March 2001


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Greek Week, early 1980s
Spotlight on Alumni

Connecting with the Past

From the time Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer (Information Sciences ’71) was 12, genealogy was her passion. It started when her father asked: "Did you know your great-great-great grandmother was married seven times?" Years later, after returning to the States from Saudi Arabia, where her father worked, Crawford-Oppenheimer launched a search that eventually spawned a part-time career. She also determined that, despite family lore, her ancestor’s past "was a fish story." The woman had in fact been married only four times, Crawford-Oppenheimer says. Crawford-Oppenheimer eventually incorporated that lesson—document every tale—among hundreds of other tips, in her newly published Long-Distance Genealogy (Betterway Books). More important, the field gave Crawford-Oppenheimer an identity. "Having grown up overseas, I didn’t have a strong sense of roots. Doing the genealogy gave me a place to call home," she says, from the Culinary Institute of America where she works as a librarian and archivist. In its collection she recently discovered a 1935 menu from the Sante Fe Railroad, the same railroad her grandfather once worked for. Says a delighted Crawford-Oppenheimer: "You can find connections everywhere."—David R. Eltz

Arts and Sciences

Laurence F. McNamee ’57, a columnist for the Dallas Morning News, writes to say that he was recently interviewed on the History Channel on the relationship between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling. McNamee first met Louis in 1935. Judith F. Krug ’62 is the executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation and has just been reelected to a six-year term as one of Phi Beta Kappa’s 24 senators. George DeTitta ’73 has been named CEO and executive director at Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute in Buffalo. In addition to overseeing research, he will continue his work in developing new crystal growth techniques. Arturo C. Porzecanski ’75, ’74 is the new head of emerging markets, economics, and debt strategy, with the title of managing director, at ABN AMRO, the largest foreign bank company operating in the United States. B. J. Dunmire Leber ’76 is now vice president and station manager of WQED Pittsburgh, the public radio and television broadcaster for Southwestern Pennsylvania. Andrew S. Birrell ’77, of Birrell Dunlap & Ritts, is among the 50 best appellate lawyers in Minnesota, according to a survey of attorneys in that state. Lee Lilienthal ’77 e-mails, "After 17 years in broadcast sales, I changed careers and am now director of recruiting for Hurwitz, Kroll & Partners, a financial services firm in Miami." George Spilich ’80 is the first holder of the John Toll Chair at Washington College in Maryland. Spilich is professor and chair in the psychology department, and his appointment recognizes his outstanding teaching, research, and service to the college. Bernard E. Whitley ’83, ’79 is a fellow of the American Psychological Association. A professor of psychology at Ball State University, Whitley was elected by his peers for exceptional and outstanding contributions to the field. Judith Dorian ’84, ’80 e-mails that she is collecting stories, poetry, and articles for a book entitled Cleaning House: A Metaphor for Spiritual Transformation. She welcomes contributors to "describe the reordering or cleaning of their homes or more dramatic changes in the reordering of their homes following the death of a spouse or other family members." She can be reached at Russell E. Martin, ’86, delivered a lecture on sixteenth and seventeenth-century Russian bride shows, from which the tsar would chose his future wife, at Harvard University in October. He teaches history at Westminster College. Paula (Kovach) Brandt ’87 presented a workshop on resumé writing and job hunting at Pitt. In 1998, she beat out entries from four countries to win best curriculum vitae at a convention of the Professional Association of Resumé Writers. Arzu Arda Kosar ’93, a member of the fine arts faculty at the University of Southern California, recently organized the "International Survey of Alternative Artscenes," which represented art events in California, New York, New Zealand, Thailand, and Turkey. Elizabeth K. Chaitin ’96, Social Work ’88, General Studies ’87, ’85, was appointed director of medical ethics and supportive care services, a new department, at UPMC Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh. Lorien Clemens ’97 is a visiting assistant professor of theater arts at Illinois Wesleyan University. She has also acted and worked as the vocal and dialect coach at the Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia.


Robert Grigsby ’50 appears in the 2001-2002 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. He is a partner with Cohen & Grigsby in Pittsburgh. Michael Lowenstein ’66, managing director of Customer Retention Associates in Collings-wood, New Jersey, is the co-author of Customer Winback: How to Recapture Lost Customers and Keep Them Loyal (Jossey-Bass), his third book. Eddie N. Moore Jr. ’75 is president of Virginia State University and was honored in New York last fall by the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund.


Roy Ahlgren ’80 is an Erie, Pennsylvania, artist whose work has been shown in museums in Poland, Japan, France, Norway, and Sweden, as well as in the United States. Michael Bertonaschi ’85 has joined Nellie Mae, which provides federal loans for students, as a regional account executive. Starting as an admissions and financial aid counselor at the University, Bertonaschi later served as director of financial aid at La Roche and Chatham Colleges. Anne Woodsworth ’87 assumed her new position as dean of the Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science last year. She had been dean of the Palmer School of Library and Information Science at Long Island University for the previous seven years. Frances O. Thomas ’96 managed educational and career programs for Junior Achievement in Florida before teaming up with Anita Posner to write Dream Jobs: Exploring Careers through Student Video Productions (Woodshire Publishing).


William M. Hoffman ’61, an attorney with Buchanan Ingersoll’s financial services group in Pittsburgh, has written the four-volume Commercial Transaction Guide for West’s Pennsylvania Forms and Commentary Series. Robert F. Testin ’66, ’63 has retired as professor and chair of Clemson University’s packaging science department. Testin was a founding member of the department in 1987 and has been named to the Packaging Hall of Fame.

General Studies

Sandra McVeigh ’90 was promoted to senior account executive by Yearick-Millea, a Pittsburgh public relations and advertising firm. She had been an adjunct faculty member and co-director of the business and professional communications curriculum at Duquesne University.

Information Sciences

Arun Arunachalam ’00 is working as an applications designer for Teradyne in Nashua, New Hampshire.


Robert Sedler ’59, Arts and Sciences ’56, has been named to the Walter Gibbs Chair in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties at Wayne State University Law School. John Lyncheski ’70 and Lawrence Lebowitz ’87, both of Cohen & Grigsby in Pittsburgh, appear in the 2000-2001 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. George T. Snyder ’88 was elected to the Chautauqua Institution Board of Trustees. A partner in Stonecipher, Cunningham, Beard & Schmitt in Pittsburgh, he is a member of the fifth generation of his family to spend summers at the New York institution devoted to the arts, education, religion, and recreation. Joseph W. Lazzaro ’89, of Kratzenberg and Lazzaro in White Oak, Pennsylvania, delivered the keynote lecture to the Pennsylvania Earned Income Tax Officers Association last fall. Kent A. Bronson ’98 specializes in securities fraud and antitrust litigation at Wolf Popper in New York and is co-author of an article recently published in the New York Law Journal.


Steven C. Beering ’58, Arts and Sciences ’54, president emeritus of Purdue University, was inducted into the Purdue University Calumet Hall of Fame last September. Howard K. Rabinowitz ’71 has been elected to the Institute of Medicine. He is professor of family medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.


Eleanor M. Stittich ’54, ’51 is professor emerita of nursing at California State University, Fresno, and was honored by inclusion in the Teachers Honor Wall of Fame.

Public Health

Coleen Boyle ’81, ’78 is the new director of the Division of Birth Defects, Child Development, and Disability and Health at the National Center for Environmental Health, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

In Memoriam

Charles H. Boyd Jr., Law ’35, died at the age of 91 on July 1, 2000. He had worked as tax counsel for Westinghouse for 30 years. Karl B. Christie, Medicine ’53, Arts and Sciences ’48, died October 9, 2000, at the age of 77. During World War II, he served as a combat medic in Europe, an experience that led him to choose a career in medicine. He is survived by his wife, Jean, their four children, and two sisters, one of whom, Dorothy Christie Scott, also graduated from the School of Medicine. David Alan Dickinson, Engineering ’48, died April 22, 2000. Wounded in the Battle of the Bulge while serving with the army’s 83rd Infantry Division, he later worked in the metal-forming industry before becoming president of Girard Associates, a mechanical engineering firm. Grant Richardson Doering, Arts and Sciences ’62, ’54, ’50, died on May 3, 1999. He had retired in 1991 after teaching biological sciences for 33 years at Bryn Athyn College of the New Church in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania. Mildred Alice Disbrow, Nursing ’54, ’52, died at the age of 83 on October 3, 2000. An emerita professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Washington, she had helped develop the doctorate in nursing science program there and was a founding member of the American College of Nurse-Midwives. Ernie Hefferle, Education ’48, died at the age of 85. A member of the Pitt football coaching staff at different times from the 1950s to the ’70s, Hefferle also served as head coach at Boston College and later had a long career in the NFL, including a brief stint as head coach of the New Orleans Saints. Frances B. Huffman, Education ’54, was 86 when she died on September 21, 2000, in Washington, Pennsylvania. Until retirement in 1978, she had taught business education at Trinity High School. Robert W. Nickeson, Medicine ’43, died in Naples, Florida, on October 12, 2000. The son of blind parents, Nickeson decided to become an ophthalmologist for that reason, serving as president of the Pittsburgh Ophthalmological Society and chief of eye service at Allegheny General Hospital, as well as teaching at Eye and Ear Hospital. Stephen C. Morse, Education ’98, died suddenly at the age of 31 on October 9, 1999, in Brockton. He is survived by his parents. Mary Elizabeth Powers, Education ’28, died in Pittsburgh at the age of 92. From a family of teachers, she too was a teacher, working for the Fox Chapel Area School District. Reuben E. Slesinger, Arts and Sciences ’40, ’38, Business ’36, a University professor emeritus of economics, died October 30, 2000. He was 84. Slesinger taught at Pitt for more than 50 years. During his career, Slesinger consulted with countless corporations, law firms, and government departments in the areas of antitrust, mergers, and cost analysis.

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