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Letter from Foundation President and Board Chair

Brenda S. Lee, President

The University of Toledo Foundation

Constance D. Zouhary, Chair

The University of Toledo Foundation Board of Trustees

Brenda Lee Photo Constance Zouhary Photo

Dear Friends of The University of Toledo:

We look back on the 2019 fiscal year with a sense of accomplishment – and tremendous gratitude for your support.

Nearly 11,500 of you contributed a total of $26.5 million: the second-highest level of giving to The University of Toledo Foundation in more than a decade. This included 2,875 new donors, many who contributed through our successful second annual Day of Giving.

Most important, $26.2 million in support was provided last year to The University of Toledo as a result of your generosity. Your donations benefit our students, academic programs, athletics, patients, community service, and research.

While we continue to witness significant achievements within our organization and across the UToledo campuses, we know that this is only made possible through your ongoing connection and contributions. Together, we will propel the University forward as a regional and national leader in higher education.

Through your vision and generosity, you touch the lives of the UToledo community every day. We thank you for your partnership.

Brenda S. Lee Signature

Brenda S. Lee


The University of Toledo Foundation

Constance Zhoury Signature

Constance D. Zouhary


The University of Toledo Foundation Board of Trustees

Letter from The University of Toledo President

Sharon L. Gaber, Ph.D., President

The University of Toledo

Sharon Gaber Photo

Dear Friends,

The UToledo community experienced a tremendous year, as we recommitted ourselves to fueling tomorrows for thousands of hard-working students, faculty and researchers.

Our dedication to student success has never been stronger. We are projecting that our six-year graduation rate will be at an all-time high. Your support helped us achieve that milestone. Scholarships and grants provided by our generous donors help make a University of Toledo education a reality for nearly 90% of our students. Last year, The University of Toledo Foundation provided $4.76 million in scholarships to aid more than 2,300 students.

You have helped advance solutions to critically important issues. In 2018-19, the number of total research awards to UToledo increased for the fifth consecutive year. Your contributions helped our researchers ensure the safety of Lake Erie’s water for hundreds of thousands in the region, break new ground in harnessing solar power and push closer to cures for hypertension and other chronic diseases.

We continued our tradition of building community. As the city of Toledo’s university, we are a driver of the region’s economy and an active partner with organizations throughout Northwest Ohio. Our students volunteered nearly 43,000 hours of community service last year, on top of the 770,000 hours collectively given back through student teaching, clinicals and internships.

At UToledo, we are pioneers. We are global citizens. We collaborate to solve problems and achieve our purpose. And we couldn’t do it without you.

We will continue to fuel tomorrows thanks to your generosity.

With gratitude,

Sharon L. Gaber Signature

Sharon L. Gaber, Ph.D.


The University of Toledo

2019 Year in Review Highlights

Rockets Excel on Field and in Classroom

UT Softball Team

Our student-athletes excelled this year both on the field and in the classroom. Rocket softball won its first Mid-American Conference Tournament title, earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Rocket football and both men’s and women’s basketball advanced to the postseason. And in the spring, our student-athletes earned the highest combined grade point average in school history. Four Rocket teams led the MAC in Academic Progress Rate scores, with three honored by the NCAA for perfect scores.

UToledo Cultivates Community Relationships

Alumni and donors continued to partner and engage with us. Alumni Association memberships grew 8 percent this year, providing more support for alumni activities and programs. Our second annual Day of Giving doubled participation to nearly 3,200 donors, raising over $717,000. In all, approximately 11,500 individuals, organizations, and corporations made gifts in 2019 — a 58 percent increase over just five years. Your continued support opens doors of opportunity for everyone throughout the University community.

Rocket Forward

Research Grants and Awards Generate Possibilities

Blue Light Research Project

Our faculty and staff earned competitive national grants, and our research awards increased for the fifth consecutive year. Our expertise is noted by researchers across the globe, with our number of citations for research increasing by more than 19 percent this year — ranking UToledo among the top universities in Ohio. With your contributions, our faculty and staff will continue to spark solutions and advance discoveries.

Student Retention and Graduation Rates Reach All-Time Highs

This year, UToledo welcomed the best academically prepared class in our history, and student retention and graduation rates rose to all-time highs. In fact, we achieved our Strategic Plan target graduation rate three years ahead of schedule! Your support of student aid — which this past year totaled nearly $4.8 million — helps empower our students to reach their dreams.

Student Graduation

Markowicz Family Honors Late Father through Religious Studies Professorship

Markowicz Family Photo

Dr. Allen Markowicz and Sylvia Markowicz Neil honored their father through the Philip Markowicz Endowed Professorship in Judaism and Jewish Biblical Studies.

When considering ways to honor their father, Dr. Allen Markowicz and Sylvia Markowicz Neil needed to look no further than their hometown university. In 1991, they established the Philip Markowicz Endowed Professorship in Judaism and Jewish Biblical Studies at The University of Toledo Foundation. Through recent additional gifts, they have ensured a lasting legacy for their father, who died in 2017.

The endowment, held in the College of Art and Letters’ Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, will support a scholar in Judaism and Jewish biblical studies, along with an annual public lecture.

“We thought this was a significant way to honor him: to establish a faculty position and lecture as part of the University’s wonderful array of religious studies,” said Ms. Neil, a lecturer in law and former associate dean at the University of Chicago Law School. “We hope it provides students and faculty, as well as the community, a resource to study the Jewish values and principles my dad represented as well as taught.”

These offerings are not only critical to the University’s academic excellence, she said, but hopefully will also lead to “deeper intergroup tolerance and understanding within the University and the community.”

Philip Markowicz knew hateful prejudice too well. “He was destined to be a leading rabbi in Poland until the war broke out, and he was forced to discontinue his studies,” said his son, Dr. Markowicz (MBA ’01), UToledo professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Community Internal Medicine. “When the Nazis came, he was eventually shipped to Auschwitz and other concentration camps, a death march on which only 10 percent survived.”

Mr. Markowicz met his wife, Ruth, at a displaced persons camp in Germany. “Theirs was the first wedding performed there, and I was the first baby born there,” noted Dr. Markowicz.

Cousins in Toledo sponsored their move here — a pivotal point in their lives. Mr. Markowicz owned Phil’s TV on Sylvania Avenue, and the couple raised their family here. After retiring, he resumed his studies and wrote two books. His memoir, “My Three Lives” was published in 2010. A second book is forthcoming in a new series by The University of Toledo Press under the imprint of the Center for Religious Understanding.

“Toledo welcomed my parents, who were Holocaust survivors and refugees. They made a beautiful, impactful life in Toledo,” said Ms. Neil. “This is a way for us to give back and continue my dad’s legacy.

“My sister and I, along with our spouses, have been fortunate,” said Dr. Markowicz. “It’s important to give back. Philanthropy and charity, through ‘tzedakah,’ are a commandment of Judaism.” He said the professorship serves as more than a family legacy. ”It represents our gratitude to the city and the people of the city for taking us in, so many years ago.”

Dr. John Sarnecki, Religious Studies chair, said the position’s importance cannot be overemphasized. “The Hebrew Bible forms the foundation of the Western Religious tradition. Learning about these texts in their historical and social context is crucial to our understanding of their role in shaping current social and political realities."

“We are deeply honored and grateful for the Markowicz family gift,” said Charlene D. Gilbert, dean of the College of Arts and Letters. “This endowed faculty position will stand as a legacy to their father for generations to come and will serve as a beacon for the study of Judaism, both within the University as well as in our surrounding communities and beyond.”

As part of their commitment, the Markowicz family will match gifts to the fund. To make a contribution, contact Nick Butler at nick.butler@utoledo.edu or 419.530.5428.

Rasesh Shah’s Gratitude Results in Engineering Career Center Gift

Shah Center for Engineering

“My gift cannot compare to what the University community has done for me, but hopefully it will help create more job opportunities for our students.”

Rasesh Shah came to The University of Toledo, like many college freshmen, “as a bright-eyed 19 year old.”

The move to Toledo, however, entailed additional challenges for the young immigrant, who arrived fresh from Mumbai, India. “I left home at 19 and came to America with big dreams and a desire to work hard, but with not much in my pockets.”

Thankfully, the UToledo community eased his transition and equipped him for success in both his new home and subsequent career. “The faculty and staff here embraced me, educated me, and set me on a path to realize ‘The American Dream,’” he said.

After graduating in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Mr. Shah moved to Chicago for a job opportunity. But he soon jumped at the chance to return to Toledo to work for The Andersons, Inc. He also resumed his studies at UToledo, receiving a master’s in industrial engineering in 1982 as well as an MBA in 1986.

“Since my college days, I have been a proponent of The University of Toledo’s quality education, rich student life, and its faculty and staff,” he said. “I still get nostalgic every time I drive past campus, and I am continually amazed at the growth and quality of this fine institution.”

After enjoying a long and fulfilling career at The Andersons, recently retiring as president of the company’s rail group, he has had time to reflect and to thank those who helped him along the way. “I feel it is my turn to return something to the school, city, and country that adopted me,” he said. “I try to live by the maxim — to whom much is given, much is expected.”

With that in mind, he and his wife, Shilpa, have made a $500,000 gift to create the Shah Center for Engineering Career Development, housed in Nitschke Hall. The new center, dedicated in April, will support exciting opportunities in career readiness and professional development for engineering students.

“The College of Engineering prides itself on being just one of eight schools in the nation with a mandatory co-op program, and now students will be able to expand their hands-on learning experiences across the world,” said Angie Gorny, director of the Center. “We cannot thank Rasesh and Shilpa Shah enough for their generous gift and for partnering with us to help prepare our future engineers to meet global challenges and discover solutions through teamwork and innovation.”

“I knew before I began my service as the dean that the College of Engineering has special relationships with loyal alumni and regional employers who contribute substantially to our ability to achieve our mission,” said Michael Toole, dean of the College of Engineering. “The gift from the Shahs is a wonderful example. Their warm personalities, kind spirit, and strong commitment to the Toledo area and UToledo make me proud to have their names on the College of Engineering Career Development Center.”

“I credit much of my success to The University of Toledo and specifically the College of Engineering,” said Mr. Shah, who received the College’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2007. “I am a big believer in the co-op program, which enhances the students’ educational experience, reduces the cost burden, and almost guarantees a job with a top company upon completion.” He noted that UToledo students are hard-working and talented, and that the engineering co-op program not only provides students with a high-quality job, but also allows Toledo “to retain our best and brightest.”

His gratitude, along with his wife and children’s belief in philanthropy, helped pave the way for their support of UToledo. “I know my gift cannot compare to what the University community has done for me, but hopefully it will help create more job opportunities for our students,” he said. “My goal is to offer guidance and to fine-tune an already excellent program. Hopefully, our giving can meaningfully impact or change at least one life and leave this world a smidgen better.”

Mr. Shah has many memories of wonderful experiences at UToledo. “However, more importantly,” he said, “I look forward to hearing some of the new stories and memories that The University of Toledo is creating for its students.”

To make your own gift to the College of Engineering, contact Jennifer Hall at jennifer.hall4@utoledo.edu or 419.530.5303.

UToledo and Scholarship Support Help Student Turn Her Life Around

Lydia Ratteree Scholarship

Scholarship support and the University community have provided Lydia Ratterree with financial stability and a strong sense of direction.

After a failed marriage at a young age, along with a lack of direction and a few admittedly poor life choices, Lydia Ratterree experienced a sudden epiphany. The Georgia native, then living in Las Vegas, realized she needed to make a move — figuratively and literally — to change her life.

“I realized I needed to separate myself from everything I had ever known in order to discover who I truly am,” she said. “I decided to move here, to Toledo, with an acquaintance, to ‘start over,’’’ she said.

The first few months were difficult. “I had a duffel bag, a borrowed car, and a serving job,” she said. “I often found myself sleeping in the car or on the couch of a near stranger.”

Fast forward to 2019: Ms. Ratterree now attends The University of Toledo full-time, feels gratified by her major, lives on her own, and has spent many hours in the University’s Counseling Center. “I have been able to find a strong sense of direction in my own life,” she said.

Much of that personal and career direction was found here, at the University, she said.

Her current goals are to work in the foster, school, and prison systems, through which she hopes to better assist the communities they each serve. “It is a professional goal of mine to be an advocate and ally to the minority groups greatly affected by injustices within these systems,” she said. “I believe apathy of others has become a stumbling block for further progress.”

Ms. Ratterree is also planning on adding her own voice to the call for change. In addition to her social work major, she is also an English minor. She hopes to use those skills to write about issues of race for an audience who may not be affected directly by such issues. She plans also to write an autobiography or memoir in hopes of helping others by sharing her story.

“When I applied here, I lacked a lot of the confidence I needed to assert myself and my thoughts and opinions. Thanks to the wonderful, encouraging, patient professors and faculty, I have found my voice and have gained immeasurable amounts of confidence in myself and my capabilities,” she said. “It is also through the diversity-oriented classes provided in the school’s curriculum that I have learned so much about the world.” Her experience here has also taught her how to think analytically, she noted.

It has been especially helpful that the University was so accommodating to her as an adult student, she said. “I was fairly anxious about returning to school several years older than my peers. I was unsure of how welcome I would be within the classroom, and unsure when initially navigating the application process as a returning student,” she said. “Much to my great relief, my success coach, advisors, professors, and fellow students have all helped provide me with an incredible sense of belonging.”

Scholarships she received, including the Frank E. Horton Presidents Club Scholarship and the Huntington Bank Opportunity Scholarship, have added both financial stability and encouragement. “As a young woman who came to a new city alone, with little direction and no support system, it means so much to me to receive such generous support,” Ms. Ratterree said. “The fact that others believe in me shows me that I can continue to believe in myself. And it further drives me to be that encouragement for others. "

“There is no doubt in my mind,” she said, “that I would not be where I am today if not for the incredibly supportive community at The University of Toledo."

2019 Financials

The Year in Review

July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019

Total UToledo Foundation Assets $564.3M

Endowment $454.1M

Investments Under Management $498.6M

Total Contributions $26.5M

Total Support Provided to the University $22.6M


Assets 2010 – 2019

Assets 2009-2019

Asset Allocation

Asset Allocation Pie Chart

Annualized Investment Performance June 30, 2019

Annualized Bar Chart


Designation of Fund Balances

Designation of Fund Balance Pie Chart

Contributions 2010 – 2019

Contributions Bar Chart

University Support

Foundation Support Provided to UToledo 2010 – 2019

Foundation Support Pie Chart

Designation of Support to UToledo – 2019

Designation of Support Pie Chart

Note: These highlights contain restated financial information for 2016. Beginning with 2016, assets that the Foundation manages for The University of Toledo and The University of Toledo Alumni Association are included in the Foundation's financial statements. For additional information, please refer to the Foundation’s audited financial statements for fiscal year 2019, which can be found online at utfoundation.org.

Your Gift — Your Way

Why Support The University of Toledo

Do you want to help The University of Toledo make a difference? By supporting the causes you care about, you're paying back by paying it forward. You're helping to make The University of Toledo the best it can be for students, patients, and the entire University community.

Gifts to the Annual Fund or the Foundation General Scholarship Fund help the University take advantage of special opportunities and meet priority needs.

Or you can tailor your gift to reflect your interests. Make your contribution toward a specific academic college, department, program, or center. Designate it for Athletics or the Medical Center. Give to assist scholarships, research, or your favorite student organization.

How to Support The University of Toledo

Online Gifts: Make your gift by credit card at utfoundation.org/give/

Checks: Checks should be made payable to: The University of Toledo Foundation, P.O. Box 586, Toledo, OH 43697-0586

Pledges: To make a pledge payable over several years, call us at 419.530.7730 or make your pledge online: utfoundation.org/give/

Matching Gifts: Employer matches can double your gift’s value! utfoundation.org/give/matching.html

Securities: Gifts of stocks and bonds can provide financial benefits to donors while supporting UToledo. For details, contact us at 419.530.7730.

Planned or deferred gifts: For information about giving through wills, trusts, life insurance, IRAs, and real estate, contact Kirk Ross at 419.530.5410 or visit utoledo.plannedgiving.org/

However you choose to support The University of Toledo, we thank you!