UT Women & Philanthropy— Donors with Passion and Vision

April 24th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in From Our Alumni

By Nancy Lapp

Pictured left to right are Gayle Austin, Susie Shew, Karen DeNune, Judy Potter, Ellie Brunner, Linda Jennings, Judith Herb, Marianne Ballas, Judy Gutteridge, and Chris Spengler in the Women & Philanthropy Classroom in the College of Business Savage & Associates Complex for Business Learning and Engagement.

Pictured left to right are Gayle Austin, Susie Shew, Karen DeNune, Judy Potter, Ellie Brunner, Linda Jennings, Judith Herb, Marianne Ballas, Judy Gutteridge, and Chris Spengler in the Women & Philanthropy Classroom in the College of Business Savage & Associates Complex for Business Learning and Engagement.

What can a small group of determined women do for a university? A lot if that group is The University of Toledo’s Women & Philanthropy. In just five years, Women & Philanthropy has donated $176,931 in grants for University programs and projects. And they had fun doing it!

Women & Philanthropy grew out of a discussion in 2004 among eight women with a vision. By 2006, it had become an established organization complete with by-laws.


Women & Philanthropy at The University of Toledo aspires to promote the University through investments and grants to University initiatives. We are committed to forging new relationships and building a community of thoughtful, effective philanthropists among women, diverse in age, interests and backgrounds.”

Women & Philanthropy is able to give substantial gifts to the University by pooling its members’ resources and making monetary awards in the form of grants. Each year, the grant cycle begins in late fall when grant applications are made available to UT staff, faculty, and students. The Women & Philanthropy Grants Committee reviews and evaluates the applications and the general membership votes to determine that year’s grant recipient(s). Grant amounts vary from year to year and are funded by membership dues.

The inaugural grant, in the amount of $15,000, was awarded in 2008 to the Carlson Library to commission a glass sculpture by artist Thomas McGlaughlin. That sculpture, entitled “A University Woman,” is on display in the library concourse and has become the model for the Women & Philanthropy logo.

In 2009, Women & Philanthropy pledged $50,000 to name a classroom in the Savage & Associates Business Complex for Business Learning and Engagement. The multi-media classroom features a mural of women in history and their inspirational quotes. Also in 2009, Women & Philanthropy funded the UT Outdoor Garden Classroom.

In 2010, a Women & Philanthropy grant was used for enhancements to the women’s basketball locker room in the newly refurbished Savage Arena. These enhancements included wall graphics and computer equipment. Tricia Cullop, Head Coach, said recently, “We are very grateful for the grant we received from Women & Philanthropy. We were able to decorate the walls of the locker room in a way that inspires our current team, honors our former student-athletes and impresses our recruits. We were also able to add a computer and printer that have helped our players study for classes.”

Ritter Planetarium also benefited from a grant in 2010. The $16,000 grant was used to create four computer-based, interactive displays in the lobby of Ritter Planetarium to educate visitors.

The following year, UT’s Center for Excellence in Autism received a grant that coincided with the Center’s opening for the Adolescent Girl’s and Women’s Wellness Initiative. Sherry Moyer, the Center’s Executive and Research Director, stated that, “Receiving the grant from Women & Philanthropy has allowed the Center for Excellence in Autism to renovate and equip an ‘Autism friendly’ examination room that is part of our Adolescent Girl’s and Women’s Wellness Initiative. Their vision has allowed us to bring to life a vital element of our programming which is the first of its kind in the country. It is a lasting contribution that embodies the best of UT’s spirit of innovation and dedication to serving the needs of the community.” Also in 2011, Women & Philanthropy funded the establishment of the Honors College Art Gallery. The 2012 Women & Philanthropy grant was a $50,000 pledge for the hospitality area of the William and Carol Koester Alumni Pavilion that opened in September 2012. This part of the Pavilion was named Women & Philanthropy Rocket Station and includes Launch Pads 1 and 2.

The membership of Women & Philanthropy is wide-ranging and is comprised of women with diverse backgrounds. Among the sixty members are business owners, homemakers, and academicians. The legal, medical, and financial fields are also represented. Many members are employed while others have retired. Their ages range from the 30’s to 90’s and they live in different parts of the country proving that it isn’t necessary to live locally to give locally.

Some members are UT alumni while others have not attended the University. One trait they all have in common is their dedication to the enrichment of The University of Toledo. This group of focused women promotes giving as an enjoyable, exciting and heartening experience. They have found that together they can make a difference that they may not have been able to do individually.


Women & Philanthropy is led by an active Advisory Board, supported by committees, and assisted by UT’s Division of Institutional Advancement. The current members of the Women & Philanthropy Advisory Board are: Marianne Ballas, Chair; Marcy McMahon, Vice Chair; Lynnette Werning, Treasurer; Karen DeNune, Secretary; Betsy Gouvernayre, Susie Shew, and Yolanda Danyi Szuch, Members-At-Large; Chris Spengler and Molly Schnell, Co-Chairs, Nominating Committee; Marcy McMahon, Chair, Membership Committee; Nancy Creech and Karen DeNune, Co-Chairs, Program Committee; and Nancy Lapp, Chair, Grants Committee. The administrative contact with the Division of Institutional Advancement is W&P member Chris Spengler.

Upon completion of each grant project, a celebration is held at the grant site so all the members of Women & Philanthropy can see and hear in person about the project or program that their grant funded. The University community, potential Women & Philanthropy members and guests are invited to share in the occasion. In addition to planning events associated with grants, the Women & Philanthropy Program Committee plans educational and social events.

Women & Philanthropy is an example for the nation of what an energized group of donors can do when they work together toward a common goal. For its members, Women & Philanthropy is an opportunity for a high level of donor engagement, leadership, collaboration and fulfillment.

Women & Philanthropy derives its income from membership dues. In addition, it has established an endowment fund to which anyone may make a contribution. Donations to this fund are welcome in any amount and, if the donor wishes, can be made in honor of an individual who represents the ideals of Women & Philanthropy.

To summarize, Marianne Ballas, Chair of the Women & Philanthropy Advisory Board, stated, “Our goal is to unify and collaborate with many women to make a difference at The University of Toledo. We invite all women to research our group and consider a membership. Collective and collaborative giving is powerful, and that’s what Women & Philanthropy is all about.”

Contact Information

For further information about Women & Philanthropy, membership application, or to make a donation to the Women & Philanthropy endowment fund, please contact Chris Spengler, Director of Advancement Relations, Chris.Spengler@utoledo.edu, 419.530.4927. Information is also available on the Women & Philanthropy website at http://www.utoledo.edu/offices/women_philanthropy.

Pavilion Plaques

Did you like this? Share it:

Alumni Association Rockets Pre-Game Party at the MAC Tourney

April 24th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in From Our Alumni

Your University of Toledo Alumni Association was in Cleveland when coach Tricia Cullop’s Rockets participated in the Mid-American Conference Tournament last month.  Although the Rockets were upset by Central Michigan in the semi-finals, all was not lost.  More than 325 alumni and friends jammed into Harry Buffalo for our pre-game party.  A return trip to Cleveland for the men’s and women’s teams is anticipated in 2014…be sure to join us for all the fun!

Did you like this? Share it:

UT in the News

April 24th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in In The News

Rocket Legend Bob Nichols Passes Away:

Rockets’ coach left legacy beyond court – Toledo Blade

Victories, titles just the surface of UT’s Nichols – Toledo Blade

Alumnus John Grigsby Creates Enduring Legacy for UT Students:

Scholarship to be set up for editors of UT Collegian – Toledo Blade

Enduring legacy – Toledo Blade

UT Students Help Clean Up Toledo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7Lionzo-tw – FOX Toledo News / 13 ABC

UT Diving Club Breaks World Record:

UT scuba diving club spends a week underwater, breaks world record – UT News

Did you like this? Share it:

Class Notes

April 24th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Class Notes

*Wayne Taylor (Bus ’68), has published his first e-book, Death In A Fair Place. He is a retired school administrator and currently living in southern Calif.

Ralph Stuckman (MEd ’63), has had his clay prints accepted into the Paradigm Gallery of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Larry E. Steward (Law ’77), was elected as a Fellow to the National Academy of Human Resources (NAHR), an honor considered the most prestigious in the field of human resources.

**Stephanie Trudeau (A/S ’78), was recognized as a 2013 Ohio Super Lawyer. Trudeau


Charlie Sheets **Charles Sheets (Eng ’81, MBA ’85), has been announced as a shareholder of Matrix Technologies, Inc. He is currently the Director of the Industrial Systems Division.

Dr. Lori Mitchell Dixon (Bus ’82, MBA ’84), became the sole owner of Great Lakes Marketing in 2010. Great Lakes Marketing was recently awarded a GSA contract and renewed its “preferred vendor” status with the United States Postal Service.

Gino Torio (Eng ’98, MEng ’06), is a project manager with Rolls-Royce Energy Systems, Inc. Delivering Aero-derivative power solutions to oil and gas industry customers in Southeast Asia.

Eric Mueller (Ed ’92), recently took over the role of CEO for Reliant Rehabilitation Hospital in Round Rock, TX.

Christopher Hewitt (Bus ’90), joins the law firm of Tucker Ellis as a partner in the Corporate, M&A and Securities practice group. Hewitt, Christopher

**Captain Justin Shedron (A/S ’07), of the Army National Guard was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his time in command of the light utility helicopter detachment in Akron-Canton and has been reassigned for duty as a UH-60 helicopter pilot.

Patte O’Connor, completed her Tobacco Treatment Specialist Certification from the mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. She began her own company, Kick Ash, LLC, that offers personal one on one coaching to help people quit all tobacco related products. www.kickashwithpatte.com

Death Notices

Faculty, staff & friends
Murl Jackson, Toledo at 67, a former library media assistant on Scott Park Campus.

Esther L. Newcomer, Bakersfield, Calif. at 94, a secretary in the Department of Surgery from 1969 until her retirement in 1984.

Judith A. Pelton (Ed ’82), Toledo at 68, a local nurse and ambulatory care director who taught at the former UT Community and Technical College and at MCO.

Maxine S. Adams, Toledo at 77, was a library media technical assistant in Audio-Visual Services from 1972 until her retirement in 2000.

Claude Black, Toledo at 80, a Toledo jazz legend who was a member of the UT Music Department since 2009. A pianist who was a sought-after performer in the region who was a house pianist for the former Murphy’s Place in downtown Toledo. He also coached students and mentored them as they cut their musical teeth in a real jazz club and in the Center for Performing Arts. In 1965, the pianist joined Aretha Franklin’s band and toured around the world. He played keys for a long list of jazz luminaries, including Charlie “Bird” Parker, Stan Getz, Wes Montgomery and Wynton Marsalis.

Evelyn R. Radlinski, Sun City, Ariz. at 90, a former UT employee.

Esther “Dolly” Zajac, Toledo at 84, a longtime member of the Satellites Auxiliary.

Beth A. Eisler, Ann Arbor, Mich. at 66, for 26 years she taught in the UT College of Law, mostly in the fields of contracts and evidence. She also served as associate dean for academic affairs in the college from 1993 to 1995 and from 1999 to 2005, and as interim dean from 2005 to 2006. Eisler received the Outstanding Professor Award from the College of Law graduating class three times. In addition, she received the University of Toledo’s Student Impact Award in 2011 and 2012. She was active in a number of professional and civic organizations, including the Michigan Supreme Court State Board of Law Examiners.

Dr. Perry B. Johnson, Sylvania at 81, a UT faculty member for nearly 40 years. He joined the University in 1960 as an assistant professor of exercise science and physical education and was promoted to associate professor in 1963 and to professor at 1966. At various times during his tenure, Johnson served as coordinator of research and graduate studies in physical education, health and recreation; director of the Division of Physical Education, Health and Recreation; chair of the Department of Health Promotion and Human Performance; and assistant dean of the College of Education. He wrote nine books, including Conditioning, So You Really Want to Lose Weight and Fitness and You. Johnson was honored as a professor emeritus when he retired in 1987. He continued to teach part time until 1998. Johnson was an emeritus fellow of the American Academy of Sports Medicine and the American Academy of Kinesiology.

Linda M. Schumacker, Toledo at 62, a former nurse at MCO.

*June Pasch, Toledo at 94.

Florence Winzeler (Ed ’38), Waterville, Ohio at 96.

*Earl Johnson (Ed ’36, MA ’51), Williston, Ohio at 101.

Ruth Simmons (Ed ’40), Toledo at 94.

Bernard Myers (Eng ’49), Curtice, Ohio at 88.

Michael Caligiuri (Eng ’50), Middlebury, Ind. at 87.

Robert Selent (Ed ’50), Bakersfield, Calif. at 89.

William Hill (Eng ’59), Toledo at 84.

*Jude Sutter (Law ’59), Toledo at 83.

*Glenn Schimmel (Bus ’56), Toledo at 85.

*Miran Tutelian (Bus ’50), Medina, Ohio at 86.

William Gillespie (Ed ’53), Toledo at 83.

Suzette Mitchell (UTCTC ’67, Ed ’72, MEd ’74), Toledo.

William Caughey (A/S ’69, Law ’74), Waterville, Ohio at 65.

*James Franks (UTCTC ’69), Toledo at 69.

Michael Miley (Ed ’65), Waterford, Mich. At 69.

Lawrence Fischer (Ed ’67), Toledo at 92.

*Thomas Brock (MS ’62), Sylvania, Ohio at 82.

Dr. George Osborne (A/S ’72), Toledo at 63.

Joyce Williams (UTCTC ’76, Univ Coll ’79), Toledo at 72.

John Sobczak (A/S ’73), Belleville, Mich. at 61.

James Cooper (A/S ’74), Ocala, Fla. at 75.

Maxine Adams (UTCTC ’72), Toledo at 77.

William Steinem, att. 1975, Fayette, Ohio at 89.

Douglas Chilcott (A/S ’71), at 65.

Robert McColl (A/S ’71), Monclova, Ohio at 67.

Patricia Hubay (UTCTC ’74), Sylvania, Ohio at 73.

*Linda Salyers (Pharm ’84), Sandusky, Ohio at 55.

Sheila Krueger (UTCTC ’82), Toledo at 58.

Harry Hartford (Eng ’89), Northwood, Ohio at 46.

Marjorie Feeney (CALL ’87), Toledo at 94.

Eileen Heckman (NRS ’81, MEd ’90), Toledo at 73.

Loretta Hodgson (Bus ’91), Sicklerville, N.J. at 55.

Debra Duetemeyer (MEd ’91), Waterville, Ohio at 61.

Casandra Carson-Phoenix (UTCTC ’94), Toledo at 44.

Dr. Elwood Jensen (Honorary Degree ’91), New York, N.Y. at 92.

Harold Dreeze (A/S ’90), Holland, Ohio at 92.

Linda Schumacker (UTCTC ’90), Toledo at 63.

Jodi Iwinski (NRS ’91), New Hudson, Mich. At 55.

Diane Thompson (CALL ’98), Holland, Ohio at 58.

Amie Litzinger (MED ’09), Holland, Ohio at 28.

*Alumni Association member
**Lifetime member

Did you like this? Share it:

Living the Life

April 24th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Alumni Profiles

By Patty Gelb

VivVieShe immediately apologized when we first started speaking on the phone. “The yipping you hear in the background is my dog that goes with me everywhere,” said Heidi Burkhart. Ms. Burkhart’s dog is a 5-year-old Maltese named VivVie which is shortened from vivre la vie meaning “live life” in French. “She is spoiled rotten and adored by everyone in the office. Even my assistant, who at first did not really like dogs, now brings extra bits from her lunch to share with VivVie every day! Spoiled rotten!” she said with a chuckle.

Live life is a good motto to describe Heidi Burkhart. A 2001 graduate with a bachelor’s of business administration in finance and marketing, Heidi is now the president of the Dane Professional Consulting Group. At only 31 years old, she is one of the youngest and most accomplished women in real estate today.

In 2008, Heidi formed her own brokerage, Dane PCG. In the five years since its inception, Dane PCG has closed over $300 million in real estate, with the majority in the affordable housing sector. Throughout her 10 year career in the real estate industry, Heidi Burkhart has facilitated over $850 million in transactions and closed over 8,500 affordable housing units.

Heidi grew up in the Toledo area and started taking college courses while still in high school. “The outreach from The University of Toledo was amazing,” said Heidi when asked about her time here at UT. “You don’t realize at the time the importance of the relationships with your professors. Dr. (Tom) Sharkey was always so helpful and giving of his time. My professors were always there for classes, but they were also there for my development and my life. Other relationships were so beneficial as well like Lynn Fruth, the owner of Danberry. He helped me see the possibilities in real estate and was so generous and giving of his time and knowledge.”

Heidi believes that being a graduate of The University of Toledo sets her apart from others in her field. “Starting out in my career in NYC, I was surrounded by parties who went to top notch colleges, ivy league universities, colleges.  I could have felt inferior, as Harvard, Yale, Columbia have an allure of excellence.  I chose to stay focused.  Stay humble.  Stay true.  My professors, such as Dr. (Michael) Sherman, prepared me to place myself to always be challenged – with the constant reminder that knowledge is power.  UT showed me it is what you do with your education, plus staying head strong and heart strong.”

Heidi is very active with a variety of volunteer projects including the Multiple Sclerosis Society, HELP USA, New York Ronald McDonald House, Food Bank NYC, Habitat for Humanity and Kids Unlimited. Heidi also sat on the board of directors for the Institute for Responsible Housing Preservation (IRHP), New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH), and Harriet Tubman Charter School (HTCS).

Heidi Burkhart Headshot“Our company’s motto is ‘Give to Live, Live to Give,’” said Heidi. “Ironically I feel really selfish giving and working on these projects because I get such a high from doing it. It doesn’t feel like I am giving. I feel like I am getting when I see some of the accomplishments and work done by these great organizations.”

When asked where she would like to be in 10 years, Heidi burst into laughter. “On a beach in Italy sipping vino,” she said with a chuckle. “I always love that question, but it is just not the way I think. I work to be happy and laughing every day. I concentrate on today and what I am able to do and accomplish now. I really feel that you lose focus if you just focus on the future. Who knows, something even better than what you were thinking about could actually be right around the corner. I really just try to live for today.”

Did you like this? Share it:
Return to top of page