The Independent Collegian

“Without a struggle, there can be no progress.” — Frederick Douglass

The Collegian was first founded in 1919, just three short years of a century ago. With almost a hundred years under our belt, we’ve made mistakes and learned from them.

We’ve started from humble beginnings as a newspaper founded by two university students to a fully-staffed editorial squad.

Now facing the next section of our life as a student newspaper, we wanted to travel back in time to see where we’ve been and what we’ve done.

Learning from our mistakes is part of the learning process and we’re looking forward to the future.


The Toledo Universi-Teaser printed its first issue on March 5th, 1919. The weekly student newspaper, which was sold for five cents was started by students Samuel Steinback and Leo Steinem. Articles they covered and printed for the first issue included Bill Barber, a war hero teaching French at TU (Toledo University); a banquet held by the university commerce club, and Toledo’s Founding Fathers.
In 1922, the name of the newspaper was changed to The Campus Collegian and was shortened to The Collegian in 1962.


After many years as an official service of the University of Toledo, The Collegian staff negotiated a split with the university in 2000, moving from offices in the Student Union to off-campus headquarters and renaming the paper The Independent Collegian. Then, president Vik Kapoor wished to control what the paper published, which led to the split.


Even though the IC is a college newspaper, following the national political trail isn’t something new to us. As part of a known swing state, UT has been a stop on the campaign trail of many presidential candidates, including Al Gore and Joe Lieberman in the election of 2000.


On 9/11, UT students and the Toledo community were left reeling after the nation was shaken. This issue’s front page was dedicated to national news about 9/11, as well as local takes on the issue.

Rocketing through time

College mascots across the country represent what it truly means to be a part of that school. The mascots are a symbol of school pride and spirit. This reasoning applies to our own University of Toledo and our favorite mascots, Rocky and Rocksy.

Ever since UT earned its nickname after the football team played Carnegie Tech in 1923, the Rockets haven’t stopped shooting for the stars. During the game, sports reporters from Pittsburgh were shocked to find out UT didn’t have a nickname and asked a student to make one up.

“Though an underdog, Toledo fought formidably, recovering a series of embarrassing fumbles by favored Tech. Pittsburgh writers pressed James Neal, a UT student working in the press box, to come up with a nickname,” the UT website states.

“Despite UT’s 32-12 loss, the student labeled the team ‘Skyrockets,’ obviously impressed by his alma mater’s flashy performance against a superior team. The sportswriters shortened the name to ‘Rockets,’ which has been used since.”

Rocky and Rocksy, our trusty mascots, didn’t just come from thin air — the UT mascot has had an interesting and ever-changing history.

This year is Rocky the Rocket’s 50th birthday celebration, and fortunately enough, his birthday falls on the same week as the homecoming football game. A celebration on the actual birthday will be a part of Homecoming week events.

“Obviously, the golden birthday, the fiftieth year, is a huge deal. Rocky’s been a big part of the University of Toledo for a long time,” said Kevin Taylor, UT’s events and licensing manager. “A lot of people’s memories from their college experience, or anything within the community; a lot of it starts with Rocky. He’s like face of the university.”

Rocky the Rocket was first introduced during the 1966-67 academic year by the UT Spirit and Traditions Committee. It began as random students being chosen to dress up for the games as Rocky.

In the fall of 1968, the director of student activities, Dan Seemann, took Rocky under his wing, and the mascot began to take shape. Bill Navarre was the first official mascot. The costume, made by the theatre department seamstress, was a wastepaper basket with a pointed rocket top made of paper-mâché.

Rocky’s outfit has changed several times since then, thankfully.

In the 1970s, Rocky’s outfit consisted of a tall metal rocket helmet that matched with different jumpsuits, including bell bottom pants.

In 1977, with the help of former astronaut and Ohio senator John Glenn, an authentic space suit, helmet and boots were donated to the University of Toledo by the NASA space center in Houston, Texas. The spacesuit was worn for football games, but a lightweight replica was made for basketball games.

The astronaut suits were used until 1980 when the Rocky costume was changed once again to take on a more futuristic look designed to look more like a space rocketeer.

Another Rocky costume was introduced in 1983. It was plush with huge feet, but was only used until 1986 when a bigger and bluer plush Rocky with smaller feet was unveiled.

Carlos Gary, an IC cartoonist in 1994, said that students were throwing marshmallows at Rocky during a football game and were yelling that Rocky looked like “a blue condom.”

“This guy wasn’t very marketable,” Gary said. “You never saw Rocky on a T-shirt.”

After a few years of modification, Gary had created a “Fightin’ Rocket” and first came up with the idea of his female counterpart, Rocksy. It wasn’t long before these new mascots were being printed onto T-shirts and sweatshirts and being sold in campus bookshops; about 300 items had been sold at that point.

A final change was made to Rocky’s appearance in 1998 at the rivalry Bowling Green football game. The old Rocky the Rocket stepped into a limousine and a new Rocky walked out to display the new Tower Blue and Rocket Gold costume, complete with a jetpack.

Quite a few changes have been made to Rocky the Rocket through the years, but one thing has remained true to the mascot throughout his 50 years of existence.

“I’ll say that, through my experience as being the manager of the mascot program, the one universal thing is that they all have a big enthusiasm and a love for the university. They want to get out there, they want to be in front of people. They want to interact with people,” Taylor said.

At this year’s homecoming football game, the Rocky’s of the past will be recognized on the field. According to Taylor, even the very first Rocky will be attending.

“When I first took over the position, I talked to some of [the alumni] just to get a sense of the program and everything that goes into it, since I was relatively new and hadn’t dealt with that before,” Taylor said. “So, I spoke with them and their thoughts on what works, what doesn’t work. Once you’ve been in the program, once you’ve been Rocky or Rocksy, you’re always invested, you want them to carry on the tradition that you put in for your college experience.”

The UT athletics website and Taylor said any student can try out to be Rocky in the spring semester for the following year. The only requirements are commitment, a fun personality, school spirit and the ability to communicate well through non-verbal communication.

“Whenever we have try outs, and I’ve been lucky enough to do a few of them, I always tell people I’m not looking for perfection,” Taylor said. “I’m just looking for somebody that has the right enthusiasm, and also somebody that’s willing to learn, and willing to just have the personality and take over the character.”

This love and enthusiasm for the university is what Taylor and those at the athletic department classify as the “backbone” of UT, and is something that remains constant.

Every student is going to have some sort of interaction with our fantastic mascots throughout their college years at least once and should recognize that they can relate to Rocky and Rocksy in some sort of way.

“Just take advantage of that they are the ambassadors for the university,” Taylor said. “They’re here to make that experience and to make that connection, and to really increase the positive experiences that students have on campus.”

Our decisions have consequences

“As a person grows older and taller in stature, the shadow he casts upon the earth grows longer. His impact on the world becomes more profound as he matures and succeeds.” Well, that’s according to Barbara Floyd, the library archivist at the University of Toledo. But how do we become successful and impact the world and the people around us when our foundations are weak? I think that the opinions and decisions we make determine our life chances in more ways than we think, and that’s why we should think intently before acting. I almost forgot to welcome you home, alumni. You make us proud. And hey students, keep the hustle going, for it’ll surely pay off.

Let me tell you something about decisions. Adolf Hitler’s Germany decided that exterminating Jews, Gypsies and members of “inferior races” was a great decision to make the “master race” stronger. After all, their lives were more important than that of these people. These gravely immoral activities were decisions that people believed in. Then in the United States in the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy and his friends used the institution of state to witch-hunt and trample the Constitutional rights of citizens and businesses in the name purging the country of communist subversives. Well, that was another strong decision and we know how that turned out.

The point is that decisions matter and we make them every day, either as institutions or individuals. But decisions also have consequences. Unfortunately, the consequences of ill-made institutional decisions are borne by generations who had no hand in how those decisions were made.

So in the light of this year’s homecoming celebration, I wanted us to look back at some of the decisions made in our university’s history and to imagine how they may have determined where we stand today. Barbara Floyd became very useful for this historical exercise in sharing both the good and the bad with me.

My first surprise was the knowledge that the University of Toledo could probably have been Carnegie Mellon University today and Carnegie is ranked 24th in the nation with 2015 endowments in excess of $1.7 billion. In 1900, Andrew Carnegie made a huge financial donation to the UT Board of Trustees to turn the then-manual training school into a technical university. His fault? He requested anonymity. The Board misunderstood and misinterpreted his intent and rejected the offer, only to find out the donor was actually Carnegie, the industrial magnate, who later used the funds to start Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh.  Well, UT isn’t doing bad today, but just imagine how much more could have been achieved if the Board thought differently and accepted the offer.

Then came 1961 and Ohio wanted to establish a Medical College. The initial plan was for the college to be merged with and housed on the University of Toledo campus. In this situation, President William Carlson did all he could to see the merger go through, but politics won in the end. Governor James Rhodes and his newly-created Ohio Board of Regents established the college as an independent state university in 1964. Well, the city still won, as the college was located here, but did the two institutions benefit from the decision? History would judge this, as in 2006 the Medical College of Ohio eventually merged with UT. We would keep wondering what the two institutions could have achieved together if they started off as a merger.

Among UT’S presidents, Vik Kapoor was probably the most unloved. He was so enthused with transforming UT into the “crown jewel of Ohio” that he didn’t realize that the institution was crumbling right before him. So many staff, faculty and even board members were laid off or resigned during his 17-month stint as president. But one of his most terrible decisions was to have closed the then 2-year community college system that was housed on the Scott Park campus. It was not long after that decision that community colleges rebirthed across the nation. And today, instead of reaping benefits from that campus, the university is still struggling to find out what exactly to do with it. Sometimes, the immediate profit motive isn’t what’s best for the long run.

Finally, in more recent history, president Lloyd Jacobs also decided to split the 100 year-old College of Arts and Sciences into three separate colleges. And although the decision was hotly contested among faculty, it was still implemented. This cost the school both money and time; it was also the cause of discontent on campus. Last semester, president Gaber decided on reconstituting that college again.

Decisions have repercussions and it is important to reflect deeper before making them.

But hey, as individual alumni or continuing students, we’re not excused from this. We have allowed certain opinions to become more important in our lives than they deserve. We can all recall those times when we didn’t sign up for classes because someone told us they were difficult or that the professors were hard graders. There were also those times that we thought we were too tired to study and ended up with less desirable grades. Then there were times that we decided we were not going to take up non-paying internships because we were either too poor for that sacrifice or that the situation was unfair. Don’t forget about the many relationships that we destroyed because we thought they were not valuable or because someone fed us some negative opinions about these people. Yet, these decisions become the foundation for whatever success we’re chasing in life

Whatever it is we decide to do in the end, we need to recognize that there are consequences and take our time to think through these decisions more intently. We’ll be saved from a lot of trouble later on. It will make our foundation stronger, be more efficient and better our future.

Girl power at UT

Everyone on the University of Toledo campus knows what it’s like to be a freshman. To be alone, and an adult, for the first time in your life. Especially for those of us who moved away from home, because even just a 45-minute distance from your family can feel like oceans. It wasn’t easy for me as a freshman living on campus; I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me. I was afraid of making friends, and constantly worried about how I appeared to others. I was careful about making first impressions and never strayed too far out of my comfort zone.

Then I met a woman named Danielle, who used to work at the Independent Collegian as a million things, but most recently as the general manager. Here was someone I wanted to be like; a strong, confident and beautiful woman who couldn’t be described as anything except as The Boss. It was one of the first times I met anyone in my life who really inspired me to be the best, most ambitious person I could be, so that’s what I started to become.

That was three years ago. Since then I have accomplished so much, and I owe a lot of that to Danielle. But through my years at UT the one thing I have noticed is that we are not short on strong, confident, boss ladies. In fact, I have met more women who are successful in their fields and love their work, while I have been at this university than any other time in my 20 years of existence.

I even got lucky enough to see the induction of the very first female president of UT, Sharon Gaber. Gaber was able to reverse the six-year trend of declining enrollment in her first year, while simultaneously increasing this campus’ diversity efforts and increasing our funding from outside donors. How could anyone not call her a bad ass? And she’s not the only one.

Other examples include Jackie Layng, a professor of communication who designed the current broadcast curriculum that has won national awards, and is the executive producer of UT:10 News; Paulette Kilmer, another professor of communication at UT, who founded the banned book vigil 19 years ago and continues to work to organize the event every year on top of her multitude of publications and professional work; and as well as Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Kaye Patten Wallace who works tirelessly to provide students with everything that they need to achieve their education goals. How could you not be inspired by these women?

Even the Mayor of Toledo, Paula Hicks Hudson, is a true inspiration. These women send the message to every young girl in Toledo, to every struggling college freshman, to everyone that sees them, that you can accomplish anything.

We often find that the balance between successful men and women in any organization, especially an institute of higher learning, is drastically skewed to have a greater number of men. However, the University of Toledo has become a beacon of hope. I encourage all UT students to really pay attention to the amazing women you are surrounded by every day, and to be grateful for the opportunity to study at a University that gives you this opportunity, since so many lack it.

It’s easy to take something for granted that you don’t know others lack, but UT has gone above and beyond to create an environment where anyone, regardless of their sex, can excel. While there is always progress to be made, and I’m sure there still is, I applaud you, UT, and everything that you have taught me. And thank you to all the bad-ass chicks I got to meet along the way; you’ve all truly inspired me.

University Hall

From the barrel-vaulted ceilings to water-themed motifs to the gargoyles on the tower, there is so much to appreciate about the University of Toledo’s oldest building, University Hall.

Crews started construction of the building in 1930 and finished about 11 months after they started. It is not a part of the Works Project Administration that was started to create jobs during the Great Depression. University Hall was created from the minds of architects and then-president Henry Doermann.

“It’s what we would call ‘institutional Gothic,’ which is very popular at many institutions across the country,” said Steven Bare, a graduate assistant in the Department of History. “So it’s really unique that in the first third of the 20th century, the University of Toledo would pick a really dated form of architecture for this building.”

Bare taught a public history practicum class last semester that researched University Hall and its history. The class found interesting tidbits about every part of the building, including its iconic tower and mysterious staircases.

“It’s known as the one true architectural gem on UT’s campus,” Bare said.

When Doermann created his idea for University Hall, he wanted students to be able to “reach for the sky” and thought a tower would be the perfect way to accomplish that. University Hall’s tower reaches a height of 205 feet tall and has a four gargoyles that sit on each of the corners. They are there to protect the campus and ward off evil spirits.

University Hall is a reflection of collegiate Gothic architecture, featuring a turret on the East side of the main entrance. Niches, common in Gothic architecture, can be found empty on both sides of the entrance into the building. These typically would have held a religious statue, but stand empty because UT is a state college.

The cornerstone was placed during the building’s dedication in 1930. Legend has it that there is a time capsule placed inside, containing UT student publications, a map of Toledo in 1930, the election board count, pictures of the groundbreaking ceremony, a copy of the commencement program and a copy of Doermann’s speech. But we will never know for sure, as it would surely ruin the building’s history to take a look inside.

UT’s bell tower lost its bells in 2006 when they were replaced by a speaker system. The speakers toll the time every half hour, ten minutes before the hour and on the hour. The university fight song plays at noon and the Alma Mater plays at 5 pm each day. Even though the bells are gone, the clock on the outside still tells time. The minute hand is actually eight feet long and the hour hand is five feet long.

On the back of the building, you have probably noticed the large doors that lead to nowhere. These actually lead out of the back of Doermann theatre. In the original blueprints, these doors were meant to have stairs leading up to them, but the idea was dropped. Now their only purpose is to confuse students.

In the original building, the East wing held the engineering and architectural classes, while the West wing housed the sciences. The library was on the fifth floor, located where there is now a dance studio. Before the Student Union was built, there was even a cafeteria for students below Doermann Theatre.

For 47 years, University Hall was used without air conditioning. In November of 1978, cranes were used to place air conditioning units over the roof and into their current location.

The third floor of University Hall also showcases forms of Gothic architecture, including vaulted ceilings. The main stretch of hallway is a barrel-vaulted ceiling, while the two courtyard entrances are ribbed vaults. Plaster molds of alternating mermen and sirens adorn the ceiling. Bare said Doermann commissioned these molds to represent the university’s closeness to Lake Erie.

The third floor, which contains the offices of the university president and other administrators, also showcases the seals of 55 different universities painted upon the wall. The seals represent the alma maters of faculty members in 1934. The seals were painted as part of a WPA project. In early 2000, frames were installed to protect them for future generations.

As for the staircases, floating staircases can be seen in the West and East staircases. These ramps and stairs lead to sections of the old library, mainly what used to be the Stacks and Magazine rooms.

At the main entrance to the library, there are two doorways that used to lead right into administrative offices, including the president’s office. The doors were sealed off to create more protection.

In today’s money, University Hall would cost around $35 million to build.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to uncover the secrets of University Hall. So go exploring with your friends or by yourself and find out what makes our university so special.

UT then and now

The cohesive collegiate Gothic architecture of the University of Toledo deserves appreciation. Not may schools can claim to be as aesthetically pleasing as ours. Walking onto campus is like entering a city all our own. Some buildings are original to UT and have been around for 80 years, while others much shorter. Yet whichever building you walk into, you get that surge of pride knowing this is definitely UT.

The University of Toledo was founded in 1872. Prior to constructing the current campus, classes were held downtown in schools and churches. Memorial Field House and University Hall were the first buildings on campus.
Arguably, one of the best views of campus is seen when driving up Drummond Road when the sun has set and the moonlight hits U Hall just right. U Hall was built in 1931, meaning 85 years worth of students have walked up the steep stairs, confused about how to reach the sixth floor, already out of breath after the third flight.

“When I was here during my undergrad studies, I always did, and still do love U Hall. It was such a unique structure with crazy rooms, and hallways and courtyards. It was like a castle that had a secret to find every time you’d visit it,” wrote Nicholas Kissoff, associate professor and director of the Construction Engineering Technology Program and UT alumnus.

Kissoff earned three degrees from UT in 1980, 1983 and 1988. After graduating, Kissoff worked at SSOE, an engineering and architectural firm in Toledo, before returning to UT to teach. While at SSOE, Kissoff was on the team that designed the Glass Bowl renovation in 1991.
The Glass Bowl was built in 1937, making it 79 years old. It has since been renovated, but it is still the original building, meaning it holds lots of special moments for past and present Rockets.

“I have gotten to see quite a few great moments there over the years with UT football. I saw Chuck Ealey run around end vs. Miami to win the MAC in 1970 when I was 12,” Kissoff wrote.

Before the Student Union was built in 1959, Libby Hall served as the Student Union. According to Barbara Floyd, university archivist, in 1976 the SU went through a big addition, and again in 1993.

Among the dorms on campus, Scott and Tucker Halls are the oldest, built in 1935. The most recent dorms are Ottawa East and West, both built in 2005.
If your dad is a proud UT alumnus like mine, he will absolutely remind you every time he is on campus that Memorial Field House used to be the basketball arena. FH was constructed in 1931 and served as the basketball arena until Savage Arena was built in 1975. In 2008, FH was renovated into the building it is today: a magnet for campus tour guides. Reasonably so, with its unique structure of exposed beams and high glass ceilings.

Before FH was renovated, it served as a storage area and was not well maintained. Floyd said there was a discussion of whether or not to tear the building down entirely, but it was eventually decided to instead renovate it and preserve such a historical building.

One of the biggest changes current students have seen are the Carlson Library renovations that took place this past summer. Carlson was constructed in 1973, and prior to this summer, the third and fourth floor of the library had not been updated since it was constructed. Renovations on the library will continue in January throughout the rest of the school year.

The engineering campus did not exist until 1995. The Health and Human Services building used to serve as the Engineering Science building. Bowman-Oddy Laboratories were constructed in 1966 and Wolfe Hall was added 30 years later in 1997. The first building on The Health Science Campus, the Educare Center, was built in 1965. The most recent building on the campus is the Center for Creative Education (the simulation center), built in 2014.

Whether it’s the Instagrammable Bell Tower overlooking campus, the open concept of Field House’s third floor, the grand steps leading into the student union, or the way Bowman-Oddy looks with a dusting, or 2 feet, of snow around it, each building has the stamp of UT.

Some buildings have 80 years worth of history and some have history yet to be made, but what all these storied buildings have in common are the footprints they hold of future doctors, writers, engineers, educators, scientists, nurses, journalists and so many more.

UT vs BG

Throughout the career of every major person, team, country or company, there always seems to be that one recurring stain: a peer or counterpart that always seems to be a nuisance on your legacy, and they think the same as you.
Whether this ideology is rooted in reason or ignorance, the rivalry lives on. Hamilton has Burr, Enzo Ferrari has Ferruccio Lamborghini, TSM has CLG, and the University of Toledo has Bowling Green. Each and every one of these rivalries has a storied history, but since Lin-Manuel Miranda isn’t here to sing about MAC football, we’ll have to dig into what makes us hate the brown and orange with every fiber of our Rocket being on our own time.
To truly understand the gravity of the UT vs. BG antagonism, you have to travel back way past football, and into a time of disputed state borders and pen knives. Originally, when the Northwest ordinance of 1787 was set, it included the area that would be known as Toledo as a part of Michigan.
But when Michigan applied for statehood, it was found that the area was surveyed wrong. This means the 8-mile strip of swamp infested land was in dispute, leading to what is now known as “The Toledo War.”
The ensuing violence, second only to Gettysburg, left zero dead and Michigan Deputy Joseph Wood stabbed with a pen knife. Tragic.
This was enough protest for Michigan, and the Toledo strip was handed over to Ohio. This, however, was not good for the young town of Bowling Green, who now had to share a state with their interstate rivals, Toledo.
This rivalry eventually transitioned out of politics and onto the football field. The teams first met in 1919, where Toledo took home the victory 6-0. The rivalry didn’t last long at first. In 1935, when the teams took the field to face off for the 12th time, Toledo absolutely obliterated Bowling Green 63-0.
This loss caused the obviously mild mannered and sportsmanlike Falcons to storm the field in the wake of their loss, and start an all-out brawl between the opposing sides. The Toledo war returned again, and Deputy Joseph Wood rolled in his grave over nightmares of sharpened pens.
This brawl led to the game being suspended for 13 years, before the teams met yet again in 1948 to continue this historic rivalry. Despite the extended period with no football games, the teams seemed to pick up with the same levels of acrimony the had left with.
The harshness and bitterness came to fruition when the teams met yet again in 1951. Marked by harsh weather conditions, and even worse respect for the other teams, the game kicked off. The game was filled with dirty plays, horrible officiating and a deep hate for each other. After the end of the game, a seven-minute fight between the teams broke out, leaving with what witnesses say was a collection of scrapes and bruises, and up to 20 black eyes.
Toledo War part three didn’t stop the rivalry, and the games raged on, all the way to today. Bowling Green leads the overall record for the rivalry, with a record of 39–37–4, but the Falcons haven’t won a game yet this decade.
The wars and fights have died down over the years, with current punishments being more in line with the losing university president having to serve cafeteria food in rival school gear, but the roots of the rivalry lay within us all. So when the game this Saturday kicks off, remember the hard fight put up by the pen knife warriors before us, the fights fought in the 30s and the black eyes our veteran Rockets endured. But most of all, remember that, forever and always, the Rockets are better than the Falcons.

Rocky through the ages

College mascots play a pivotal role in defin­ing their universities, from being symbols of school pride to representing the school at ev­ery athletic event. The UT mascot was chosen for us after we earned the name ‘Rockets’ at a football game 92 years ago.

According to the UT Athletics website, when the football team played Carnegie Tech in 1923, Pittsburgh sports writers were shocked to find out that UT did not have a nickname.

“Though an underdog, Toledo fought formi­dably, recovering a series of embarrassing fumbles by favored Tech. Pittsburgh writers pressed James Neal, a UT student working in the press box, to come up with a nick­name,” the website said.

“Despite UT’s 32-12 loss, the student labeled the team ‘Skyrockets,’ obvious­ly impressed by his alma mater’s flashy performance against a superi­or team. The sportswriters short­ened the name to ‘Rockets,’ which has been used since.”

Rocky and Rocksy, our trusty mas­cots, didn’t just come from thin air — the UT mascot has had an interesting and ever-changing history.

Rocky the Rocket was first introduced during the 1966-67 academic year by the UT Spirit and Traditions Committee. It began as random students being chosen to dress up for the games as Rocky.

In the fall of 1968, the director of student activities, Dan Seemann, took Rocky under his wing, and the mascot began to take shape. Bill Navarre was the first offi­cial mascot. The costume, made by the theatre depart­ment seamstress, was a wastepaper basket with a pointed rocket top made of papier-mâché.

Rocky’s outfit has changed several times since then.

In the 1970s, Rocky’s outfit consisted of a tall metal rock­et helmet that matched with different jumpsuits, includ­ing bell bottom pants.

In 1977, with the help of former astronaut and Ohio senator John Glenn, an au­thentic space suit, hel­met and boots were donated to the Uni­versity of Toledo by the NASA space center in Houston, Texas. The spacesuit was worn for football games, but a lightweight replica was made for bas­ketball games.

The astronaut suits were used until 1980 when the Rocky costume was changed once again to take on a more futuristic look designed to look more like a space rocketeer.

Another Rocky costume was intro­duced in 1983. It was plush with huge feet, but was only used until 1986 when a bigger and bluer plush Rocky with smaller feet was unveiled.

Quite a few changes have been made to Rocky the Rocket through the years and one dramatic change was made by a UT student in 1994.

Carlos Gary, an IC cartoonist in 1994, said that students were throwing marshmal­lows at Rocky during a football game and were yelling that Rocky looked like “a blue condom.”

“This guy wasn’t very marketable,” Gary said. “You never saw Rocky on a T-shirt.”

After a few years of modification, Gary had created a “Fightin’ Rocket” and first came up with the idea of his female coun­terpart, Rocksy. It wasn’t long before these new mascots were being printed onto T-shirts and sweatshirts and being sold in campus bookshops; about 300 items had been sold at that point.

Gary struggled to get his idea launched and accepted by the university, but turned out to be more successful than he had ever imagined.

Although Gary’s idea of Rocksy was a hit, she was not actually made a mascot yet.

Rocksy was unveiled to the UT community at Mu­sicFest in 2011 after a month-long online university poll was conducted.

Rocky the Rocket and the University of Toledo cata­pulted to national attention in 1996 when John Mon­nett, a UT senior who portrayed Rocky from 1995-96, fell overboard a cruise ship while on spring break in Puerto Rico. Monnett fell 77 feet and was swimming in the Atlantic Ocean for nine hours before finally reach­ing land four miles away from where he fell.

“It seemed like I had a higher purpose than to die in that little bay there,” Monnett told the New York Times.

More recently, Rocky, who’s real identity remains anon­ymous, faced another obstacle when he was involved in a car crash that placed him in UTMC three years ago.

Rocky suffered a head injury and broke the right side of his face. He had a spinal cord injury and sustained a con­cussion that caused memory loss.

Rocky was out of the hospital after a week and a half and did not sustain any physical reper­cussions from his injuries.

Not only has tragedy changed Rocky, but his appearance has changed too.

In 1998, at the rivalry Bowling Green football game, the old Rocky the Rocket stepped into a limousine and a new Rocky walked out to display the new Tower Blue and Rocket Gold cos­tume, complete with a jetpack.

The UT ath­letics website said any student can try out to be Rocky in the spring semester for the following year. The only requirements are commitment, a fun personality, school spirit and the ability to communicate well through non-verbal communication.

Today, Rocky and Rocksy can be spotted at any UT football, basketball or volleyball game, as well as most other sporting events.

Rockets make the rank

Toledo’s football team has jumped inside the Associated Press Top 25 this week for the first time since 2012 as the No. 24 team in the country. The Rockets improved to 4-0 and 1-0 in the Mid-American Confer­ence after their 24-10 road vic­tory at Ball State on Saturday.

Toledo is 4-0 for the first time since 2001 when it opened up with a 5-0 mark be­fore losing at Ball State.

Toledo jumped out of the gates this season with back-to-back wins over two Power 5 conference opponents — Ar­kansas 16-12 and Iowa State 30-23 OT — in consecutive weeks. UT is the third team in MAC history to do so.

UT had Arkansas State run­ning in the wrong direction in their 37-7 shellacking at home. The Red Wolves were held to -14 rushing yards.

The following week the big guys up front controlled the line of scrimmage again holding Ball State to 26 rushing yards.

In the first four games, the Rockets’ opponents scored just one touchdown and three field goals in 13 chances inside the red zone. That ranks second-best in the nation behind Appalachian State (two scores in 11 chances).

The Rockets scoring defense of 13 points per game ranks best in the MAC.

“Our defense is one of the best in the country,” said se­nior defensive end Trent Voss. “I’ll stand by that; it’s exciting being out there playing.”

The front seven of UT matches up with any front sev­en in the country. The Rockets have the fifth-best run defense in the country, holding oppo­nents to 80.5 yards per game.

The offense hasn’t been as great as the defense but is still holding its own. UT has aver­aged 27.7 points per game thus far and has showed signs of improvement and consistency each week.

“I was really proud of finish­ing the game with the ball in our hands,” said senior quarterback Phillip Ely. “Something we haven’t done in the last few games, where we were complete­ly able to put the game away.”

Toledo has also received good play from freshman place kicker Jameson Vest. The rook­ie has made 8 of 10 field goals with a career-long of 44 yards.

The Rockets will challenge their seven-game win streak when they host Kent State on Saturday dur­ing homecoming at 3 p.m.

The Golden Flashes (2-3, 1-0 MAC) are fresh off a 20-14 win at home versus Miami (OH).

KSU enters Saturday’s game on a 10-game losing streak in the Glass City dating back to 1977.

Kent comes into Saturday’s game with the third-best rushing attack in the MAC, averaging 169.4 yards per game, playing in­to the hands of what Toledo does best. KSU also ranks last in total offense with 327 yards per game.

Toledo’s offense will be put to test as the Golden Flashes have the number-one defense in the MAC, only giving up an average of 252 yards to oppos­ing offenses.

Running back Kareem Hunt’s status is up in the air for the game which would be an up­grade to an already prominent rushing attack. Sophomore Terry Swanson and Junior Da­mion Jones-Moore have picked up the slack for the injured Hunt combining for 462 yards and six touchdowns.

“We’re like the Justice League; everybody is a superhero when it comes down to it,” Swanson said after rushing for 139 yards on 24 carriers at Ball State.

Those backs will be running behind an offensive line that is proving they belong. After re­placing five senior starters from last year, the UT o-line has yet to give up a sack in 140 passing attempts this season.

They are only one of two teams in the country that can say that. The other is the Air Force.

The key to the game will come down to which team plays best on third down. Kent State Leads the MAC in third-down defense with opponents con­verting just 25.6 percent of third-downs.

The Rocket’s have also been successful converting on 46.2 percent of third-downs.

Back from Ball State

The University of Toledo’s football team opened up Mid-American Confer­ence play with a 24-10 road win Satur­day against Ball State.

With this victory, the Rockets (4-0, 1-0 MAC) move into the AP Top 25 at No. 24.

“Our goals and aspirations are better than how we played at times,” said UT Head Coach Matt Campbell. “You leave here wanting a lot more in what you got in terms of execution and detail but to win the football game is goal.

“We still have a lot of work to do.”

UT controlled the line of scrimmage once again as the Rockets’ offensive line has yet to give up a sack in 140 passing attempts.

Toledo’s offense was led by sophomore Terry Swanson, who rushed for a sea­son-high 139 yards on 24 carriers; it won him MAC west division offensive player of the week.

Junior tailback Damion Jones-Moore add­ed 86 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown.

UT would finish the night with 285 rush­ing yards and 444 yards of total offense.

Senior quarterback Philip Ely was 16 of 22 passing for 164 yards.

His first two passes of the game were picked off, but he would settle into the game completing his next ten passes and finishing the game with two touchdown passes.

The defense continued to be a force to be reckoned with, holding the Cardinals to 26 total rushing yards and only 262 yards of total offense. In the last two games, the Rockets’ ‘D’ has allowed just 12 yards on 54 attempts.

Ball State’s freshman Riley Neal com­pleted 23-of-37 passes for 236-yards and a late touchdown.

Neal was chased around all night by the Rockets’ front seven, which came up with two sacks. Senior Trent Voss wreaked hav­oc all night with seven tackles and three tackles for a loss for a total of 16 yards.

“This is a very veteran defense,” Campbell said. “These are now kids that have been in our program for three or four years now. Schematically, we haven’t changed over the course of time. I think we’re really starting to settle in and feel comfortable.”

UT ranks No. 1 in the MAC in scoring defense, allowing 13.0 points per game.

After a turnover-plagued first quarter, Toledo would get the scoring started early in the second quarter with a 12-play, 69-yard drive capped off with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Ely to ju­nior Michael Roberts.

“I thought there were points in that first quarter where we really could’ve got rattled,” Campbell said. “But our kids stayed the course and really made some plays when we needed to on both sides of the ball.”

On UT’s ensuing possession, the Rockets would march down the field once again on an 8-play, 68-yard drive to take a 14-0 lead with 7:36 left in the second quarter. Jones-Moore rushed for a 5-yard touchdown after making a pair of Cardinal defenders miss.

Toledo was not done scoring in the second quarter, converting a 31-yard field goal by freshman Jameson Vest and a 38-yard touchdown pass from Ely to senior Alonzo Russell.

The Rockets played perfectly in the second quarter, scoring on all four pos­sessions. Ball State didn’t give up easily on their homecoming night.

With just 56 seconds remaining in the first half, the Cardinals drove 61 yards in 7 plays to get three points before the half on a 29-yard field goal from BSU kicker Morgan Hagee. Toledo took a commanding 24-3 halftime lead.

In the second half, the Rocket’s of­fense fell behind and failed to come up with more points.

Ball State would score on a 51-yard bomb from Neal to wideout Jord Wil­liams for a touchdown to bring the score to 24-10. The ensuing possession for the Cardinals meant they had an 11-play drive that stalled out at the 19-yard line after having a second and goal from the four-yard line.

BSU would attempt a 35-yard field goal but Hagee shanked it wide-right.

Toledo would not give the Cardinals another chance to score, running out the clock and taking their first MAC win of the season.

The Rockets will continue their drive for a MAC championship when they host Kent State on Saturday in front of a Homecoming crowd.

The game will kickoff at 3 p.m. and will be streaming live on

The five differences between college and high school homecomings

It’s impossible to deny that homecoming is one of the bigger events at the University of Toledo, filled with floats, free food and a cornucopia of school-themed events. While students may be familiar with homecoming festivities in high school, they aren’t quite the same. From attire to activities, there are five key differences between high school and college homecoming.

  1. The focus

In high school it’s all about the big dance. Whether or not you took a date, you probably spent multiple hours getting ready and went to dinner with a group of friends. Picking a date for the dance was a big deal and there was a significant amount of pressure for couples to find the cutest way to ask each other to the dance.

In college it’s all about the big game. The tailgates beforehand are wild with students blowing off steam after a week of classes and pumping up for the football game that night. While high school homecomings have a game as well, there’s no denying that the intensity gets amped up 100 percent at the collegiate level.

  1. What you wear

For girls in high school, dress shopping was half the fun as you went to store after store looking for the perfect one. Meanwhile, guys were out buying or renting a tux and picking out a tie to match their date’s outfit. The whole process of picking out corsages and heels and matching accessories all built up to the photo sessions that groups of friends took before the dance itself.

Once you hit college, the pressure to look glamorous on homecoming drops to zero. It’s all about decking out in school spirit-themed gear for the game — whether that means getting a hoodie or slathering on the gold and blue face paint. At UT, you can wear whatever you want as long as it’s gold and blue.

  1. How long it lasts

If you count getting a group together, finding a dress or tux and taking photos, high school homecoming takes anywhere from one to two weeks. However, the event itself only lasts for two nights — the game and the dance.

In college, there’s a whole week of activities centered on that year’s theme. For UT, no matter what other events might change from year to year, we can always plan on the homecoming parade marching through the area around Main Campus. Various student groups participate, some marching along, others creating floats to show off. This year’s ‘Rocket Road Trip’ theme has everything from a casino night to a field day planned for the students to pump them up for the main event.

  1. The homecoming court

Depending on what high school you went to, choosing the homecoming king and queen was probably a mixed bag. Maybe for some it was a casual event and writing a random name on a slip for the ballot box. For others, it might have been an intense campaign based on the popularity of the students involved.

At UT, the homecoming candidates have to be at each event of the week to let students get to know their options. After that, it’s up to the students to vote if they want to.

  1. The reason behind it all

At the end of the day, high school homecoming was your night. You got to focus on your outfit, your date and your friends. You even got to enjoy yourself and take a break from high school life for a few days. For that whole weekend, you could pretend that school wasn’t going to restart on Monday.

In college, it’s about school pride and UT’s community. Alumni flock back to their alma mater to remember their own college days and see how far the college has come. From cheering for your team at the game to walking in the parade with other students, every event is meant to immerse you in the experience.

Despite the differences between high school and college homecoming, both give you a chance to interact with your school community while taking a break from school. In high school, you get to have the time of your life with your friends. In college, you get to remember why you chose to become a Rocket.

Marching through time

Helmets crash, a whistle blows, a cannon is fired and the crowd goes wild — but this crescendo of school spirit might not echo across campus with­out a pregame show that catapults the fans into a Rocket fever from the start.

Before the game begins, the University of Toledo Rocket Marching Band play the iconic UT March and Fanfare that drum the crowd into excite­ment. Although often un­seen by the crowds watch­ing the marching band play, the composer behind our pregame music is UT’s own David Jex.

Jex is a professor of music and an alumnus of UT. He’s also one of three generations of Rockets; his parents and sons at­tended school here too.

“We feel pretty strong­ly about UT,” he said.

That’s why in 1973, when he was asked to help compose a new and original march for UT, he wrote the music that is still played at UT games to this day.

“The band director at that particular time — Ja­mie Hafner — he said, ‘Well for the pre-game show, I want to have a stock fanfare that is rec­ognizable as the UT Fan­fare and I want to have a full-size march,’” Jex said.

At that time, UT’s fight song and Alma Ma­ter were the only pieces original to the school. Jex said those pieces were around “well be­fore” him.

But the fight song and Al­ma Mater had an effect on Jex’s composition process.

“The fanfare has little bits of the alma mater and little bits of the themes that are in the march as well,” he said.

Additionally, Jex uti­lized the UT archives for inspiration. He riffed on the music that was al­ready a part of UT’s cul­ture and history.

“I mean, it’s kind of a blended song because the actual tunes have been written by other people … especially the first two strings before you get to the trio, because the last trio string is the UT Fight Song,” he said.

Once he composed the song — which he com­posed on hardcopy man­uscripts because there was no way to compose digitally — he sent it to the band to practice.

He said the first run-through for a piece isn’t always pretty, especially with challenging music; however, the UT band got it almost perfect on the first try.

“The first time [I] heard, away from just diddling away on a pia­no, was passing out the parts and the band play­ing it. And it worked pretty well the first time,” Jex said. “And that’s always a good sign. Because if the group struggles with it, it’s not going to work because rehearsal time is very compact, especially for a marching band.”

That original score didn’t go without change though. Jex said that as the directors have changed, tweaks have been made to make it easier to play. And as time goes on, the music of UT will continue to change and morph — Jex just hopes the music tra­dition and his impacts stick around.

Almost 40 years after the creation of these pieces, Jex said he “still gets a kick” out of hear­ing his music played at football games.

“It’s always fun to have the music you write played,” Jex said, “Every game I go to, I’m always there for pre-game so I can hear the fanfare and the march.”