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UToledo to Celebrate Graduates with Virtual Commencement

Rocket Nation will gather together virtually on Sunday, Dec. 6 to celebrate the Class of 2020 during an online version of the traditional commencement ceremony.

While the COVID-19 pandemic is preventing a large crowd from gathering together in Savage Arena, Rockets in Toledo and beyond will fire up their computers and smartphones to follow along together remotely as University leaders recognize graduates, including a keynote address and messages from each dean to the graduates of their colleges.

Dr. David Satcher


“We are proud to celebrate our graduates at every commencement ceremony, but the Class of 2020 is unique,” UToledo Interim President Gregory Postel said. “The resilience these students have shown to successfully achieve their educational goals despite the significant challenges caused by a global pandemic is incredible. We look forward to celebrating their achievements at our virtual commencement ceremony.”

Dr. David SatcherThe virtual commencement will go live at 9 a.m. online at and will include the pomp and circumstance of a traditional in-person ceremony, with a processional, messages from campus leaders, presentations of degrees, and singing the alma mater.

A distinguished physician-scientist will serve as the keynote speaker. Dr. David Satcher, who served as the 16th Surgeon General of the United States from 1998 to 2002, and the 10th Assistant Secretary for Health in the Department of Health and Human Services from 1998 to 2001, will address the newest alumni of UToledo.

Dr. Satcher also served as the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

He spent his career working to improve public health policy for all Americans and has remained committed to eliminating health disparities for minorities, the poor and other disadvantaged groups. Currently, he is the founding director and senior advisor for the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

The digital format of the commencement also will allow for more participation from the campus community through video submissions of what it means to be a Rocket and from graduates about their plans after graduation.

Each graduate will be recognized with a scrolling of names on the screen during the ceremony, an online graphic display with the opportunity for additional personalization on the commencement website, and in a printed formal commencement event program.

Special UToledo Board of Trustees Meeting July 20

Monday, July 20, 2020
4 p.m. Special Board of Trustees Meeting

Join via WebEx:
Meeting number (access code): 160 998 7770
Meeting password: BOTSPMTGJULY20

Join via Phone:
Meeting number (access code): 160 998 7770

The Board of Trustees will immediately enter Executive Session upon convening
the meeting to discuss the employment and compensation of a public employee.

Any questions may be directed to the Office of University Marketing and Communications by calling 419.350.3879 or via email to

UToledo Postpones RFP Process; Continues Hospital Stabilization Efforts

The University of Toledo, after consultations with the Board of Trustees, announced Thursday, July 16, that it is postponing the Request for Proposals (RFP) process indefinitely, and will focus our immediate efforts on stabilizing the University of Toledo Medical Center’s (UTMC) fiscal challenges. The RFP was one aspect of the University’s ongoing research to explore all possible options for the future of the hospital.

University officials and hospital leadership have been working tirelessly to address the sustainability of the medical center, including amending UTMC’s medical bylaws, enhancing partnerships with the Toledo Clinic and working on a number of business efficiency and cost reduction strategies.

“There has been much public discussion about the fiscal challenges facing our hospital. This is indeed a challenge we must address, and we will continue to do so,” UToledo Interim President Gregory Postel said. “We recognize the important role of the hospital in our community and are doing our due diligence to address the impact of the hospital’s current financial condition on the University enterprise, while thoughtfully determining the best long-term solution.”

Hospital leadership has made progress in its short-term stabilization efforts which provide an opportunity to focus immediate efforts on caring for the community during the midst of this unprecendented COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the Board of Trustees vote to amend the hospital’s medical bylaws in March by removing the faculty-appointment restriction for practicing physicians, there are now 16 Toledo Clinic physicians credentialed at UTMC. Hospital leaders have been working collaboratively with the Toledo Clinic to explore partnership opportunities in key practice areas, including hematology, oncology, cardiology and infusion services.

“Our hospital serves a critical role in our community as evidenced by the leadership role we’ve played during this pandemic,” UTMC CEO Rick Swaine said. “We were the first location in northwest Ohio capable of testing samples for COVID-19, and continue to be the central testing site for our region.”

“We appreciate the ongoing support of our elected officials and our community. UTMC is your community hospital and we are honored to care for you. As we look to grow our way out of these fiscal challenges, we need your continued support for our services and those of our highly trained physicians.”

As part of the hospital’s ongoing business strategy assessment, UTMC continues to grow its primary care marketshare and anticipates adding two family medicine physicians within the next quarter. UTMC has also recently hired two critical care specialists, an electrophysiologist and a new transplant surgeon. In addition, UTMC is the only hospital in the Toledo metro area that offers kidney transplants, and has been performing these since 1972.

UTMC’s increased focus on safety in recent years has had a dramatic impact improving the care received and overall experience of patients in the hospital. Since 2017, overall infections and infection rates have decreased by more than half and UTMC improved from 80th in 2017 to 8th in 2019 in the overall safety ranking by Vizient, a national network of healthcare organizations working to improve healthcare performance. In the last year alone, UTMC decreased blood stream infections by 90%, readmissions by 10% and overall mortality by 10%.

Additionally, UTMC’s request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for a rural designation change was approved for FY 2021. This redesignation impacts the hospital’s reimbursement rates better aligning them with the actual cost of care in our region, and is expected to provide $5 million in additional reimbursement.

While ProMedica Toledo Hospital remains the area’s academic medical center as defined in the Academic Affiliation Agreement with the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, UTMC continues to serve as a teaching hospital for UToledo learners enrolled in the University’s many health professional programs.

“There are a number of challenges ahead and we can’t lose sight of our primary role as an educational institution; however, we also recognize that our community needs our hospital and we need them to support us by continuing to use our services. We must increase our patient volume to find a sustainable solution,” Postel said. “This will take all of us, working together, to find the best solution.”

Former Interim President of The University of Louisville Appointed Special Advisor to Board of Trustees

Dr. Gregory Postel to Serve as Interim President of The University of Toledo

Toledo, Ohio ­– The University of Toledo Board of Trustees has announced the appointment by unanimous vote of Dr. Gregory Postel as the Special Advisor to the Board of Trustees, effective June 17, 2020. Postel will then become the Interim President upon President Sharon L. Gaber’s departure from the University.

Postel is the former Interim President of the University of Louisville (UofL), as well as its former Executive Vice President for Health Affairs. He has more than 25 years of leadership experience with university operations, academic medical centers and clinical research, as well as university governance, teaching and research.

Gregory Postel


“Our priority was to hire an interim president with proven leadership ability, demonstrated financial acumen, and experience in all facets of university operations, including medical education and clinical operations, to lead our University after Dr. Gaber’s departure,” UToledo Board of Trustees Chair Mary Ellen Pisanelli said. “The wealth of experience Dr. Postel brings to the University will be invaluable as we continue to build our national reputation and grow our academic mission of service while addressing the immediate and ongoing fiscal challenges that universities and hospitals across the nation are confronting.”

“As a Board we felt it was critical to find a leader who had the experience necessary to lead the entire University of Toledo enterprise, including our academic institution and our hospital. Dr. Postel checks all the boxes,” said UToledo Board of Trustees Vice Chair Al Baker, who previously served on the Board of Trustees of the former Medical College of Ohio and who the Board elected today as Chair for the 2020-21 academic year that begins July 1. “Dr. Postel has a strong track record of collaboration while providing strong, decisive leadership after careful, intensive listening.”

In addition to serving as Interim President of UofL and its Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, Postel had an accomplished career as an academic interventional neuroradiologist, serving 18 years as Chair of the Department of Radiology at the UofL School of Medicine and as Vice Dean for Clinical Affairs and Chairman of the Board of the University Medical Center in Louisville. He was the founding Chairman of the Board and later the CEO of the University of Louisville Physicians.

During his time in leadership at UofL, Postel oversaw the design and implementation of two academic affiliations, including an eight-year, $33 million per year pediatric affiliation with Norton Healthcare and a $23 million per year adult affiliation agreement with KentuckyOne Health. He also led the planning and construction of the $80 million Pediatrics Medical Office Building; the management and board transition at the University of Louisville Hospital; the complete restructuring and implementation of the health sciences center budget and the creation of two consecutive balanced budgets in the context of flat tuition and with no program closures; and the reorganization of the athletics department.

“In an era of declining resources coupled with demands for greater transparency and collaboration, The University of Toledo’s success will depend on leadership that embraces clear communication, strategic planning and the creation of partnerships based on trust,” Postel said. “I know that The University of Toledo has a vital mission and a bright future, and I am honored to have this opportunity to help guide it during this period of transition.”

A graduate of the College of Wooster and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Postel completed a residency in radiology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and a fellowship in neuroradiology at the Mayo Clinic Foundation.

Postel will succeed President Gaber, who has announced her resignation to become the fifth chancellor at the University of North Carolina Charlotte. For as long as Dr. Gaber remains President, Postel will serve only in the capacity of an advisor with the powers and authority of the President retained by Dr. Gaber until the conclusion of her service. Only at that time will Postel become Interim President of the University.

The University plans to launch a national search for its 18th President in the coming months.

Preparing Campus: UToledo Aims to Open Campus in the Fall

The University of Toledo is preparing to open campus for the fall 2020 semester with plans to resume face-to-face instruction.

Following the guidance of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, University officials have been discussing a number of scenarios to safely reopen on-campus operations. Among the considerations are personal protective equipment, the ability to maintain necessary social distancing and contact tracking measures, as well as robust cleaning and disinfecting of all campus facilities.

“We are doing everything in our power to prepare our campuses to open for the fall semester,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “As the state of Ohio has begun a gradual and methodical reopening of the state, we expect to safely resume in-person education at The University of Toledo this fall.”

Teams across the University have been developing plans to reopen the University’s campuses following the March closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These groups are reviewing and preparing plans for all facets of campus operations, including research and sponsored programs, public safety, facilities management, information technology, residence life, dining services, etc. The teams will be recommending a number of new measures, guidelines and precautions needed to inhibit the spread of COVID-19.

Regular updates continue to be posted on the University’s COVID-19 website. Should state or federal guidance cause a change in the University’s plans for the fall, communication will be shared immediately with the campus community as has been UToledo’s practice throughout the pandemic.

“It will take all of us — working together — to create and maintain a safe campus environment this fall,” Bjorkman said.

UToledo Announces Interim Leadership Plans

The University of Toledo has contracted with the Association of Governing Boards (AGB) Search firm to assist with hiring an interim president to assume the institution’s chief leadership role following the departure of President Sharon L. Gaber announced last week.

“The Board has expressed support for the University’s current leadership team and the dedicated faculty and staff who are all working incredibly hard to continue our academic mission in service to our students,” UToledo Board of Trustees Chair Mary Ellen Pisanelli said. “Our priority is to hire a strong interim president with demonstrated financial and leadership skills to lead our campus during this transition.”

AGB Search specializes in executive leadership searches exclusively for higher education, including interim positions. The firm has a strong reputation within the industry for identifying strong candidates — recently retired or late-career professionals — who are prepared to step in quickly and assist with a leadership transition.

The firm’s managing principal and UToledo alumnus, Dr. Roderick McDavis, will lead the search. An experience higher education administrator himself, he has served as the president at a number of higher education institutions, including Ohio University, University of Minnesota, Boise State University, Seminole State College and Florida State College at Jacksonville. He earned his Ph.D. in counselor education from The University of Toledo.

The University is expected to launch a national search for the next president in the fall. The UToledo Board of Trustees has committed to keeping the campus and greater Toledo communities informed throughout the process.

“As stewards of one of Ohio’s largest public research universities, I can’t imagine a more important responsibility,” Pisanelli said. “At the same time, we will continue to address the immediate and ongoing fiscal challenges that universities and hospitals across the nation are confronting including exploring all options regarding the future of UTMC.”

UToledo Board of Trustees Meeting May 1


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UToledo Board of Trustees
will conduct its meetings remotely.

Friday, May 1, 2020
10 a.m. Special Board of Trustees Meeting

Join via Phone:
Meeting number (access code): 733 155 167

The Board of Trustees will immediately enter Executive Session upon convening
the meeting to discuss the employment and compensation of a public employee.

Any questions may be directed to the Office of University Marketing and Communications by calling 419.350.3879 or via email to

University of Toledo Board of Trustees to Consider Leadership Transition Options

Following the announcement of President Sharon L. Gaber’s appointment as the fifth chancellor at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, The University of Toledo Board of Trustees will convene a special meeting in the near future to consider transitional leadership options to ensure a seamless transition as the University prepares for a national presidential search.

Known for her focus on student success, interdisciplinary research and advancing the University’s reputation as a nationally recognized public research university, Gaber has served as the president of The University of Toledo since July 2015. She announced Tuesday that she has accepted the leadership position of UNC Charlotte.

Sharon Gaber


In a letter to campus, Gaber thanked members of the University community for their hard work, dedication and support. “Together, we have made great strides to improve student success and elevated the national stature of UToledo.”

During her tenure, UToledo has significantly increased student retention and graduation rates; strengthened research efforts; and added programs and training to improve diversity, inclusion and sexual assault awareness.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I want to thank President Gaber for her leadership, service and commitment to our mission to provide a world-class education for tomorrow’s leaders,” UToledo Board of Trustees Chair Mary Ellen Pisanelli said. “Together, we have celebrated many accomplishments and faced challenges head on. We wish her nothing but success in her future endeavors.”

Pisanelli added, “As stewards of the University and the state, we will continue to focus our efforts on addressing the fiscal challenges that universities and hospitals across the nation are confronting including exploring all options regarding the future of UTMC.”

“Challenges remain for all of higher education, but I remain confident that UToledo’s future is brighter than ever,” Gaber said. “I am certain that with the Board’s leadership they will not only find the next president that the University deserves, but also that the University will continue the momentum to become an even stronger institution.”

COVID-19 Emergency Financial Assistance Available for UToledo Students

The University of Toledo is coordinating emergency financial assistance programs for current students experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic through existing financial aid processes.

“We know many of our students are struggling due to the economic impact of COVID-19 and want to get this financial relief to them as quickly as possible,” said Gina Roberts, assistant vice president of enrollment management. “We’ve compiled emergency funds available for students and have streamlined the application process to expedite the distribution in an effort to assist as many students as possible.”


UToledo is expected to receive $13.5 million in funds from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help mitigate financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Of this total, $6.7 million will be used to immediately assist current students experiencing financial hardships caused by the pandemic. The funding can be used for immediate needs, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare and childcare.

Students enrolled for spring 2020 who received a federal Pell Grant will receive a one-time grant of $500, and no application is required. About one-third of the federal relief dollars will be used to prioritize aid to these students.

All current students need to use the existing Rocket Aid application to request CARES funds. To be eligible to receive CARES funding, a student needs to be eligible to receive federal aid by having a valid Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or equivalent documentation on file. The Office of Student Financial Aid will determine eligibility based on guidelines from the U.S. Department of Education.

CARES funding applications will be processed as quickly as possible to get this emergency aid to students as soon as possible. UToledo’s goal is to process the first awards by the end of the week.

The new federal relief dollars available are in addition to the more than $1 million in emergency aid that has already been awarded to UToledo students.

Rocket to Rocket Fund and Other Emergency Aid Available

In recent weeks individuals and organizations on campus and in the community have made generous donations to help students who need financial assistance amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 Student Emergency Support Crowdfunding Campaign surpassed its goal two months ahead of schedule, raising more than $93,000 thanks to the generosity of more than 590 donors.

Student leaders also donated $187,000 of their unused funds that had been planned for spring events and activities.

And Team Sports, a local sportswear company and longtime support of Rocket athletics, has raised more than $7,000 through the sale of face masks that feature the Toledo Rocket logo and “Toledo Rocket Strong” T-shirts.

Those donations support the Rocket to Rocket Fund that provides relief of up to $500 for students who need help paying for housing, utilities, car repairs, medical bills, food and toiletries.

In addition, the Eberly Center for Women has set aside $20,000 from its Center for Women Progress Fund to provide grants of up to $1,000 for students, prioritizing those who are caring for children or experiencing intimate partner violence.

And the Office of Student Financial Aid also makes available $1.4 million in emergency aid available for students each year from donor supported funding accounts.

Each student who submits a Rocket Aid application will be evaluated individually to identify funding sources available to help them with expenses and keep focused on their studies.

“Once a student submits the Rocket Aid application, our team will review their situation and identify the best options for emergency aid, access to federal student or parent loans, financial planning assistance or referrals to community resources,” Roberts said.

The Financial Emergency Intervention Program and Rocket Aid application process was formalized earlier this academic year to help organize the financial assistance options available to students.

It is even more important now to follow this process, Roberts said, because there are a number of financial resources available to assist students facing financial hardships because of the current pandemic.

“By having all of these assistance programs coordinated we can get students aid more quickly and make our dollars stretch farther to help more students,” Roberts said.

University of Toledo Announces Next Steps for UTMC

Recommendations include short-term stabilization efforts and steps toward a long-term solution

Citing ongoing fiscal challenges, exacerbated further by the COVID-19 pandemic, The University of Toledo will seek requests for proposals for a potential acquisition, lease, management agreement or other transaction of its community hospital.

“We are undertaking this process to be responsive to the community’s concerns about access to healthcare and the University’s economic realities. We remain challenged as a small, independent hospital,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We hope that a solution emerges that addresses both of these concerns.”

In moving forward with examining all options for the hospital, University officials announced a planned public request for proposal (RFP) process during Monday’s regularly scheduled board meeting. The RFP to seek possible partnerships or sale of the University of Toledo Medical Center hospital (UTMC) is being finalized and is expected to be posted this week, with qualifying criteria needed to participate in the process. University officials have been keeping the Governor’s office informed, most recently communicating to the Chancellor of Higher Education, Randy Gardner, who the Governor designated as the University’s contact for this issue. An update on the RFP process is expected at the Board’s next regular meeting scheduled for June 22.

The University’s decision to move forward with an RFP process followed a financial update presented by Rick Swaine, UTMC’s current CFO and incoming CEO, who noted the hospital continues to struggle financially with the losses at the close of February at nearly $14.8 million. Preliminary implications of the COVID-19 response, including the state’s order to suspend all elective procedures, has substantially increased the financial strain on UTMC.

The RFP process also follows short-term stabilization efforts. On March 9, 2020, the Board of Trustees amended UTMC’s medical bylaws by removing the faculty-appointment restriction for practicing physicians. This has resulted in 12 additional community physicians applying for practicing rights at UTMC.

UTMC leadership also continues to work on a number of cost reduction strategies, including reviewing and reassessing all contracts and adjusting staff levels to align with the current needs during this pandemic response.

“We have committed to being as transparent as possible as we work through the RFP process and the cost reduction strategies,” UToledo Board of Trustees Chair Mary Ellen Pisanelli said. “As stewards of the University and the state, we must consider all options.”

The University previously shared at the February Board of Trustees meeting that UTMC’s losses for fiscal year 2018 totaled $3.5 million and grew to $7 million in fiscal year 2019.