University of Pittsburgh

alumni hall

Class Notes

1949 John J. Szczur ENGR ’49 was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the Advisory Committee of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. He’s director of investments for the Central Pension Fund of the International Union of Operating Engineers and Participating Employers in Washington, D.C.

1954 Jerry Florman PHARM ’54 swam across the San Francisco Bay from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco in an “Escape from Alcatraz” swim race last year. He was the oldest of 500 swimmers who participated in the event, and he finished in the middle of the pack. He resides in Santa Ana, Calif.

1958 Al Primo A&S ’58, renowned television news executive, received the Robert H. Clampitt Legacy in Journalism Award from Children’s PressLine, a New York City nonprofit organization that teaches children about journalism. In the 1960s, he created the “eyewitness news” format, in which a television reporter acts as an eyewitness for the anchor, a technique that is still used today. This summer, he released an autobiography, Eyewitness Newsman (Primo News Services). He’s the CEO and executive producer of Eyewitness Kids News.

1960 Elizabeth Topping Mainiero SIS ’60G was honored with a Distinguished Service Award from Muskingum College in Ohio in recognition of her 40-year library science career. She’s a library consultant with Cupolo Consulting and serves on the board of Saint Timothy’s School in Maryland and as a trustee of Saint Timothy’s and Whitby schools in Connecticut.

1961 Regis Bobonis Sr. GSPIA ’61 was named a Legend in Journalism by the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation. A journalist since age 13, when he began writing a column for the Pittsburgh Courier (now the New Pittsburgh Courier), he worked for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and WPIC-TV Channel 11 for several decades. He’s vice president of the Daniel B. Matthews Historical Society in Sewickley, Pa., through which he’s researching the Tuskegee Airmen, the first group of Black pilots in the U.S. Air Force. The Pitt-sponsored WQED 2008 documentary about the airmen, Fly Boys, relied heavily on his research and expertise.

1963 Penina Kessler Lieber A&S ’63, ’73G, LAW ’86, an adjunct Pitt law professor, served as a faculty member for the Nonprofit Institute Program hosted by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute in May. She’s an attorney with the Pittsburgh office of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell and Hippel and is vice chair of the board of Drug Free Pennsylvania.

1971 Ina Mirow Silver A&S ’71 was promoted to community life director of Covenant at South Hills, a retirement community in Mt. Lebanon, Pa. She will manage event planning and supervise the transportation department.

1972 David Beck A&S ’72 was named president and CEO of Edison Industrial Systems Center, a consulting company in Toledo, Ohio, that provides engineering services to agricultural and food companies. Ian Frankel A&S ’72, a paramedic with the City of Pittsburgh, was elected as the employee representative for the city’s Comprehensive Municipal Pension Trust Fund.

1973 Michael D. McDowell LAW ’73, a Pittsburgh-based attorney and arbitrator, had several speaking engagements this summer, including two lectures for the basic mediation training programs hosted by the West Virginia State Bar and a talk at the National Labor-Management Conference in Washington, D.C. Gary P. Stoehr PHARM ’73 was named professor and founding dean of the D’Youville College School of Pharmacy in Buffalo, N.Y.

1975 Arthur B. Fox CGS ’75, ’88 wrote his second book, Our Honored Dead: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, in the American Civil War (Mechling Bookbindery). His first book, Pittsburgh During the American Civil War, 1860-1865 (Mechling Bookbindery), was published in 2002. Kathryn Lease Simpson KGSB ’75, LAW ’78 received the President’s Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association. She is chair emeritus of the association’s Federal Practice Committee. She’s an attorney with the Mette, Evans & Woodside law firm in Harrisburg, Pa.

1976 Robert S. Bernstein A&S ’76, an attorney and mediator, helped to settle 293 bankruptcy cases that were in dispute with Countrywide Home Loans this summer. He’s a managing partner of the Bernstein law firm in Pittsburgh and a member of the Association for Conflict Resolution. Bill Raynovich A&S ’76, GSPH ’84 was promoted to associate professor of emergency medical services education at Creighton University in Nebraska.

1977 Sidney B. Kaikai GSPIA ’77 joined the Pittsburgh branch of L. Robert Kimball & Associates, an engineering and architecture firm, as a senior transportation planner.

1978 Jack Tighe PHARM ’78 received the 2008 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Philadelphia region. He’s president and CEO of TMG Health, which provides administrative services for government-sponsored health plans. Robert Galardi CGS ’78 is director of major gifts for the Society of Yeager Scholars, an honors program at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va.

1979 Nancy Chubb KGSB ’79, EDUC ’93G was elected president of the Pennsylvania Psychological Association. She is the first psychologist with an MBA degree to hold the position. She is a founder of Fourth River Associates, a Pittsburgh firm that coaches business executives.

1980 Darlene Gambill Motley ENGR ’80, KGSB ’03 was appointed head of the Department of Management in the School of Business at Robert Morris University in Moon Township, Pa. She’s overseeing the undergraduate business program and the graduate programs in human resources management and nonprofit management. She’s also an associate professor and chair of the school’s ethics committee.

1981 C. Kurt Mulzet LAW ’81 was appointed to the Allegheny County Bar Association judiciary committee. He’s also a member of the association’s Family Law Section and is a senior associate with Pittsburgh law firm Jones, Gregg, Creehan and Gerace.

1986 Jay A. Blechman LAW ’86, a family law attorney, was elected president of the Allegheny County Bar Association. He’s a partner in the Pittsburgh law firm Steiner & Blechman.

1988 Joseph Schmadel ENGR ’88 was appointed president and CEO of Sun Precast Co., Inc., a manufacturer of architectural cast stone in Beaver Springs, Pa. Andrew E. Finkle A&S ’88 joined the Philadelphia office of Grant Thorton, an accounting firm, as a tax partner. He has more than 16 years’ experience in public accounting and tax consulting.

1990 John S. Shaffer GSPIA ’90, ’97 and his wife, Christine Shaffer, adopted a daughter, Linzi Ann, from China’s Jiangxi Province in January 2007. Douglas A. Jackson ENGR ’90, ’94G was promoted to director of operations and maintenance at the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority in Pittsburgh, where he has worked as an engineer for 18 years.

1992 Mark Vrabel SIS ’92G was named a “Mover and Shaker” by Library Journal magazine. He’s an information resources supervisor with the Oncology Nursing Society in Pittsburgh and was recognized for keeping nurses apprised of research on clinical practices for cancer patients.Mark Winston SIS ’92G, ’97G was named assistant chancellor and director of the John Cotton Dana Library at Rutgers University’s Newark, N.J., campus. He will oversee the library and the Institute of Jazz Studies, considered to be one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive archives of jazz and jazz-related materials.

1994 Brett A. McCrea GSPIA ’94 wrote Those Who Choose the Sword: Deciphering Modern Terrorism (Infinity Publishing). He’s president of Redland Analytics, a consulting firm in southern Delaware, and is an adjunct faculty member at Wilmington University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on the history and culture of terrorism. James Thomson KGSB ’94 was named senior vice president of human resources for Saint-Gobain companies in North America. Headquartered in Paris, the corporation manufactures and distributes building materials globally.

1995 Michael E. Bertin A&S ’95 was elected to the council and executive committee for the Family Law Section of the Pennsylvania Bar Association. He’s an associate in the Philadelphia law office of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell and Hippel. He’s also a co-chair of the Custody Committee and member of the executive committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

1995 Sean Weir CGS ’95 was named a product manager with Ferro Glass Systems in Washington, Pa., where he has worked as a chemist for more than 10 years. He will oversee sales and marketing for organic inks and coatings that are used to decorate glass containers.

1996 Joshua Goldberg LAW ’96 was appointed chair of the legislative committee for the American Biological Safety Association. He’s an attorney with Goldberg Legal Services in College Park, Md. Cara D. Appel-Silbaugh A&S ’96 is assistant dean of students and director of student conduct at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. She earned her PhD in college student personnel from the University of Maryland. This year, her doctoral thesis was named the Dissertation of the Year by the Association for Student Judicial Affairs.

1997 Brian R. Linton A&S ’97G was appointed assistant professor of chemistry at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. He focuses his research on the role of hydrogen in proteins and has published articles in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, The Journal of Organic Chemistry, Chemical Reviews, and the Journal of Chemical Education.

1998 Richard R. Harris LAW ’98 was appointed to the Philadelphia Prison System’s Board of Trustees by Mayor Michael Nutter this year. A partner in the law firm Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, he also hosts a weekly radio show, Court Radio.

1998 Michael Huffman ENGR ’98 and Lyn Weimer Huffman A&S ’98 founded Dwarf Dog Chuck, a graphic design company that develops logos, Web sites, and even baby clothes. They reside in Charleston, S.C., with their two children. Melanie Levin A&S ’98 married Gregg Perchick in May 2008. She received her master’s degree in taxation law from Philadelphia’s Temple University this year. Lauren Avellino Turton A&S ’98 joined Lisa Johnson Communications in Philadelphia as vice president.

1999 Katherine Stoehr A&S ’99 was appointed assistant commissioner for program policy and development with the New York City Administration for Children’s Services.

2001 Edwin L. Edwards Jr. LAW ’01 was appointed to the Hearing Committee of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. He’s an attorney with Burns, White and Hickton law firm in Pittsburgh, focusing on business, entertainment, and sports law. He’s a member of the firm’s diversity and marketing committees.

2002 Diana Tuorto A&S ’02 donated proceeds from her children’s novel, Janie’s New Legs (BookSurge Publishing), to the Somerset Hills Handicapped Riding Center and to Rerun, Inc., a thoroughbred horse adoption program, both in New Jersey. Kimberly Beth Price A&S ’02 graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree in May. She’s now a resident in internal medicine at UPMC Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh.

2002Patrick Graczyk EDUC ’02G was named a National Distinguished Principal by the U. S. Department of Education and the National Association of Elementary School Principals. He was honored for his work as principal of Grandview Elementary School in Tarentum, Pa.

2003 John Meier SIS ’03G and Mary Meier SIS ’03G announce the birth of their son, Henry Ellis, in April 2008. They reside in State College, Pa., where John works as a science librarian at the Pennsylvania State University.

2003Heather Turns CBA ’03 was promoted to director of marketing with Fiduciary360, a Sewickley, Pa.-based organization promoting fiduciary responsibilities through training, tools, and resources.

2004 Nicholas C. Marritz A&S ’04 received the William H. Gates Public Service Law Scholarship from the University of Washington School of Law. The prestigious award will support his legal studies, paving the way for a career in public service law. He was chosen for the scholarship, in part, because of his experience as a paralegal for a law firm representing union employees and as a campaign assistant with the International Labor Rights Fund in Guatemala.

2005 Rachel Buxbaum A&S ’05, a social worker at a foster-care agency in Philadelphia, led a delegation of Jewish adults on a Birthright Israel trip this year. While in the Middle East region, she participated in an interfaith peace delegation hosted by Interfaith Peace-Builders and the National Peace Foundation. She’s also a facilitator for the Jewish Dialogue Group in Philadelphia, which promotes open discussions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Carol L. Sedor Trent CGS ’05 won The American Society of Criminology’s student paper award in the international division last year for “Examining the Variability of Economic Crime Rates Cross-Nationally: A Partial Test of Institutional-Anomie Theory.” Karen Brooks-Reese SIS ’05G and Alexia Hudson SIS ’05G were each recognized as a “Mover and Shaker” by Library Journal magazine. Brooks-Reese was selected for her work with teenagers at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, where she has created numerous programs, including “Tell-a-Tale Theater,” in which teens read books and perform skits with younger children. Hudson was recognized for her efforts to help graduate students use libraries for professional development. She is the assistant librarian/reference librarian at the Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies.

2007 Amanda E. Palbus LAW ’07 was hired as an associate with the Pittsburgh law firm Burns, White, and Hickton. She specializes in workers compensation law.

In Memoriam

Jean Curtis Dodds EDUC ’37, a schoolteacher who hosted a Cleveland radio show featuring children’s literature and storytelling, died in February 2008 at age 90. During her career as an educator, she taught at schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Illinois. In her retirement, she continued to teach by tutoring adults in reading.

Rita Carey Nealon Harmeier A&S ’39, MED ’39, a pediatrician who practiced at The Children’s Home of Pittsburgh for several decades, died in July 2008 at age 93. At Pitt, she was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, the medical honor society.

Louise Conover Spray A&S ’43 died in June 2008 at age 87. At Pitt, she was president of the student chapter of the Young Women’s Christian Association. After graduation, she led YWCA teen programs in Washington, D.C., and New York City and became a charter member of the YWCA chapter in Oak Ridge, Tenn. In 2002, after nearly 50 years of service to the Oak Ridge chapter, she received the YWCA Lifetime Achievement Award.

Irving Shapiro DEN ’47, a private-practice dentist and faculty member at New York University’s College of Dentistry, died in February 2008 at age 88. He was a devoted member of the Park East Synagogue in New York City.

Thomas Giolas A&S ’60G, a retired professor and administrator at the University of Connecticut, died in May 2008 at age 75. During his 29-year tenure at the university, he served as head of the communication sciences department, as vice provost for research and graduate education, and as dean of the graduate school. After his retirement in 1997, he volunteered at the Center for Hellenic Studies, where he frequently spoke Greek, his first language.

Harry J. Farnbaugh EDUC ’64G died in July 2008 at age 80. For more than 30 years, he taught history and social studies at the Iroquois and Wesleyville high schools in Erie, Pa., where he also coached the schools’ football and baseball teams.

Evelyn Lee Singer Katz EDUC ’67, a Spanish teacher, died in June 2008 at age 62. She earned a master’s degree from the University of Michigan and taught Spanish at Richfield High School in Minnesota for 20 years.

Colin C. Sterne, a Pitt music professor for 38 years, died in July 2008 at age 86. He conducted the Men’s Glee Club and Collegium Musicum. He also founded the Renaissance and Baroque Society of Pittsburgh and was a prolific composer who studied at the Paris Conservatory. Prior to his hire at Pitt in 1948, he earned a master’s degree in composition from The Juilliard School.