Community Voices

BGSU’s top tech officer, John Ellinger, wins Ferrari award

Information technology is such an integral part of University life today that when it doesn’t work, many find it nearly impossible to do their work. Keeping BGSU’s technology running, secure and up to date is the ultimate responsibility of Chief Technology Officer John Ellinger. Ellinger was thanked for managing this daunting task as the recipient of the 2016 Michael R. Ferrari Award, the highest honor for administrative staff. Presented April 19 at the annual Administrative Staff Council Spring Reception, the award was accompanied by $1,000 and a reserved parking spot for one year. In addition, Ellinger’s name will be added to a commemorative plaque in the Jerome Library. The Ferrari Award honors administrative staff for superlative performance, showing innovation and initiative, and having a strong relationship with the University community. Ellinger models all three characteristics. “His meticulous nature, longstanding care about the broad educational mission of BGSU, and borderline obsession with consensus building at all stages make him ideally suited for the award,” wrote nominator Dr. Paul Cesarini, assistant vice provost for online and summer academic programs. “Higher education technology administration is mostly a thankless task,” Cesarini said. “When the network is up and things are going well, few people if any will pat you on the back. When some virus or malware sweeps through campus, or some major project runs into implementation issues, you’re often the first person to take the heat. “IT is transparent and yet ubiquitous; everywhere and no where at the same time. Managing and making sense of it all on an ongoing basis — each day, each month, each year — is a challenge so monumentally daunting that I’m still mildly surprised John hasn’t hopped in his car and sped away from campus as fast as he could go. Yet, he’s here.” Here, and continually pushing the envelope to improve BGSU’s information technology and adopt leading-edge systems that meet the campus’s needs, said his nominators. He has spearheaded such initiatives as Voice over IP phone systems, noted Sheri Kellogg, ITS director of applications. “BGSU was…


Thank You, Mr. Brown

The following is a reflection piece written by Elizabeth Roberts-Zibbel, who sang in the Memorial Choir to honor Jim Brown. St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Bowling Green was nearly full for Jim Brown’s Celebration of Life service Saturday morning. I scanned the crowd as people filed in, looking mostly for those I remembered from high school. We sat in the section to the right of the pulpit with other members of the Memorial Choir. Stacey (Timmons) Higgins from the Class of 1990 was sitting on my left; Amanda Gullufsen, a fellow graduate of the Class of 1991, was on my right. Both had been Madrigal Singers with Mr. Brown in High School and had traveled with him to the former Soviet Union as it was crumbling. I had been in regular Choir my 10th – 12th grade years, singing such memorable pieces as “I Sing The Body Electric” (from FAME) and the Rutter Requiem. Unsurprisingly, Mr. Brown had known John Rutter personally. My husband, John Zibbel, had graduated from BGHS some years after me and had been fortunate enough to be a student in the first Humanities Class co-taught by Mrs. Dianne Klein (Former English / Creative Writing) and Mr. Brown in their last years teaching before retirement. John’s class in the 98-99 school year was themed “Making The Midwest Home.” They traveled by bus to Chicago, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. In speaking about the Humanities class, Mrs. Klein stated that due to the closeness that the groups experienced from traveling around the country together, the students became family to Mr. Brown as much as his own blood relatives. John’s classmate Jessica Snyder Ruffner commented, “The humanities class had a major impact on me and I am forever thankful to her [Klein] and Mr. Brown for choosing me to participate.” I know John felt similarly. As I continued watching, I spotted Class of 91 alumna and friend Michelle (Whitacre) Crites. I saw Dr. Eric Myers, former principal of BGHS and school board member, and Mayor Dick Edwards and his wife Nadine….


Trinidy Jeter wins BGSU staff rookie honors

By BGSU Office of Marketing & Communications Although she may be a rookie in terms of her time on the job, Trinidy Jeter is a seasoned professional in terms of accomplishment. In her two years at BGSU Firelands as coordinator of student and campus activities, she has had a transformative impact on the campus that has reached out into the community. Jeter was named the Administrative Staff Rookie of the Year at the annual Administrative Staff Council reception April 19. The award recognizes an employee who has been with BGSU between one and three years and who has played a key role in implementing a new idea, program or procedure designed to enhance student recruitment, retention or engagement. Jeter has done all three, say her nominators. “In her short time here at Firelands, she has truly changed our campus climate to one that fosters student engagement, diversity and inclusion,” wrote sociology faculty member Julie Didelot. Under her leadership, the number of student organizations has increased from fewer than 10 to more than 20. She created new opportunities for students to express and develop their interests, forming Firelands’ first a cappella choir and hosting its first drag show and first poetry slam, “The Art of Spoken Word.” “In addition to expanding the number and scope of student organizations, she implemented budget training for student officers as well as training for club advisers,” Didelot said. “Further, she has encouraged student leaders to attend off-campus leadership development conferences, facilitating their ability to attend and escorting them to the conferences.” To further encourage student engagement, she transformed the annual Welcome Back Picnic to a student involvement fair, with booths representing the organizations plus nonprofit community agencies. Jeter made Firelands a part of the Bowling Green campus’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Challenge for the first time this year, engaging students, faculty and staff in community projects. She has found other impactful ways to engage Firelands with the community. “One of Trinidy’s monumental projects was utilizing the common read book, ‘The Other…


Students and colleagues sing their good-bye to James Brown

By FRANCES BRENT Good bye dear, dear Mr. Brown! Saturday 50 of his former students, youthful again despite grey hair and receding hairlines, met at St. Mark’s Lutheran in a Memorial Choir led by Linda Gullufsen, to sing him to his rest. The church was packed with his admirers. The final Hallelujah Chorus drew dozens more singers from the pews for a musical celebration of a man who brought so much beauty and creativity to the young people of Bowling Green. Jim Brown brought greatness to Bowling Green students as they learned to create a beauty that transcended their everyday selves. He made music matter. Bowling Green High School students that didn’t make it through auditions, or that never thought of trying, still experienced an era when music (band was terrific too,) was a source of school cultural pride. Jim Brown and his generations of student musicians were also a source of community pride and for a time almost defined Christmas and summer musical theater in BG. To earn a place as a Madrigal Singer was to be blessed for life and to learn that all that glory of song was the result of very hard work, lots of discipline and major disruption to family life. Less well known was the wide ranging idealism and world view of a class he co-taught with English teacher Dianne Klein that inspired students outside his musical world. Jim Brown was the heart, soul and remarkable leader and inspiration of a truly memorable 50-year song fest that blessed the Bowling Green Schools and the entire community. The Madrigals, the Yuletide Singers, the Summer Musicals were spectaculars in the “Small Town America” that is Bowling Green, Ohio. He gave a musical opportunity that allowed generations of young people to experience the joy of being part of a beauty that took them beyond their everyday selves. He also organized terrific international tours that introduced the great wide world to hundreds of students and lucky chaperones.


Emily Freeman Brown honored as Professor of Creative Arts Excellence

BGSU Office of Marketing & Comunications There have been many high notes during Dr. Emily Freeman Brown’s 33-year career at Bowling Green State University. Brown, who has a Ph.D. in music performance studies, has been named the 2016 Professor of Creative Arts Excellence. The title is conferred upon members of the faculty already holding the rank of professor and who have established outstanding national and international recognition through research and publication or creative/artistic achievement in their disciplines. The title is for a period of three years with an annual stipend of $5,000 — a $3,000 salary stipend and $2,000 for professional development. Brown serves as director of orchestral activities and professor of orchestral conducting in the College of Musical Arts, a position she has held since 1989. “Dr. Brown’s record of creative activity is stellar in every way and she maintains a national and international profile as an orchestral conductor and music educator,” said a letter of nomination, composed by a committee of Drs. Rodney Rogers, provost and senior vice president; William Mathis, chair of music performance studies; and Marilyn Shrude, professor of music composition. “The quantity of her creative output is remarkable and the quality and prestige of her work has only grown through the years.” Last year, Brown released a book, “A Dictionary for the Modern Conductor,” published by Rowman and Littlefield. Guest conducting appearances make up the majority of her creative work, the nominators said. “Her record in this regard would qualify her consideration of this award by itself,” they said. “Her new book, publications and presentations and associated scholarship throughout her career are significant and lend an added dimension of prestige to her profile.” Some of her invited performances as conductor or presenter in the past 10 years include serving as guest conductor in international venues with the Sibiu (Romania) Philharmonic Orchestra, Gottingen (Germany) Symphonie Orchester, Chengdu (China) Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra of Macedonia. On two occasions, Brown has been invited by the U.S. State Department to lead cultural arts activities: in 2003…


Sonnenberg’s “Gastown Girl” Documents An “Ordinary Life” Lived  Extraordinarily  Well;  Memoir Signing at Grounds for Thought

By FRANCES BRENT Lois Sonnenberg grew up during the Depression Years, in a depressed part of Tonawanda, NY known as Gastown, in upstate New York near the Niagara Area. The times may have been depressed but Lois wasn’t. An extended family, a tight knit neighborhood, strong female role models and her own joyful and intrepid spirit launched her into wider world. April 23, 2016 marks the celebration,  at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church,  of the life of her friend and Colleague,  the beloved BG School music teacher Jim Brown. Sonnenberg’s table at Grounds for Thought from 2 to 6 p.m.  is along the Art Walk route. Her story, in part, is living the American dream in a small town community such  as Bowling Green. Eighty-eight years young now,  and with Otie, her husband of nearly seventy years at her side, Lois turned her energies over the last five rears, into remembering, researching and  writing “Gastown Girl.”   She recounts  a life, not free of challenges , so much as a life that was a non-stop journey to the next opportunity and adventure. Among the titles she has enjoyed: crack the whip survivor, cheer-leader, French horn player, Girl State delegate, US Cadet Nurse Corp Cadet, University of Michigan Graduate, registered nurse, dairy farmer’s wife, mother, grandmother, English Teacher, French Teacher, Wood County Language Arts Consultant, originator of Wood County Young Writers’ Workshop, bridge player, Independent Language Arts Consultant, BGSU Assistant Director of Adult Learning, antique dealer, St.Mark’s Lutheran Council member, Cookie Minister, church choir member, author. That is just a sampling. The book is dedicated to Tom Brokaw, that celebrator of obscure lives well lived.  Her primary audience, for a  memoir self-published on Amazon, is family and friends. The subtitle calls it a book published by five people in three states – parents and adult children. The family is wide, the friends are legion,  but there is an appeal to a wider readership. Here is a life of real accomplishment, lead with little drama, but much thought, love, and old fashioned entrepreneurship. Lois…


Wood Haven honors its volunteers

Wood Haven Health Care recently held a breakfast to recognize and thank the volunteers who continue to make a difference at Wood Haven by volunteering their time. Wood Haven’s volunteers were treated to a breakfast buffet that included fresh fruit, bacon, sausage, ham, omelets, pecan rolls, cream cheese Danishes, crepes, and hash browns. Around 35 people attended including the Wood County Commissioners. This event was held at the Bowling Green Country Club on Wednesday. All volunteers were also given 6-inch individual homemade pies made by Sue Smith, Wood Haven’s culinary expert. The volunteers had their choice of blueberry pie, cherry pie, apple pie, and peach pie.


BGSU College of Business gets bump in Bloomberg rankings

From BGSU Bloomberg Businessweek released rankings of undergraduate business programs including the College of Business Administration at Bowling Green State University. After surveying nearly 30,000 students and recruiters from approximately 600 companies, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked the top 114 business programs out of nearly 1,600 in the country. BGSU ranked number 71, up from 90 in the previous ranking, placing it among the top 5 percent of programs in the nation and the top 2 percent in the world. “The rankings show that the College of Business at BGSU continues Going Beyond Business As Usual,” said Ray Braun, Dean of the College of Business. “We are pleased that our unique program, delivered by outstanding faculty and staff, is being recognized by Bloomberg Businessweek as one of the best in the world.”


AgCredit Celebrates 100th Birthday with Canned Food Donations

AgCredit’s branch offices recently held Open Houses to give members their patronage checks and celebrate the Farm Credit System’s 100th birthday.  Throughout the second week in April, many members and friends attended the birthday themed parties. In honor of the occasion members were asked to bring canned goods to help each branch reach their goal of collecting 100 cans. Every branch exceeded the goal and the Association as a whole collected over 1,500 cans. Cans were donated to various food pantries local to the offices. “AgCredit is thrilled to celebrate this centennial by giving back to the community, donating over 1,500 cans association wide,”  says  Marketing Coordinator, Connie Ruth, “The food drives are yet another way the farm community comes together to support their neighbors.” Patronage is a way that AgCredit shares profits with its members.  AgCredit has returned over $227 million to its borrowers over a period of 29 consecutive years.  This year AgCredit is returning 26 cents on every dollar borrowers accrued in interest on their loans in 2015.


Melissa Miller named Master Teacher at BGSU

From BGSU Office of Marketing & Communications Dr. Melissa Miller, named the 2016 Master Teacher at Bowling Green State University, believes the most important aspect of teaching is sharing a contagious enthusiasm for learning. “While brilliant scholars can bore students to proverbial tears, brilliant teachers convey a contagious enthusiasm for learning that is literally infectious,” Miller wrote. “Enthusiasm drives all of the other factors we tend to bandy about when ticking off what makes a great teacher: passion, dedication, charisma, intellect.” Miller, associate professor in the Department of Political Science, received the prestigious Master Teacher Award at the Faculty Excellence Awards Ceremony and Reception April 14. This is the highest teaching award presented to faculty and the only student-driven and student-selected award at BGSU. It comes with a $1,000 check presented by the Student Alumni Connection. In addition to enthusiasm, Miller brings several qualities to the classroom that resonate with students. “Having an enthusiastic, student-centered approach to every classroom session is the key to student learning, as well as the promotion of student growth as citizens and leaders in the BGSU and broader communities,” Miller wrote. “My teaching philosophy is driven by a desire to produce not just good students, but good citizens able to confront and address challenges in their lives, work and communities. Classroom experiences that build habits – of problem-solving, teamwork, resourcefulness and ingenuity – will serve students far into the future, as lifelong Falcons.” This includes the incorporation of research in the classroom. Miller believes there is no better way to learn political science than to actually conduct it. While at BGSU, undergraduates have been involved with every research study Miller has undertaken. This award is a way for students to say thank you to faculty for positively impacting their lives by providing knowledge, guidance and skills. For Miller, this recognition honors a career that she finds infinitely more satisfying than that of political consultant. “Intellectually, the professor’s day is far richer than that of my former career,” Miller wrote. “Daily, I am energized by new…


Health and wellness expo for those 50 and older

Mark your calendars and save the date for the inaugural “Your Highway to Health:  50+ Health & Wellness Expo” being held at the Bowling Green Community Center on Wednesday April 27th from 10am–1:00pm.  The Community Center is located at 1245 W Newton Road, Bowling Green. The event is being held in partnership between the Bowling Green Parks & Recreation Department, Wood County Hospital, Wood County Committee on Aging, Wood County Community Health and Wellness Center, and the BGSU Gerontology Department. The goals of the event are to increase health awareness and encourage positive healthy behavior changes in our community through increasing knowledge of local health resources for participants through on-site health screenings, activities, materials, demonstrations, and information. Visitors should come dressed for activity as they will have the opportunity to get active by dropping in on group fitness class demos, trying out Pickleball, and walking the track free of charge. Visitors can also stop by vendor tables to learn about products, as well as activities and programs that promote and improve health and wellness. Health screenings will be available including blood pressure, bone density, oxygen saturation, and balance screening. Opportunities to learn about important topics will be provided through attending our guest speaker sessions including Dr. Robert Lavey from Wood County Hospital speaking about cancer screening; Dr. Nancy Orel from BGSU speaking about BGSU’s Optimal Aging Institute; and Josh Chatfield & Lindy Donaldson from BG Parks & Recreation speaking about fitness opportunities at the BG Community Center. Visitors will also have an opportunity to tour the community center, enjoy a healthy snack, and participate in raffles and vendor giveaways. This is a free event to attend but we do ask that current SilverSneaker members please remember to swipe their passes during their visit.  Individuals 65 years of age and older will also have a chance to learn about the great benefits of our SilverSneaker program, see if they are eligible for the program, and sign up on site at the event. More detailed  information will be early next week on…


Take a walk on the wild side with Chris Gajewicz, BG naturalist

(This is the first of regular columns about nature by BG’s Natural Resources Coordinator Chris Gajewicz.) Each year naturalists, birders, and nature enthusiasts eagerly await spring migration.  Warmer weather, longer days, and spring storms signal major movements of birds to head north to their summer breeding grounds.  Casual nature observers often see their first robin of spring around this time of year.  Hard core birders know that these robins have been here all along for the most part toughing out our northern Ohio winters and subsisting on fruits and berries all winter rather than the more commonly observed worm feasts in spring. Truth be told, I know spring is here when the red-winged blackbirds finally arrive.  Red-winged blackbird, (Agelaius phoeniceus), males arrive first and they can be seen setting up their territories along country roads, in wetland areas and just about anywhere cattails are growing in early March.  The males are highly territorial and set up intricate invisible boundaries known only to them and other members of their species.  The males aggressively display and call out to other males along these lines and chase out interlopers if necessary.  In reality, they spend most of their time displaying for each other and altercations are few. Male red-winged blackbirds are a striking jet black bird with red and yellow “epaulettes” or shoulder pads, (think George Washington’s golden shoulder pads on his uniform).  When the bird is at rest, generally only the red portion can be seen.  When the male is in full display, he spreads his wings and splays his tail from a sitting position, leans forward, and calls out the familiar, “KONK-la REE!”, making all the other males take notice of his grandeur and self importance.  This activity continues non-stop for about three weeks until that ladies arrive. Female red-winged blackbirds are neither red-winged nor black.  They are quite honestly one of the most non-descript birds out there.  Red-winged blackbirds exhibit sexual dimorphism, which means that the male and the female do not look alike in plumage.  The female red-winged blackbird…


Rebecca Skinner Green receives BGSU distinguished faculty service award

By BGSU Office of Marketing & Communications In her 20 years with BGSU, Dr. Rebecca Skinner Green, an associate professor of art history, has enhanced the University in myriad ways, from her leadership on the details of merit, tenure and promotion document revisions to the global, bringing scholars and artists from around the world to broaden the community’s horizons. Skinner Green was recognized with the Faculty Senate Distinguished Service Award at the annual Faculty Excellence Awards held April 14. The award is given in recognition of outstanding, continuous service and to highlight the importance of dedicated faculty to the well-being of the University. Skinner Green received a $1,000 cash prize and a reserved parking spot for a year — a useful benefit for someone so involved not only with her own department but with numerous other areas across campus. In her academic “home,” she served multiple times as chair of the art history division in the School of Art, from 2001-06, 2008-11 and again in fall of 2015. “During all of my interactions as an art history faculty member working with Dr. Skinner Green as the chair, she has repeatedly proven herself to be an outstanding leader with exceptional good humor and collegiality throughout all of the ups and downs that one can expect to encounter in such a role,” Dr. Andrew Hershberger said. “Indeed, I regard Dr. Skinner Green as an excellent model for all faculty administrators in terms of how to run a division efficiently, effectively, and also with humanity.” Since her earliest days as a faculty member, service has been her hallmark. “Even before she became a division chair, Dr. Skinner Green was nominated for and won the School of Art’s own Dorothy Uber Bryan Award for Exceptional Service in 1998,” Hershberger said. She was the founder of the Art History Association and served as its adviser and has served on the Shanklin Graduate Research Award Committee, among numerous others. “Her recent and longstanding service contributions to the School of Art include her leadership roles on the…


A peek in at our parks by Frances Brent

The 1960 Bowling Green High School Class Living Memorial nestles behind the Sculpture Garden near the Wintergarden entrance of the Simpson Garden. Ice King Daffodils bloom now in early spring. Later the Crusader Hawthorne trees blaze forth followed by the delicate Peach Drift roses of mid-summer. The ground cover provides a subtle white bloom in fall and mums complete the blooming season.


Lawrence Coates’ historical fiction earns top BGSU research award

By BGSU Office of Marketing & Communications Reading Dr. Lawrence Coates’ fiction is to be immersed in another era, from the California of the first settlers to its vineyards during Prohibition and even the first dot-com bust of the 1990s. Coates achieves this resonance in part through assiduous research, making sure that all the subtle details render the sights, sounds, landscape and tenor of the times against which his stories are set. His achievements were recognized with the 2016 Olscamp Research Award, presented to him at the annual Faculty Excellence Awards on April 14. Given annually by the Office of Sponsored Programs and Research to a faculty member for outstanding scholarly or creative accomplishments during the previous three years, the award includes a $2,000 cash prize and a reserved parking spot for a year. Coates, a professor and chair of the English department, has received recognition for his work almost from the beginning. His first novel, “The Blossom Festival,” was chosen by Barnes and Noble for its 1999 Discover Great New Writers program, and he has continued to win kudos and awards ever since on both the regional and national scales. He has been the recipient of the Western States Book Award in fiction and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in fiction. “For the last 20 years, I have written fiction set in California that explores and interrogates the interrelationship of space and human desire,” he said. The last three years have been especially prolific for him. He has published two novels and a novella and a number of short stories in literary journals. In 2013, his novel “The Garden of the World” won the Nancy Dasher Award in Creative Writing from the College English Association of Ohio. His novella “Camp Olvido” won the 2015 Miami University Press Novella Prize and was chosen as one of the top three novellas of the year. And his short story “Bats,” a departure from his California-based work, won the prestigious 2013 Barthelme Prize for Short Prose, given by Gulf Coast literary…