A Legacy of Rocket Pride

May 30th, 2017 Posted in From Our Alumni

Parents subtlely influence younger generations to enroll at UT

By Laurie B. Davis

They loved being a part of the community spirit at The University of Toledo, including the football games, tailgating, Homecoming and, of course, that Rocket-Falcon rivalry. They made new lifelong friends, volunteered, played sports or cheered on others. They were challenged and they learned, not only about the subjects they studied, but also about themselves. They made decisions and sometimes changed directions. All of them came from a family legacy of UT graduates.    

When we identified recent University of Toledo graduates who had received legacy scholarships, the number of alumni connected to them multiplied. Students receive the legacy scholarship if at least one parent is a member of the alumni community.

The four 2017 graduates who answered a questionnaire — Dalton Buck, Marissa Callicotte, Tina Pinciotti and Emily Wryick — connected us to an additional 11 alumni to whom they are related. Their parents added a couple more children, Hailey Buck and Kyle Wyrick, as part of the family tradition of attending UT; they are current students.

Dalton, Marissa, Tina and Emily were among the 3,000-plus students who graduated earlier this month. They earned degrees in a variety of fields and are off to new careers or graduate school for an advanced degree. Here, they share some highlights of their UT experiences, as do their parents and a few other family members.

Emily, Laura, Dean, Alli and Curtis Wyrick

Dean, Emily and Laura Wyrick

Emily Wyrick (NRS ’17) landed a registered nurse position with the University of Michigan Main Hospital in the Medical-Surgical Unit. While at UT, she says she learned about the benefits of being challenged. “These past four years have been the most difficult and challenging, yet most rewarding because I was a student-athlete in nursing school. I was a little intimidated by that idea at first, but I believed in myself and so did my parents, coaches and professors. I can say that I did it! I learned a lot about myself and that you can do anything you set your mind to.”

For Emily, what was demanding became captivating as well. “My favorite class was Anatomy I and II because it was fascinating to learn and it just clicked for me. I simply loved learning about how the body works. It was also the class that helped me realize that I was in the right major and that nursing was for me.”

Emily plans to return for the 2017 Homecoming events. “I look forward to seeing my former teammates and friends, the parade and the football game,” she says.

Emily’s mother, Laura Wyrick (A/S ’88,’89), and her father, Dean Wyrick (BBA ’86), will likely be right there with her in the Glass Bowl. “My husband and I always return to cheer on our Rockets for Homecoming,” says Laura.

A former member of Chi Omega Sorority and a resident adviser at Carter Hall, Laura describes her UT experience as “excellent.” She says, “I often shared my love of UT with my three children.”

While in school at UT, she was a teaching assistant for her adviser, Dr. Paul Fritz, a professor of communication. “I taught his 100/300 public speaking courses and gained a passion for teaching. My experience under Dr. Fritz’s leadership as a TA was my most positive academic experience. I developed excellent communication and teaching skills. My experience as an RA also helped me with problem solving, interpersonal relationships, team building and leadership.”

Laura began her career in sales and marketing for the Rouse Co., the previous owner of Franklin Park Mall. “I then changed careers and began teaching preschool at Grace United Methodist Church in Perrysburg.”

Her husband and Emily’s father, Dean, who earned his business degree in human resources management, shares with many other current and former students the same favorite professor. “Once I got into my 400-level classes, I really enjoyed my professors,” says Dean “They were very easy to speak to and were hands-on and willing to develop relationships with their students. One, in particular, was Dr. Clint Longenecker. Clint was the type of professor everyone loved because of his engaging personality, caring approach and awesome spirit.”

Dean also was a resident adviser in Carter Hall, where he met Laura. He says the opportunity taught him a lot about himself and helped prepare him for life after college. “I believe that employers valued this experience because it always came up in my interviews. It was a great learning tool, and I had the opportunity to meet a lot of great people, including my wife! Needless to say, this was a life-changing experience for me.”

His degree led him to work for Central Transport in the Detroit area, where he entered a management trainee program and later was promoted into the internal recruiting department. Dean also worked as the employment manager at a local bank before accepting a position at Aim Executive (which is now Randstad) assisting displaced employees trying to re-enter the job market. He has since moved into the company’s recruiting division as a practice director.

For Dean and Laura Wyrick, their own personal “three-peat” keeps them coming back to the University for Homecoming and other events. “Living in Perrysburg and having three kids attend UT, we’ve had an opportunity to see the wonderful changes that have occurred over the years at UT,” says Dean.

Another daughter, Alli, graduated in December 2016 with a BS in speech-language pathology.

Alli Wyrick says her parents influenced her college choice, “but they were very supportive and reminded me to choose the college I wanted. I chose UT because it was close to home but far enough away to make me feel away from home. UT is also financially reasonable and has a lot of great scholarship opportunities, which was something I was very grateful for,” she says.

Currently, Alli works as an autism behavioral instructor for St. Vincent’s Mercy Hospital Autism Services, and this fall she will return to UT for her advanced degree. “I’m so thankful and excited to be a Rocket again this fall, as I will be a first-year graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology Program. I am very excited to be back and look forward to learning more about the field UT has taught me to love.”

She says her first UT experience also taught her to take time for herself outside of her studies. “The biggest lesson I learned is the importance of getting yourself involved in extracurricular activities. It helps you balance your time, and it is a great way to meet people. I worked part time on campus at the Student Rec Center, and I met a lot of amazing people that way, and it was a great way to get involved on campus. It was a nice break from studying and homework, working a fun job with other peers and friends.”

As an undergraduate, her favorite class was her practicum course, she says “because I had my first client. It was rewarding to see the progress she made in her speech and intelligibility. I learned the most during that experience, and I know it will help me in the long run for my future career as a speech-language pathologist.”

For the Wyricks, football is a household word and Rocket football is a family affair. “The atmosphere is always exciting and fun. The Homecoming game is what I look forward to the most. I love football,” Alli says.

Uncle Curtis Wyrick, graduated from UT in 1996, with a bachelor’s degree in civil and construction engineering technology. Curtis recalls some of the UT people who helped shape his career in the construction field, in which he’s been employed for 23 years. “Dean Springman was my adviser and an excellent counselor,” says Curtis, who served as Dr. Brian Rudolph’s teaching assistant in a course on surveying. He also remembers urban planning teacher Dr. Henry Moon, as an “excellent professor, who was very knowledgeable and informative.”

Christina, Julie and Dominic Pinciotti

Christina Pinciotti (A/L ’17), who goes by Tina, had planned to study meteorology at another school in Ohio. That changed when her focus moved from the left to the right side of her brain. “I learned that there was a ton of math involved in the curriculum,” she says of the meteorology program. “My parents asked me why I wanted to study the weather, and I told them I thought they wanted me to study something realistic. They said that if I was going to pay a lot of money to go to college, I might as well do something I love.” After shadowing students in UT’s Theatre and Film Department, she says, “I knew this is where I wanted to be and what I wanted to study.”

Tina says she’ll miss a lot of the familiar faces, sounds, activities and views on campus. The questionnaire provided some options and Tina commented on all of them. Rocky and Rocksy — these mascots just scream ‘home,’ and I’ve seen them at games since my childhood; there is nothing better than a warm fall day football game filled with school spirit. In the future, I plan on coming back to games if I can; the bell tower is so iconic and serves as a beacon of history. It’s also just a gorgeous sight; the Blue Crew gets the crowd and students hyped up, and my family would try to come out and tailgate at the home games, so there was always delicious food; hearing the UT Marching Band before the Homecoming football game — my freshman year I lived in Academic House, and I could hear the band practicing for the games. It was such an unforgettable feeling since I was just starting college and the school spirit was carried in the notes of the band’s songs.”

Tina has applied to four, one-year theatre apprenticeship programs, and has had two interviews. She’s waiting to hear back with good news.

Her parents, Julie (Bus ’86) and Dominic (Bus ’82) Pinciotti, say simultaneously working and going to school was common in their generation. “I liked that all of my credits transferred because I was paying for my education myself,” says Julie. “Because I had to work to pay for school, I didn’t really attend many events. I have attended more UT athletic events, theatre programs and special events as a parent.”

Julie recalls taking an elective in American Constitutional History. “I needed the history credit and it was the only class that fit into my schedule. I remember we had to do a lot of memorization of court cases. It was very difficult, but I did manage to get a B,” she adds.

Her career began in health-care accounting, but she also worked as a finance director and as a grants accounting analyst for UT, says Julie.

Dominic has always held a job in sales and marketing or customer service. “My longest career was with Toledo Edison/First Energy for nearly 20 years, mainly in sales and marketing and also customer service. I currently work for myself in the energy consulting business,” he says.

Like Julie, Dominic also worked while attending college, which cut into his free time. “I really did not have too much time for extracurricular activities. The time I spent at the Student Union and library with friends was fun for me.”

He recalls one teacher who impressed him. “A marketing class taught by Mr. Phillip A. Sinclair always stands out in my mind. His enthusiasm for marketing and the distinct way he had of expressing himself always kept me interested and entertained,” says Dominic.

Marissa, Sally and Jeff Callicotte

Marissa Callicotte, who received a bachelor of science in exercise science with a minor in chemistry, specifically studied in the physician assistant concentration. She recently started graduate school in the physician assistant program at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio. She will graduate with a master of medical science degree after the two-year program.

At UT, her favorite class, she says, was exercise physiology taught by Dr. Tom McLoughlin. “The professor taught the class in a way that grabbed your attention and made you want to learn more. It wasn’t just learning to know the answers on an exam, but rather listening so you could apply the knowledge in real life. This was one of the first clinically applicable classes that I took at UT, and the excitement I had for going to each lecture has carried over to classes I’ve taken in physician assistant school, too.”

She also drew knowledge from others she worked alongside. “I had a graduate student I worked with in lab who emphasized the idea of asking for help when you need it. She stressed the importance of seeking help as a strength, rather than a weakness. I think especially in college, we feel like we have to figure out so much on our own, but a lot of the time you will learn more by just humbling yourself and asking for assistance.”

Marissa’s favorite extracurricular activities included football games and community service, she says.  “I love football, so going to the games was always a lot of fun! UT had a great experience of having that Division 1 team, but also being a more intimate environment that really encouraged students to attend.”

Participating in the Big Event also boosted her Rocket pride. “I volunteered with the Pre-Physician Assistant Association for three years at the Big Event, and each time was a completely different experience. It was nice to spend more quality time with the group, but also feel like we were making a difference in the community. Especially seeing so many other students volunteering with you added to that collective feeling of school pride,” she says.  

Marissa’s mother Sally Callicotte, who received an associate’s degree in Applied Business in Secretarial Technology in 1989, says she and her husband, Jeff Callicotte (Eng ’88) shared their opinions of UT with Marissa. “I shared many good aspects of The University of Toledo, such as the proximity to our home, the many great programs it offers, and the good experiences that my husband and I had.

“I attended the Community and Technical College in the 1980s, and the small class sizes and comfortable atmosphere while also living on a larger main campus were positive memories. My husband and I both lived on the 14th floor of Parks Tower. We met there in 1987, and celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary on May 16. Also, I am still in contact with some great friends that I met while living in Parks Tower,” says Sally.

She worked as a legal secretary until Marissa was born and continued as a stay-at-home mom until her fourth child was in kindergarten. She now works as a receptionist in a pediatric office.

Marissa’s father, Jeff, says he enjoyed many of his courses and Spring Release, an event presented by the Student Union Board. Like his wife Sally’s experience, his was just as memorable, and worth sharing with Marissa. “I would say we influenced our daughter by expressing our fondness for UT and how much we enjoyed it.”

Jeff says his position as an electrical-controls engineer is a job he got through UT’s job placement office. “I have been with this company for over 27 years.”

Dalton, Kerri and Brian Buck

The fourth student who answered our questionnaire is Dalton Buck (Bus ’17), who studied professional sales and marketing.

Dalton says his parents helped influence his decision to attend UT. “I always had a love for the game of basketball and wanted to play collegiately. I was offered the chance to play at some smaller schools but nothing really stood out to me,” says Dalton. His parents suggested The University of Toledo, their alma mater, which Dalton had decided was a good choice.

“Actually, Dalton was supposed to be going to Defiance College to play basketball until he realized how much more cost effective it would be to go to UT, so he changed his plans at the last minute,” says Kerri Buck, Dalton’s mother. “We were both pretty shocked and excited,” she says of her and her husband Brian’s reaction.

“Dalton also has a sister, Hailey, in nursing right now at UT, and she had her heart set on Ohio State until we visited UT. She was so excited when we left that visit that her decision was changed,” says Kerri. “Needless to say, both Brian and I were thrilled with both of their decisions, and they have had amazing experiences at UT.”

Dalton says a class that included lessons on self-branding had a lasting impact on him. “That was the most influential class. This stuck with me because it made me want to open up more and show people the skills I have. This has been a lesson to this day, as I have to constantly open up to people and show them myself and build relationships in a sales role. This also helps in my role with the company I work for as a team leader,” he says. “I have to promote the best qualities always and show responsibility.”

His favorite class at UT was sports marketing with Dr. Mark Gleim. “This was my favorite class at Toledo for a couple reasons. One, because it was entirely about sports and it was easy to enjoy. Also, because Assistant Professor Gleim made it very easy to enjoy and taught us many valuable lessons throughout the entire class.”

Because Dalton has a special connection to Rocket football, he says he’ll miss home games the most out of UT’s traditions. “As a member of The University of Toledo cheer program, I had the privilege to stand on the sideline of every single game. This is something I will never forget and will always miss, as the football team truly embraced all of us and made us feel like we were part of the team.

“I will more than likely try to make it to the Homecoming game for the 2017 season, and I am most excited to talk to the cheer coaches and former teammates of mine,” he adds.

Dalton will continue to stay close to home in his new job. “I will be working full time with a company called Blitz right here in Toledo as the team leader of business development.”

Dalton’s mom, Kerri, earned an associate degree in word/information processing in 1990 at The University of Toledo Community and Technical College. “I had a wonderful academic experience because I loved the smaller class sizes at that campus. Getting to know my professors helped me have fun while learning skills that I still use today,” she says.  

His father, Brian, graduated in 1994 with a bachelor degree in mechanical engineering. He is a senior staff engineer with Nissin Brake Ohio, responsible for the casting and machining departments. Brian has worked for the company since the year he graduated from UT.

“Both Brian and I are using our degrees and have remained at the same companies that we started with,” says Kerri. “I am an administrative assistant for Findlay City Schools. I started at Glenwood Middle School and was there 23 years before just recently moving to the high school athletic department. It has been an amazing place to work.”

The investment of time, thought and energy that all of these legacy alumni have made in their UT educations has brought them good memories, career opportunities, some new wisdom and many happy returns … to campus, that is. “See you at the game!”

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