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Driscoll Alumni Center Rm 1002
2801 W Bancroft St MS 319
Toledo, Ohio 43606
Tom and Mary Wakefield: Biggest Toledo Fans in Michigan
Tom and Mary Wakefield have called Ann Arbor home for many years--he is a vascular
surgeon and professor of surgery at The University of Michigan, and she is a UM physical
therapist--but they remain Toledo Rockets at heart.
“Our feelings for UT go back a long way,”said Dr. Wakefield.
He grew up attending Rocket football and basketball games, including the 35-0 record seasons in 1969–1971. Years later, before astroturf was installed in the Glass Bowl, his wife drove down to Toledo to get him a souvenir piece of the field. “I’m the biggest Toledo fan in Michigan,” he laughs.
During high school, he began working in an MCO lab under Dr. Liberato Didio. He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in biology from UT in 1975 and medical degree in 1978.
Mrs. Wakefield grew up in the nearby Westmoreland neighborhood. “I could ride my bike to campus, and the University was always a part of our lives, through sports, music and theater.” In 1976, she graduated from UT with a bachelor’s degree in Arts.
They both feel fortunate to not only have received valuable degrees from UT but also to have been part of the Honors Program, now the Honors College, under Prof. Jim Larson.
The Wakefields are long-time financial supporters of UT athletics and the Medical Center. “When it came time to renew our athletic pledge,” said Dr. Wakefield, “we opted to increase our giving and expand our support to other areas of UT.”
Their new pledge includes monies to UT athletics, earmarked for the Larimer Facility renovations and men’s and women’s basketball. In addition, due to their active involvement as alumni and Dr. Wakefield’s service on the Alumni Association Board, they designated some of their support for the new Alumni Pavilion.
Mrs. Wakefield, who holds a master’s in women’s studies, also chose to make a portion of their pledge to the Eberly Center for Women. “Throughout our ongoing giving to UT, we hadn’t really reached beyond campus. I felt this gift was an opportunity to reach further into the Toledo community.”
They both agreed that the desire to help others through philanthropic means is how they were raised. “We took it from our upbringing,” said Mrs. Wakefield, “and we hope we passed it on to our own children.”
Dave Nottke, associate athletic director for development, said the Wakefields have made a major impact on UT programs. “This gift, their second major gift to the program, will be instrumental in helping us provide our student-athletes with the resources they need to be successful, both in the classroom and in their competitive endeavors.” he said. “We thank them for their passion and commitment.”