June 2002


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Scholarship Patriarch

Turn back the clocks to 1993. Bill Zamboni is a graduate student in the School of Pharmacy. The school’s dean, Randy Juhl, walks up to him, hands him a paper, and asks him one question. “Interested?”

In 1993, Alumni Association Executive Director Lee Patouillet presented Bill Zamboni with the first graduate scholarship. Today, Zamboni chairs the scholarship committee.
The mysterious piece of paper was an application for the first Pitt Alumni Association Graduate Scholarship. Interested? Yes. Qualified? Zamboni wasn’t so sure.

“I never thought I would have a chance with hundreds and hundreds of applicants,” he says.

The scholarship committee had more confidence in Zamboni. After all, he graduated second in his undergraduate pharmacy class (not to mention summa cum laude) and was a member of a half-dozen honor societies and organizations. The committee awarded him the one-time $5,000 scholarship.

When Zamboni got the news, he immediately called his parents. They were used to good news from him. There was the time he graduated valedictorian of his Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania, high school class. And there was the time he set the record for most championship games played in his high school’s district—five, in case you were wondering: three in basketball, one in football, and one in baseball.

The scholarship was the culmination of the hard work he had put into his education. His parents reacted to the scholarship news like any parents would. They were proud. They should be. Consider the scholarship criteria. It’s competitive with a capital C, requiring three letters of recommendation (one from a dean or department chair) and a minimum 3.5 GPA. The list goes on from there.

Now wind the clock forward to the present. Zamboni remains tied to the scholarship, except now he’s not a recipient. He’s the chair of the Alumni Association Scholarship Committee, helping others get through graduate school and, yes, helping them share the good news with their parents.
—Diana Moffo

Theresa Erb and her father, Francesco Mancuso
Father Knows Best

After another day of working with concrete slabs, a fatigued cement mason returns from work. Opening the door to his modest home, Francesco Mancuso is greeted by his wife. She is busy preparing the family meal. The mouth-watering aroma of homemade ravioli, his favorite dish, fills the air.

He sits at the dinner table with his family and they join hands to pray. He smiles at what makes his daily grind worthwhile, his four daughters.

Dinner was a daily lesson in the importance of family for the four girls, including the second oldest, Theresa. The food wasn’t bad, either. “Mamma can cook,” she boasts. Her husband, Dan Erb (BUS ’97), evidently agrees. “I think my mom won Dan over for me,” she says. It’s evident there are a few other reasons, too.

Although she has a laid-back demeanor, it’s clear her sense of family values and her father’s work ethic motivate Theresa Mancuso Erb. Having just graduated from the School of Medicine, her academic track record demonstrates a drive for success. As an undergraduate here, she was a member of the dean’s list; in 1997 she received her BS in biology magna cum laude. On top of that, she has logged hundreds of hours of research work and community service with institutions such as the Salvation Army. The Alumni Association thought enough of her to award her a scholarship for her final year of medical school.

To help balance the stress of such a rigorous routine, she practices yoga and trains to run marathons—the Pittsburgh Marathon to be exact, including this year’s race and the ones in 2000 and 1999. These extras, she says, “help you to focus.” She attributes her drive to that ravioli-dinner Old World heritage and discipline.

“My father always taught us to take advantage of our opportunities,” especially educational opportunities that he didn’t have as a child growing up in Calabria, Italy. If any of his girls got off track, he wasn’t bashful about getting them back on course. “His look,” recalls Mancuso Erb, “would immediately [stop] my sisters and me when we were younger.” There is little need for that look today. In addition to Mancuso Erb, the other three daughters are graduates here: Cecilia (PHARM ’96), Linda (CAS ’98), and Lucia (CAS ’02).
—Ernie Davis Brown

Koral’s Korner

A Look Back Through
Tangerine-Colored Glasses

Christmas came early for the Pittsburgh Panthers football team last year. The players and fans got tangerines not coal. Alumni turned out in force for the December 20th Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Florida. Not only did they cheer the team to victory, they found some time to enjoy the sun and fun Orlando has to offer. Panther Headquarters, located at the Caribe Royale Hotel, buzzed with activity long before game day. Coach Walt Harris’s wife Nancy and son Brett were seen posing for a picture with a life-size photo cutout of Walt. Nick Francalancia, LAW ’74, proved his good luck by winning a jacket. Some alumni lent a hand as the festivities geared up. Joe Mills, BUS ’99, for example, was seen blowing up balloons, and Becky Brandt, CAS ’88, sold tickets to the Tangerine Jam, the big party the night before the game. At the pre-game pep rally, Becky’s husband and fellow Band Alumni Council member, Joe, CAS ’82 led the crowd in a cheer. Meanwhile, Bebe Miller, CAS ’50, MD ’55, and his wife Gwen, EDU ’83, (whose flight had been delayed on their way to the Bowl last year) got stuck for a time this year in Charlotte, North Carolina, when a breach in security stopped traffic. (Next bowl, you may want to find out which flight they are on and book a different one.) Jim Duratz (of Panthers South Side complex fame) was seen at the ESPN Zone as were Jack Smith, MD ’73, and his wife Georgia, CAS ’70, and the Bigleys, Tom, BUS ’56, and Joan. The Alumni Pool Party at Caribe Royale was the place to be. Association Board of Directors member Jim McCarl, CGS ’73, met and greeted arriving party goers. Among those in attendance were voice of the Panthers Bill Hilgrove, former Panthers football greats Bill Fralic, Bill Osborne, and, filling out the “Bill brigade,” Bill Cherpak, CAS ’90. Also seen there were Dave Chitester, ENG ’74, (who, as a Florida resident, already had his tan in place), Joel Reed, CAS ’93, BUS ’96, GSPH ’96, and his wife Tina, CAS ’94, DEN ’97, and Joe and Joan Smith (ENG ’58). John Petersen, BUS ’51, (the namesake of Petersen Events Center) and his son John stopped by as did the Silvermans, Arnie, LAW ’62, and Sue, CAS ’59, and Bob Schwartz, SSW ’67. At the game, Sam Zacharias, CAS ’64, was seen cheering up a storm as were Russell Miller, BUS ’40, Alex Minno, CAS ’43, MD ’47, (in his inimitable football pants) and Mike White, a.k.a. Crazy Paco. Ed Mundt, CGS ’96, KGSB ’01, was there, and so were three generations of the Cully family, Bill, CAS ’49, Bart, and Ryan. Dick Rhea traveled to the game from Friedens, Pennsylvania. In the Alumni Association’s Tangerine Bowl Scrapbook he wrote that he had open-heart surgery less than a year before and never thought he would attend the bowl or any other game. He said he hoped the Panthers had the heart to beat the other team. With fans like that, how could they lose?

Officers: President Samuel S. Zacharias (Arts and Sciences ’64), Gateway Financial Group, Inc. — President-elect Eva Tansky Blum (Law ’73, Arts and Sciences ’70), PNC Bank — First Vice President Michael A. Bryson (Arts and Sciences ’68), Mellon Bank Corporation — Second Vice President Susan Schindel Ellsweig (Education ’68), Carlson Wagonlit Travel — Secretary S. Jeffrey Kondis (Business ’82, Engineering ’77), Watson Standard Company — Treasurer Ruth A. Forsyth (Arts and Sciences ’76), The Acacia Group — Immediate Past President Cynthia Roth (Nursing ’81) — Executive Director Leland D. Patouillet (Education ’00), Alumni Association.1-800-ALU-PITT; Fax: (412) 624-8248

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