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A Century of Heroes

On a frigid morning in 1904, men and teenage boys huddled in metal cages at the Harwick coal mine near Pittsburgh. As usual, the cages carried them down 200 feet, until the dank tunnels held 180 miners. A few laid dynamite to expose more coal. They didn’t know that ice clogged the airshaft; odorless methane gas filled the cavern. The charge blasted cages from the ground.

Men from neighboring towns rushed to Harwick. One was Pittsburgher Selwyn Taylor, a mining engineer; another was Daniel Lyle, a miner from nearby Leechburg. Both entered the mine’s abyss to search for survivors, not knowing that only one miner survived the blast. Both died from lingering gas fumes.

Andrew Carnegie, the wealthy industrialist, was inspired by their altruistic courage. He created the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission in 1904 to find and honor civilian heroes. “I don’t believe there’s a nobler fund in the world,” he said. Since then, the commission has awarded more than 8,800 medals and $27 million to recognize individual acts of selfless bravery. A Century of Heroes (University of Pittsburgh Press), edited by the commission’s director of external affairs, Douglas R. Chambers (CAS ’66), commemorates the program’s centennial story and those unexpected heroes who walk among us.
—Cindy Gill

Ralph Nader: A Biography

A student asks Patricia Cronin Marcello (CAS ’74) and other Pitt classmates, while they’re sitting at the café in the basement of the student union,“Did you know someday gas will be $1 per gallon?”

Nah.

It’s the early ’70s, a time when Marcello spent hours and hours in a study room on the second floor of the Hillman Library—spreading books, magazines, and class notes around her as she enthusiastically researched her next sociology term paper.

If the same student who predicted the increase in gas prices asked her if she would someday write a biography about a politician who doesn’t own a car to pump gas into, she probably would’ve said nah to that idea, too.

Yet her days at Pitt and love of research helped shape her methods of writing Ralph Nader: A Biography (Greenwood Biographies).

She spent a year researching the consumer rights activist and presidential candidate—drawing upon Pitt classes, where she learned, for instance, how groups react to theories. She used that knowledge to analyze how people have reacted to Nader’s political views. “The research really turns me on more than the writing,” she says. “I never intended to be a writer; it just kind of happened to me.”
—Cara Hayden (A&S ’04)

Tales from the Pitt Panthers

During brunch at the William Pitt Union in 1969, a 10-year-old boy handed out programs to what seemed like hulking giants. The giants were actually football recruits.

The young volunteer was Sam Sciullo Jr. (CAS ’81), and the Pitt athletes were his heroes, which also explains why he religiously attended Pitt football and basketball games throughout his childhood. “By the time I was a Pitt freshman in 1977, I had already been going to all the games for 12 years,” Sciullo says.

Sciullo remains a Panthers fan. His fourth book about the University’s athletic tradition is Tales from the Pitt Panthers (Sports Publishing). It reflects many of the greatest, worst, and most memorable moments in Pitt football and basketball history—entirely from the perspective of the players and coaches.

Nearly every story has an “inside the locker room” feel, from the Heisman days of Tony Dorsett (CAS ’77) to Dan Marino (CAS ’83) and his local-boy-makes-good career to the early departure of Larry Fitzgerald (CAS ’06) to the NFL. Sciullo’s book seems to include everything that happened during road trips, team meetings, practices, and title championships.
—Eric Brennan (A&S ’04)

Nothing Happens Until A Sale Is Made

He conducts weekly board meetings in his own living room, where he has Sunday morning brunch. Fred A. Perrotta (KGSB ’78) presides, not as CEO, but as dad. He brings up issues like cheerleading tryouts and football practice to the board members—his children, Janna and Fred, and wife, Patti.

“I started going over the family agenda, and, at first, I could tell the children were bored to tears,” says Perrotta. “But later, it was amazing how they took pride in talking about their everyday activities. I became convinced that there is great value in using marketing principles to develop stronger bonds with your family and in personal relationships.”

His marketing principles, involving planning, promotion, and sales, are in his book Nothing Happens Until A Sale Is Made: Exploring Three Marketing Principles that Guarantee Success (BookSurge LLC). The book’s foreword is written by H.J. Zoffer (FAS ’56, KGSB ’53, CBA ’52), dean emeritus in Pitt’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business.

Perrotta fills the pages with marketing strategies derived largely from his experience with Fortune 500 companies. He applies these principles at work and at home. The book explains the ABCs of researching a client to closing a sale, as well as how to enjoy Sunday brunch with the family.
—EB

Wanderlust

Using light and chemistry to capture images on a silver plate is something bordering on magic. But that’s exactly what Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre did in 1839, giving birth to photography.

A continent away and more than a century later, a 12-year-old Pittsburgh boy gets a Kodak Brownie. The oldest of six children will need it—he’s soon leaving for a monthlong trip abroad to visit relatives. What he doesn’t know is that he’ll be bringing back more than pictures.

Michael Clinton (CAS ’75) has spent a lifetime traveling around the world and taking pictures. Clinton, who is executive vice president of Hearst Magazines in New York City, visited 100 countries in seven continents before publishing 200 of his pictures in Wanderlust: 100 Countries, A Personal Journey (Glitterati Incorporated).

“I really set out to see the world, not to do a book,” says Clinton. “People from around the world have a lot of differences,” he says, but adding that they have much in common, including love of family and the need for health and safety.

What a trip it has been. Travel taught him to listen, Clinton says. It taught him respect, tolerance, and patience. In the end, travel became a road to self-discovery.
—Kris B. Mamula


 
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