Perry ‘Pete’ Demming, UA’s first Zippy, has passed away

UA alumnus Perry “Pete” Thomas Demming died Oct. 7, after a brief illness. He was 81.

Pete DemmingDemming, who earned a B.S. in Business Administration in 1956, was a cheerleader during his undergraduate years and donned the first Zippy costume at the inaugural Acme-Zip Game football game in 1954. Wearing a paper-mache head and a brown furry uniform that zipped up the back, Demming appeared, not as Zippy, but as “Mr. Zip.”

For the 1987 Tel-Buch, Demming recalled that only a small group of people knew of his role and he enjoyed the anonymity as much as bringing UA’s now beloved mascot to life. “Zippy brings to sporting events a human element, even though he [sic] is a kangaroo…Zippy gives fans what they want.”

An Akron native, Demming’s other campus activities included Phi Delta Theta Fraternity, Pershing Rifles, Air Force ROTC, Arnold Air Society, Sabre Squadron, student government and Omicron Delta Kappa honorary. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Air Force and attained the rank of captain. He was a founder of Garland Company in Cleveland, a commercial roofing business.

He continued to remain involved with his alma mater as a member of the Hilltoppers/Buchtelles. In 1986, he established The Perry T. Demming Scholarship for Ohio Epsilon Chapter of Phi Delta Theta.

“Perry ‘Pete’ Demming was a pillar of this University of Akron family – the keystone of our strongest tradition whom we all know as the exuberant, lovable and spirited Zippy,” says President Scott Scarborough. “He was UA’s first to wear the Zippy uniform and I am told it was Pete’s own sense of humor and zeal for life that gave Zippy her unique and entertaining personality. Pete’s dedication to UA as a loyal alumnus, his support of his beloved fraternity and the men of Phi Delta Theta speak to the loss we feel as a community.”

Demming is survived by his wife, Betty Lee Clemens Demming, five children, 12 grandchildren and other relatives.

Calling hours will be held at the Billow Fairlawn Chapel, 85 N. Miller Road, on Monday, Oct. 12, from 4 to 8 p.m. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 4411 Windfall Road, in Medina.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to Boy Scout Troop 400, Scoutmaster Bruce Herron-8463 Markley Dr., Wadsworth, OH 44281; Hospice of Visiting Nurse Service and Justin T. Rogers Care Center, c/o Akron General Foundation, 1 Akron General Ave., Akron, Ohio 44307-2463; or the scholarship that bears his name in care of the Department of Development, The University of Akron, Akron, Ohio 44325-2603.

A full obituary is available on the Billows website.

‘Endeavor to Succeed’ is topic for Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly on Oct. 21

Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords

Former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords’ life was changed forever on Jan. 8, 2011, when an assassination attempt in Arizona nearly took her life. She has since become an inspirational icon to many, showing that through strength and perseverance anything is possible. Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, a highly decorated astronaut, will share a message of courage and hope when they present “Endeavor to Succeed” at  E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Kelly, who has commanded two NASA missions, will talk about his leadership experiences as an astronaut and also touch on the struggles he and Giffords overcame after her injury. Giffords will speak briefly and answer questions from the audience. Learn more.

The couple’s talk is sponsored through The Dorothy Garrett Martin Memorial Delta Gamma Lectureship on Values and Ethics. Since 1991, the lectureship has brought distinguished individuals to campus to speak on the broad topic of values and ethics.

General admission is $10 for adults and $8 for UA faculty and staff. UA students pay $6 with a valid Zip Card. For tickets, call 330-253-2488.

Tickets may also be purchased from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Akron Civic Theatre Box Office located inside the front doors of the Summit County Building, at 175 S Main St. Tickets for Thomas Hall events can also be purchased online at

‘My Father’s War’ leads off Veterans Day observances

Carol Ponder and Robert Kiefer

“I had a sudden urge to tell you about my war, World War II — and the subsequent coping — my peace. After 45 years, some of the events are as vivid as ever...There is no fiction in what is to follow. If my memory is in error, the margin is slight. — Dad”

With that July 4, 1989, letter to his three daughters came Lt. Herschel Ponder’s memoir, “Ponder Anew What the Almighty Can Do,” which recounted his life and role in World War II. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Ashville, N.C., native had enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He would go on to fly 51 missions in P-47 Thunderbolts in Europe as part of the 510th Fighter Squadron of the 405th Fighter Group.

Ponder’s book has become the basis of a play, “My Father’s War,” that is now presented around the country by his daughter, Carol Ponder, and her husband, Robert Kiefer. The duo, performing artists for more than 40 years, will present the play in the Student Union Theatre on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m. The event, the first of several planned as part of UA’s Veterans Day observance, is free and open to the public. A full schedule of Veterans Day events will be announced later.

The Office of Academic Affairs, Adult Focus, Zips Programming Network and Wayne College are sponsors of the performance.

Learn more about “My Father’s War” online. For information about the performance, contact Laura Conley at 330-972-5793 or

Farewell reception for Fedearia Nicholson

Fedearia NicholsonFedearia Nicholson, assistant vice president for student success, is leaving the University after many years of dedicated service. Please join us in expressing our best wishes at a reception on Thursday, Oct. 15, from 2 to 5 p.m. in Simmons Hall 208.

RSVP by Wednesday, Oct. 14, to Barbara Ferrell at  

My Akron portal upgrade set Oct. 9-10

The My Akron portal will be upgraded, beginning at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 9, and concluding at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10. During this time, all employee, student and faculty self-service applications will be unavailable.

A redirect to a Web page with links to other services like Springboard, e-mail and EmpCenter will be provided during the outage. All services will be available by 5 p.m. Saturday.

‘UA to Z’ this week: Soccer, music and more

radio show logoThis week on “UA to Z,” Larry Burns, vice president for advancement, and Willy Kollman, associate director of alumni and government relations, will be joined by:

  • Head men's soccer coach, Jared Embick, will talk about the season thus far, his career, and his prospects for the rest of the season and the future of the program.
  • Students who organized and operate the nonprofit Akron Hope stop by to share with us a bit about the great work they are doing on campus and in the Akron community.
  • Members of the Akron band, Shivering Timbers, will play some tunes and talk about upcoming shows and the inspiration for their music.
  • Head men's golf coach, David Trainor, will discuss his career as a golfer at the College of Charleston and as a head coach at UA.

“UA to Z” airs on Saturdays from 10 to 11 a.m. on 1590 WAKR-AM. To learn more about the show, the hosts, or to listen to previous broadcasts, visit “UA to Z” online. You can also follow the show on Twitter at @UAtoZ.

MBA Information Session set Oct. 16

An MBA Information Session will be hosted on Friday, Oct. 16, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the atrium of the College of Business Administration Building. Applicants with any bachelor's degree are encouraged to apply to the CBA Flexible MBA and Saturday MBA options.

The Flexible MBA provides the option of full-time or part-time study with an interdisciplinary concentration that allows you to use graduate credits outside of business toward the MBA. The Saturday MBA offers classes every other Saturday for two years — with a new cohort starting in August.

Coordinated programs with engineering, math, statistics, B.S./M.D. and other departments allow students to reduce program requirements by taking specific undergraduate elective courses in business and take graduate and undergraduate work concurrently.   
We also offer programs in accounting, taxation, information systems, technological innovation and joint programs with the School of Law and applied math. Our new M. Tax Direct allows you to take classes from your computer.

UA’s Flexible MBA was rated the #1 public MBA in northern Ohio by Bloomberg Business week.

Online registration for the event is available. To speak with an advisor, call ext. 7043 or email

Flu clinics scheduled Oct. 13-15

The Nursing Center for Community Health is offering flu shot clinics on campus for faculty and staff this fall. No appointments are necessary. Please wear a short sleeve shirt, sweater or blouse so clinicians can easily administer vaccinations. Here is the schedule of clinics through Oct. 15.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 13, – Polsky Building, third floor
    9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 15, – Wayne College, Library Room F-103
    9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3p.m.

General information

  • We are only offering the vaccine through intramuscular administration (i.e. an injection).
  • The vaccine is the quadravalent formula, which is what was recommended by the local health district.
  • Must be 18 years of age to get vaccine
  • Students can receive flu vaccine with Zip Card for $20 in cash (please have exach change) or check.

You must present your University Summa/APEX insurance card at the time of the vaccination. The vaccinations are free for adults who are enrolled in UA benefits. The charge for family members and those not on UA's benefits is $25, payable by cash or check in exact change.

Questions? Contact the Nursing Center for Community Health at ext. 6968.

An evening of jazz planned Oct. 12

jazz ensemble

Join the Jazz Ensemble for a performance with the theme “Old Wine-New Bottles” on Monday, Oct. 12, at 7:30 p.m. in Guzzetta Recital Hall. The evening will include Benny Goodman’s classic "Sing, Sing, Sing" and Fletcher Henderson’s "King Porter Stomp," with other works by Dave Morgan and Bob Brookmeyer, and featuring drummer Josh Leslie.

The UA Jazz Lab Band will also perform works by Count Basie, Sammy Nestico, legendary Cleveland jazz icon Tadd Dameron, and more.

This concert is free and open to the public. For more information, call ext. 8301 or e-mail

Jazz Combos concert is Oct. 13

Join the Jazz Combos on Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Guzzetta Recital Hall for an evening of jazz performances lead by Tim Powell and Mark Gonder.

This concert is free and open to the public. For more information, call ext. 8301 or e-mail

Parking updates through Oct. 16

  • Lot 18 south, at the Student Union, will be reserved on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 6 a.m. through 2 p.m. for a meeting. Alternate parking for visitors will be available at the parking meters by Lot 36 - South Campus Deck, on E. Exchange Street.
  • Lot 70, near Quaker Station at Quaker Square, will be partially reserved Thursday, Oct. 15, at 8 a.m. through 2 p.m. for an Akron Roundtable event. Please observe the signs and cones placed in the reserved spaces. Alternate parking will be available in Lot 70 just north of the Mill Street Bridge.
  • Lot 6, at InfoCision Stadium, will be partially reserved on Friday, Oct. 16, at 6 a.m. through 11 a.m. for a committee meeting. Parking will be reserved for event attendees only. Alternate parking for visitors will be at the remaining open meters in the lot and commuters may park in Lot 9, south of the stadium.
  • Lot 6 and Lot 9, at InfoCision Stadium, will experience very high traffic volume on Friday, Oct. 16, from 7 a.m. through 5 p.m. for the Fisher Career Fair at InfoCision Stadium. The event is expected to draw a large number of guests, which will significantly increase demand in and around the stadium and the Stile Athletics Field House. Alternate parking for commuters and residents will be available in Lot 1 – East Campus Deck and Lot 36 – South Campus Deck.


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