First came the music from my alarm clock. Then came an elbow from my wife. It was the start of another work day for me as senior editor of Pitt Med, the magazine for the medical school. In the next hour I would shave, shower, dress, grab my packed lunch and a frosted Pop-Tart, and head out the front door.
After a two-traffic-light commute from Shadyside to Oakland on that particular day early last summer, I unlocked my office door on the fourth floor of Craig Hall, just as I always did. Next, I made my first important visit of the dayto the coffee maker. While my Pop-Tart toasted, I cleaned my bacteria-laden mug, and filled it with as much of the black stuff as it could hold.
Back at my desk, coffee and Pop-Tart strategically placed in a no-mess zone, I brought my Power Mac G3 to life, and was open for business.
So were my Office of Public Affairs colleagues with whom I share the fourth floorthe staffs from Pitt Magazine, Pitt Med, Pitt Campaign Chronicle, the news and information bureau, and the Universitys design and communications department.
Even though everyones respective officesmost in dire need of a paint jobare side by side, we have very different days. The news and information people dont have anything to do with a Pitt Med feature on stem cells, and the Pitt Med staffers arent worried about the alumni happenings from the English department, and the Pitt Magazine team has no input into a law school brochure.
While everyone keeps very busy with their own projects, there is a kind of unwritten rule on the fourth floor of Craig Hall. We work with our doors open. So, on that June day when a temp from Pitt Magazine hustled into my office and abruptly closed the door, I knew we werent about to discuss the Pirates nonexistent pennant chances.
He had just come from a staff meeting where Sally Ann Flecker, the editor in chief, announced her intention to resign so she could pursue her freelance writing and teaching careers full-time.
Wow! was all I could initially say after hearing the confidential news. This typical day was no longer typical. Sally had been at the helm of Pitt Magazine for more than a decade. She had become a tradition. An award-winning tradition.
Meanwhile in my world at Pitt Med, that magazineunder the leadership of editor-in-chief Erica Lloydhad established its own award-winning tradition in less than two years of existence. Its Ericas vision to tell stories about those connected with the medical school who are affecting all of us in wondrous wayswhether by searching for a vaccine for cancer or a cure for Alzheimers or finding a better way to teach and train tomorrows physicians.
Now, having been chosen to follow in Sallys footsteps, I hope the pages of Pitt Magazine will carry on the traditions established by Sally and Erica. I want every issue to report on the awe-inspiring aspirations and accomplishments of our alumni, faculty, and students; I want their stories chronicled in the kind of compelling voice that Sally has nurtured over the years. I guess what Im stating is that traditions dont have to end. They can evolve. Look no further than this issues cover story about what its like to attend a Panthers home football game.
For my routine, I still set my alarm clock to go off at the same time. Within Craig Hall, I have a new office. Its slightly bigger, three windows instead of two, along with a few more pieces of furniture. As for my door, it remains open.
Robert Mendelson, Editor in Chief