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 March 2002
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Spotlight on Alumni
Homecoming

Members of the 1947 Pitt cheerleading squad. From left to right, Jack Barilar, Franklin Blackstone, and Joe Arena. Center front: Ralph J. Miller. What was 1947’s most memorable moment on campus? Send your recollection to pittmag@pitt.edu. If your response is judged the best, you’ll win a gift certificate for a hot dog and fries at the Original Hot Dog Shop. (Last issue’s winner was Bruce D. Mountjoy, CGS ’91)


Alumni spotlights

A New Act: Mark Schwartz
Remembering the Holocaust: Eugene Cohen
Nevermore: Tony Magistrale


 

Alumni notes

Arts and Sciences

Grace Zischakau Baumeister ’52 writes that after living in Cincinnati for 41 years, she has moved and would welcome correspondence at her new residence: Somerset Apartment 120, 1401 West Holmes Road, Lansing, Michigan, 48910-0368. Samuel Alioto ’71 announced the development of a new dental micronutrient dietary supplement called Dentaplex, produced by his St. Louis, Missouri-based company, MediNiche, and CollaGenex Pharmaceuticals. Alioto says discussions with other Pitt alumni, including dentists Constance Rohm ’77 and Thomas Monda ’80, were crucial in the development of this new product. Author and licensed psychotherapist Dennis Palumbo ’73 writes that his latest book, Writing From the Inside Out, is available at bookstores, and on-line from amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. Anthony Glascock ’73 is vice provost for academic affairs at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Formerly dean of that university’s college of arts and sciences, Glascock is also director of the Center of Applied Neurogerontology and professor of anthropology in the department of culture and communication. Patricia Bentivenga ’74, professor emerita of Spanish at Saint Francis University, recently published Parody in the Genero Chico, a Spanish-language book. She and her husband Joseph ’75 live in Loretto, Pennsylvania. Daniel Stuthers ’77, vice president of sales for the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railway Company, is 2001-2002 president of the Traffic Club of Pittsburgh, a trade association that encourages and protects trade and commerce. Donna Senft ’78 is a first-year associate practicing health law in the Baltimore office of law firm Ober Kaler. Gwenn Rosenthal ’79 writes: “I am an optometrist in the Philadelphia area specializing in the delivery of vision care services to the elderly. I was selected by the Anabaptist Services Alliance, a consortium of five retirement communities and skilled nursing facilities, to serve as their staff optometrist.” She and her husband Phillip ’77 (Law ’80) have one son, Felix, who recently celebrated his sixth birthday. Lynne Nigro ’85 is a marketing consultant with Alliance Leadership Group, a Chicago-based consultancy firm. Harrison Levine ’86 is a fourth-year student at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, a school that operates in conjunction with Columbia University in New York City. His studies have taken him to Ethiopia, Scotland, and back to Pittsburgh. After six years with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Sonya Henderson ’87 is vice president of regulatory affairs and compliance of Horizon/Mercy, New Jersey’s largest healthcare management organization. Andrew Finkle ’88 is director of taxation at the certified public accounting firm of Karp, Ronning & Tindol in Savannah, Georgia. Scott Quigley ’89 is an optometrist at the new Wal-Mart Supercenter in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. He and his wife Sandra ’90 live in Erie with their two sons. Sandra McVeigh ’90 is vice president with Yearick-Miller, a Pittsburgh-based public relations and advertising agency. Maureen Cross Bolden ’92 is an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. David Marron ’93, who is finishing his residency in general surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, has received a master’s degree in business administration from Drexel University. Charles Heller ’94, an intern at Tenet-Graduate Hospital in Philadelphia, received his degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Didier Course ’95 has been granted tenure and is an associate professor of French at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. Christopher Colosimo ’95 (Pitt-Bradford) is an intern at St. Luke’s Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, after receiving his degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. John Barnes ’95 published his 21st book, The Merchants of Souls, for Tor/St. Martins. Now residing in Denver, the full-time freelance writer will publish four more books in 2002, in addition to the 50 articles he has written for the fourth edition of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance. Jehrib Cabarlo ’96, who received a doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, is working at an internship at Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, California. LaDawn Pugh ’97 (Pitt-Bradford) is manager in the assurance and advisory business services practice of Ernst & Young’s Pittsburgh office. Sean-Michael Green ’98, who is working toward a law degree at Cornell University, launched SES College Services, a company that helps students with employment searches. Romy Shinn ’00, a marketing assistant with First Citizens National Bank in Mansfield, Pennsylvania, has published several poems in Pennsylvania English. Joseph Penska ’01 is district manager of Vector Marketing Corporation’s Greensburg, Pennsylvania, office.

Business

Edmond Russ ’67 is partner and chief marketing and sales officer in the Chicago, Illinois, office of Grant Thornton LLP, an accounting, tax, and management consulting firm. Russ will also serve as a member of the firm’s leadership and senior management team, reporting directly to the firm’s CEO. Jeffrey Broker ’84 is 2001-2002 president of the Southwestern Chapter of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants. A sole practitioner, Broker lives in Apollo, Pennsylvania, and is a member of the Monroeville Chamber of Commerce, the Italian-American Citizens Club of Turtle Creek, and the Pennsylvania Association of Notaries. Jerry Fedele ’86 (CAS ’75) is a board member of the Community College of Allegheny County’s Educational Foundation. Fedele, senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary of the West Penn Allegheny Health System, is active in many community organizations, including the board of Hospital Home Health Services, Inc., and the CCAC Board of Trustees. Gary Haberland ’92 is founder and chief designer for Genicon USA and Genicon Europe, which design, manufacture, and distribute a range of trocar and cannula systems throughout the world.

Education

Tamara Gillis ’97 is the 2001-2002 research foundation chairperson for the International Association of Business Communicators. An associate professor of communication at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Gillis is the first educator to fill this role for the international network of professionals in the communications field.

Engineering

Mark Coticchia ’88, ’79, senior director of Redleaf Group, a Pittsburgh-based technology operating company, is adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Carnegie Mellon University. Coticchia serves on the board of directors of several high-tech companies, and was co-founder of Lycos, a company that provides products and services to find information on the Internet. He has authored several books on technical management issues, and serves as editor of the Marcel Dekker, Inc., book series, Computer-Aided Engineering.

General Studies

Bob Davis ’78 is creator of the six-year-old Internet website, Soul-Patrol.com, which provides information about all genres of African-American music and artists. In addition to the website, there is a daily electronic newsletter that has more than 5,000 subscribers, and a Soul-Patrol radio station. This site is often used as a classroom tool and several Soul-Patrol chapters have formed, including one in Pittsburgh that is led by WJJJ-FM radio personality Kevin Amos. More information about Soul-Patrol can be found at its Website, www.soul-patrol.com.

Information Sciences

David Brennan ’91 is electronic services librarian at the Clifford E. Barbour Library at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Law

Jack Olender ’57 has been board-certified as a trial advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy, the only national board certification for trial attorneys. Certification requires independent peer review by judges and attorneys, as well as successful completion of a daylong exam. Garland McAdoo ’72, a shareholder in the law firm Tucker Arensberg, was elected to the board of the trustees of Point Park College. Joseph Lazzaro ’89 delivered the legal lecture for the 34th annual statewide conference of the Pennsylvania Earned Income Tax Officers Administrators and Collectors Association in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Lazzaro, a partner in Kratzenberg & Lazzaro in Pittsburgh, spoke on “Successful Tax Collection in Pennsylvania.” Jess Amchin ’91 is vice president for medical affairs with international biopharmaceutical company Cephalon, Inc. Amchin is responsible for overseeing the development of the company’s three proprietary compounds, as well as medical information and publications.

Medicine

Vincent Verdile (Emergency Medicine Intern ’87), a former assistant professor of medicine and associate chief of clinical affairs in the division of emergency medicine at Pitt, is the first emergency medicine resident from the University to be named dean of a medical school. Verdile, who was selected by a unanimous vote, is the 17th dean of Albany Medical College in New York. In this position, he oversees more than 1,700 staff members, and serves as a member of the institution’s senior management group, the Executive Management Council, as well as serving as an attending physician in the department of emergency medicine. Scott Thornton ’86, a clinical professor of surgery at Yale University School of Medicine and a colon and rectal surgeon practicing in Bridgeport, Connecticut, was selected by New York Magazine as one of the best doctors in the tri-state (New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut).

Pharmacy

Ralph Progar ’71 received the Harold W. Pratt Award from the National Association of Chain Drug Stores at the group’s annual conference in Chicago last fall. Progar, vice president of pharmacy relations for the Eckerd Corporation, was recognized for his dedication to the profession and his passion for community pharmacy. The Pratt Award winner is nominated and selected by peers within the industry.

Public Health

Susan Slaugenhaupt ’91, ’88, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, has made several important discoveries in the field of genetics, some of which will be published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics. Her colleague Jim Acierno (CAS ’97) writes that he worked with Slaugenhaupt on her discovery of the gene responsible for Mucolipidosis Type IV, a rare disease among the Jewish population, which causes mental retardation, as well as provided some support on her work in finding the gene that causes familial dysautonomia, a disorder of the nervous system. Elizabeth Cohn ’97 is vice president of operations for UPMC’s Pittsburgh Clinical Research Network. In this newly created position, she is responsible for all clinical operations of PCRN, helps advance overall business development objectives, and oversees subject recruitment and retention. As part of her longstanding association with UPMC, Cohn co-founded and directed the clinical trials program in the department of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and was a prominent figure in the start-up of PCRN in mid-1998.

Alumni Spotlights
A new act

One Sunday afternoon six years ago, Mark Schwartz (Law ’79) found himself crying and screaming in front of his son’s computer. The recent death of a close friend and the theft of his briefcase containing important tax information sparked the outburst. With career problems leaving him just short of declaring bankruptcy, Schwartz’s life was not what he’d envisioned.Looking back, he had expected a successful, organized future. While his high school friends flipped burgers during the summer, Schwartz interned at the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. After graduating from Swarthmore College, he went on to Pitt law school instead of pursuing his acting bug. Basically, he made the sensible decisions.

At 47-years-old, Schwartz decided to make a decision from the heart. He pushed to the background 20 years of legal work as an attorney and enrolled in a theater class. Even though he hadn’t acted since Swarthmore, he quickly landed a leading role in Cruelties, an off-off Broadway play in New York City.

“I was pushed to take risks I might not otherwise have taken,” he says of his renewed interest in the theater, which was coupled with his corporate career struggles. He still dabbles in law with a home-based practice, but he considers himself first and foremost an actor. “On stage,” he says, “all of my senses are very active. Never has time gone so quickly in anything I’ve ever done.”

—Mark Dragotta 

Nevermore

To many scholars, authors of gothic horror are little more than the black sheep of the American literature family. However, that never scared away Tony Magistrale (Arts and Sciences ’81, ’76).

The Buffalo, New York, native became interested in Gothic literature as an undergraduate at Allegheny College, where he studied with Frederick Frank, an Edgar Allen Poe scholar. That interest peaked when Magistrale arrived here for his graduate studies.

“I came to Pitt to study Victorian literature under Richard Tobias,” Magistrale says. “But I developed a fascination for American literature. Under the tutelage of Tom Philbrick, I was able to pursue Poe in a more scholarly way.”After a one-year post-doctoral Fulbright scholarship at the University of Milan, Magistrale accepted a post at the University of Vermont in 1983. Now a full professor of English there, he’s continuing his studies and teachings on Gothic writers, particularly Poe. In fact, his third book on the author, Student Companion to Edgar Allan Poe (Greenwood Press) was published last year.

Now, Magistrale says it’s time to move on, though he hasn’t strayed too far from the tradition of Poe. Magistrale is at work on a book that looks at films based on the fiction of Stephen King.

“There really isn’t anything out there on that subject,” Magistrale points out. He seems to enjoy focusing on a new subject, as he says with a chuckle, “No mo’ Poe!”

—Debra Martin Koma

Remembering the Holocaust 

The young Army officer from tiny Wampum, Pennsylvania, saw some of the bloodiest battles of World War II as Gen. George Patton’s Third Army fought its way across Europe in the winter of 1944.

Yet nothing prepared Maj. Eugene S. Cohen for what he saw at the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria in May 1945. He found the dead and dying stacked on pushcarts and lying in heaps on the ground, abandoned by the Nazis when they fled the Allies.

“It was the worst sight I ever saw,” says Cohen (CAS ’36), lead investigator of war crimes at Mauthausen, among the worst of the German death camps, where inmates were worked to death in a quarry or tortured for amusement. Half of the estimated 200,000 people imprisoned there between 1938 and 1945 died.

“They put a sign up, ‘Major Eugene Cohen is investigating crimes against humanity,’” he says. “All of the Jewish people there came rushing to see me. I didn’t have any answers for them. I felt useless.”

Cohen and his team pressed on, taking depositions from dozens of prisoners and guards, documenting their work with still photos and movies. “I had my heart and soul in this thing,” Cohen says. “I had double conviction. I was there because I was an American officer, and I was there because I was Jewish.”

After the war, he settled in Pittsburgh. Today, the former executive with National Steel and financial planner is semi-retired. He is a charter member of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. On display there are the excerpts from his investigation.

He has never forgotten what he encountered. “I felt it with my own hands. I saw it with my own eyes. I tasted it with my own tongue. I was there.”

—Jason Togyer

(Cohen photograph © Holocaust Center* of the United Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, used with permission.)

*—denotes an external link. Links to external websites are offered for informational purposes only and the information there is not guaranteed or endorsed by the University of Pittsburgh or its affiliates.

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