Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Men's Chorus Wows Radio Audience

Members of the BW Men’s Chorus under the direction of Frank Bianchi entertained more than 100 audience members in the Gund Studio at the Idea Center® in Cleveland...  and many more listening on WCLV radio.  The station found the performance so enjoyable, they decided to rebroadcast it on December 24 at 10 a.m. OR you can listen online, on demand, any time.

Men, college-age and up, from throughout the Greater Cleveland community, including BW faculty, staff and students, make up the Men's Chorus, which is an offering included in BW's robust Conservatory Outreach Department.
The BW Men’s Chorus peforms at the Idea Center. That's WCLV radio host Bill O'Connell in the red sweater.

Chemistry, Culture and Cooking Combine for Tasty Final
BW Honors Program students take courses that are innovative and experiential, including "The Science and Culture of Food" taught by the Chemistry Department's Dr. Ray Shively. The interactive course explores the science behind food preparation, as well as the cultural and geographical constraints on what we eat and why.

For their final this semester, 20 students prepared and presented a 13 course dinner at the BW President's House and the experience was caught on video. Dinner guests (and "Top Chef" judges) included President Bob Helmer and his wife Linda, BW Board of Trustees Chairman Paul Carlton and others.

Yellow Jacket Generosity Puts a Sting in Hunger

The generous BW community “put a sting in hunger" this week according to Cynthia Gornik from the Finance Department, who rallied the troops for a campus food drive. As faculty, staff and students who are still on campus gathered together for the annual holiday luncheon yesterday, they dropped off 1,455 pounds of food and $230 in cash donations for the Cleveland Foodbank.

Gornik extended special thanks to Ed Murray for enduring the cold as donations were collected and for transporting the donations to the Foodbank. Alan Conn, The BW Women’s Basketball Team, Mary Reniff, Rachel Barkfelt, and Lauren Schneider also provided special support for the project. Well done, Yellow Jackets!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

MBA Grad Pitching "Brand Mentor" Around the World

Photo Courtesy: Jeff Forman/
Kim Holizna, who earned her MBA from BW, is taking on the newly created position of international trade administrator for the City of Mentor. In an article announcing her appointment, The News Herald says Holizna is as "comfortable talking foreign trade with a Japanese CEO as she is educating a local business owner on the basics of exporting."

The Russell Township resident takes on her new position with an eye on attracting foreign investment, supporting export-capable companies, and facilitating business partnerships for the city’s core industries, including jet turbine and medical equipment manufacturing.

Prior to this post, Holizna most recently served as director of the Northeast Ohio Trade & Economic Consortium's International Trade Assistance Center.

Monday, December 16, 2013

BW Composer in Residence Wins Prestigious Arts Fellowship

BW Composer in Residence and alumnus, Clint Needham '04 is among 20 writers, dancers, musicians, performers or playwrights in Cuyahoga County to win the prestigious Community Partnership for Arts & Culture (CPAC) Creative Workforce Fellowship for 2014.

According to a CPAC news release, the Creative Workforce Fellowship program annually recognizes "the leading lights of the region’s artistic community." Tom Schorgl, president and CEO of the Community Partnership, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “It’s one of the more substantive fellowship awards in the United States.”

Neeham will use the $20,000 fellowship to develop a new, large-scale composition for the Cleveland Chamber Symphony and Verb Ballets for the spring of 2015.

Earlier this year, Needham talked with Cool Cleveland about the growing BW Conservatory of Music Composition program, in advance of BW's FOCUS Festival of Contemporary Music.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Students Witness a Piece of History in South Africa

BW Students in Cape Town, South Africa

The enrichment gained from study and service abroad was bumped up a notch for a group of 19 BW students and three professors on the BW faculty-led trip, "Peace, Reconciliation, and the Arts in Northern Ireland and South Africa." With the death of South Africa's great statesman, Nelson Mandela, announced on one of their final days in Cape Town, the students and professors witnessed 'Madiba's' people in mourning, some joining tens of thousands of South Africans in signing condolence books set up around the country.

"Nelson Mandela was more than a person, more than the first black President of the Republic of South Africa: He was Madiba, the father of the new South Africa. He was a symbol of Hope. He was a symbol of Peace. He was a symbol of Freedom," wrote Kody Luczak in his travel blog. "The mood in Cape Town was eerie. Normally, the street our house was on bustled with activity. About a half an hour after the news broke of Madiba's death, I went out to see if anything was happening. It was silent: no sounds, no activity, nothing."

"There was an outpouring of emotion, but mostly in the form of remembrances, anecdotes, and well-rehearsed accounts of 'Madiba's' deeds and place as an icon here," said Herbert "Butch" Marshall, associate professor of Music Education. "It has been a powerful finale to a powerful seven weeks for our students... and we are all touched by the gravity of this occasion."

The students were featured in a NewsChannel 5 TV report when they returned to Ohio, and you can read more from one student's perspective, Chynna Smith of Lorain, in a Morning Journal newspaper article.

Service Makes the Season Merry and Bright

The BW community worked to make the season merry and bright for 177 children served by the Cuyahoga County Department of Children and Family Services and Goodrich-Gannett Neighborhood Center through BW's Office of Community Outreach’s (OCO’s) Annual Gift Drive.

More than 125 BW community members contributed and/or helped wrap the gifts, with leadership provided by Mauren Schindler '16 and Taylor Flowers '15,  as well as Jesper Zuber, who serves as OCO’s Student Director of Special Projects.

Since its inception as a student-initiated program, BW's Office of Community Outreach (OCO) has further developed to support the University's mission of creating contributing, compassionate citizens.

Economics Prof Explores Values as Brand

Crain's Cleveland Business called on BW economics professor Kay Strong for insight into businesses that focus on fair trade.

The article, in the latest issue of the magazine, explores the conundrum of small, local firms in NE Ohio that face challenges due to their fair trade practices, but believe in what they do.

“Companies who step out and say, 'These are my values and these are the values of my business,' and brand those values, I think, there are niches for those companies," Strong says. "There is an advantage to putting it (your vision) out there because it's a way of branding yourself.”

2013 Music Theatre Grad Heading to Broadway

Another graduate from BW’s music theatre program has landed in a big Broadway production. Chris McCarrell ’13 is joining the cast ensemble of the Broadway revival of LES MISERABLES. According to, the production will start in March 2014 at the Imperial Theatre.

During his time at BW, McCarrell portrayed Mark in RENT and Young Ben in FOLLIES. He was also featured outside BW in Cain Park’s productions of SWEENEY TODD (as Anthony) and NEXT TO NORMAL at the Beck Center for the Arts.

That spring performance at the Beck produced a rave (and prophetic) review from Plain Dealer critic Andrea Simakis: "In his signature, show-stopping number "I'm Alive," the BW senior manages to channel the insatiable, selfish hunger of youth into a blast of pure vital energy. It feels as though, if hooked to a battery, he could power the world. That, in a word, is a star. Catch a glimpse of him now in the home skies, before he shoots to Broadway."

McCarrell's quick move to Broadway is the latest example of how students are developed in BW’s renowned music theatre department. Watch for up and coming talent as BW Music Theatre presents CARRIE at the Beck Center from February 7 to March 9, 2014.
Chris McCarrell as Young Ben in FOLLIES at BW November 2012

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

BW Grad Crashed the Auto Industry Boys Club 50 Years Ago

A 1959 ad in the Grosse Pointe News (Mich)

As General Motors makes history by naming Mary T. Barra as the first woman in the top job at a major auto manufacturing company, Baldwin Wallace University remembers an alumna who helped blaze the trail a half-century ago.

Lois Zolliker ’44, like Barra, a native Detroiter, spent 22 years in the automotive industry as a designer in the Interior Design Studios of Chrysler (1955-70) and at American Motors (1971-77). Described in a 1972 news report as one of the “The Big Four’s Big Four Females,” Zolliker was the first woman to head a department (of male designers) and the first to make it to the executive level.. way back in 1963! She went on to establish her own product color consulting business.

In a letter looking back at her remarkable success in a male-dominated industry, Zolliker observed, “The fact that I survived before ‘Women’s Lib’ has special meaning for me because I have always believed that with the proper attitude and work ethic, one can move mountains. I also found that the men I worked for and with were my greatest allies. Any barriers or inequality that they saw THEY had removed.”

Of her unlikely rise within the auto "boys club," Zolliker went on to add, “It was not all sweetness and light, but most of those experiences had a humorous side.”

So, Mary T. Barra, congrats and best wishes in your new post at the helm of GM. But don’t forget that you “stand on the shoulders of giants” including a pioneering BW graduate named Lois Zolliker.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Student to Debut Solo Photography Exhibition

Cameron Dunbar '14 will showcase the beauty and humanity of South Korea's capital city in "From the Seoul," a solo photography exhibition at Negative Space Gallery in downtown Cleveland from December 28 to January 24 of the new year.

"My show 'From the Seoul' focuses on my experience in South Korea last summer," says Dunbar. "I wanted to experience being in a completely different culture half way around the world, and explore how even the mundane is life changing."

Dunbar works as a BW photographer/videographer and is finishing his undergraduate degree in film. For more information, visit

Monday, December 9, 2013

First Students Inducted into New BW Philosophy Honor Society

Eight students are the first to be inducted into BW's newly established chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, the International Philosophy Honor Society. BW’s Philosophy Department inducted students Jacob K. Hunter, Paul J. Krause, Michelle J. Kupiec, Adam H. Lyons, Mary J. Morgan, Timothy J. Reinhart, Samuel M. Schwab and Paige Serbin into the inaugural class of the honor society. Membership is extended to both outstanding students and professors of philosophy.

In addition to recognizing academic excellence, membership in Phi Sigma Tau provides a means for furthering scholarship, as well as communication and networking between philosophy departments in accredited institutions. Founded in 1930, the Society now has a network of over 200 chapters throughout the United States and Canada, with 12 chapters in Ohio.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

BW Fraternities Team up to Support Big Brothers Big Sisters

Although the Winter Olympics will not be held until February 2014, brothers from the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity brought the Olympic spirit to BW for the Big/Little Olympics on November 20 to support their national philanthropy organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS).

BW students could either pair up with their fraternity/sorority Big Brother/Sister, Grandbig, etc. or their best friend, roommate, or sibling to compete in games like limbo and a three-legged race.

Organized by Nick Traverso of Sigma Phi Epsilon and Kevin Hulsmann of Alpha Sigma Phi, the event was held at the Lou Higgins Center with about 40 teams participating and a large audience watching. The event raised over $500 for the local organization of BBBS.

"Everyone came out in great support of BBBS and that truly meant a lot to me, Kevin, and everyone involved in the execution of the event," Traverso said.

Since it was such a success, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Alpha Sigma Phi hope to make the Big/Little Olympics an annual event.

Big Brothers Big Sisters is an organization that “makes meaningful, monitored matchesthe country.”

Students Hired to Research Impact of Bilingual Ballots

Doug Jakyma '14 is among the BW students involved in a BW Community Research Institute (CRI) study into the effectiveness of Cuyahoga County's bilingual ballots. The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections hired CRI to investigate whether bilingual ballots have provided equal access to Spanish-speaking voters. The students kicked off their research by conducting exit surveys at 20 polling locations during the November election.

In an interview with WEWS-TV 5, Jakyma said, "Most of [the people we talked to] liked it the way it was or [preferred] keeping the languages together... rather than having separate ballots." The issue of the ballots came about in 2010, when the Federal Government threatened to sue the Board of Elections under the Civil Rights Act if bilingual ballots were not instituted. The BW CRI study, mentored by Political Science Professor Tom Sutton, is on track to be finished and presented in early 2014.

Students Inducted into BW English Honor Society

Fifteen students achieved membership in Sigma Tau Delta Tau, the International English Honor Society, in the Fall 2013 semester.  Abigail Snow, Alexandra Farone, Andrew DiBacco, Anna McJunkin, Caroline Dugan, Courteney Levet, Diane Larkin, Jane Cooper, Jenna Burnett, John Kuder, Katylyn Kuchta, Kayse Schmucker, Mary Morgan, Nicole Campeotto and Ryan Kish were recognized by the BW English Department at an induction ceremony on the Berea campus.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mr. Sun's Echo On Fox 8 News

Mr. Sun's Echo, a BW student a capella ensemble, was invited to sing holiday music on TV for Cleveland's Fox 8 Morning News this morning. You can hear their selections on the Fox 8 News website.

The group members, who also sing in BW's Men's Chorus, gave viewers a taste of this year's BW Men's Chorus Holiday Concert, which is on Saturday, December 7.

BW Alumnus In Crain's 40 Under 40

Troy A. Gerspacher '97, who studied Business at BW, was chosen for the 2013 Crain's Cleveland 40 Under 40 list, an honor that goes to an elite group of 40 NE Ohio citizens annually based on their success and civic contributions.

As Crain's put it, "Gerspacher left a cushy sales job at Aerotek — a recruiting and staffing firm based in Hanover, Md. — to lend a hand to the family real estate business."

Now the president and owner of the Gerspacher Real Estate Group, Gerspacher used his skills to lead the company to success even during the national recession, earning $8 million in sales, and doubling business in the last five years.

Digital Design Major Lands Disney Dream Job

Walt Disney said, "If you can dream it, you can do it." Nick Snyder ’13 dreamed it & did it!

Read how the BW digitial design major found the opening to his dream job and hear Nick describe, in his own words, the path he took to land the internship that made it happen.

BW Business Clinic Client in the "Shark Tank"

A client of BW's Business Clinic, Al "Bubba" Baker, makes an appeal for a wealthy investor on ABC-TV's "Shark Tank" at 9 p.m. Friday. As detailed in The Plain Dealer, Baker went on the show to seek financial backing to support a national roll-out of his boneless ribs product.

Baker worked with the BW Business Clinic to develop business plans for both his Avon barbecue restaurant and for the boneless ribs he produces and distributes locally through the Heinen's supermarket chain. Baker isn't allowed to say if his quest for an infusion of venture capital was a success; you have to watch the show, which airs locally on WEWS-TV-5, to find out.

Listen for Al Baker's shout-out to BW and Professor Phil Bessler on the Wills & Snyder radio show on WTAM.
Al Baker of Bubba's Barbecue meets with student and faculty representatives of the BW Business Clinic

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

BW Volunteers Help Boost High School Graduation Rates

In Cleveland, some schools have as high as a 60% drop out rate, according to a recent report on WOIO-TV. Historically, many of these students have been Hispanic. That's where Baldwin Wallace student volunteers with Esperanza (Spanish for "Hope") come in.
90% of the students that participate in the program, starting as early as the 6th Grade, graduate from High School. As a result, the graduation rate rose a significant 20% within the last 3 years. Baldwin Wallace students have been volunteering for the weekly program since 2011.

BW Professor Provides Insight For MPR

Barbara Palmer, a political science professor at BW and co-author of Women & Congressional Elections: A Century of Change, was invited to speak on Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) to talk about the impact of women in the Senate.

Palmer tells MPR listeners that women bring a different perspective and agenda to Congress. She says that only 44 women have been in the Senate since its creation, and that 20 of those women serve now.

Female Senators have been receiving a lot of attention this year since they've played a large role in breaking government deadlocks and have championed the sexual assault initiatives in the National Defense Authorization Act.

The entire MPR discussion can be heard here.

Monday, December 2, 2013

BW Adult Students: "First In Scholarship And Leadership"

Eighteen BW adult students were inducted into Alpha Sigma Lambda (ASL), a national honor society that recognizes academically outstanding adult students in higher education.

Pursuing academic excellence in college is a difficult task, especially while facing the competing interests of home and work, yet these adult students make it look easy.

The new members of ASL are: Mercedez Hathcock, Raymond Radigan, Kelly Hilden, Kristi Thomsen, Sandy Ewais, Cindy Gornik, Denise Treadway, Rick Bowman, Ezio Rosset, Lisa Duliba, Jill Borling, Jane Cooper, Jennifer Westfall, Douglas Jakyma, Ana Simulj, Kim Novak-Szczepinski, Gary Cefalo, and Cheryl Sebjenics.