chi Omega sorority. “There is no greater feeling than the adrenaline rush you get while on stage.”

Trophies will be given for first, second and third place in the men’s and women’s categories, and one first-place trophy will be given to the co-ed winner.

“Songfest is one of the most demanding, but absolutely rewarding endeavors I have taken on, and being able to help out a wonderful organization like The Daughter Project, which really makes a difference, is a feeling I can’t even begin to describe,” Wisniewski said.

Media Coverage
NBC 24 (April 3, 2016)

Flag-raising ceremony signals the start of Donate Life Month

More than 123,000 adults and children in the United States are waiting for life-saving organ transplants, according to Donate Life America. For Donate Life Month in April, University of Toledo Health is partnering with Life Connection of Ohio and Community Tissue Services to spread awareness about organ, eye and tissue donation.LCO Logo 3C

UT Health will kick off Donate Life Month with a flag-raising ceremony 10 a.m. Monday, April 4 outside the main entrance of Mulford Library on the UT Health Science Campus. Representatives from Life Connection of Ohio whose lives have been touched by organ, eye and tissue donation will give brief remarks at the event.

The Green Chair will be at the flag-raising ceremony and on the Health Science Campus in April to help raise organ donation awareness. When it’s empty, the chair represents the overwhelming sadness from the loss of someone who was waiting for an organ transplant that didn’t come in time. But when someone is sitting in the chair, it showcases a transplant recipient’s second chance at life. The tagline of the Green Chair Campaign is “Don’t let another chair go empty” because encouraging more people to register as donors means there will be fewer empty chairs.

To learn more about organ, eye and tissue donation, call 800.262.5443 or visit

Media Coverage
NBC 24 (April 4, 2016)
WTOL 11 (April 5, 2016)
The Blade (April 5, 2016)

University schedules events for Diversity Month

The spotlight will shine even brighter on diversity during April at The University of Toledo as Diversity Week has been expanded to Diversity Month.

“Diversity at The University of Toledo has been an area of emphasis this year,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “I hope each of us will spend time during Diversity Month asking ourselves what more we can do to ensure basic values such as dignity and inclusion are reflected across UT campuses.”

To kick off Diversity Month, Gaber will give an address at noon Monday, April 4 in the Student Union Ingman Room.

“The University of Toledo offers more than a great place to educate yourself. It offers a place to be yourself,” she said. “At UT, we value all people — regardless of their cultural background, beliefs, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity — because this rich diversity enables us all to excel.”

“Diversity Week, which is the first week of Diversity Month, is meant to celebrate and embrace the high amount of diversity at The University of Toledo and our surrounding communities,” Shailen Shah, diversity chair of the President’s Council on Diversity and Student Government, said. “Many think of diversity as just ethnicity; we are trying to expand those beliefs to embody all types of diversity. We hope to see many students, faculty and staff at all of our events.” Diversity Month

Rapper, record producer, actor and activist David Banner will give a keynote address, “Diversity in Politics,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 6 in the Student Union Auditorium. A question-and-answer session will take place after the talk, and Banner is scheduled to sign autographs and take photos.

“Having David Banner here on our campus in Toledo is huge, not just for the University, but the city as a whole,” Lance Price, president of the Black Student Union, said. “His voice carries a lot of weight, so the excitement is crazy. People need to hear his message no matter where you came from.”

Diversity Month is hosted by the Office of the President, the Division of Student Affairs, Student Government and the Ad-Hoc Diversity Plan Advisory Board in collaboration with Student Government’s Diversity Week.

Listed by date, other events include:

Saturday, April 2

  • “Rhythm of Africa,” 7 p.m., Student Union Auditorium. Tickets: $10 in advance at the Ask Rocky counter in the Student Union; $15 at the door.

Thursday, April 7

  • Dr. Jim Ferris, the Ability Center of Greater Toledo Endowed Chair in Disability Studies, UT professor of disability studies and director of the Disability Studies Program, will host a discussion titled “Against Awareness: Disability, Sexuality and the Problem of Protection” at 12:30 p.m. in University Hall Room 4180.
  • The Annual Imam Khattab Lecture on Islamic Thought, “Is ISIS Islamic?” by Dr. Ovamir Anjum, UT Imam Khattab Endowed Chair of Islamic Studies, 7 p.m., Driscoll Alumni Center Auditorium.
  • Spectrum Annual Drag Show, 8 p.m., Rocky’s Attic.

Saturday, April 9

  • 40th Annual International Student Association Dinner, 6 p.m., Student Union Auditorium. UT President Sharon L. Gaber will speak at the event. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door; table of eight is $100, and children 5 and younger are free. Purchase tickets at Ask Rocky in the Student Union.

Wednesday, April 13

  • Holi Toledo, UT’s third annual celebration of the Indian holiday Holi, 3 p.m., field south of the Memorial Field House.

Saturday, April 16

  • Toledo Sister Cities International Festival, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Student Union Auditorium. Admission: $5 in advance, $7 at the door. Info: 419.245.3334.

Tuesday, April 19

  • Film screening, “He Named Me Malala,” 6 p.m., Student Union Ingman Room.

Wednesday, April 20

  • Jewish Jeopardy, 11 a.m., Hillel House.

Monday, April 25

  • Spectrum’s Diversity Ball, 7 p.m., Student Union Ingman Room.

Thursday, April 28

  • President’s Ad-Hoc Group on Diversity will host “A Celebration of Diversity” from noon to 2 p.m., Student Union Room 2592.

For more information and additional events, go to or call the UT Office of Multicultural Student Success at 419.530.2261.

Media Coverage
The Blade (April 2, 2016)
WTOL 11 (April 5, 2016)
WTOL 11 (April 5, 2016)
The Independent Collegian (April 6, 2016)
The Independent Collegian (April 20, 2016)

March UT Board Of Trustees Meeting

Thursday, March 31, 2016
Radisson Hotel, 3100 Restaurant
8:00 a.m. Board of Trustees Social Breakfast

Any questions may be directed to the University Communications Office by calling (419) 530-2410 or via email at

U.S. Supreme Court decisions on campaign finance reform topic of April 4 lecture

John O. McGinnis, the George C. Dix Professor in Constitutional Law at Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law, will present “Why Citizens United and Other Roberts Court Campaign Finance Decisions Are Right” at noon Monday, April 4 in the Law Center McQuade Law Auditorium.

The free, public lecture is a part of the Stranahan National Issues Forum and is sponsored by the UT College of Law and its chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies.

No issue has generated more unyielding divisions on the Roberts Supreme Court and in American society than the court’s decisions about political campaign regulation, most famously in Citizens United v. FEC (2010). The court’s majority believes that campaign finance regulations should be analyzed under general free speech principles established in other contexts. The dissents seek to decide campaign finance regulation issues by considerations unique to campaign finance regulation.

McGinnis will show that the majority’s approach is correct, because the First Amendment reflects a distrust of government and thus requires judicial constraint, which adherence to general First Amendment principles provides.

“Campaign finance regulation is perennially front-page news,” said Lee J. Strang, the John W. Stoepler Professor of Law and Values at the UT College of Law. “Professor McGinnis will argue that, contrary to frequent claims, the Roberts Court is neutrally following the First Amendment in its campaign regulation cases, including in Citizens United. McGinnis’ lecture is sure to spark thought and conversation on this important topic.”

McGinnis is the author of more than 70 law review articles and dozens of essays. Most recently, he wrote Accelerating Democracy: Transforming Government Through Technology (Princeton 2013) and co-authored with M. Rappaport Originalism and the Good Constitution (Harvard 2013). He is a past winner of the Paul Bator Award given by the Federalist Society to an outstanding academic under 40.

Prior to teaching, McGinnis was deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and also holds a master of arts degree in philosophy and theology from Balliol College, Oxford.

The Stranahan National Issues Forum is a joint program of the UT College of Law and its chapter of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies. It is made possible by an endowment from the Stranahan Foundation. The forum’s purpose is to address issues of national importance through the lens of the American legal system, and McGinnis joins a long list of high-profile speakers who have delivered the Stranahan Lecture at the UT College of Law.

UT College of Business and Innovation offers Export Success program to area businesses

The University of Toledo’s College of Business and Innovation is again partnering with United Parcel Service and the U.S. Commercial Service to provide area small- and medium-sized businesses access to experts who will help their companies enter new markets through the Export Success program.

Beginning in April, Export Success participants meet monthly for nine months in specialized sessions covering relevant topics based on an understanding of current members’ needs. The program then helps companies develop plans to improve their business’ supply chain, identify talent, understand export financing and develop market entry strategies.

“Businesses today function on an international platform,” Dr. Gary Insch, dean of the College of Business and Innovation, said. “Facilitating existing or new exporters to enter foreign markets benefits all of northwest Ohio.

“Companies often recognize that expanding to international markets is something they should do. We make it easier for them to do this because we have the experts who will show them how to proceed. Furthermore, we provide them with all the criteria for success, whether they have a manufactured product or intellectual property.”

“Export Success not only assists companies that are planning to conduct international business, but it also works with businesses already doing business globally who are looking for ways to expand their international presence,” noted Debbe Skutch, director of the UT Center for Family and Privately Held Business, and Export Success program coordinator. “Furthermore, Export Success not only provides information, but actually matches local manufacturing companies with foreign markets.”

Chad Gottschalk of the Bionix Development Corp., said “Export Success provided a great learning experience and fantastic networking opportunities for myself and other members within our organization. It is always great to be a part of something where different members of a community bring collective thinking to the table. Every session provided a wealth of knowledge that helped me bring new ideas back to the office and apply them to my day-to-day activities.”

Export Success participants also have access to the International Trade Assistance Center, which provides free export assistance services to small- and medium-sized businesses. Services include market research; an examination of culture, finances and resources to make sure they are ready to export; locating sources of funding, such as a loan or grant; export compliance education; cultural and language assistance; export documentation; and logistics.

Other features and benefits of Export Success include access to ancillary educational programs offered by the UT College of Business and Innovation — such as the Schmidt School of Professional Sales and the Center for Family and Privately Held Business — and site visits to area companies that already have achieved a level of success in global entrepreneurship.

A limited number of grant and funding opportunities are available. For more information and to download a registration form, visit or call the UT Center for Family and Privately Held Business at 419.530.2068.

World-renowned polar explorer to speak at UT April 5

Ann Bancroft’s extraordinary life has consisted of many firsts: first woman to cross the ice to both the North and South Poles, leader of the first group of women to cross Greenland, and first woman to sail and ski across Antarctica’s landmass alongside fellow polar explorer Liv Arnesen.

The author, educator, philanthropist and pre-eminent polar explorer will be at the University to share her story at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 5 in the Doermann Theater. Bancroft’s talk is the finale of the 2015-16 UT Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series.


“We choose speakers that we hope will engage, challenge and provoke the audience,” Interim Provost John Barrett said. “Ann Bancroft will do just that. She went out and chased her dreams, and because of that she has a very inspirational story to tell.”

Not only has Bancroft achieved many polar exploration firsts, but she also has inspired girls and women around the world to do the same. In 1991, she founded the Ann Bancroft Foundation, which provides grants, mentoring and encouragement to girls ages 5 to 18 to help them reach their biggest aspirations.

For her achievements, Bancroft has received numerous awards and recognition, including induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1995.

Tickets to the lecture are free and can be obtained at

For more information about Bancroft and her latest expeditions, visit

Click here to download photo of Bancroft.

Media Coverage
The Blade (April 4, 2016)
13 ABC (April 6, 2016)

UT students to make 1,000 pizzas to fight hunger

The University of Toledo Catholic Student Association will make more than 1,000 pizzas in less than 20 minutes to donate to Toledo area shelters, food banks and soup kitchens.

Campus H.E.A.T., which stands for Hunger Elimination Amongst Toledoans, will start at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 29 in the Student Union Auditorium.

Nearly 300 students are expected to form pizza assembly lines for the annual tradition, which requires 250 pounds of pizza sauce and 500 pounds of shredded mozzarella cheese.

“We plan to fill up a lot of freezer space for charities,” said UT sophomore Johnathan Fife, co-chair of the committee organizing Campus H.E.A.T.  “Last year, we made 1,000 pizzas in 13 minutes and 30 seconds. It’s our way of giving back and helping the impoverished in our community.”

“Sofo Foods donates all of the crusts, sauce, cheese and toppings for the pizzas,” Pam Meseroll, an advisor for UT’s Catholic Student Association, said. “We are grateful for their support in our effort to make sure no one goes hungry.”

Media Coverage
13 ABC (March 29, 2016)
The Blade (March 30, 2016)

FDA approves 4 therapies tested in clinical trials at UTMC

The University of Toledo Medical Center offers Toledo-area patients investigational therapies that contribute to the growth of science and improved health care across the country.

UTMC participated in clinical studies that led to U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of four treatment options in the last three years.  These are now accepted as safe and effective for widespread commercial use.

Dr. Mark Burket

Dr. Mark Burket

“By being more selective, we have become more successful,” Dr. Mark Burket, chief of the UT Health Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, said.  “What we have accomplished as a small academic hospital is extremely rare.”

“It is hard for a single research trial to lead to FDA approval,” Stephanie Frank, clinical research coordinator for cardiovascular medicine at UTMC, said. “A lot of centers across the country do 15 or more studies a year for medical companies developing new drugs or devices, and reach a dead end.  Hundreds of millions of dollars will be invested only to discover the new products did not show a benefit to patients.”

“Clinical trials are the most important part of the drug development process in determining whether new drugs are safe and effective, and how to best use them,” said Janet Woodcock, M.D., director of FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Most recently, the FDA approved a device called the Astron stent to treat people with disabling pain in their legs because of a hardening of the arteries.  Part of the Bioflex trial, Astron is a new stent that is permanently inserted into the body and holds open the iliac artery that supplies the leg with blood.

“The 45-minute procedure can produce dramatic change in quality of life,” Burket said.  “After suffering for years, I had one patient enrolled in the trial who was finally able to hike with her husband again.”

Burket was selected as the national principal investigator for the four-year Bioflex trial which included about 20 other sites such as Yale University and Washington Hospital Center.

In addition to Astron, the FDA also approved two other devices tested in UTMC studies dealing with peripheral vascular disease treatment within the last few years:  Lutonix, a drug-coated balloon catheter, received marketing authorization in 2014 and Zilver PTX, a drug-coated stent for the femoral artery, in 2012.

Burket recently published a related article in the American Heart Association’s Circulation journal about therapies in cardiovascular medicine titled, “Drug-Eluding Stents are the Default Strategy for Superficial Femoral Artery Intervention Now.”  He argues they have been evaluated in a large number of patients over a long follow-up period with outcomes superior to other treatment options.

Also, last year the FDA approved a cholesterol medication called evolocumab which was evaluated in a UTMC clinical trial.

“These clinical trials for medical products under development are opportunities for UTMC patients, especially those who have not had success with what is already on the market. The patients cannot get these investigational devices or use the investigational drug unless they are part of one of these clinical trials,” Frank said. “Our success in FDA-approved trials shows we are picking and choosing the right studies that we believe will benefit our patients, and hope companies will continue to invest in us for good cutting-edge research trials in the future.”

“We understand that some patients have run out of options and want to try something that is not fully tested, and we want to support them in these situations without exposing them to undue risks,” Woodcock said. “But we also need to make sure that, ultimately, all patients get a treatment that has been shown to work. The clinical trial process gives everyone the full picture on the safety and effectiveness of a drug before it is used in the population at large.”

Sharon Olds, a 67-year-old patient from Putnam County, signed up for the Zilver PTX trial at UTMC after a series of heart problems.  In one day, she says she had a minor heart attack and multiple strokes.

“I’ll try anything at my age,” Olds said.  “I am also willing to do anything to help younger people.  When the doctor asked me if I wanted to be in the Zilver trial, I said, ‘Sure.’ I’ve had the drug-coated stent in my leg now for about two years.  I have not had any problems with it and I can do everything I want to do. I’m happy with my doctors and I think the Good Lord is sitting with me, too.”

Events slated for Black Student Union Week

Members of The University of Toledo’s Black Student Union have planned a week of events for #PaintTheWeekBlack that will culminate with the organization’s 47th annual fashion show.

Black Student Union Week begins today with We Are Empowered: A Testimony to the Empowerment of Women, a program designed to uplift and empower the women on campus, at 6:30 p.m. in the Student Union Ingman Room.

A panel of women including Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson and UT President Sharon L. Gaber will speak, and three women will be acknowledged for academic excellence, community service, and providing an uplifting spark to the people in the Toledo community.

Additional Black Student Union Week events include:

  • Tuesday, March 22 — Pizza With the Police at 7:30 p.m. in President’s Hall Multipurpose Room. The event aims to create a positive relationship with The University of Toledo Police Department, the Toledo Police Department and the students on campus.
  • Wednesday, March 23 — Wild’n Out UT vs. BG at 7:30 p.m. in Student Union Auditorium. Students from UT and Bowling Green State University will go head to head in an improvisational competition. Tickets are available at Ask Rocky for $3 or can be purchased for $5 at the door.
  • Thursday, March 24 — Rocket Release at 6 p.m. in Student Union Room 3523. Students will discuss current events going on in the world.
  • Friday, March 25 — The 47th annual Black Student Union Fashion Show. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m. in the Student Union Auditorium. One of the Black Student Union’s biggest events, the theme this year is “Coming to America” and will include vendors, a place to take photos and a red carpet. Tickets are available at Ask Rocky — general admission is $10 and VIP tickets are $15.

Media Coverage
13 ABC (March 23, 2016)