Alumni Association Notebook
Robin Williams is flanked by the parents
of McCarl, Foster and Muriel McCarl.
Its a Monday morning, yet there are few places to park along a quiet residential street in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. One of the spots is taken by a spotless sedan with the license plate FJM III.
FJM III is F. James McCarl (College of General Studies 73). When he isnt busy with his duties as a board member of the Alumni Association, or chairman of the Capital Campaign for the College of General Studies, he runs McCarls Inc., a family-owned mechanical contracting company that is located in what used to be a home. That makes sense because McCarl tries to nurture a family-like environment for his employees. It seems he does. Amid the cluster of cubicles, workers huddle together swapping stories about the past weekend and making plans to meet for lunch later in the day.
The hallway leading to the bosss office is lined with framed photographs of mentally and physically challenged children of the McGuire House, a charity McCarl has helped out during the past 30 years.
There are pictures in his office, too, mostly of him and sports stars and politicians. There is only one picture he bothers to point out, however. It wasnt an easy picture to get, either.
McCarl and his parents were dining at a restaurant in California when he spied a familiar face dining nearby. McCarl approached the maître d to enlist his help in getting a picture with the actor Robin Williams. The maître d declined, noting the staff doesnt bother celebrities. So McCarl approached Williams himself and explained it was his mothers 75th birthday and that a photo taken with a movie star would be quite an unexpected present. Williams not only posed for the picture, he had the McCarls in hysterics with an impromptu monologue.
McCarl has this way of getting things accomplished in a nontraditional manner. Even his degree at Pitt. He took evening classes after putting in eight-hour days in the service department of his fathers company.
Today he is the companys president, but he remembers those college days, which is why he is helping establish a center at Pitt for nontraditional students. It will be located on the Cathedral of Learnings fourth floor and be both a meeting place and a resource site. Construction will be completed by next spring. No word on whether Robin Williams will headline the grand opening.
Janet Frank Atkinson
Nuclear engineering instructor Michael Robinson (Engineering 99) was surprised to find the Pitt Connection online newsletter waiting in his e-mail in-box. After scrolling through the issue, he made plans to attend the Universitys recent Science 2001: A Research Odyssey. He may never had heard about the science festival had he not received the e-newsletter. The busy instructor, husband, and father of two boys now relies on the newsletter to keep him in touch with happenings around campus.
The newsletter is just one of several free perks now available for the Pitt online community. For example, there is an updatable online alumni directory. There is also a handy permanent Pitt e-mail address for each alum. Individual e-mail addresses will always be [your name here]@alumni.pitt.edu. Pitt will automatically forward each individuals e-mails to America Online, Hotmail, or any other chosen e-mail provider. Its like having a change of address card that never expires.
More information is available at www.alumni.pitt.edu
Many assume that summer means activities at the alumni office slow down. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our volunteers keep buzzing right along. For example, at the June African Alumni Council board meeting, Carloyn Hill, CAS 81, GSPIA 91, Marian Clark Watkins, CAS 75, Michael Whitelock, CAS 79, SSW 81, Maureen Cross Bolden, CGS 92, Bernard Mack, CAS 88, Madelyn Formley, EDU 75, Stephanie Johnson, CGS 90, SLIS 94, Wayne Williams, CGS 98, Madalyn Turner-Dickerson, CAS 70, EDU 75, 97, GSPIA 85, Erroline Williams, CGS 80, Elliott Coleman, KGSB 81, and Sige Burden, EDU 72, were heard discussing upcoming events and strategies to increase the African American Alumni Council Endowed Scholarship Fund. Pitt Clubs all over the country hosted Pittnics for incoming freshmen and their families. Tom (EDU 75) and Edwina Booth (NUR 79), Lou Slaby, ENGR 65, club President Ron Hornak, ENG 67, KGSB 70, and Bob Freschi, CAS 69, were among the alumni seen at the New Jersey club Pittnic in July. Closer to campus, the South Hills Pitt Club held its Annual Meeting and Buffet Dinner at Tambellinis in Bridgeville in early August. Among the 30-plus people in attendance were Janet (EDU 51) and Jack Tilton (CAS 51), new club President Nancy Nelson, EDU 60, 66, outgoing President Connie Hoon, CGS 79, and her extravagantly educated husband, Bill Hoon, DEN 80, GSPH 81, CGS 82, 84, 86, 90, Jean Ferketish, KGSB 81, EDU 92, and Ann Slowey, CAS 99. One evening in July, Barb Siegal, CAS 68, LIS 73, Bonnie Chojnacki, IS 98, and Leigh Ann Yant, CAS 98, came by the Alumni Center to take part in a user study of the Pitt Alumni Association Web site. Lots of alums have stopped by to see the center, and others have visited virtually. The first issue of the Pitt Connection, an alumni association monthly e-mail newsletter, elicited e-mail from hundreds of graduates who wanted to join the Pitt Alumni Online Community. One day in August, WWII veteran Grace Statler Cartus, CAS 47, wrote from Florida, as did Carl Kaplan, CAS 66, LAW 69, from Israel. We heard from James Coulson, BUS 54, and Josephine Messina, EDU 50, both from California; and Cedric Salze, GSPIA 91, who sent regards from Kosovo. Ulton Hodgin Jr., CAS 55, MED 59, wrote from New Mexico, Donald Stearns, ENG 51, from Ohio, and Ted Moan, MED 70, from Alaska. P. Rudy Mattai, EDU 75, 77, usually in Buffalo, sent a note from Santiago, Chile. Chuck Peth, BUS 52, wrote to say he is happy to see his alma mater taking advantage of the latest technology, and James DiGiambattista, LIS 77, thanked us for saving trees by communicating electronically. Luciana Lang, CAS 99, a recent transplant to Dallas, wrote to say, Thank you for the e-mail, and I look forward to future newsletters. (Gives me information to boast about to all these Texans.) Our pleasure, Luciana. If you havent received the Pitt Connection, one sure way to get on the mailing list is to register for the Pitt Alumni Online Community. The Pitt Alumni Association provides the community free to graduates. Just go to www.alumni.pitt.edu and follow the link.