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Spotlight on Alumni

Judging from the background, these hitchhiking students reached their destination. Based on their attire, or perhaps more revealing, their glasses, who can guess the year this photograph appeared in The Owl? The first correct answer gets an official University of Pittsburgh alumni license plate holder.

Arts and Sciences

George Albee ’49G, ’47G, is a visiting fellow with the British Psychological Society, presenting a series of lectures at universities and conferences in the United Kingdom. Albee is also author of a humor column in his local Florida newspaper, The Longboat Observer. Neal Colton ’65, cochair of the bankruptcy, insolvency, and restructuring department of Cozen O’Connor’s Philadelphia office, is included again this year in the peer-reviewed referral guide, The Best Lawyers in America. Donald Routh ’67G, ’65G writes that he is an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Miami in Florida. “After retirement, my wife and I moved to the Gulf coast,” he says. “Here I am, doing some volunteer teaching locally at Florida Gulf Coast University, and I have also enrolled for a second bachelor’s degree in history, with the goal of becoming a better historian of psychology.” Frederick Kaiser ’67G is a specialist in American national government at the Congressional Research Service in Washington, D.C. Donald Lampert ’69 is listed in the current edition of The Best Lawyers in America, noted for his efforts in the area of workers’ compensation law at the Cleveland, Ohio, office of Calfee Halter & Griswold. Alicia Borinsky ’71G, ’68G, professor of Latin American and comparative literature and director of the Latin American Studies Program at Boston University, published a novel, All Night Movie (Northwestern University Press). Ellene Tratras Contis ’71G is assistant vice president for academic administrative services at Eastern Michigan University. Dan Greenfield ’72, director of investor and corporate communications for Allegheny Technologies Inc., is a member of the Community College of Allegheny County Educational Foundation, the private fundraising arm of the college. David Bugher ’72 is executive director of Pittsburgh’s Light of Life Ministries after spending 28 years away from his hometown in a variety of posts. Jeffrey Pasek ’73 is serving an eighth term on the board of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry. A Philadelphia attorney with the firm Cozen O’Connor, Pasek is chair of the firm’s labor and employment department, focusing on workplace issues. William Rosenthal ’75 is associate general counsel for United Technologies Corp. in Hartford, Conn. Richard Morton ’76 received a master’s degree in health science from Pittsburgh’s LaRoche College. Howard Sid Lucas ’77 is a Vilar Fellow at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Lucas was one of 12 selected from a pool of 180 applicants for this fellowship, which provides a 10-month comprehensive arts management training program. Theodore Rectenwald ’77 writes that he and his wife, Marie-Louise, are the parents of a baby girl. Born in Brasilia, Brazil, Eliane Maelle Seny joins brother Frederic at the Rectenwald home. Barry Luokkala ’81G, ’76 is now principal lecturer and director of undergraduate laboratories in physics at Carnegie Mellon University and director of the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Sciences. Joe Alea ’81 is executive vice president of product development for Princeton Softech, a New Jersey-based active archiving software company. Jay Krunszyinsky ’83 (Greensburg) has had published I’m Sorry: Repairing a Hurtful Relationship (Word Association Publishers). Rebecca Chakraborty ’87G is a full-time assistant professor at Northwood University in Midland, Mich. Andrew Finkle ’88 is in the tax and estate group of Princeton, N.J., law firm Rothschild O’Brien & Frankel. John Rimoldi ’89 (Johnstown) is one of two winners of the 2002 University of Mississippi Faculty Achievement Award. Rimoldi, who teaches medicinal chemistry, also received the 2002 School of Pharmacy Service Award and the 2001-02 Faculty Award from the school’s third-year students. Cecelia Bucki ’91G, ’77G received the Homer D. Babbidge Jr. Award for the Study of Connecticut History for her book, Bridgeport’s Socialist New Deal, 1915-36 (University of Illinois Press). Bucki is an associate professor of history at Fairfield University in Connecticut. Mark Anthony Ellebie ’93 is a senior software engineer with Kforce in Tampa, Fla., where he resides with wife, Tamara. Brett Beauregard ’96 writes that he and his wife, Melissa, honeymooned in Hot Springs, Ark., and are now residing in Edmond, Okla. Elaina Smiley ’96 (Johnstown) joined Meyer Unkovic & Scott’s employment law/employee benefits and business litigation groups as an associate. David Liebman ’98 is an associate in the business law area of the Philadelphia office of law firm Cozen O’Connor. Julia Sawyer ’99G is chair of the education advisory committee for the Society for Contemporary Craft, a nonprofit visual arts organization that represents artists who work in clay, glass, metal, and wood. Sawyer, who formerly served as director of community and continuing education for the University of Pittsburgh’s College of General Studies, is an educational consultant. Romy Piccolella ’00 (Greensburg) is studying poetry in the Masters of Fine Arts program at Goddard College. Jason Putorti ’02 is founder and chief executive officer of Novaurora, Inc., a Pittsburgh-based design company specializing in Web site design, development, and deployment. An avid photographer of Pittsburgh, Putorti has sold his work at the Station Square Gallery. Richard Schmalzl, Arts and Sciences ’78, was named to BTI Consulting Group’s Client Service All-Star Team for the second year in a row. Individuals are named to this team by a client in recognition of delivering superior service. A partner in the Kentucky office of Graydon Head & Ritchey, Schmalzl practices in the business and finance client service department. Tara Fedo Kreider, Arts and Sciences ’90, served as a spring 2003 fellow at the Institute of Political Leadership, designed “to produce better qualified, ethical, accessible, and more representative public leaders in North Carolina’s state and local governments.” Marie Cini, Arts and Sciences ’94G, ’90G, is associate dean for the liberal arts degree programs at Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, N.J. Prior to this post, Cini was faculty director of Public Leadership, a program affiliated with the University of Maryland in College Park.


Jack Gido ’68G, director of the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program at Penn State, authored the second edition of Successful Project Management (South-Western College Publishing). Jodie Fine-Sheriff ’91G (CAS ’88) is director of human resources at Point Park College in Pittsburgh. Suzanne Taleghani ’97G is vice president of purchasing and logistics for Ashland Inc. In this position, Taleghani is responsible for company-wide purchasing of materials and services ranging from computers, vehicles, feedstock, and travel and the daily management of sourceXplorer, Ashland’s online purchasing service. Glenn Hursh ’97G is senior manager in the business risk services group of Ernst & Young’s Pittsburgh office.

Dental Medicine

Gary Jeffers ’75 is serving as a governor-appointed member of the Michigan Board of Dentistry.


Iris Teplitz ’55G (CAS ’53) was inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in honor of her outstanding career in golf. By the age of 18, Teplitz had won six U.S. golf tournaments. She went on to place prominently in many others, including the Women’s U.S. Amateur and the Women’s U.S. Open. In 1977, she participated as a member of the U.S. Women’s Golf Team in the Maccabiah Games in Israel. Frank Belcastro ’62G, ’51G, ’50, an instructor at Northeast Iowa Community College, published an article, “Electronic Technology and Its Use with Rural Gifted Students,” in the fall 2002 issue of Roeper Review, a journal on gifted education. John Robert Quatroche ’75G is vice president for university advancement at Florida Gulf Coast University and executive director of the FGCU Foundation. Quatroche, who is married to alum Diana Quatroche ’91G, ’76G, formerly served as corporate secretary and secretary of the board of trustees at the University of Pittsburgh. Susan Albrecht ’81G (NURS ’78G, ’75), associate dean of development and student affairs for Pitt’s School of Nursing, is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, a peer-voted honor that recognizes outstanding contributions to the field. Charma Dudley ’84G is associate executive director and clinical director of Family Resources, a southwestern Pennsylvania organization dedicated to preventing and treating child abuse. The author of Treating Depressed Children (New Harbinger Publications), Dudley is a psychologist specializing in the treatment of children and adolescents with depressive illness and behavioral problems.


Allen Selz ’67G, president of Pressure Sciences Inc., received the J. Hall Taylor Medal from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for outstanding contributions to the organization’s pressure technology codes and standards and for promoting public safety. Selz, whose firm has worked on projects for such prominent clients as NASA and Exxon Mobil Corporation, resides in Pittsburgh with his wife, Elaine (CAS ’54). Hrair Aldermeshian ’74G, ’72G is coauthor of Networks in a Flash: Making Broadband Work for You (Silicon Press). A founding partner of SLA Partners, a New Jersey-based global technology consulting company, Aldermeshian holds patents in mobile communications and frame relay networks. Kenneth Balkey ’80G, ’72G, an engineer in Westinghouse Electric’s nuclear services business unit, received the Bernard F. Langer Nuclear Codes and Standards Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for his work in the nuclear power industry. Maureen Pekala Tackett ’81 is manufacturing manager with Delphi Automotive Systems, responsible for the company’s manufacturing facilities in Juarez, Mexico. Now living in El Paso, Texas, she was previously Delphi’s Clinton, Miss., plant manager. Michael Bock, Engineering ’68, is first vice president of the Engineers’ Society of Western Pennsylvania. He is a partner in the Pittsburgh office of Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis, concentrating on all aspects of construction law.

General Studies

Betsy Benson ’86 is editor/publisher for WQED Multimedia’s publishing division, overseeing a variety of publications, including Pittsburgh Magazine, Pittsburgh Brides, and WQED’s cookbooks. Scott Mays ’94 is a manager in the tax compliance practice of the Pittsburgh office of Ernst & Young. Christopher Sepe ’00 received a master’s degree in health science from Pittsburgh’s LaRoche College. E. Lindsey Maxwell, General Studies ’92, joined the law firm of Beins Axelrod Kraft Gleason & Gibson in Washington, D.C. A former Pitt Panther football tailback, Maxwell is now practicing in the areas of labor, employment, sports and entertainment law.

Information Sciences

Mary Jane Baker ’90 owns and operates, along with her husband, David, Special Events Emergency Rescue, in Denver, Colo., which provides medical and fire protection for more than 550 motor sports and special events throughout the state annually. Judith Galardi Sahovey ’01G (EDU ’83G, CAS ’71) published a science fiction thriller for readers ages 9 and up, Return to Thrae (1stBooks Library). The Pittsburgh-based librarian is also a poet who spends her free time doing volunteer work with young people.


Editor’s Note: Several alumni are noted below (and some elsewhere) for their inclusion in the most recent edition of the legal profession’s peer-reviewed referral guide, The Best Lawyers in America. Congratulations to them.

William Meyer Jr. ’64, of the Pittsburgh-based law firm Meyer Unkovic & Scott, is included in The Best Lawyers in America. He is recognized for work in the area of employment law. Wally Knox ’66 and his wife, Gloria, own and operate the one-and-a-half-year-old Boothby Inn in Erie, Pa., which was voted Inn of the Year 2003 by readers of the Complete Guide to Bed and Breakfasts, Inns and Guest Houses International. Louis Kushner ’67, an attorney with the Pittsburgh firm Rothman Gordon, is named in the The Best Lawyers in America. Thomas Solomich ’73 and Shelley Elovitz ’73 (CAS ’69), both also with Rothman Gordon, are named in the prestigious referral guide as well. Dennis Unkovic ’73, a corporate and international attorney with Meyer Unkovic & Scott, is also named in The Best Lawyers in America. Edward Hollin ’78 (CAS ’74), a real estate attorney with the southeastern Pennsylvania law firm Riley Riper Hollin & Colagreco, was profiled in the article “Legal Aces” in the October 2002 issue of Main Line Today. Hollin was selected for inclusion in the article based on a survey of 1,800 lawyers who were asked to name other attorneys to whom they would refer a friend or loved one. Mary Sue Ramsden ’79 (CAS ’76), a founding partner of the Pittsburgh firm Raphael Ramsden & Behers, received the 2003 Susan B. Anthony Award from the Women’s Bar Association of Western Pennsylvania. Ramsden, whose father, Frank Ramsden, was also a Pitt grad, received the honor for her dedication to promoting the equal treatment of women in the legal profession and as litigants through her work with the Pennsylvania Bar Commission on Women and the Women in the Law Committee of the Allegheny County Bar Association. Kevin McKeegan ’82, chair of the real estate and banking section at Meyer Unkovic & Scott and a member of the firm’s management committee, is included in The Best Lawyers in America. Joel Pfeffer ’85, also of Meyer Unkovic & Scott, is also named in the guide for his work in immigration law. Alice Mitinger ’89 is serving on the board of trustees for The Ellis School, Western Pennsylvania’s only independent school for girls and young women. Mitinger is an attorney with the Pittsburgh-based firm Thorp Reed & Armstrong, practicing in the areas of zoning and land-use litigation. Bruno Katz ’90 is a shareholder with the San Diego-based firm Chapin Shea McNitt & Carter. Katz, who is an active member of the U.S. Naval Reserve, was formerly with the Navy’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps and now specializes in business and commercial litigation. Kim Watterson ’91 (FAS ’88, CAS ’81) joined Thorp Reed & Armstrong’s Pittsburgh office as senior counsel in the commercial and corporate litigation practice group. Scott Westwood ’91 (CAS ’86) is a shareholder in the Pittsburgh office of Dickie McCamey & Chilcote. His practice includes general business counseling and environmental law. Janet DiAntonio ’94 is a principal with the Maryland law firm Ober Kaler. A former judicial clerk for the Hon. Maurice Cohill in Pittsburgh, DiAntonio serves on the advisory board of the University of Pittsburgh’s Health Law Certification Program. James Singer ’94 was named one of 50 lawyers under the age of 40 who are “on the fast track” by the Legal Intelligencer. Singer is in the intellectual property practice group of the Pittsburgh office of law firm Pepper Hamilton. The same article also named Neil Boyden Tanner ’97, a member of the corporate and securities and technology practice groups at Pepper Hamilton’s Philadelphia office, as being “on the fast track.” Jeremy Gump ’98 is senior manager in the global employment solutions practice at Ernst & Young in Pittsburgh. In this position, Gump works with clients on employee and executive compensation, recruitment, and retention. Natalie D’Amora ’02 (CAS ’00) is an associate concentrating in commercial litigation with the firm Bazelon Less & Feldman, based in Philadelphia. Chiara Orsini, Law ’00, KGSB ’00, joined the business litigation group at Pittsburgh’s Meyer Unkovic & Scott as an associate. Orsini, who is admitted to practice in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, will focus her practice on intellectual property matters.


Arthur McTighe ’69 (CAS ’67) is member-at-large on the steering committee of the College of American Pathologists’ house of delegates. McTighe, who is chief pathologist and vice president for medical affairs at Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, Pa., and chief pathologist at the Sunbury Community Hospital in Sunbury, Pa., is serving a two-year term.


Catherine Bender ’94G ’79G, assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Nursing, presented the 2003 Oncology Nursing Society/American Cancer Society State-of-the-Science Lectureship at the ONS National Conference on Cancer Nursing Research. Bender gave a lecture titled “Cognitive Dysfunction in Cancer and Cancer Therapy.” Patrick Browning ’98, Melissa Maddock ’98, Adrienne Berardi ’99, Mary Lucas ’99, Scott Radinovic ’00, and Edward Wilkins ’00 received master’s degrees in health science from Pittsburgh’s LaRoche College.


Linda Kennedy Toth ’80 (FAS ’76) is director of laboratory animal medicine and professor of pharmacology at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield, Ill. Toth is also a fellow with Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine and recently received a fourth federal research grant from the National Center for Research Resources to fund her study on the health implications of inadequate sleep. Don Burgett, Pharmacy ’53, received a distinguished service award for his work in his community, Tellico Village, in Tennessee. Neighbors praised his efforts in organizing the Tellico Boaters’ Assistance Response Team, which aids individuals stranded on the community’s lake.

Public and International Affairs

Daniel Rich ’67 is provost of the University of Delaware in Newark. Rich has been on the faculty at the university since 1970 and has had 13 books and more than 100 articles and professional papers published. Joyce Levine ’77 writes: “After two-and-a-half years of ‘visiting,’ I have landed in a tenure-track position at Jackson State University in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. Ours is a new program with a small but growing faculty and great students from Mississippi, elsewhere in the United States, and abroad… Mississippi is full of challenges, but all the negative stereotypes fail to capture its assets and potential.” Susan White ’96, former executive director of development in Pitt’s Katz Graduate School of Business, is vice president for institutional advancement and advisor of international affairs at Point Park College in Pittsburgh. Andrew Brinser ’99 received his commission as a U.S. Navy officer after completing Officer Candidate School at Naval Aviation Schools Command at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla.

Social Work

Anjula Garg ’98G joined the Cleveland office of the law firm Baker & Hostetler. Cynthia Bradley-Pugh, Social Work ’98G, is director of the Pathways to Success program at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. The academic and leadership program is offered to select middle-school students from Pittsburgh and the surrounding area.

In Memoriam

Joseph Acone (ENG ’50) died in July 2001 in Bellevue, Washington. He is survived by his sister, Toni, a 1949 University of Pittsburgh graduate, and brothers Paul and Tony.

Robert Aldstadt (EDU ’75G) died in October 2002 at the age of 74. A U.S. Navy veteran and retired professor at California University of Pennsylvania, Aldstadt had moved to Ocala, Fla.

Henry “Hank” Bahnson, former head of the University’s medical school surgery department, died in January 2003 after suffering a stroke. He was 82. After graduating from Harvard and Johns Hopkins, Bahnson served for a year in the Navy Reserves in the Philippines. In 1951, he completed his surgical training at Johns Hopkins where he developed and performed the first operation to repair aneurysms of the aorta where it arches out of the heart. An organ transplant pioneer, Bahnson performed Pennsylvania’s first heart transplant in 1968. He was well known for his accomplishments outside the operating room as well—he had scaled some of the tallest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest and Mount McKinley.

Corinne Barnes (NURS ’74G, ’64G) died in November 2002 of a cerebral brain hemorrhage at the age of 74. Early in her career, she became the first pediatric clinical nurse specialist in Pittsburgh’s Children’s Hospital, which inspired her to do research in the field. A University of Pittsburgh professor emerita of nursing, Barnes was also a fellow at the American Academy of Nursing and had helped develop The Caring Program for Children, the first primary healthcare program for children.

Rakesh Bhatnagar, associate professor of mathematics at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, died in October 2002. Educated in India, Bhatnagar, who was the recipient of many honors, awards, and fellowships, had been a member of the faculty since August 1988.

James Dorsey Jr. (SOC WK ’66G) died in December 2002 at age 82. The former executive director of the Allegheny County assistance office was a U.S. Army veteran, but he was even more well known as a “rock hound.” He had appeared on WQED Pittsburgh’s PBS television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood to explain rocks and gemstones, and some of his collections are displayed locally in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Hillman Hall of Minerals.

Matthew Getty (CGS ’91) died in October 2002 at the age of 33. A former third-string quarterback with the Pitt Panthers, Getty was a project manager for Gateway Packaging Corp. in Export, Pa. Surviving are his mother, father, brothers, and sisters.

Gilbert Goldman (CAS ’33) died in December 2002 at his home in Pompano Beach, Fla., at the age of 92. A longtime surgeon at Montefiore and Braddock hospitals in Pittsburgh, Goldman left the area in the early 1970s and retired from surgery. He continued to work as an emergency room physician in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. After retiring at age 80, he volunteered in a mobile indigent clinic operated by the Broward County Salvation Army.

Larry Papincak (MED ’81, PHARM ’77) died in October 2002 of hypertensive cardiovascular disease at the age of 48. The Uniontown, Pa., native, formerly director of anesthesiology at Uniontown Hospital, ran a pain management practice in his hometown.

John Weidemuller (ENG ’37) died in November 2002 after a serious fall. Founder and president of the Weidemuller Construction Co. in Baltimore, Md., Weidemuller began his career with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Sophia Spanos Zacharias (EDU ’66G, ’64) died in December 2002 from a bacterial infection. She was 60 and the wife of Sam Zacharias, a Pitt alumnus and trustee. A native of Braddock, Pa., Zacharias taught Spanish in the Churchill School District early in her career, then worked as a guidance counselor in Mt. Lebanon. In 1979, she cofounded 3RA Inc., an administrative services company.

Defending Democracy

It was a fall morning. Rob Meikrantz (CGS ’96) was on the early shift, following two officers of the U.S. Capitol Police bomb squad. Meikrantz majored in administration of justice. He was already on the Capitol Police force, but he wanted to join the bomb squad, so he shadowed a few hazardous devices technicians in hopes of obtaining some on-the-job insights. He expected a day of helping with paperwork, maybe using X rays to check suspicious packages.

But then. . .

A call. . .

There’s this white powder in an envelope sent to Senator Daschle’s office.

White powder. They didn’t know what it was. They just had to respond to the call. There was no time to be scared. Staffers, secretaries, everyone was upset. Anthrax. Meikrantz saw a pile of the powder, but then couldn’t see anything on his clothes or in the air. How far had bits of the pile traveled? He didn’t know how far it could go. No one did really. The residue was invisible.

But there was no time to think about it. The officers responded to about 40 calls that October day in 2001. Meikrantz says they normally respond to about 40 calls a month. He and the other officers subsequently tested positive for anthrax and underwent a Cipro drug regimen to combat the effects of Anthrax exposure. He didn’t get sick, but he was tired.

The episode didn’t quash Meikrantz’s enthusiasm for joining the bomb squad. He is now a special agent bomb technician with the Hazard Devices section of the U.S. Capitol Police. His responsibilities include the Capitol’s security.
Meghan Holohan

An Artful Career

Wandering around Oakland, Elizabeth Kennedy (Sargent) slipped in and out of the museums, admiring the paintings by John La Farge and Thomas Dewing. The beauty of the pieces, the surfaces of the canvases, the colors working together.

The mother of three had never attended college. Sometimes she’d drag her grumbling young boys with her to the museums. After she learned all she could from museum-hopping, she enrolled at Pittsburgh’s Chatham College to study art history. Upon graduation, she continued her studies at Pitt.

Kennedy (FAS ’90, KGSB ’90) now lives in Chicago. She was recently promoted from associate curator to curator of Chicago’s Terra Museum of American Art. She became interested in American art while at Pitt.

“Since 1976, American art has been increasingly in the spotlight. It is now speaking a different language,” says Kennedy. “I want to research, interpret, and present new ways to look at this art based on objects in our collection at Terra Museum.”

Kennedy hopes that the museum’s exhibitions will educate others in this art form by presenting paintings in a historical context. “At different times these paintings have different meanings, the paintings continue to evolve,” says Kennedy. So does she.
Rachel Roebuck

Naming Rights

Jaemoon Yang and Wenjing Xu knew exactly what they would name their baby boy. In their minds, only one name captured the energy and excitement of their newborn: Walt, as in Walt Harris. Yes, the new parents so idolize Harris, the Panthers football coach, they named their son in his honor.

“We both love the way he coaches the team,” says Yang, a postdoctoral fellow in the chemistry department at SUNY Buffalo. “He inspires us.”

Yang (FAS ’00), from South Korea, met his wife Xu (FAS ’97), from China, when both were graduate students in Pitt’s chemistry department. Although they never watched football before coming to America, they quickly became interested in the game after arriving at Pitt.

“I came here in 1994 and Harris started in 1996, and then the football became very exciting. He was improving the school record,” Yang explains. “And I remember he told his players something like, ‘You wanna fight to the end, and no matter what, never give up.’ That was really encouraging not only to the players, but to me, too. I had a hard time in the PhD program, and it was a very inspiring comment to me at the time.”

Yang says Walt, who was 4 years old in April, is still too young to have developed a love of Panthers football, though he and Xu, who stays at home with Walt, still watch the games on television. —Tia Hardy

Scene off the coast of Kuwait

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, aboard the USS Bataan, Captain Lee R. Mandel (GSPH ’98) found time to do some essential reading on the flight deck.

(The jet in the background is an AV-8B: the Harrier. The USS Bataan was one of the U.S. Navy’s two Harrier carriers deployed in the Persian Gulf during the war. Flown by the U.S. Marines, the Harriers provided close-in ground support for our combat troops.)



Like many college freshmen, Kate Plowey took a volunteer internship. But she wasn’t tucked away in a library office or endlessly photocopying reams of paper in a remote hallway. Instead, she was very visible on campus, helping orchestrate special occasions with Pitt’s Office of Special Events.

“I met lots of people and found that I really enjoyed working with alumni,” she recalls. “It opened so many doors for me.” The internship led her to become active in the Alumni Association’s Blue and Gold Society, where students serve as helpers and ambassadors for alumni events and activities.

Plowey (CAS ’03) believes many other Pitt students could benefit from a closer association with alumni: “At the point of graduation, some students are saying ‘what is the Pitt Alumni Association, and what has it done for me?’”

Plowey wants the answer to be “Plenty!” As Blue and Gold president during her senior year, she worked with Alumni Association staff and B&G members to organize a series of focus groups that explored the opinions of Pitt freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. The staffers and B&G members used that information to develop a plan for stimulating student awareness of the Alumni Association.

The plan’s short-term ideas include equipping campus computer labs with Alumni Association mouse pads; supplying eraser-message boards for students’ doors in campus residence halls; sponsoring sessions to introduce freshmen to Pitt traditions; organizing student-alumni career networking events; and practicing “random acts of Panther kindness,” like offering refreshments to students waiting in line to purchase event tickets.

Longer term, the Alumni Association may create an alumni-in-residence program, initiating student memberships in the association, perhaps at discount rates.

When Plowey graduated this past spring, she joined her three older brothers—Edward (CAS ’96), Richard (CAS ’97), and Kenneth (CAS ’99)—as alumni of Pitt. While her brothers earned undergraduate degrees in neuroscience and are pursuing careers in medicine, the lone sister did not. She opted for a double major in English and business and works as a civilian contract specialist with the U.S. Navy in Patuxent, Md.

Although she’s no longer on campus, she vows not to forget Pitt, hoping to help Pitt students whenever she can. Through her past work with the Alumni Association, she already has.
Cindy Gill

Worldly View

Mary Ellen Callahan credits the University of Pittsburgh with changing her life. Really changing her life. Despite having three older brothers who were Penn State graduates, she accepted admission to Pitt on a full Chancellor’s Scholarship. “It made the phone call to those brothers a lot easier,” she says.

She graduated from Pitt in 1990 with an Honor’s College education, a Bachelor of Philosophy honors degree in political science, and a certificate in Russian and East European studies. She was equipped to take on the world.

Yet, her first few months after graduation were spent laying wire in New Jersey for her brothers’ security-alarm firm. Her first day on the job, she was handed a tool belt and told, “Come with me.” She spent the rest of the summer with a crew of sweaty men and endured an on-the-job concussion. “It wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I agreed to be a secretary for them,” she says. To save money for travel in Central Europe, she was also living with her brother-employers. “I did yard work to pay for my rent,” she recalls.

No wonder she embraced an opportunity to move to Washington, D.C., thanks in part to her Pitt studies. Initially, she worked as an unpaid intern for the International Center for Development Policy. The internship offered the possibility of travel to the Soviet Union but, when the U.S.S.R. collapsed, so did her travel plans.

Callahan then accepted a job with the Library of Congress that fit perfectly with her Pitt education and her global interests. In the post-Berlin-Wall era, she trained legislators in Central and Eastern Europe about parliamentary process, support, and research.

“I was working with people who literally changed their countries,” she says. “It was a great job and a great experience.” She traveled to Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine, and other neighboring countries, offering training and public policy conferences to members of parliament in newly organized governments.

Meanwhile, her Truman Scholarship for graduate study, which she won during her sophomore year at Pitt, was about to expire. “It was a time of transition for me, and I decided to go to law school,” she recalls. Eventually, with a law degree from the University of Chicago, she returned to the nation’s capital, where today she works as an antitrust litigator with the firm Hogan & Hartson L.L.P.

Her affinity for Central and Eastern Europe drew her into volunteer work with the nonprofit Friends of Slovakia. “The organization’s telephone is now in my apartment,” she notes, indicating her complete immersion in that volunteer role. In June of last year, the president of Slovakia surprised Callahan at a reception by presenting her with his country’s Medal of Honor for her work to improve U.S.-Slovak relations. Her affiliated friendships even made it possible for Pitt to hold an alumni reception at the Hungarian embassy.

Now, as secretary to the Pitt Alumni Association Board of Directors, she’s devoting her obvious talents to her favorite nonprofit institution. “I’m at a point,” she says, “where I can start to thank the University of Pittsburgh for all it gave me.” She thanks her brothers, too, but she’s glad she no longer wears a tool belt.

Callahan receiving the Medal of Honor from President of Slovakia Rudolf Schuster.


No need to wait for class reunions or your next issue of Pitt Magazine to keep tabs on your former classmates. Go to Class Notes online and tell the Pitt world what you’re doing. It all happens here: (Then, just follow the link to the online community.)

Alumni Notebook

Koral’s Korner:

Much Ado

St. Genesius, patron saint of actors, must have been smiling on April 4, opening night of Shakespeare’s Much Ado about Nothing and the dedication of the Charity Randall Theatre. Built in 1937, The Stephen Foster Memorial’s auditorium had undergone a two-year renovation funded, in part, by a grant from the Randall Foundation. Bob Randall (CAS ’65) was on hand to cut the ribbon, opening the theater, which was named to honor his late sister. Generations of students and theater attendees will appreciate the more comfortable and much better equipped facility.

Performing that evening were Bryn Jameson (FAS ’93) and Doug Mertz (FAS ’02) in the principal roles of Beatrice and Benedik, while Steven Pelligrino and his son, Leo, provided the musical accompaniment. Among the alumni in the audience were Denny McManus (EDU ’84G, CAS ’76), Dick Roeder (LAW ’69) and wife, Nancy (EDU ’69G), Bob Lovett (CAS ’66) and wife, Maryjean (EDU ’72G), Kathleen Hahn (EDU ’61) and husband, Fred (ENGR ’60), Martha Munsch (CAS ’70), Angie Maher (KGSB ’83), and Bob Pack (FAS ’70, ’67). The Pitt Alumni Association helped sponsor the event and was well represented by Immediate Past President Sam Zacharias (CAS ’64), President Eva Blum (LAW ’73, CAS ’70), President-elect Keith Schaefer (CAS ’71), and Executive Director Lee Patouillet (EDU ’00G).

The following night saw the first reunion of theater alumni. Anyone who ever took part in a Pitt theater production was welcome. Five distinguished alumni received Fred Kelly Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre and thus became the first members of the University of Pittsburgh Players Guild in a ceremony emceed by Mary Robb Jackson (CAS ’74, FAS ’74). Honored with the “Freddy” were the founder and artistic director of Pittsburgh’s Quantum Theatre, Karla Boos (CAS ’83); classical actor Scott Ferrara (CAS ’95); City Theatre stage manager Patti Kelly (FAS ’89, CAS ’87); Pittsburgh television veteran Adam Lynch (his first name is really Jared, who knew?); and Carnegie Mellon professor and codirector of its entertainment technology center Don Marinelli (FAS ’87), whose lampooning of the Pitt theater faculty made for much amusement.

Among alumni who attended the reunion were Debbie Unger (CAS ’74), who traveled from her home in New York City for the occasion; Pittsburgh arts maven Marilyn McWilliams Coleman (CAS ’76); Shirley Barasch (EDU ’76G, EDU ’54); Ben Tatar (CAS ’55); Greg Longenhagen (FAS ’94); Luella Driscoll Broe (CGS ’77); and Martin Gluck (FAS ’53, ’50, CAS ’48). Mark Stevenson (FAS ’83), now chair of theater at Chatham College, looked particularly distinguished. Roni Osfield (FAS ’87, CAS ’78) got one of the biggest laughs of the night teasing Theatre Arts Chair Attilio “Buck” Favorini.

Several former faculty members were on hand to reminisce, including Lynn Hemingway, Dick Knowles (FAS ’73), Gil Elvgren, Dick Menen, Peter Harrigan (FAS ’86), David Jager-Walker, and Henry Heymann, all of whom had journeyed from afar to take this jaunt down memory lane.

Mimi Koral, CAS ’75, Director of Alumni Communications

Former faculty member Henry Heymann awarded Patti Kelly her Freddy.

Mary Robb Jackson and Adam Lynch, holding the Freddy.

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