||Generalovich and Schaefer
Laughter echoes down a corridor of Alumni Hall, where two men chat jovially. One gestures with a large hand equally comfortable palming a basketball or performing delicate dental work. The other sips coffee and exudes upbeat charm, his trendy half-rim glasses and sharp attire reflecting years of success as a risk-taking entrepreneur.
Brian Generalovich (DEN ’68, CAS ’66) owns a dental practice in Hermitage, Pa. In April, he began a two-year term as the Pitt Alumni Association’s new president. A storied athlete in high school and at Pitt, he turned down offers from several professional sports teams to pursue a career in dentistry. In his new post with the association, he follows outgoing-president Keith E. Schaefer (CAS ’71), a communications and high-tech expert, who so far has founded three companies and held top positions at businesses ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100s.
While their professional and personal lives may diverge, Generalovich and Schaefer share something essential: They both credit Pitt as the foundation of their accomplishments.
“The University was the largest single contributor to my success,” says Schaefer. And that’s saying a lot. He launched Constellation Partners, The Paramount Technology Group, and US Web/CKS and held senior management positions at The Liquid Group, Computer Curriculum Corp., Atari, and NEC. Today, he is founder, president, and chief executive officer of BPL Global, a leading international supplier of broadband services. After graduating from Pitt, the South Hills native spent three years as a naval officer and then attended UCLA’s graduate business school. Yet, he attributes his business savvy to the lessons he learned here—these were his formative years.
Schaefer, who lives in Indian Wells, Calif., began his term in spring 2004. He was the first alumni association president to reside outside western Pennsylvania. That, along with his expertise in the high-tech industry, led the association to think globally and connect with alumni from Baldwin, Pa., to Kuwait City, says Leland Patouillet (EDUC ’00G), Pitt’s associate vice chancellor for alumni relations and executive director of the alumni association.
Schaefer understands the importance of finding new ways to communicate with even the most distant alumni. Among other things, he encouraged the association to communicate with alumni through a Web site and e-mail, urging the group to release its annual report on the Web. The move saved the association $50,000 and ensured that the report reached more people than ever before, Patouillet says. He also notes that, during Schaefer’s tenure, the association’s membership grew by 29 percent.
Generalovich knows all about the outgoing president’s accomplishments and says he aims to continue initiatives that were started or strengthened under Schaefer’s leadership. It’s also a “given” that he’ll offer some of his own ideas to keep the organization moving forward.
The excitement surrounding Generalovich’s presidency is reminiscent of the splash he made when he first enrolled at the University as an All-State athlete from Farrell, Pa., a steel town near the Ohio border known for its legendary high school basketball and football teams. Generalovich, who showed prowess on the gridiron and the court, was the model Farrell athlete. He captured the attention of local media when more than 50 schools around the country, including Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Penn State, attempted to recruit him. Pitt offered Generalovich an athletic scholarship and wanted him not only in its basketball program but also on its football team.
Generalovich, who saw more than athletics in his future, picked Pitt because of its proximity to his hometown and its noteworthy dental school. He also decided to stick to basketball, although he would don a Panthers football uniform in 1964. After graduation, says Generalovich, the New York Knicks, Boston (now New England) Patriots, and Pittsburgh Steelers recruited him to play professionally, but he again decided to stick with Pitt, enrolling in the University’s School of Dental Medicine.
Patouillet says that, with Generalovich as president, the association will focus on four areas in the coming years: increased financial strength, greater student involvement, enhanced communication, and effective partnerships. The group will continue to help advance Pitt’s billion-dollar capital campaign, to connect more than 235,000 alumni around the world, to recruit volunteers, and to enrich the lives of past and present students. “I’m appreciative of what Pitt has given me,” says Generalovich, whose wife Rosemary, son Brock (CAS ’93), and daughter Alyssa (SOC WK ’96G, CAS ’96) all studied at the University. “I now want to give back to the University, helping students have the same wonderful experience I had.”
He also has a particular goal for his presidential tenure. He’d like to see the association’s lifetime membership grow dramatically—a goal that’s more attainable now that the group has extended its global reach as part of Schaefer’s legacy. “With alumni support, we’re building the Pitt brand around the world,” says Schaefer. “The alumni association, in word and deed, is an international organization.”
Patouillet knows the association will continue to grow and change under Generalovich’s leadership. “Different presidents bring the common characteristic of love of the University along with unique qualities that advance the alumni association,” he says.
While they have very different lives—East Coast/West Coast, local dentist/global businessman, top athlete/high-tech guru—Schaefer and Generalovich find it easy to share a friendly conversation in an Alumni Hall corridor. After all, they’re fraternity brothers in Sigma Chi and dedicated members of the Pitt Alumni Association. They have an enduring connection: the University of Pittsburgh. There’s plenty to talk about ... and do.
The Talk of the University
Enhanced career networking is one of the highest priorities of the Pitt Alumni Association. In fact, survey results indicate that enhanced career networking is the number one service that alumni want from the University. In response, the association, in partnership with Pitt Career Services, initiated the Pitt Career Network, an online networking service that enables Pitt alumni and students to learn about jobs from the people who do them. In addition, the association holds networking receptions like Pathway to Professions, held on the Pittsburgh campus the Thursday evening before each Homecoming weekend.
In February, association board and alumni leadership council members met with students to share some professional insights. Rebecca Borghi (SHRS ’97), membership chair of the Chesapeake and Potomac Pitt Club, was on hand to discuss her career in health care; Carmine Camillo (CAS ’95) of Erie, Pa., talked about his work as a legislative advisor in Pennsylvania; and Dave Emanuel (ENGR ’89) discussed his part in chemical manufacturing. The breadth and depth of experience in the room was impressive. Herb Dodell (CAS ’61) from Los Angeles spoke about the lawyer’s life, and Kristen Zagst Urban (KGSB ’94, CAS ’92) shed light on life as a consultant for one of the big accounting firms. Jack Smith (MED ’73, CAS ’69), orthopaedic surgeon; Susan Schindel Ellsweig (EDUC ’68), travel agency owner; Ivan Novick (CAS ’49), real estate maven; Dan Jenkins (CAS ’90) of Jenkins Financial; and information management expert Denise Callihan (SLIS ’92) were just some of the other people ready to give students a candid view of their professions.
Meanwhile, the launch of the HTML version of our monthly e-mail newsletter, Pitt Connection, elicited comments from folks worldwide. “I really enjoyed the new format and great updates about Pitt!” writes Doris Kaplan (CAS ’67) of New Jersey. Naseli Okha (GSPIA ’78) writes from Africa’s Cameroon, “Just want to thank you for all of the news you send.” Mary “Mimi” Taylor Hassouna (GSPIA ’68), writing from Colorado, says, “I love to get the Pitt Connection.” She loves our e-mail newsletter and she goes by the name Mimi. Now there’s someone I can relate to.
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