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Spotlight on Alumni





Homecoming




Those people who don’t understand the appeal of an urban campus need to put on their shades and head out to the corner of Forbes Avenue and Bouquet Street for a hot dog at the O and a taste of campus life in the big city. That’s as true today as it was in 1968.

Please let us know what some of the other hangouts were around campus in 1968. The winner will receive naming rights to a Forbes Avenue parking meter.

Arts and Sciences

Ed Kiester Jr. ’50 was named an honorary member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, for his contributions as a science journalist. Kiester is a contributor to Pitt Med. John Enman ’63G had his World War II service in India memorabilia selected for the Lessons of War segment of the Veterans History Project, Library of Congress. Jim O’Brien ’64 received from Asbury Heights, a Pittsburgh-area long-term care community, the Asbury Executive Director’s Medallion in recognition of his service to senior citizens, Christian leadership, and commitment to enriching the lives of older adults served by the United Methodist Services for the Aging. The award was presented by John Zanardelli CGS ’94, GSPH ’79G, executive director and CEO of Asbury Heights. Bruce Biggs ’67G is the assistant vice president for information technology and chief information officer at Georgia Perimeter College. Karen Geibel Leibach ’69 is a senior policy analyst for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. She also serves on the board of directors of the Alexandria Transit Company in Alexandria, Va. This year marks the 12th anniversary of her husband’s kidney transplant performed at UPMC Presbyterian. She was her husband’s donor. H. Mike Dudek ’72 published his first novel, Plague for Profit. He is the owner of insurance agencies in Johnstown, Pa., and Seward, Pa. Joseph J. Feltes ’72G was selected as one of 63 top lawyers to be included in the 2004 edition of Ohio Super Lawyers. Based in Canton, Feltes specializes in healthcare law. Thomas Leschine ’75G, ’67, is the new director of the University of Washington’s School of Marine Affairs. He is an expert on environmental decision-making. Abby Mendelson ’76G, ’72G, has written Pittsburgh: A Place in Time (The Local History Company), profiling the city’s neighborhoods and people. Richard Vatz ’76G, ’70G, is the 2004 recipient of Towson University’s President’s Award for Distinguished Service to the University. Vatz is professor of rhetoric and communication there. Ron Cichowicz ’77 is director of development at Gateway Rehabilitation Center in Aliquippa, Pa. Louis Frank Wagner ’77G was selected as one of 63 top lawyers to be included in the 2004 edition of Ohio Super Lawyers. Based in Akron, Wagner specializes in intellectual property litigation. Mary Ann Hutton ’78 earned her MBA from Drake University. She also achieved her financial planning specialist designation. Hutton is a financial consultant with Smith Barney in Des Moines. Rosemary Mendel ’79 is vice president of development and communications for the YMCA of Pittsburgh. Judy Minnich Stout ’79G was awarded a Fulbright Teacher Exchange in Germany for 2003-04. She is spending the time there teaching. Bruce Walton ’82, vice president of store operations for Freedom Rings, the Krispy Kreme Doughnuts franchise group serving the greater Philadelphia region, has been chosen to participate in the company’s leadership initiative. Denice Hinden ’83 is president of Management Performance Concepts Inc. in Silver Spring, Md., which provides development-consulting services to nonprofit organizations. Susan McCullum ’83 has joined the staff in WTW Architects’ Pittsburgh office. McCullum is an AIA award winner. She resides in Mt. Washington and is a member of the Mt. Washington Community Development Corp. Rod Dixon ’86G, ’84, who taught cyberlaw as a visiting assistant professor in Rutgers University Law School, is the author of Open Source Software Law (Artech House). Janet R. Daly Bednarek ’87G and Roger D. Launius are coeditors of the recently published Reconsidering a Century of Flight (University of North Carolina Press). Alexander F.C. Webster ’88G is coauthor with Darrell Cole of The Virtue of War: Reclaiming the Classic Christian Traditions East and West (Regina Orthodox Press). Webster serves as parish priest of St. Mary Orthodox Church in Falls Church, Va., as associate professorial lecturer in the University Honors Program of The George Washington University, and as a chaplain (lieutenant colonel) in the Virginia Army National Guard. Deirdre Sullivan ’89 is president of Cosas Buenas Baratas Inc., a company operating retail stores in Florida, Texas, and Massachusetts. Daniel Berkhoudt ’90 received his architect’s license and is employed by Nelson Associates Architectural Engineering of Clinton, N.Y. Lisa Scherfel ’90 and Jeffrey Catanzarite were married on July 17, 1999, at Heinz Memorial Chapel and live in Sewickley, Pa. Boice-Terrel Allen ’92 is editor of Coloring Book: An Eclectic Anthology of Fiction & Poetry by Multicultural Writers (Rattlecat Press). Debra M. Price ’92 and Howard Schmid plan to marry this summer. Jodi Grossman Kaelin ’93 is human resources administrator at Villanova University. Adam T. MacLuckie ’95 is an associate in Fulbright & Janorski’s Houston office. He focuses on commercial real estate, energy, and oil and gas matters. Erin Sunday ’98 and Cole English ’96 were married last year and live in Pittsburgh. Jesse Daniel Matthews ’00 and Erin Harple were married last year and live in Chester Springs, Pa. Jessica S. Powers ’00 is a member of the business tax practice group of Blank Rome’s Philadelphia office. Timothy M. Korter ’01G is an assistant professor of chemistry at Syracuse University. Jennifer Friedlander ’03G, ’96G, is the Edgar E. and Elizabeth S. Pankey Professor of Media Studies and assistant professor of art and art history at Pomona College. Friedlander is a cofounder of the Association for Psychoanalysis and Communication.

Todd Barton, Arts and Sciences ’98, is sales manager-West Coast for Penn Wood Products, Inc. He is responsible for sales and marketing initiatives for the company’s products.

Tulasi R. Joshi, Arts and Sciences ’72G, was presented with the Cyrus R. Vance Award for International Education by West Virginia’s Office of the Secretary of Education and the Arts. He was one of 20 educators and educational organizations nominated for the award, representing K-12 and postsecondary education from all parts of the state. Joshi has been a professor of geography at Fairmont State College for more than 30 years.

Mark R. Rendulic, Arts and Sciences ’89, is executive vice president, consumer and small business financial services, for National City Bank of Pennsylvania. He is responsible for its 120-branch network in the Pittsburgh area. He is also the Pittsburgh chair of the 2004 March of Dimes WalkAmerica.

College of General Studies

Blaine Stout ’86 is vice president and general manager of La-Z-Boy Retail in Monroe, Mich. He is responsible for business development and expanding the network of company-owned stores.

Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Stephen P. Griffin Jr. ’83 was selected as one of 63 top lawyers to be included in the 2004 edition of Ohio Super Lawyers. Griffin specializes in insurance defense and is based in Canton. Richard A. Talarico ’85 was appointed to the City/County Shared Services Transition Team Committee. A former deputy mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, Talarico is a lobbyist and consultant to local businesses for governmental affairs.

Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business

Gloster Current ’72, vice president and head of the corporate planning department at Northwestern Mutual in Milwaukee, was named an executive officer of the company. William R. Baber ’73 is associate dean for research and doctoral programs at The George Washington University School of Business and Public Management. Terrence P. Shannon ’88 has joined St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix. Patrick Gallagher ’90, CAS ’81, vice president of operations at Amazing Glazed, was chosen to participate in Krispy Kreme Doughnuts’ corporate leadership initiative. Amazing Glazed is the Krispy Kreme franchise serving the Pittsburgh market. Scott M. Kenney ’94, GSPH ’94, and Jennifer Kenney are the parents of Gabrielle Renn, born last year. The family lives in Caro, Mich. Chris Lehman ’02 is fluid power product manager at the East Butler, Pa., service center of Marmon/Keystone Corp. Greg Czegan ’03 is director of business improvement at Marmon/Keystone’s corporate office in Butler, Pa.

School of Education

Sandra Chass Morris ’57, gifted education specialist and reading specialist for the Jefferson Public School System in Louisiana, has been recognized for her volunteer services by the American Association of University Women as an Educational Foundation Named Grant Honoree and by the Association for Gifted and Talented Students of Louisiana for Excellence in Leadership. She has also been recognized for her volunteer leadership as Southern Region Woman of the Year by the New Orleans Chapter of Hadassah. Marjorie Brody ’67 has published Career MAGIC: A Woman’s Guide to Reward & Recognition (Career Skills Press). Herb Ferguson ’71G is the featured photographer in Pittsburgh Pleasures 2004 Events Calendar (New Pittsburgh Publications). Michael J. Brunner ’77G, president and CEO of Blattner Brunner, has been elected to the Point Park University Board of Trustees. Ronald F. Smutny ’95G, CAS ’84, is a member of the Rotary Club of Pittsburgh. He works as the associate director of corporate and foundation relations at Duquesne University. Cynthia Liefeld ’98G is interim vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty at Point Park University.

Kristin R. Harty, Education ’03G, ’96G, is an assistant professor of education at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa. She serves as a reading consultant for the Plum Borough School District.

School of Engineering

Charles S. Furtney ’51 has had a book published posthumously, Tyrconnel: An Antebellum Adventure along the C&O Canal (The Local History Company). Furtney died in 2001. Vincent A. Girardy ’61, CAS ’61, is a retired IBM executive. He volunteers with the Somerset County Office on Aging, the New Philharmonic Orchestra of New Jersey, and the Academic Decathalon. A trustee of the IBM Federal Credit Union and the New Jersey Conference of Mayors, Girardy is mayor of Peapack-Gladstone, N.J., where he resides. I. Stephen Tuba ’65G was re-elected president and CEO of the International Technology Foundation and reappointed executive director of the foundation’s operating arm, the International Technology Institute. Tuba lives in San Diego. John A. Swanson ’67G will be honored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers for pioneering work in the application of finite-element methods to engineering, including the development of the ANSYS computer code used widely in the computer-aided engineering industry. James J. Balaschak ’75 has been in Moscow for eight years and leads the Consulting and Corporate Finance Group for Deloitte & Touche in Russia. He served as chair of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia for 2000-02. Krish Prabhu ’80G, ’77G, is CEO, president, and a member on the board of directors of Tellabs of Naperville, Ill. Jeffrey P. Hans ’84 is a partner with the consulting engineering firm Clough, Harbour, and Associates. Hans manages the firm’s Scranton, Pa., office, responsible for transportation projects throughout the state. Michael Francis Cairns ’87 is working for the Bureau of Industry and Security as a weapons inspector, advance team leader, and professional escort for foreign nationals visiting the United States under nonproliferation treaty agreements. Early last year, he was contracted by the U.N. for weapons inspections in Iraq, and this year he will be assigned as a chemical weapons inspector to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons based in The Hague, Netherlands. John W. Kovacs ’96G is a senior associate at Gannett Fleming, an international consulting engineering and construction management firm. Based in the firm’s Pittsburgh office, Kovacs manages the Geotechnical Services Group.

Mini Scene in Key West

Jacqueline Pine (ENGR ’83), experiencing an unusually cloudy day in Key West, takes a moment to check out what’s happening at her alma mater back in sunny Pittsburgh.

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Scott Biely ’84G, ’81, will be promoted to assistant professor at Neumann College in Aston, Pa., effective fall 2004. He also works for Physiotherapy Associates, a physical therapy clinic in West Chester, Pa. Edward David Banos ’87 is CEO of Tenet’s 357-bed North Shore Medical Center in Miami.

School of Information Sciences

Robert B. Ridinger ’73G, CAS ’72, is the editor of Speaking for Our Lives: Historic Speeches and Rhetoric for Gay and Lesbian Rights (1892-2000) (Haworth Press). Ridinger is a veteran of the Peace Corps and is a professor in the Northern Illinois University Libraries. Glenda M. Brown ’83 has written Free Indeed! Testimony of Deliverance from Financial Bondage. Brown and her husband, Raymond, live in Philadelphia and have formed Free Indeed! Financial Awareness, which published her book.

Boniface Wewe, Library and Information Sciences ’91G, was one of 27 winners nationwide to receive the 2003 New York Times Librarian Award. Wewe has worked for the Brooklyn Public Library since 1993.

School of Law

Stanley W. Greenfield ’59, CAS ’55, has completed his final term as chair of the Jewish Association on Aging. He has also been reappointed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to serve on the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee. He lives in Pittsburgh. Jack Olender ’60, CAS ’57, a Washington, D.C., lawyer, received the Award of Excellence from the Pigskin Club of Washington, D.C., for promoting equality, especially for the people of D.C. Michael D. McDowell ’73 has been admitted to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Roster of Arbitrators for the resolution of labor relations disputes. C. Kurt Mulzet ’81, a shareholder with Raphael, Ramsden & Behers in Pittsburgh, was a guest speaker on February 18, 2004, before a joint session of the American Society of Women Accountants and the Institute of Management Accountants on the topic of business ethics. Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock ’87, a lawyer in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill neighborhood, received the Community Champion Jefferson Award for his commitment to help serve the underserved. Pollock does pro bono work on behalf of several local agencies. Beth A. Slagle ’90, a partner in the Pittsburgh law firm of Meyer, Unkovic & Scott, is on the board of directors of The Bradley Center. Margaret M. Stolar ’90 is a partner with Dreher, Langer & Tomkies in Columbus, Ohio, practicing in the areas of banking and consumer finance. Jim Singer ’94 and Mike Subak ’94 are partners at Pepper Hamilton. Singer is with the intellectual property group in the firm’s Pittsburgh office, and Subak is with the construction group in the firm’s Philadelphia office. Joseph A. DiMenno ’95 is a shareholder in Dickie, McCamey, & Chilcote’s Pittsburgh headquarters. DiMenno concentrates his practice in commercial litigation and healthcare, with an emphasis in technology. Sofia Kokkini ’99 is an associate with Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co. She works in the bankruptcy and legal action recovery departments of the firm’s Pittsburgh office. Carrie E. Matesevac ’99, CAS ’96, a fifth-year associate at the Pittsburgh firm Gefsky and Lehman, was awarded the 2003 Outstanding Young Lawyer of the Year Award by the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. Stephen J. Taczak ’00 is an associate with Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote in Pittsburgh, practicing in the area of product liability. John G. Ebken ’03, Sarah B. Heineman ’03, Timothy R. Stevenson ’03, and Marc T. Thirkell ’03, UPG ’97, were hired as associates by the Pittsburgh firm Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote. Ebken focuses on corporate services and toxic tort practice with a concentration on mergers and acquisitions. Heineman concentrates on insurance defense and toxic tort law, with an emphasis on asbestos/silicosis. Stevenson focuses on construction law and toxic tort. Thirkell practices in the area of general liability with an emphasis on medical malpractice. Quinn A. Johnson ’03, Thomas D. Kavanaugh ’03, Gary A. Kern ’03, and Andrew L. Noble ’03, CAS ’87, have joined the Pittsburgh firm of Meyer, Unkovic & Scott as associates. Johnson, Kern, and Noble are part of the firm’s business litigation group, while Kavanaugh has joined the real estate and banking and the business and personal finance groups.

Christine Ward, Law ’82, was appointed by Governor Ed Rendell to the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in February 2003 to fill an unexpired term of a deceased judge. In November, she was elected to a full 10-year term on the Common Pleas Court bench.

School of Medicine

William B. Parsons Jr. ’48, CAS ’47, published Cholesterol Control Without Diet! The Niacin Solution, a paperback edition of a 1998 hardcover, and Tough Talk About Fat! How to Reach and Maintain Your Ideal Weight (Lilac Press). James R. Miller ’85, a U.S. Navy Captain, was promoted to his current rank while serving at the Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth, Va. John Briguglio ’95, a partner in Lancaster Radiology Associates Ltd. and section chief of angiography and interventional radiology at Lancaster (Pa.) General Hospital, has been named one of the region’s 40 outstanding business people under age 40 by Central Penn Business Journal.

School of Social Work

Dorothy Miller ’66G is the publisher of New Pittsburgh Publications, which has published the Rich Poor Man’s Guide to Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Pleasures Events Calendar, and a Pittsburgh Walking Map & Guide.

In Memoriam

Clayton E. Culbortson MED ’59, an obstetrician who delivered two generations of children in Pittsburgh’s Mon Valley, died in December 2003.

Charles H. Ebert Jr. CAS ’36 died in December 2003. Following naval service in World War II, he was director of placement services at Pitt and served as assistant director of athletics. After working for Westinghouse, he returned to Pitt as an alumni placement counselor.

Robert William Hilberg MED ’67, CAS ’62, died in December 2003. He was medical director of Family Hospice and Palliative Care in Mt. Lebanon.

Herbert L. Joseph CBA ’47 died in June 2003. Joseph had a long career with the U.S. government, primarily in Pittsburgh. His children, Randy L. Joseph (CAS ’73) and Judy G. Joseph (SLIS ’87G, CAS ’76) survive him.

Bill Kaliden EDUC ’72G, ’63G, one of Pitt’s most memorable quarterbacks, died in January 2004. A former assistant Pitt football coach, he worked in educational administration at Pitt and at Indiana State University. He was also manager of financial services for Luttner Financial Group.

Herbert S. Kirschbaum ENGR ’46G died in December 2003. An electrical engineer, Kirschbaum had been a professor at Ohio State University and had 27 patents for inventions related to his research projects.

Gisela Konopka SOC WK ’43G died in December 2003. After working at the Pittsburgh Child Guidance Center, she was a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work and later worked in administration there.

Ethel "Inkie" Landerman SOC WK ’51G, a former counselor to Holocaust victims and a fertility counselor, died in January 2004. She founded Pittsburgh’s Negro Educational Emergency Drive (NEED) and was a founding board member of Persad Center.

Frank C. Lauer ENGR ’40 died in October 2003. He was a former coke and by-product division superintendent with Jones and Laughlin Steel Corp. and former director of a Carnegie-based coke oven battery company.

Ann M. Martin FAS ’62G, ’58G, CAS ’57, died in February 2003. She was an associate commissioner of occupational planning in the U.S. Dept. of Education, CCAC academic dean, research director of Pitt’s Center for Educational Media Studies, and founder of Mar Media.

George F. Mechlin Jr. FAS ’51, ’47G, died in December 2003. He was part of a Westinghouse team that developed some of the U.S. Navy’s first nuclear weapons.

James Bradshaw Osgood SLIS ’62G died in December 2003. He worked as a translator and interpreter for the United Nations and as a librarian in Chicago.

Ernestine Gloster Parks EDUC ’51G, ’47, died in December 2003. She was a civic leader in the Pittsburgh Black community, founding Outdoor Girls, a club for young African American women.

Joseph Nick Pierre EDUC ’44 died in November 2003. A former Pittsburgh Steeler, he lived in Bel Air, Md.

Harold Theodore Porter EDUC ’56G, CAS ’40, a United Methodist pastor who served his church in the Pittsburgh area and at its national headquarters in Nashville, died in December 2003.

John H. Scarmeas CAS ’81 died in November 2003. He was a dentist in Wichita, Kan.

Andrew Gans (Jack) Sharkey Jr. died in November 2003. An adjunct faculty member in Pitt’s Department of Geology and Planetary Science, Sharkey was a pioneer in mass spectrometry and its application to organic molecules.

Marilyn S. Sternglass FAS ’73 died in January 2003. She was an English professor at several universities throughout her career and an author who developed a method of teaching writing to underprivileged adult students.

Milton S. Suter CBA ’58 died in October 2003. He began his career with Pittsburgh-based Gulf Oil Corp. as a gas station attendant and worked his way up the corporate ladder, retiring in 1976 as manager of human resources for the corporation’s research and development department.

James Theodore MED ’62, CAS ’58, a former University of Pittsburgh running back who founded the Heart and Lung Transplant Program at Stanford University, died in August 2003. After serving in the Air Force, he was employed by Stanford University, where he was head of respiratory medicine, medical director of the heart-lung transplant program that he founded, chief of pulmonary medicine, and professor emeritus.

Pamela Ann Vogel CAS ’87 died in June 2003 at the age of 38 following a five-year battle with breast cancer. Vogel worked as a counselor for troubled youth and teenagers and their families. At the time of her death, she was employed as a supervisor of family therapy at Cray Youth and Family Services Inc. in New Castle, Pa.

William J. Willmot ENGR ’48 died in January 2004. He rose to chairman of the board at Herman Corp. in Zelienople, Pa. He left Herman to found Harmony Castings, one of the first American foundries built specifically to use the vacuum casting process.

Joseph T. Yavorka EDUC ’72G died in January 2003. He was a high school teacher and football coach in Western Pennsylvania. After retirement, he helped establish the Career Connection Charter High School, an initiative of the Boys and Girls Club in Pittsburgh.

Global Warming

Most tourists who visit the South Sea island of Rarotonga spend their days sightseeing. Norina Vaira (CAS ’61) did her share of sightseeing. But she also spent several hours each day as a "global volunteer," tutoring youngsters in English. Rarotongan children first learn Maori, the island’s native language. Later, they’re taught English, which is the island’s language of commerce, necessary for jobs and income. Many of the children become confused when the phonetics of Maori clash with English spellings and rules of grammar. Enter Vaira, a retired business executive, who majored in French and minored in Italian, Spanish, and English. "I have a personal interest in this," she says, as someone who loves languages and who loves to communicate across cultures. She knows, in Rarotonga, an understanding of English can mean the difference between success and failure, as these children become adults. Several years ago, through a Pitt acquaintance, Vaira discovered Global Volunteers, a nonprofit organization that offers one- to three-week service opportunities in the United States and abroad. Participants pay their own expenses but take home more than travel memories and trinkets. "We’re citizen diplomats," says Vaira, who has volunteered in China, Hungary, Spain, Italy, Mexico, the Ukraine, and Poland, with a few return trips for good measure. While she was tutoring in Rarotonga, her fellow volunteers were busy, too, working, for example, in hospitals and with the elderly. "This is one of the best possible ways to wage peace on a personal basis," she says. "Programs like this show that we all care what happens, and we all believe in the betterment of mankind through cultural understanding and shared experiences."

—Cindy Gill


Road Trip

Six years ago Patty Lonsbary’s husband, Ed, told her he wanted to trade in their Mazda Miata for something a bit bigger. Then, he pulled out a photo of a 40-foot motor coach. The couple loved to travel, but they weren’t quite ready to retire. "What if," Ed asked Patty, "we create a new type of travel company, one that provides people with a house on wheels?" Patty (CAS ’77), whose last name was Sanford during her days at Pitt, researched the market. She discovered plenty of people won’t or can’t fly, but they still want to travel. Meanwhile, Ed, who had been laid off from a sales job, took bus-driving lessons. When the couple told friends about their plan to drive strangers to vacation spots, they got two reactions. "People said either, ‘You’re crazy!’ or ‘That’s the coolest idea,’" Patty recalls. In 1999, the Lonsbarys bought a converted bus with all the amenities of home—including a queen-size bed, a kitchen, bath, shower, and even a washer/dryer. Private Motor Coach Inc. was born, perhaps the only company of its kind in the world. With Ed at the wheel of "Patty’s Charm" and Patty at his side, they have driven clients all across North and South America. Patty points out that many small businesses fail within the first five years, but she and Ed, by trusting their instincts, have created a strong niche market. Although they’ve only broken even each year, for them that’s success enough. "We’re masters of our own destiny," Patty says, adding there is nothing crazy about that.

—Amy Souza


Breaking Tradition

Inspiration is not a commodity that Fran Gargotta (CGS ’79) takes lightly. As executive vice president and chief executive resources officer for MARC USA, Pittsburgh’s largest advertising agency, she can’t afford to. She works side by side with both "creatives" (art directors, designers, writers) and agency executives to "create a culture that blends employees’ desires." This involves strategic planning, organizational design, leadership development, and human resources.

Before joining MARC, Gargotta spent 22 years in human relations for Alcoa, serving as liaison between the company and the unions. She has stood in front of hostile crowds and delivered news to workers who didn’t want to hear it, crossed picket lines during a strike to operate a forklift at a plant (when she wasn’t at the bargaining table), and negotiated mergers and acquisitions into the wee hours of the night.

With that background, an ad agency might seem like an unlikely place to find her. However, for a person known for giving flamboyant presentations and toting around armfuls of personal journals that she uses to jot ideas in, Gargotta believes it’s the perfect blend of her right-brain/left-brain talents. "I tell everybody, ‘Your job description is just a guideline, but you can do whatever your skills and your abilities and your interests will allow you to. So you shouldn’t consider it a box or a boundary, but rather an opportunity for you to springboard and grow.’"

It’s that kind of advice that Gargotta shares with Pitt students and alums through AlumNet, a career-networking program sponsored by the alumni association, where she volunteers. And she need look only to herself as an example. Gargotta graduated with a BA in English Writing from the College of General Studies, yet her career path obviously doesn’t reflect it. She chose the General Studies program, in part, because it was one of the few programs in the early 1970s, when she was just starting out at Alcoa, that allowed people to take classes in the evening.

"[The University] didn’t try to box you in and dictate, ‘You must come to college on our hours.’ They were very much ahead of their time by saying, ‘There are probably a lot of people who work full-time, and if they want to come to college, we’re going to make it available to them.’"

To help nontraditional alums like her reconnect with the school, Gargotta jumped headfirst into the Pitt volunteer waters about 10 years ago. Her footprints wind through the executive committee of the CGS, the PAA Board, AlumNet, Alumni Legislative Network, Alumnae Council, and the Leadership Council. And the PAA lifetime member has no intentions of slowing down.

Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has taken notice of Gargotta. Earlier this year, he named her one of the state’s Best 50 Women in Business. The governor probably wouldn’t be surprised that in Gargotta’s basement, in what she’s christened the Leonardo da Vinci Workroom, the word "Imagine!" is painted in large letters above a mural of a window. She put it there for inspiration—and perhaps, so that she’ll always have the perfect answer to, "What’s next?"

—Mike Ransdell


Worldwide Wisdom

You’re sitting in what might be the world’s most diverse classroom. Your teacher is from a small town in Germany. He has studied philosophy and German language and literature at the University of Heidelberg and modern history at Oxford University. When he’s not teaching your Great Political Thinkers course, he lectures on Spanish history at Bristol University in England.

After initial introductions, the instructor begins by asking three questions:

Is knowledge the key to good rulership?

In how far is knowledge identical with ethical quality?

What sort of knowledge makes a good ruler?

You pause, reflect on your reading assignments, and then begin to answer; or maybe you get a cup of coffee or do the laundry or cook dinner as you mull them over. It’s up to you, because you’re not really in a classroom. You’re behind your computer, on your own time, at your own leisure, taking an online class with people from around the world who share your passion for a special subject—no matter what your degree.

It’s part of a new continuing education program called AllLearn that’s now available to Pitt alumni. All of the courses offered so far have been created by faculty from Stanford, Yale, and Oxford universities. Pitt is one of about 20 institutions invited to join in. That means Pitt alumni are eligible to sign up for AllLearn programs at a reduced rate, and University faculty will be invited to take part in online forums.

Leland Patouillet, associate vice chancellor for alumni relations and the executive director of the Pitt Alumni Association, played a key role in helping bring the new venture to fruition. "When you think about the fact that the [Pitt] alumni association is the voice of more than 225,000 alumni, including those living in 125 foreign countries, you begin to say, ‘How do you communicate with, and how do you develop programming for alumni across the globe?’" says Patouillet in describing his motivation. With 50 courses arranged into 17 departments, easily accessible through the Internet, and an association with elite institutions, Patouillet believes AllLearn makes perfect sense.

Online instructors lead courses by posting questions on message boards each week based on reading assignments. From there it’s a free-flowing exchange of thoughts and ideas. And many classes include live chat sessions.

"The first challenge for most people is the lack of face-to-face interaction," says AllLearn instructor Anthony Spires. "But that goes away pretty quickly. And students realize, ‘Wow, there are people around the world who share an interest in this, too.’"

—MR


Koral’s Korner

The Talk of the University

Mimi Koral

Every two years, the Pitt Alumni Association sponsors the Alumni Leaders Conference to teach volunteers how best to "support the University and enrich the lives of alumni worldwide." This spring’s event coincided with graduation weekend and, of course, the Board of Directors meeting, where President Eva Tansky Blum (LAW ’73, CAS ’70) turned the gavel over to President-Elect Keith Schaefer (CAS ’71). At the PAA Leaders Luncheon, Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg gave a University update to the group and honored Blum for her service. After the meeting, Volunteers of the Year were honored, including Dominic Ebanks (CAS ’98), J. Byron Fleck (CAS ’75), Carolyn Hill (CAS ’81, GSPIA ’91), Loren Jeffries-Pulliam (NURS ’92), and Sam Zacharias (CAS ’64), at a dinner in the Petersen Events Center. Glenn Melvin (UPB ’03) and Josh Bridge (UPB ’02) traveled from the Bradford Campus for the festivities. The Reverend Maureen Cross Bolden (CGS ’92) gave the dinner invocation. Ed Connor (CAS ’77), in from unpronounceable Swoyersville, Pa., said he owed his involvement in the association to Trish Rall Henninger (CAS ’77) who, along with Holly Appleman (UPB ’84), proclaims Pitt’s virtues in north central Pennsylvania. Pitt Alumni Recruitment Team volunteer Eileen Fair (CGS ’91) and husband Barry were on hand, as were Bart Whitehead (DEN ’90, KGSB ’97) of Florida, Lannie Mott (CGS ’64) from Los Angeles, Leanne Hutton (CAS ’95) of the Chicago contingent, Barb Zaborowski (SIS ’90, CAS ’82) and husband Gregory (UPJ ’99). Brad Wyland (KGSB ’01, ENGR ’93) was heard strategizing with new Bay Area Pitt Club President John Racioppi (KGSB ’80, CAS ’79) about how to increase club membership. Michael Ford (CAS ’81) of Baltimore discussed how best to serve alumni in his area with Mary Ellen Callahan (CAS ’90) of Washington, D.C. Saturday began with the Banner Breakfast, where 28 alumni organizations were honored for their work, including the School of Engineering Alumni Society, a first-time honoree. A proud Glenn Zaborowski (ENGR ’81) represented the group. Among the volunteers who taught sessions on topics such as designing a Web site for an alumni club and increasing alumni engagement were Marilyn Burke (EDUC ’67), Jessica Samuels (KGSB ’01), Tim Pecsenye (LAW ’87, CAS ’84), Ron Hornak (BUS ’70, ENGR ’67), Rebecca Borghi (SHRS ’97), and the indefatigable Tony Roscoe (SHRS ’99), who also was seen lending a hand with the first Graduation Celebration, Last Class-Final Blast—an annual party that the PAA throws for the graduating class and their families. Among the revelers were Ray Skelton (CAS ’76), and his mother, Doris, who were celebrating the graduation of Ray’s daughter, Ruthan (CAS ’04), a third-generation Pitt alum.

— Mimi Koral,
CAS '75, Director of Alumni Communications


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