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March 2019


Akron baseball makes dramatic return, aided by Skeeles family gift

Bill and Mary SkeelesExcitement continues to build for the Spring 2020 return of Akron Zips Baseball with news of a nearly $1 million gift from alumnus William (Bill) Skeeles ‘77, and his wife, Mary. The couples’ gift, part of a $2 million campaign, is funding the renovation of the baseball playing surface at Lee R. Jackson Field, which will be known as Skeeles Field.

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Presidential search prospectus finalized

Mens soccer team group photo After gathering significant input from campus and community leaders as well as more than 100 comments and suggestions submitted by individuals through the University website, the Presidential Screening Committee has finalized the Presidential Prospectus that will serve as the foundational document in the search for our 18th president.

Board of Trustees Chair Joseph M. Gingo said, "We were very impressed with the breadth and depth of insight that we received from everyone who participated as well as their demonstrated commitment to the success of the University. As a result, we were able to gain their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities in front of us and the characteristics and experience desired in our next leader. We look forward to this next phase in our presidential selection process."

The Presidential Prospectus is posted on our website at and will be used by our search consultant, Witt/Kiefer, in its outreach efforts.

The Sunrise Breakfast: Honoring the 2019 Dr. Frank L. Simonetti Distinguished Business Alumni

Tom Arth photoA dynamic group of UA graduates headline the College of Business Administration’s 2019 Simonetti Awards. The annual breakfast event, taking place Friday, April 19, brings distinguished CBA alumni back to campus, sharing their expertise and experience with current students and colleagues.

This year’s honorees are:
  • Joe DiRocco, ’93, Regional President Northeast Ohio, Fifth Third Bank;
  • Matt Kaulig, ’96, Chairman, Kaulig Companies;
  • Sandra Pianalto, ’76, Retired, President & CEO, The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland;
  • Sandra L. Rapp, ’90, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, The Timken Company;
  • Mike Saxon, ’83, Retired COO and Executive VP, Vice Chairman, AmTrust Financial Services, Inc.; and
  • Brad S. Schroeder, ’91, CFO, ACRT Services, Inc.

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New center at UA supports area urban educators

Christy Mitchell photoSTEM education is becoming increasingly necessary for students as our world relies on the latest technology to function and the demand to fill STEM jobs increases. The workforce in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields is projected to grow 13 percent (compared to 9 percent for non-STEM jobs) between 2017 and 2027.

To support that growth, our LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education is positioning itself as a key partner of organizations and schools in the region for STEM collaboration, and will provide educators with research-based professional development to facilitate equitable STEM learning for all students, expose and engage learners in research-supported STEM curricula, and conduct research and evaluation of local, state and federally funded STEM education programs.

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Retirement and investment counselor addresses UA planning event

The Center for Gift and Estate Planning hosts an April 24 seminar on Secure Retirement Investment Strategy and Philanthropy. “How to fund a lifelong retirement –and still give” will feature Mary Beth Franklin, a nationally known retirement strategy expert. The 8 a.m. breakfast event will take place at Akron’s Portage Country Club. For more information, contact the UA Department of Development, 330-972-7425.

Sign-up online to attend

UA engineering faculty secured nearly $11 million in research funding in 2018

Faculty researchers in our College of Engineering – now in its 106th year – earned $10.9 million in research grant funding in the 2018 calendar year.

In total, the secured grant funding for projects and centers within the college impacted its five departments (civil, $4,566,511; chemical and biomolecular, $2,533,596; mechanical, $1,856,386; biomedical, $1,411,669; and electrical and computer, $568,664).

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Speech and debate team takes state championship four years in a row

PNC Bank logoThe University of Akron Speech and Debate Team was named the winner of the 2019 Ohio Forensics Association State Championship tournament. The intercollegiate competition, held Feb. 15-16 at UA, featured speech and debate programs from institutions throughout the state. This was UA’s fourth consecutive win.

With just 10 students, UA fielded 37 individual events and dominated the tournament, winning with 337.33 points. Bowling Green State University (173 points) and Ohio University (118.67 points) rounded out the top three teams.

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Creativity of graphic design students in spotlight at Akron chapter of the American Advertising Federation awards ceremony

Among the winners of AAF-Akron American Advertising Awards (formerly called the ADDYs), were more than a dozen students and two faculty members and two 2018 graduates.

It was a very big night for Myers,” exclaimed Melissa Olson ’10, president of AAF-Akron and manager of student affairs at our School of Art. “As both an employee and an alumna of Myers School of Art, this year’s ceremony made me exceedingly proud. From presenting a Silver Medal Award to Dennis Kleidon, who helped launch the Graphic Design Program, to honoring student Maria Groom (pictured) with the Student Best of Show, I smiled so much that my cheeks hurt.”

See the winners

Upcoming Events

See everything for Zips Athletics and E.J. Thomas Hall.

What’s Alan Lavine from the Class of 1973 doing these days? Read an update on him and many other alumni by viewing Class Notes.

See Class Notes

Also see

Akron E-Magazine home Class Notes & In Memoriam
The University of Akron Alumni Association

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