Dennis S. Sankovich           Inducted 2016 - Class of 1973

Being a part of the Point Place neighborhood that was adjacent to the Detwiler Golf Course and Pool led to a natural progression of schools that culminated in Woodward.

Dennis found many like-minded friends at Woodward; such as Dan White, Jerry Huth, Joe Harris, Mike Bell, Bill Stewart, Terry Rudolph, Lynn Baumker, Becky Lasater, Tom Toth, and his brother, Don Sankovich. They all enjoyed the Band, musical, and theater productions that were a huge part of their years at Woodward.

Of all the teachers at Woodward that Dennis encountered his favorite was Mr. Biler, who was a great musical influence on him and nurtured his natural interest in playing the Bass. Next was Frau Frischman, the German teacher, whose kind spirit lightened the classroom with many exciting stories of Germany. Credit is also extended to Jean Graden for her ability to understand and appreciate the theater and the Arts.

During their sophomore year, Dennis and his friends; Dan, Jerry, and Joe decided to celebrate the Christmas Season and decorate Woodward's main office with toilet paper. Using a smuggled tuba case loaded with all the supplies, they filled the office with toilet paper, Christmas cards, and cookies. Recalling the incident they all said that the best part was watching the principals rolling up the toilet paper.

After Woodward, Dennis pursued a musical education at The University of Toledo. Midway through Dennis' chosen career path he left to go on the road playing one night stands at hotel lounges across the county. While playing in a Connecticut hotel in 1976, a chance encounter with Bob Dylan, Robbie Roberts & the Band, Joni Mitchell, and Joan Baez gave his life another direction. Realizing that there was another side to the music business, Dennis came back to the university with renewed purpose. Two years later, Dennis graduated with a double major in business and music.

With graduation behind him and friends that believed in him Dennis worked to create the Toledo Jazz Society and the Toledo Jazz Orchestra and became the TJS's first executive director. Almost simultaneously, Dennis worked for BGSU's College of Music managing events and scheduling their concerts. Shifting their focus, the Toledo Jazz Festival was dedicated to the local jazz legend and pianist, Art Tatum.

The next six years were a whirlwind of activities nurturing the Toledo Jazz Society and completing a Master's Degree in Public  Administration. Dennis' involvement and leadership involved the renovation of the historic Ritz Theater in Tiffin and several other restorations through the League of Historic American Theaters. All of this preparation led Dennis to the $25 million dollar renovation of the Mississippi State University’s Riley Center.

Dennis still loves to play music with his up-right and electric bass, and when he gets a chance he travels to New Orleans to play with friends at the Preservation Hall. Dennis is not married, but has three great children.

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

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