Alumni leaders to earn honors at Annual Meeting May 16

By Laurie B. Davis

As The University of Toledo Alumni Association continues to align its efforts in response to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with local, state and federal agencies on how to best protect the community, the decision has been made to move this year’s Annual Meeting to a virtual format.

The virtual Annual Meeting will be held from 11 a.m. –  noon, on Saturday, May 16.

During the meeting, the Alumni Association will honor scholarship recipients; incoming and outgoing Alumni Association board members; the Chapter of the Year; the Affiliate of the Year; and the Volunteer of the Year.

The children’s art tent at Art on the Mall

Crystal Anderson (Ed ’10) has been named the 2019-20 Volunteer of the Year. Since 2016, Anderson has volunteered to oversee the children’s tent at one of the Alumni Association’s biggest fundraising events, Art on the Mall, held each summer in July.

“Volunteering for this event is simply a rewarding experience,” says Anderson. “The volunteer work I do as an alumna is driven by my desire to offer children an experience to explore and create art,” she adds. When she was asked to chair the children’s tent, she was excited to take it on. Her crew of volunteer assistants is “amazing,” she says, and as one of the busiest areas of the juried art fair, they have their hands full: of smiling children waiting to design their special artwork.

Because of the large number of parents who bring a lot of blooming, young artists to the children’s art tent, the day is always a success. “It is a testament to the joy we bring to those who visit the event,” says Anderson.

Crystal Anderson’s hands at the end of a successful Art on the Mall festival.

The long, hot day of activity can be challenging, but Anderson says it’s all worth it. “Every year it seems like it is the hottest day of the year. I am purely exhausted by the end of the day, but I look forward to it every year.”

As a longtime volunteer for the UToledo Alumni Association, Anderson says she hopes that other alumni volunteer with the association to provide others with positive experiences. “I believe that if one has the willingness and the drive for positivity, your life, in turn, will be full of joy.”

The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Alumni Affiliate will be recognized at the annual meeting as the Affiliate of the Year. Affiliate president Dr. Danielle Dremann (PHM ’09) describes what has made her group of alumni successful.

“Teamwork is essential,” she says. “An alumni affiliate is successful when its members communicate not only with each other, but also with those who would support the goals of the group,” says Dremann. Affiliate members worked alongside the alumni association staff and college representatives to create a strong network of individuals with shared goals.

“We were able to create a network of resources that allowed us to receive feedback and help from Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences faculty, staff, students and alumni to overcome various challenges and promote alumni and student engagement,” says Dremann.

The affiliate Dremann leads seeks to host engaging events that bring together students and alumni on a regular basis. “One of our most successful events is the Annual Trivia Night we host at Shorty’s Back Forty. We’ve done this a couple of years now and have seen increased participation from alumni, friends of the college, faculty and staff, and our students,” says Dremann.

“It’s really a college-unity event and really promotes comradeship between each of the integral parts our alumni affiliate aims to serve,” she adds.

The Cleveland Chapter of the UToledo Alumni Association will receive the Chapter of the Year Award. From Rocket football watch parties and tours of local businesses to admitted student receptions and professional hockey games, the Cleveland Alumni Chapter offered an array of activities for alumni in the Cleveland area during 2019.

“The success of the Cleveland Chapter can be attributed to planning events that engage alumni in all phases of their lives,” says Nicole Beck (LLSS ’15, Honors ’15), president of the Cleveland Chapter. “We know our alumni base includes young families, retirees and professionals early in their career, so we really work to plan events that can target one or more of these groups,” she says.

Participation has shown that sporting events and events at local establishments, such as ice cream tastings and brewery tours, are popular. “But we are always soliciting feedback on different events folks would like to see,” Beck adds.

“This award would not be possible without the support of the alumni office and the leadership team of the Cleveland Chapter,” says Beck. “It takes a team to brainstorm, plan and facilitate these events.”

To register for the virtual Annual Meeting, please click here.