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Spotlight on Alumni

Any idea how or why these Pitt students ended up behind bars, circa 1973? Hint: The elephants, tigers, and monkeys are missing, but not the wild enthusiasm for Pitt.

The most cagey response will prompt the magazine staff to ride panthers through the streets of Oakland (once we find some and figure out how to get near them).

Please send your replies to or Pitt Magazine, 400 Craig Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260.

Arts and Sciences

Robert S. Robins ’59 was appointed to the Connecticut Board of Governors for Higher Education. He’s retired from Tulane University in New Orleans, where he served as a political science professor and deputy provost. Patrick Pollino ’64 received the 2006 Beacon Award for Lifetime Achievement in Public Relations from the Boston Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. He’s been an active leader in the society for more than 30 years and was featured in the March 2007 edition of the society’s publication PR Tactics. He runs his own public relations firm in Wellesley, Mass.

James T. Fowler ’66 received the Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in May. Marilyn E. Stewart ’70 was named president of the American Montessori Society, which promotes the Montessori teaching philosophy in schools nationwide. She’s Head-of-School of the Red Oaks School in Morristown, N.J. Jeffrey I. Pasek ’73 authored a chapter in the textbook The Roles and Motivations of Key Players in Labor Law Situations (Aspatore). He’s an attorney with Cozen O’Connor law firm in Philadelphia.

Rosalind D. Scott ’73 was appointed assistant to the president for racial and cultural diversity at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio. Nick Nascone ’76 is heading Elisco Advertising’s new office in Marathon, Fla. Robert S. Bernstein ’76 was named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer by Philadelphia Magazine for the fourth consecutive year. He’s a managing partner of Bernstein Law Firm in Pittsburgh. John Righetti ’79 was elected national president of the Carpatho-Rusyn Society, an organization dedicated to educating people about and preserving Eastern European culture.

Michael W. Casey ’86G, ’81G wrote The Rhetoric of Sir Garfield Todd: Christian Imagination and the Dream of an African Democracy (Baylor University Press). He holds the Carl P. Miller Chair of Communication at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. Joel Bloom ’88 and his wife, Jody Shapiro, wrote Forest Hills (Arcadia Publishing), a history of the Pennsylvania town where they reside. The book is part of the Images of America series, which includes more than 3,000 photo-history books about U.S. towns. Karen Bonvalot ’88 joined the Pittsburgh law office of Sherrard, German & Kelly as a shareholder and director. She’s a litigator who focuses on insurance defense.

Beth Ann Steiner Hunt ’92 is a customer development specialist with TBM Consulting Group in Durham, N.C., where she resides with her husband and daughter. Sarah Black Johnston ’01 was promoted to business development specialist with Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, an engineering firm in Harrisburg, Pa. Chris Griswold ’02 accepted a graduate associateship with the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, where he will pursue a Master of Science degree in journalism. His Web site, “Overheard in Pittsburgh,” was voted the 2006 Best Pittsburgh blog in a readers’ poll conducted by the Pittsburgh City Paper.

Megan Sofilka ’02 is a marketing coordinator with Susquehanna Association for the Blind and Vision Impaired in Lancaster, Pa. Peter Gervase ’03, an information technology specialist, received his certification for the Redhat Enterprise Linux 4 computer operating system. Erin McClelland ’04 is director of Arche Wellness, a Hampton Township, Pa., drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, where Brian L. Mallow ’06 is the office manager. Previously, they both worked in Pitt’s Alcohol and Smoking Research Laboratory under the direction of psychology professor Michael Sayette.

Jennifer Delmaster ’05 joined the Shadyside practice of plastic surgeon Leo R. McCafferty as an esthetician in the spa/skincare group. Janine K. Long ’05 received a John Frederick Steinman Fellowship to support her graduate studies. She’s pursuing a master’s degree in clinical counseling and psychology at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Nora Connor ’06 joined Pittsburgh’s FSC Marketing Communications as a public relations account associate.

College of General Studies

Chris Gleason ’66, a nationally ranked racecar driver, earned a master’s degree in history from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He’s president of Gleason Financial in Johnstown, Pa. Mike Radley ’81, ’77 is celebrating his 20th year as race director of the annual Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race. Chris Anitori ’89 was named a vice president in Asset & Wealth Management at JPMorgan Chase financial firm in Columbus, Ohio. He’s managing the Shareholder Services division of JPMorgan Mutual Funds. Alex Shamraevsky ’04 is one of the organizers of the annual Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race.

Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Carey Harris ’95, SOC WK ’95G was named executive director of A+ Schools, an organization that focuses on improving education in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. She serves on the boards of the Birmingham Foundation and the Community Design Center of Pittsburgh.

Graduate School of Public Health

Linda N. Ollis ’80, SHRP ’74 was appointed CEO of Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Neb. Aaron Mendelsohn ’96, SHRP ’94 received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Outstanding Service Award for his work evaluating the safety of nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. He’s director of epidemiology and risk management with MedImmune in Gaithersburg, Md.

Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business

Jay Roy ’66, CBA ’62 retired from his 18-year position as CEO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh. He’s a trustee of Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa., and serves on the boards of Imani Christian Academy and the Pittsburgh Project. Fredrick Davidson ’68, ’65 was named professor emeritus of business administration at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va. He has served as a member of the university’s faculty for more than 20 years.

College of Business Administration

Darin Vilano ’00 is a business and marketing director with Eagle Realty Group, a real estate investment company in Cincinnati, Ohio. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of Citizens for Civic Renewal. Jocelyn Lovette Villecco ’00 and Andrew Villecco CGS ’03 announce the birth of their son, Roman Andrew, in February 2007. Bin Lu Ryter ’04 joined Yanni Partners, an investment firm headquartered in Pittsburgh, as a consulting analyst. Lynn M. Whelan ’04 was promoted to senior accountant with Lumsden & McCormick, an accounting firm in Buffalo, N.Y. Annette Nelson ’06 is one of the organizers of the annual Richard S. Caliguiri City of Pittsburgh Great Race.

School of Education

Mildred Haffner Wolff ’27 celebrated her 100th birthday this year. She’s retired after a career as a social worker with the Pittsburgh Public Schools. James F. Curl ’74G, ’68G received a 2007 Joseph Kruson Trust Fund Award for Excellence in Teaching from Alfred University in New York. An education professor, he joined the university’s faculty in 1974.

Susan Simmers ’85 received the 2007 Carnegie Science Center Award for Excellence in the Elementary Educator category. She’s a science and math teacher at Beechwood Elementary School in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, where she’s taught for 19 years. Nancy Sayre ’88G retired after a 21-year career as a faculty member and administrator with the education department at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She directed the university’s Earl L. Siler Children’s Learning Complex.

Alex Jaffurs ’94G, CAS ’92 was named supervisor of mathematics in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at St. Mary’s County Public Schools in Maryland. Stan Chapp ’99G, ’80G was appointed superintendent of the Freeport Area School District in Pennsylvania. Chris Ament ’02G received the Elinor Long Award from the Pennsylvania-Delaware Chapter of the Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired. He’s an early childhood education teacher and orientation and mobility specialist with the Susquehanna Association for the Blind and Vision Impaired in Lancaster, Pa.

School of Engineering

Les Snyder III ’79 was promoted to chief operating officer of Barton Malow, a construction company in Southfield, Mich. He coauthored The Contractors’ Guide to Building Information Modeling (Associated General Contractors of America). Lloyd Yates ’82 was named president and CEO of Progress Energy Carolinas. He’s the highest-ranking African American executive in the parent company, Progress Energy. Thomas Danyluk ’90 was awarded third place in feature writing from the Pro Football Writers Association. He writes for Pro Football Weekly and is an account manager with U.S. Steel in Chicago.

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Nathan McWilliams ’98 was promoted to director of MIS/Trauma Registry with Pennsylvania Trauma Foundation Systems in Mechanicsburg, Pa. Alaina Capanna ’06 is a client implementation specialist with Misys Healthcare Systems, where she was named Employee of the Month in November.

School of Information Sciences

Steven Choi ’76G is an elected member of the City Council of Irvine, Calif. He’s chairman of the Orange County Public Library Advisory Board and the Irvine Library Advisory Committee. He’s also founder and director of Dr. Choi’s Academy, an after-school tutoring center.

School of Law

Richard M. Landis ’73, CAS ’70 received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Family Court Trial Lawyers Association of the District of Columbia. Michael D. McDowell ’73 qualified for the designation of “Advanced Practitioner—Labor and Employment Arbitrator” from the Association for Conflict Resolution. He’s an attorney, arbitrator, and mediator based in Pittsburgh. David W. Lampl LAW ’78 was named a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer by Philadelphia Magazine. An attorney with Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl in Pittsburgh, he chairs the firm’s bankruptcy and creditors’ rights practice group.

Larry Chaban ’80, CAS ’77 received the 2007 George F. Douglas Jr. Amicus Curiae Award from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, recognizing his accomplishments in writing briefs and making oral arguments before Pennsylvania’s highest courts. Edward B. Gentilcore ’87, CAS ’84 joined Duane Morris as a partner in the firm’s Pittsburgh office. He will be part of the firm’s Trial Practice Group, focusing on construction and surety law. Joseph R. Froetschel ’06, CAS ’03 joined the Pittsburgh office of Burns, White & Hickton as an associate in the Transportation Group. He will focus on railroad litigation.

School of Medicine

Charles J. Tripoli ’55 received the Humanitarian Award from the Washington-Greene County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame for providing medical care to people in Iraq, Guatemala, Haiti, and Honduras. Gary S. Weinstein ’78 received the 2006 Outstanding Contribution Award from the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery for developing and maintaining an e-mail listserv for oculoplastic surgeons. He practices eyelid and tear duct surgery with Pittsburgh Oculoplastic Associates.

School of Nursing

Jeanne Dettis Hopple ’77 is a family nurse-practitioner with Ocala Family Physicians in Florida. She’s also a nursing doctoral student at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

School of Pharmacy

Wayne Miller ’56 received the Life Award of the Ohio Pharmacists Association. He’s treasurer and trustee of the Pharmacists Rehabilitation Organization and treasurer of the Pharmacy Foundation of Ohio.

School of Social Work

Nancy Smith Wright ’70G, the first African American to graduate from Tennessee’s Maryville College after reintegration, was honored by her alma mater with a multicultural service award in her name. The annual Nancy Smith Wright Unity Award will recognize campus organizations that “consistently demonstrate unity through diversity within the Maryville College community and beyond.” Amy Ambuske-DeGurian ’94G teaches continuing education classes in Pitt’s School of Social Work. She also teaches psychology at the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science.

University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg

Paula Dziedzic Luff ’88 was promoted to assistant vice president for enrollment management at DePaul University in Chicago. Roslyn Ciacco Karstedt ’98 and her husband, Rick, announce the birth of their daughter, Katelyn Belle, in March 2007. They also have a son, Alex.

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Robert A. DeMichiei ’87 was the commencement speaker for the 2007 Plum High School graduation in Plum, Pa. He’s the chief financial officer for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Intelligence Gathering

On a sprawling corporate campus outside Boston, Mark Bittinger and Michael Fowler resume their dialogue about global politics, discussing world affairs much as they’ve done since connecting at a Pitt alumni event several years ago.

  Fowler (left) and Bittinger

Only this time the stakes are real. The purpose of the unusual Boston gathering is to help advance the future of U.S. intelligence in the post-9/11 era.

The Pitt graduates—along with selected others from academia and industry nationwide—were asked to attend a by-invitation-only national summit organized by the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The goal was to bring together U.S. intelligence analysts with leading social scientists to engage in out-of-the-box thinking to understand and thwart the global spread of terrorism.

The two men spent four weeks last summer at SHARP, the Summer Hard Problems workshop. They were sequestered with roughly 40 other experts and top intelligence officials. Fowler (GSPIA ’98), author of Amateur Soldiers, Global Wars (Praeger Security International), teaches political science at Rhode Island’s Roger Williams University. Bittinger (GSPIA ’93) is a senior analyst at an engineering and defense firm, the MITRE Corporation. He was in the Pentagon when the building was attacked on 9/11, and he served as a staff member to the 9/11 Commission.

A month of intense work at SHARP yielded more than 50 reports whose impact, says Bittinger, is still being felt in Washington. The workshop’s process of communication—requiring extended dialogue between the notoriously insular intelligence community and the outside world—
probably mattered as much as the information outcomes.

“We laid the groundwork for some very interesting possibilities for
collaboration with the government,” Fowler says. —Jennifer Bails

Pass It On

Adjusting her helmet, the football player runs onto the field. She has been called in for the blitz play, and she’s ready to defend the name emblazoned on her jersey: Pittsburgh Passion. The ball is snapped. She springs from the turf and sacks the opposing quarterback on the one-yard line, almost scoring a two-point safety for the Passion.


As fans cheer, her teammates surround her, bumping helmets in celebration. They lift her five-foot-two frame onto the shoulders of a fellow player and crowd jubilantly together.

The sacker, Kristan Silvestri (EDUC ’06G), is playing in her first professional football game. She has dreamed of this moment since she played pickup football as a youngster in the backyard with her brothers.
But she had to defer the dream. Professional football wasn’t an option for girls then, so she shifted her athletic focus to gymnastics.

Years later, as Silvestri pursued a Pitt master’s degree in health and physical activity, she heard about the Pittsburgh Passion, one of more than 60 professional women’s teams nationwide. While at Pitt, Silvestri joined the Passion and was soon sacking quarterbacks and chasing renewed dreams. (This year the team had an undefeated season and won the National Women’s Football Association’s world championship.)

After her Pitt graduation, Silvestri moved out of state. These days, she owns a women’s team—the Palm Beach Punishers—in the national Independent Women’s Football League, and she plays linebacker on the Florida team. She’s also working to build a fan base that includes girls who enjoy football. She wants to encourage young women to do what they love, far beyond pickup football in neighborhood backyards. —Lauren Mylo

Shop Talk

A rubber frog squirms in her hand. And on the other end of a live camera at 4 a.m., thousands of people silently ask her: What is that thing?


Sandra Bennett has never fished before, but hosting on the shop-at-home QVC channel means being a mini-authority on just about anything that’s bought and sold. So Bennett (CGS ’95) gamely hooks the spring-driven, amphibious fishing lure to a line and gives the rod a flick. She doesn’t have an angler’s cast, but she does have a bachelor’s degree in English writing from Pitt and 12 years of experience in broadcast news. Her training kicks in: Remember your research, stick to your three main points. And hope the next four minutes go quickly.

Not all QVC products are as unfamiliar to her. For each hour on
camera, Bennett spends two hours trying out items from jewelry to power tools and meeting their manufacturers. “I’m shopping for our
customers, who can’t feel the leather or smell the scented candle.
So I’m kind of their eyes and fingers.”

Even on live TV in the wee hours, she relishes the hardest part of the QVC job: “They want you to be yourself and just be someone shopping.” That’s no problem for Bennett. She loves shopping, and she loves her job. —Paul Ruggiero

In Memoriam

Robert Richard Altmar Sr. CAS ’54 died in March 2007 at age 76. He was a pilot in the Air Force and Air National Guard for 17 years, attaining the rank of major. He also volunteered with the St. Theresa Parish and School in Palm Springs, Calif.

Selwyn D. Berson ENGR ’54G, ’49, an aeronautical engineer, died in April 2007 at age 78. He worked for Pratt & Whitney for more than 35 years, ultimately becoming president of the company’s Commercial Engineering Business. He was a member of Pitt’s School of Engineering Board of Visitors and was past president of Temple Sinai in Newington, Conn.

Elizabeth “Betty” Crawford Colbert KGSB ’41, a registered national parliamentarian, died in May 2007 at age 88. She conducted business meetings for the National Organization for Women and served on the board of the Sewickley Child Health Association and Sewickley Union Aid Society. She also taught English and history at Sewickley Academy in Pennsylvania for 20 years.

Emily A. DeCicco LAW ’90, EDUC ’74G, a retired education professor and active political volunteer, died in January 2007 at age 62. She taught at Indiana University of Pennsylvania for 20 years until her retirement in 1994. Afterward, she moved to Washington, D.C., and directed an executive search firm. She also served on the board of Keep Washington Beautiful and was an advisor for the D.C. Public Charter School Association. Last year, she managed a successful political campaign for the current D.C. mayor, Adrian Fenty.

William J. Hannan, former law instructor and Pitt director of labor
relations, died in April 2007 at age 89. A World War II veteran, he served in the Marine Corps for 38 years, attaining the rank of colonel. He also was senior partner in several New York City law firms.

Paul C. Lauterbur FAS ’62, a Nobel laureate, died in March 2007 at age 77. He shared the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his role in the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology. He was the Distinguished University Professor of Medical Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2004, he delivered the address at Pitt’s commencement, where he received the Honorary Doctor of Science degree.

Arthur H. Mankin CAS ’42 died in May 2007 at age 85. He had a varied career, which included engineering jobs with Philco and General Motors, a teaching position at the University of Illinois, and working as an almond farmer. He was also a chess player who competed in tournaments nationwide.

Clara Heberle Moore NURS ’54 died in November 2006 at age 92. She was a nursing instructor in Pittsburgh and Altoona, Pa., and was a member of the Blair County Historical Society and the Railroaders Memorial Museum. At the time of her death, she resided at the Presbyterian Lodge in Erie, Pa., where she proudly displayed her collection of Pitt paraphernalia.

George J. Risko CAS ’41 died in April 2007 at age 91. He was retired after working 41 years as an Allegheny County, Pa., probation officer. In 1981, he was named the county’s Probation Officer of the Year. He also worked as a piano tuner. Born blind, he inspired many with his strong work ethic and professional accomplishments.

Albert A. Seretny FAS ’48, CAS ’47 died in December 2006 at age 84. During his career as an educator, he worked as a history teacher, then as principal of James Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Conn., and ultimately as acting president of the former Waterbury State Technical College in Connecticut.

James R. Stephens FAS ’49, a retired organic chemist who held 47 U.S. patents, died in February 2007 at age 81. As a scientist with Amoco Chemicals for more than 30 years, he developed coatings for electrical wires, cookware, and jet engines. Earlier this year, he celebrated 60 years of membership in the American Chemical Society.

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