N O T E B O O K
After Carl Sandburg was shown the Nationality Rooms,
he said, "It is America singing."
Jim Gyure, president of the alumni group at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ), says he often describes himself as a Pitt-aholic: "I've been associated with the University all my adult life, starting as a student in 1968 as a member of the second freshman class at Johnstown and continuing now as UPJ director of admissions."
In 1986 ("after five years and 30,000 miles commuting evenings to Oakland"), Gyure earned an MFA that he says gave him the opportunity to do something different from his regular work. "I was a college administrator during the day, and then in the late afternoon I'd become a grad student in creative writing. I read my poetry at Hemingway's and was poetry editor of the Pennsylvania Review. It was hectic, but a tremendous experience."
In his position as admissions director, Gyure uses his writing expertise in the many marketing and recruiting publications that his office sends to prospective students. "I think the communications program that we've developed for recruiting has been an important part of the admissions success and the evolution of the college," he says.
Gyure, who is completing his second term as president of the UPJ group, has set specific goals. "We want to increase our membership by making more Johnstown alumni aware of the association, and we want to expand the range of our projects." In his first year as president, Gyure says membership was up by 50 percent, and numbers have remained strong.
"Since we've become a dues-paying organization, we've tried to reinforce the idea of alumni identity with University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown specifically--a very different campus from Pittsburgh. And we solicit our members with the understanding that they are also contributing to the larger alumni relations effort of the University." Although the transition to dues-paying status was fairly smooth, Gyure says it required a different perspective on how to communicate with members. "It asks people to take the step from just being an alum to declaring themselves as someone who actively and visibly supports alumni activities. It's a true indication of specific interest and help."
During the year, the UPJ association sponsors an annual Mountain Cat Basketball Tournament, a dinner theatre, a career fair, an annual Century Club dinner for donors (where Gyure acts as emcee), and other activities, including trips to Pittsburgh sporting events. "In the next few years, we want to increase activities that emphasize the alumni connection.
"We also have a scholarship fund. We contribute to an endowment for the Performing Arts Center. And we give small operating grants to students and faculty for help with special projects here on the Johnstown campus."
As president of the association, Gyure also sits on the Pitt Alumni Association board. "We meet quarterly, and as the representative for our association, I'm the channel of communication for our alums to know what's going on at both UPJ and at the University in general."
Jim's wife, Madeline, a 1972 graduate of Pitt's School of Health Related Professions, is also active in association activities, playing an important role often behind the scenes, Gyure says. "And we're keeping the Pitt tradition alive: Our oldest son is a junior at UPJ."
You're a Pitt grad and proud of it. You attend Homecoming, Panther football and basketball games. You might belong to a local Pitt club or affinity group. You might be a Golden Panther, and, over the years, you've probably contributed to the school you graduated from or to the Annual Fund drive. So, that must make you an official Alumni Association member, right?
Wrong. The Pitt Alumni Association is a dues-paying organization--one that is offering some terrific benefits. Through the Alumni Insurance Program, for instance, you'll have access to medical and group term life policies ranging from $10,000 to $150,000. You can enjoy substantial savings through the association's partnership with the PNC Mortgage Discount Program. The Private Reserve Credit Line offers a revolving line of credit up to $35,000. The affinity credit card program benefits you, the Association, and the University.
In addition, association membership provides career guidance through the Placement Service and AlumNet, as well as discounts on Bell Atlantic Nynex Mobile cellular phone service, car rentals, hotel accommodations, and University Press and Book Center purchases.
Also, the University benefits when you join. By becoming a member of the fast-growing Alumni Association family, you become a partner in support of the University through student recruitment, legislative relations, continuing education, scholarships, and alumni advocacy.
For more information on becoming a member of the Pitt Alumni Association, just call (412)624-8229 or 1-800-ALU-Pitt (fax: (412)624-8248). Annual single membership fees are $35 ($45 joint).
Or become a life member with one simple payment of $1,250 single ($1,500 joint). So sign up and take advantage of everything the Pitt Alumni Association offers.
President, Andrew J. Kuzneski, Jr.
President-Elect, Cynthia Roth
Vice President, Samuel S. Zacharias
Vice President, Michael Bryson
Secretary, Eva T. Blum
Treasurer, Brian Generalovich
Immediate Past President,
PITT ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
Thomas Mellon spent five years and $500 at the Western University, forerunner of the University of Pittsburgh, taking time out now and then to work on the family farm. --Pitt by Robert C. Alberts.
Since Lantern Night was established at the University of Pittsburgh in 1920 as a special welcoming for freshman women, the ceremony has undergone many changes. On the most recent Lantern Night, participants assembled in the Commons Room, received their lanterns, and processed to Heinz Chapel for the service. Afterward, the women recessed with their candles, in the dark, to the Cathedral of Learning where a joint reception was held with the freshman men who were enjoying their second-ever Night of the Panther ceremony in the Commons Room.
Sue Webreck Alman (Library and Information Science '85, '78), past president of the Alumnae Council and author of a brief history of Lantern Night, says that the ceremony has been held in various locations on campus, including the Heinz House, the lawn between the Cathedral of Learning and Heinz Chapel, the Carnegie Music Hall, and the Stephen Foster Memorial. This year's change to Heinz Chapel was made to make more seating available.
Lanterns have also changed, says Alman. "In the early years, freshmen carried Japanese lanterns. These were discarded, however, after the attack on Pearl Harbor. In their place, modern American paper lanterns were used." Eventually, for safety's sake, metal lanterns were introduced. Alman says, "For many years, these lanterns were copies of the study lamps that students used in 1787." This year, however, in an effort to lower costs, a new version of the lanterns was distributed.
Recently, the Alumnae Council, which co-sponsors Lantern Night, established a fund for the purchase of lanterns. Anyone wishing to contribute should send a check payable to the "University of Pittsburgh," 300 Craig Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260.
The Alumni Office sends you holiday greetings and best wishes for a happy 1936. A little prosperity would be nice, too, but most of us have learned to be happy without it. --Alumni Review