The University of Toledo Commencement

Tony Bova, Ph.D. and Kelli R. Brown, Ph.D.

2021 Fall Commencement

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Tony Bova, Ph.D.

Tony Bova, Ph.D. is the co-founder and CEO of mobius pbc, a startup company focused on developing renewable chemicals and materials from organic waste.

Bova is an Ohio native; he grew up in Mentor, Ohio and graduated from Mentor High School in 2002. After high school, Tony worked in the retail industry in Toledo, Ohio until the Great Recession of 2008-09. Driven by the economic downturn, Tony chose to return to his education full-time in the fall of 2009 as a “nontraditional” student at the age of 25. He chose to study chemistry and became enamored of concept of green chemistry while completing undergraduate research in the lab of Dr. Mark Mason.

Tony went on to earn his bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Toledo in 2013, and is also a graduate of the Jesup Scott Honors College. While a student, Tony was a founding member of the Alpha Chi Sigma professional chemistry fraternity, a member of student government, and president of the UToledo Student American Chemical Society. Through involvement in student groups at UToledo, Bova met his wife, Mallory Ladd, Ph.D., a fellow UToledo graduate.

In his junior year, Bova was awarded a scholarship from the Building Ohio’s Sustainable Energy Future (BOSEF) program through the Choose Ohio First initiative. Through BOSEF, he and several other BOSEF scholars helped start the UToledo Student Green Fund, where Tony served as the first president. The UToledo Student Green Fund, has gone on to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars from students to improve sustainability on the UToledo campus, with a recent solar array installation at the Health Science Campus.

After leaving UToledo, Bova enrolled in a doctoral program in energy science and engineering at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville through the Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduation, a joint program that allowed students to research alongside scientists at Oak Ridge National Lab. While in this program, Tony spent time learning about public policy and entrepreneurship, and ultimately started his company, mobius pbc, with fellow UToledo alumnus and BOSEF scholar Jeff Beegle.

In 2020, Bova was named as a Grist 50 Fixer by Grist Magazine for his efforts in sustainability and dedication to the environment, and was issued his first patent for part of his graduate work at Oak Ridge National Lab. In 2021, he earned his Ph.D. and now is working on growing mobius. He currently lives near Washington, D.C. with his wife and two dogs, Pepperoni and Rogue.


Kelli R. Brown, Ph.D.

Dr. Kelli R. Brown is the 12th Chancellor of Western Carolina University. Appointed by the governing board of the University of North Carolina System in 2019, she is the first woman to serve as Chancellor at Western Carolina University. 

As Chancellor of Western Carolina University, Dr. Brown has highlighted the priorities of institutional quality and excellence, a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and a focus on the University’s role as an engine of economic development for its communities.  Under Chancellor Brown’s leadership, WCU continues to focus on how regionally engaged universities can maintain a student-centered focus with high levels of teaching innovation.

Chancellor Brown previously served as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Georgia State College & State University, and Interim President at Valdosta State University.  In addition, she has held academic leadership positions at the University of Florida, where she served as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Interim Dean of the College of Health and Human Performance; and the University of South Florida, where she served as Interim Graduate School Dean and Associate Provost. She also served as department chair in Health Sciences at Illinois State University and held academic administration positions at Western Illinois University.

An experienced and talented higher education leader, Dr. Brown has received numerous awards for her leadership in higher education. She is the former editor of the Journal of School Health and has served on five other editorial boards, including serving as an inaugural member of the editorial board of Pedagogy in Health Promotion: The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.  A published and funded author, she has written extensively on school and community partnerships, health issues, and the use of community-based prevention marketing. 

Chancellor Brown earned her doctorate from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in Public Health, both from The University of Toledo. In addition, she holds an Associate Applied Science degree from Michael J. Owens Technical College.

Last Updated: 6/27/22