UF’s 2019 undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies included speakers Ron Niekamp, retired UF head men’s basketball coach, and 1987 UF alumna Lt. Col. Kathleen Cannon, U.S. Army, retired. Niekamp worked for 30 years at UF as a coach, athletic director, and instructor. His 2009 team won the NCAA Division II national championship with a 36-0 record. Cannon, who earned a Legion of Merit award, served combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, worked as an advisor on China strategic security issues for the Department of Defense, and served as an Army attaché stationed in Hong Kong.
The universe’s origins were debated in February at the University’s second annual Open Dialogue hosted by Campus Ministries. Ivana Nikolic Hughes, Ph.D., from Columbia University, represented an atheist perspective, while Robert DiSilvestro, Ph.D., from The Ohio State University, reflected on Christian beliefs. The Big Bang theory was specifically addressed.
Jeremy Pittman began as UF’s new Vice President of Enrollment Management in February. His fresh take on enrollment practices is already having a positive effect on recruitment strategies, and inspiring a team that is dedicated to responding to today’s higher education challenges. He previously worked at Kentucky Wesleyan College, where he served as vice president of admissions and financial aid.
Around the World
International Night, UF’s annual global culture event featuring cuisine, dancing, and other educational offerings, celebrated its 50th anniversary in March. The tradition began with the late Raeburn Wallen, a world religions professor at UF who frequently welcomed UF students from around the world to stay with his family.
In the News
UF’s Theatre Program staged “Disney’s Newsies” in February for its spring musical. Set in turn-of-the-century New York City, the play follows teenage “newsies” as they battle publishing industry titans who are intent on raising distribution prices. Wilmington, Ohio native Brent Hoggatt starred as lead news boy Jack, and Ashley Oakley, a Copley, Ohio resident, played reporter Katherine.
Show and Tell
This year’s Symposium for Scholarship and Creativity, held in April, included several oral and poster presentations highlighting student academic achievements ranging from musical compositions to research on the presence of a banned microbial agent in the Blanchard River. For the first time, the DeBow and Catherine Freed Academic Scholars Awards were handed out, which honored the highest-ranking undergraduate student in each of the colleges.
In April, UF hosted a U.S. Naturalization ceremony at which 80 individuals became citizens. The event was one of the largest of all naturalization ceremonies that the University helped organize over the years. The Honorable Judge Jeffrey J. Helmick of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, presided and gave the oath of citizenship.
Remembering through Art
Three paintings titled “The Journey Through,” were dedicated to the University of Findlay’s Occupational Therapy adaptive living house. The works illustrate the impact occupational therapy has had on Sandy Errett, her husband, John, and the rest of their family as Sandy faces Alzheimer’s disease. The project developed from the family’s connection with Lindsey Buddelmeyer, OTD, assistant professor of occupational therapy, and with help from staff at Awakening Minds Art.
David Polgar, a tech ethics authority and the founder of All Tech is Human, spoke at Fridays at Findlay in March regarding improved, more thoughtful ways that people design emerging technology with user needs and impact in mind. Designers must do a better job of considering what could go wrong when they embark on projects, he argues.
Theatre students in April staged “The Devised Project,” a play they created entirely from scratch. This gutsy collaborative method uses the whole creative team, ranging from the actors to technicians, to come up with a focus and script using improvisatory theater exercises and imagination. The play was guest directed by stage and screen veteran Ben Gougeon, a Michigan native who is currently based in New York City.