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A Shady Maple

Friends of a young alum plant a tree on the Cathedral lawn to honor her memory.

Pamela K. Karpouzis's (Arts and Sciences '90) tight circle of college friends drew even closer together after she died. A terminal illness took their friend in the spring of 1994, when she was 25. Yet they felt the bonds they had with Karpouzis would never die.

So they decided to create a living memorial that would remain forever at Pitt, the place where they came to know and love her, says Sandra Woods (Education '95, '94, Arts and Sciences '90), one of Karpouzis's closest friends.

"At first we wanted a scholarship, then we realized it was beyond our means," she says. "None of us had been out of school very long, so we didn't have that much money." Instead, 10 of Karpouzis's close friends had a red maple tree planted in her honor last fall on the Cathedral of Learning lawn.

Several students from Pitt's Class of '90, Woods, Luisa Bonavita, Aylissa Kiely, Wendy Kunz, Cathy Cox, Todd Condron, Eileen Connor, Paul Friedrich, as well as Christine Gruber ('92) and Michael Caridi, a Duquesne University grad, each contributed $50 to cover the cost of the tree and its future maintenance.

Karen Whitehead of Pitt's Office of Institutional Advancement suggested planting a tree after hearing about other living memorials on campus. (There are six other memorial trees, part of a campus beautification program.)

"It was so touching," she says. "They were a group of young people who wanted to do something for a friend, and this tree and the commemorative plaque will always be there. If something happens to the tree, it will be replaced."

Karpouzis's friends' memory of her will live on as well. "She was a bright, kind, and beautiful person, a great friend," says Woods.

A member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, Karpouzis earned her bachelor's in political science, then graduated from the Widener University School of Law in Harrisburg in 1993. After graduation, she took a solitary month-long trip across the western United States. Not long after her return home to Lancaster, she suffered the recurrence of an illness she'd had 10 years earlier.

"She got to accomplish two dreams--her trip and graduating from law school," says Woods.

Perhaps students to come will contemplate their dreams under a shady red maple with a view of the Cathedral.

The Stein Sisters' Legacy

A gift to the Women's Studies
Program celebrates the determination
of Pitt's first alumnae.


Barbara Fetterman Moran (Business '33, Arts and Sciences '32) learned about "a woman's place" at an early age.

She barely reached her mother's knee when she first heard the proud story of her mother and aunt climbing Observatory Hill in 1895 to become the first women to attend the Western University of Pennsylvania, now Pitt. Margaret and Stella Stein did not receive a warm welcome: Their classmates in the Class of 1898 had voted not to admit women, but the University administration saw this as a way to boost enrollment. Her mother and aunt not only stuck it out through graduation, they tied for the valedictorian spot.

Moran hopes her recent gift of $1,000 to the Women's Studies Program at Pitt will encourage women to continue her family's legacy.

"The Women's Studies group has so many good ideas," Moran says. "I had such a lovely mother, and I wanted to honor her and my aunt."

Marianne Novy, director of the Women's Studies Program, says Moran's gift will support women scholars who are working on Women's Studies topics. "This award will provide support for travel to do research, to attend conferences useful to students' research, copying fees, books, and so forth." Such gifts, she adds, enable them to fund a whole new set of students in their research.

Healing Curriculum
A Titusville couple's foundation
helps redesign medical education.

A new generation of physicians graduated from the Pitt School of Medicine this spring. John Nesbit Rees (Medicine '50) and his wife, Sarah, helped make it happen.

Through a charitable foundation established in their will, the Titusville couple donated $300,000 to support the School of Medicine's new curriculum. Called Physicians in Two Thousand, or PITT, the curriculum represents a radical redesign of the way medical students learn their trade. (See "The Best Medicine" on page 14.)

This year's graduates are the first group trained under the innovative program from start to finish.

Richard W. Roeder, a trustee for the John Nesbit Rees and Sarah Henne Rees Foundation, says the couple earmarked much of their fortune for "education in the healing sciences." Supporting the PITT program seemed a natural way to fulfill their wishes. "Although many students go into medical school planning to become family practitioners, many come out as specialists," Roeder says. "We thought the Physicians in Two Thousand program would counter that."

Another Rees foundation trustee, Barbara L. Smith, says the PITT curriculum is a strong investment. "This initiative gave us the opportunity to advance a curriculum that treats the patient as a whole person," Smith says.

Medical schools have traditionally emphasized rote learning and exams in the first two years. Pitt's new approach brings students into contact with real patients and problems much earlier, so that they hone their interpersonal skills as they gain the necessary technical knowledge, says Sheldon Adler, the senior associate dean of the medical school.

"We wanted to increase attention to humanistic issues and the biosocial aspects of medicine, so we have increased the involvement of the community in the education of physicians," he says.

As a result, students are more enthusiastic about learning, and applications to the medical school are up.

Adler says the Rees Foundation's gift and other donations are essential to the program's success. They help pay for course materials and other expenses such as software, videos, and an interactive computer network. They also fund the new Office of Medical Education, which provides the support required by the PITT curriculum, including the resources needed to coordinate the activities of more than 300 medical students in a number of ambulatory and community primary care facilities.

Adler points out that tuition doesn't cover the full cost of providing medical education: "Gifts like this are especially important for us to keep improving the educational experience."

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