December 2001


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Spotlight on Alumni

At right, it’s May 1952, and Moose Mitchell (swell guy that he is) congratulates a fellow student, whom we’ll call Jack, on winning the Hartwig Award on V-Day.

Put on your poodle skirts and saddle shoes, and help us fill in the blanks. Who is Jack, and what do the Hartwick Award and V-Day mean? The first person to send us the correct answer will receive a gift certificate for a sandwich from Primanti Brothers.

Arts and Sciences

William Coleman ’65 writes that his book, Voices of Wounded Knee, has been published by University of Nebraska Press. Coleman appeared on C-SPAN2’s Book TV to discuss the book, which covers the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee, and the events leading up to it. He retired as professor of theatre arts at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, after 35 years, and is currently writing and directing, having recently worked with BBC-TV in the UK for a documentary on Buffalo Bill Cody. James Ross ’69, an associate broker affiliated with NAI/Commercial-Industrial Realty Company, is a part-time real estate instructor with the adjunct faculty of Harrisburg Area Community College. Ross is also chairman of the board of Families United Network, Inc., a statewide nonprofit foster care agency headquartered in Muncy, Pennsylvania. Attorney Doug Jones ’70 is president and CEO of the Arbella Protection Insurance Company in Quincy, Massachusetts. Donald McKim ’80, now living in Germantown, Tennessee, recently published his 25th book, Introducing the Reformed Faith (Westminster John Knox Press). Paul Strunk ’82 is vice president for institutional advancement at the University of Scranton. Mark Stillwagon ’84, a US Air Force lieutenant colonel, has been named a deputy director of intelligence at the Pentagon, where he is responsible for providing operational intelligence support to the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Rory Ritrievi ’86 is executive vice president and director of lending for Commerce Bank in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Brian Golias ’94 (Pitt-Johnstown) is an associate with Meyer Unkovic & Scott in the Pittsburgh law firm’s business and transactions planning group. Brian Andrew Campbell ’96 is scientific outreach specialist and Webmaster for the Laboratory for Hydrospheric Processes at the NASA-Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He works with other NASA scientists, colleges/universities, and the media to promote the scientific and educational initiatives of each of NASA’s directorates. Kristin Messner ’96 received her juris doctor degree from the Pennsylvania State University’s Dickinson School of Law. Richard Maniskas ’97 is an associate in the Philadelphia office of Marshall, Dennehy, Warner, Coleman & Goggin, practicing in the area of securities and investments professional liability. Jill Dietrich ’98 and Ronald Richert ’98 (Pitt-Greensburg) received juris doctor degrees from the Pennsylvania State University’s Dickinson School of Law. Mark O’Neill ’98 has been commissioned as a lieutenant junior grade in the Medical Service Corps of the US Navy, serving as a health care administrator at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.


Linda Fisher ’93 has joined Abstract Properties Co., a privately held, Pittsburgh-based development company, to direct the company’s administrative, marketing, and project management activities. Matt Miklasevich ’93, Engineering ’87, is chief technology officer for the Pittsburgh firm Direct Response Marketing. Miklasevich has more than 14 years’ experience in managing and implementing technology solutions. He was previously employed at Marconi as global Web manager in their GMS division. Eric Storey ’99 is vice president of business development for Supply Chain Consultants in Wilmington, Delaware, responsible for marketing and sales of the company’s software and professional services. Robert Salerno ’01, Arts and Sciences ’91, signed a recording contract with Attack Records of Toronto, Canada, an independent label that will distribute his next three albums. Salerno, who performs under the name Robert Schilling, also signed a 20-year music publishing contract with Attackin’ Tunes. Now residing in Boston, Salerno can be contacted at


Sharon Sielski ’82 is an assistant high school principal and technology coordinator at St. Marys Area High School, St. Marys, Pennsylvania. David Perrin ’85 is dean of the school of health and human performance at the University of North Carolina’s Greensboro campus. Robin Connors ’86, Social Work ’79, e-mails that her book Self-Injury: Psychotherapy with People who Engage in Self-Inflicted Violence, was recently published by Jason Aronson. Barbara Good ’92 is director of scientific publications at the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project, a Pittsburgh-based cooperative clinical trials group supported by the National Cancer Institute.


Michael Bock ’68 moderated a session of the American Bar Association’s forum on the construction industry held in New Orleans last April. A partner in the litigation services and real estate departments of the Pittsburgh office of Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, Bock organized the plenary session entitled “Big Building Boom in the ’Burgh: Pirates, Steelers, Conventions.” Lawrence Denicola ’83, environmental compliance coordinator for the Pittsburgh district of the US Postal Service, received the 2001 Closing the Circle award from the White House Federal Environmental Executive for contributions to maintaining a clean and safe environment. Bob Kurilko ’85 is vice president of product development and marketing for, a consumer resource for unbiased automotive information on the Internet. Brad Updegrave ’96 is an associate at Erdman Anthony, a Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, design firm, where he is a project engineer in the firm’s structural unit. David Gervase ’00 is president of Lighthouse Site Design, a Raleigh, North Carolina, Web design house.

General Studies

John Steidle ’95 is an associate at the Pittsburgh office of Burns, White & Hickton, concentrating on medical malpractice, personal injury, product liability and professional liability defense litigation. Heather Kelly ’97 received a juris doctor degree from Ohio Northern University’s Pettit College of Law.

Information Sciences

Bernard Marx ’88 is partner with the certified public accounting firm Chisler, Marx & Company.


Jack Olender ’57 was honored by the group Public Citizen at its 30th anniversary celebration held in Montreal. The organization’s president hailed Olender, a Washington, DC, malpractice lawyer, for his “groundbreaking achievements in bringing accountability to American medicine,” as well as his acts of advocacy and philanthropy. A member of the DC Bar Hall of Fame, Olender is past president of the Trial Lawyers Association DC and the Bar Association of the District of Columbia. Chester Corse ’65, Arts and Sciences ’62, is vice president of the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, which provides the state’s lawyers continuing legal education and publications. Corse, a partner at Williamson, Friedberg & Jones, concentrates on civil litigation, family law and municipal law. Theresa Wasser ’87 is an associate at the Pittsburgh office of Burns, White & Hickton, practicing in the areas of employment and corporate law. Laurence Neish ’91, Business ’91, Arts and Sciences ’88, is district manager and counsel for the Pittsburgh district office of Stewart Title Guaranty Company.

Patrick Sorek ’84 specializes in federal litigation in his newly opened private practice in Pittsburgh. Sorek, a former clerk to US District Court Judge Robert Cindrich, also worked six years as a trial attorney in the civil division of the US Department of Justice. Drop Pat a note at


Diane Novotny Lancaster ’79 is program manager for nursing research in the Center for Excellence in Nursing Practice at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.


Christopher Beebe ’93 is director of pharmacy services at Lancaster Regional Medical Center, a 268-bed acute care hospital in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Mary Jo Carden ’94 received a juris doctor degree from Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law.

Public and International Affairs

Timothy Griffin ’85 joined the workers’ compensation practice at the Pittsburgh law offices of White and Williams.

In addition to workers’ compensation, Griffin is experienced in medical malpractice, product liability and general casualty litigation, and is a member of the workers’ compensation sections of the Pennsylvania and Allegheny County Bar Associations. Luke Kluchko ’89, Information Science ’86, received the Meritorious Civilian Service Medal from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency for his efforts toward eliminating the nuclear testing infrastructure in the Republic of Kazakhstan. As an international project manager for the agency’s cooperative threat reduction division, Kluchko helped eliminate 181 nuclear test tunnels and 13 nuclear testing boreholes. He is currently a division chief for cooperative threat reduction within the US Embassy in Moscow’s Defense Threat Reduction Office.

In Memoriam

Joseph Pois, professor emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, died from complications of pneumonia July 12, 2001, at Presbyterian Medical Center in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. He was 95. Pois came to Pitt in 1961, in the early days of GSPIA, after having served in a number of prominent government positions, most notably during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration. He was chairman of the public administration department from 1961 to 1971, and associate dean of the school from 1973 to 1975. Named a professor emeritus in 1976, he continued to teach until the early 1990s. Pois, a native of New York City, also served in the military, and was the second-highest ranking reserve officer in the Coast Guard during WWII, acting as Commandant Adm. Russell Waesche’s right-hand man. Survivors include two sons, Robert, of Boulder, Colorado, and Marc, of Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania and three granddaughters.

George Hatcher, Arts and Sciences ’33, died April 30, 2001, at the Memorial Hospital of Easton, Maryland. He was 89. Hatcher joined the US Army Air Corps in 1933, and rose to the rank of colonel, serving as a pilot in both WWII and the Korean War. He earned many awards, including the Legion of Merit with oak leaf clusters. Before retiring, Hatcher worked for Pan American World Airways, Douglas Aircraft, Fairchild Aircraft, Henson Aviation, and US Airways. Among his most memorable moments was piloting Orville Wright on that inventor’s last flight in an airplane. He is survived by his wife Christine, children, and grandchildren.

Simon Miron, Arts and Sciences ’41, died February 14, 2001, in Lake Jackson, Texas. After a long career in petroleum research, Miron retired from Dow Chemical Company in 1978. He was active in many professional and charitable organizations, including the American Chemical Society, the American Red Cross, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and the Brazosport Jewish Community Center. At the time of his death, Miron was working with friend and Pitt graduate Charles Nathan, Arts and Sciences ’49, on a book about the petroleum industry that will be published on the Internet. He is survived by his wife Leah, a daughter, two sons, and a grandson.

Gordon Filmer-Bennett, Arts and Sciences ’51, died May 29, 2001, in Anacortes, Washington. A native of British Columbia, Filmer-Bennett attended Pitt after serving in the Canadian Meteorological Service during WWII. He spent most of his professional life in Wisconsin, where he served as chief psychologist at the Winnebago State Hospital in Oshkosh, and on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. He eventually became chief psychologist and supervisor of the Wisconsin Bureau of Clinical Services, and managed a clinical services unit at Taycheedah Correctional Institution. He retired from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services in 1979, and moved back to the west coast, where he helped establish the Oregon Graduate School of Professional Psychology in Portland. In 1980, he joined the staff at Providence Medical Center in Portland, and served as a board member and consultant for the Columbia Pastoral Counseling Center in Vancouver until 1989. He is survived by his wife Arjean, and his daughter, both in Eastsound, Washington.

Charmaine Chapman, Social Work ’67, died July 11, 2001, at her home in St. Louis, Missouri, at the age of 61. A native Pittsburgher, Chapman began her career as a caseworker for the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare. In 1972, she joined Pittsburgh’s United Way, then spent the next 30 years with the organization in executive positions throughout the country. She became president and CEO of the United Way of Greater St. Louis in 1994, both the first African-American and the first woman to hold the posts. Her battle with cancer began shortly afterward, yet during her tenure the St. Louis United Way’s fund-raising effort grew by more than 25 percent, the year 2000’s figure surpassing a record $63 million. Chapman’s survivors include her two daughters, Denise and Deborah.

Novel Idea

An unlikely inter-racial friendship that ends in betrayal is the backdrop of Bebe Moore Campbell’s latest novel. Set in the 1940s, What You Owe Me chronicles how this betrayal affects future generations.

Campbell’s experience at Pitt—earning a degree in elementary education and helping found the Black Action Society—has provided a wealth of material for her writing career. Societal inequalities are exposed in all her work. Although, the former teacher adds, she must resist the urge to be a literary lecturer: “I always write with the desire to promote healing first and foremost within myself.”

Campbell’s five previous books have been well received critically and commercially. When she enrolled at Pitt, writing was nothing more than a hobby. “I was in the class of ’71, and I don’t think there was a creative writing class, and if there were, my parents would have been freaked out if I had taken it. That’s not what a young, upwardly moving, Negro woman would have done in 1967, so I went into a more traditional field [education].”

She never quit her hobby, however. Now it’s a best-selling livelihood. —Meghan Holohan

Recipe for Success

At an age when most kids are hauled off to soccer practice or are loafing around the neighborhood, Joseph Salpietro (Arts and Sciences ‘88) was doing homework that had nothing to do with class assignments. After school and on weekends he worked in his family’s restaurant in Sharpsburg. There, he recalls learning a valuable lesson amid the chatter of his parents’ native Sicilian. “There is a sense of commitment and obligation to family, to friends, your clientele. You come to believe they depend on you.” In other words, no matter what the language, don’t mess up the pasta order.

This year, Salpietro—whose apron has long been retired—was named one of three new principals at Pittsburgh’s Yanni & Company Investment Advisors. A big part of his work is to explain the intricacies of finance terminology to his clients. “It’s one thing to be technical,” says Salpietro, “But how do you translate that aspect of the job for an ordinary person?” He plans to once again put to good use those tasty communication lessons he learned years ago. —Jennifer Lee

School Zone

In recognition for communicating with her middle school students and getting them engaged in learning, Katie Henderson (Education ‘74) was named Washington State Teacher of the Year.

Such success wasn’t always the case. In fact, when she first stepped into an urban Pittsburgh classroom 27 years ago, she realized she had a lot to learn. One particular student began giving her trouble, and she had no idea what to do. A seasoned colleague passed along a suggestion: walk the student home. She did. By the time the duo got to the student’s house, they were talking like friends. Back in the classroom, there were fewer and fewer problems.

“You have to connect with the inner child,” says Henderson. “You have to have an effective rapport, find out what makes the child tick.”

This year Henderson—who has a master’s degree in education from the University of Washington—will teach seventh and eighth graders. Potential trouble makers no longer rattle her. “Don’t the kids in any given neighborhood deserve the best education has to offer?” In her classroom, it’s an award-winning education. —JL

Climb Every Mountain

Since 1991, Kate McCoy (Pharmacy ’77), has spent her vacations climbing mountains. Her brother-in-law inspired her. When she moved to Colorado from San Francisco, where she was a pharmacy manager, he joked, “there are 54 ‘fourteeners’ [mountains over 14,000 feet] you can climb here.”

She started with Longs Peak, which is visible from her house; then, she says, “it became a passion.” In September 2000, at Maroon Peak, she became the 956th person to climb all 54 “fourteeners” in Colorado.

There were some surprises along the way. On one climb, she recalls a view that seemed to go on forever. The surprise: When she turned around, she could see nothing. Behind her was a total white-out.

Another time, near a mountain peak, wind and rain lashed her climbing team. Lightning made the metal grommets in her shoes sizzle. “Afterward, I realized the danger I was in, but, at the time, I was curious,” she remembers.

In all, she climbed 442 miles—roughly the distance between Pittsburgh and Chicago. While she will continue climbing, last summer she and her husband took a “real” vacation—to Jupiter, a Florida beach.
—Susanne DeVore

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