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Class Notes

Pitt Alumni Association


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Erroline Williams
CGS ’80, EDUC ’07G,
director of continuing
education at Duquesne University
in Pittsburgh, gave a program
development presentation at the
North American Association
of Summer Sessions 2007
annual conference in Hawaii.


George P. Gourley A&S ’32, DEN ’32 celebrated his 100th birthday in May. He recalls that, when he began taking classes at Pitt, the Cathedral of Learning hadn’t yet been built. He’s an avid Pitt football fan who was a longtime season ticket holder.


Leo M. Stepanian LAW ’55 was recently honored by the Butler County Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Association for his 50th year practicing law.


Stan Smokler A&S ’67 had his steel sculptures on display at an exhibition at Kim Foster Gallery in New York City in June. To create sculptures, he gathers discarded objects and reworks the material into abstract assemblages.


Aasia Raghman Mustakeem A&S ’68 joined Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell as a partner in the law firm’s Atlanta office. She practices commercial real estate law.


Pat Shehorn SHRS ’71, GSPH ’83 was selected as a Girl Scout 2008 Woman of Achievement by the Illinois Crossroads Council and was honored at the annual Celebration of Achievement event for her “extraordinary, significant community accomplishments.” Leonard J. Zapf ENGR ’71 was named a utility coordinator in the Pittsburgh office of Gannett Fleming, an international planning, design, and construction management firm.


William Betts A&S ’73, SOC WK ’74G, a retired social worker, was honored this year at a Black History Month celebration hosted by Park Place African Methodist Episcopal Church in Homestead, Pa. During his career, he served as program director of Craig House-Technoma, a school for children with behavioral problems; as outpatient director for mental health programs on Pittsburgh’s North Side; and as executive director of the Hazelwood YMCA. Jane Bluestein EDUC ’73, ’74G, ’80G wrote The Win-Win Classroom: A Fresh and Positive Look at Classroom Management (Corwin Press), in which she explains nontraditional approaches to teaching that aim to prevent discipline problems. A former schoolteacher, she has appeared as an education expert on CNN, National Public Radio, and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Richard B. Chess A&S ’73 was elected president of the Richmond Association for Business Economics and elected to the board of the national Tenant-In-Common Association. He’s a lawyer, investment banker, and president of American Realty Capital Markets in Richmond, Va. William A. Oleckno GSPH ’73 wrote an epidemiology textbook titled Essential Epidemiology: Principles and Applications (Waveland Press). He’s Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus in the School of Nursing and Health Studies at Northern Illinois University.


Anthony Rogone EDUC ’74G is a painter based in Sacramento, Calif. His watercolor paintings of flowers have been featured in several local art exhibitions.


Frank Vertosick, A&S ’76, MED ’81 released a new edition of his book When the Air Hits Your Brain: Tales from Neurosurgery (W.W. Norton & Company), which was originally published in 1996. The book, which sold more than 100,000 copies in five languages, is a memoir of his experiences as a medical student and neurosurgery resident at Pitt in the 1970s and ’80s.


William P. Robinson A&S ’79G, president of Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash., received the Charles W. L. Foreman Award for Innovation in Private Higher Education from the Foundation for Independent Higher Education for his leadership in helping private colleges forge successful partnerships with public universities, business communities, and underrepresented populations. S.N. Sangmpam GSPIA ’79, an associate professor of political science and African American studies at Syracuse University, wrote Comparing Apples and Mangoes: The Overpoliticized State in Developing Countries (SUNY Press), in which he analyzes political behavior in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.


Darla Twale A&S ’80G, EDUC ’85G wrote her second book, Faculty Incivility: The Rise of the Academic Bully Culture and What to Do About It (Jossey-Bass). She’s a professor of counselor education and human services at the University of Dayton in Ohio.


David Bitonti DEN ’85 received the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons’ 2007 Outstanding Fellow Member/Political Activist Award for encouraging Congress to pass legislation that now enables oral and maxillofacial surgeons serving in the military to receive special incentive pay, a benefit already provided to other medical corps personnel. He’s director of surgical services at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Cynthia O’Donnell A&S ’85, LAW ’90 joined the Pittsburgh law firm of Thomas, Thomas & Hafer as an associate. She has 15 years of experience in civil litigation and will focus her practice on workers’ compensation matters.

Scott D. Rosenberg ENGR ’85, founder and CEO of Miro Consulting, was a finalist in the New Jersey Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year program. His firm helps companies like Oracle and Microsoft to analyze and negotiate software licensing and consulting contracts.


David Mahoney A&S ’88 was promoted to lieutenant with the Austin Police Department in Texas. He’s a watch commander with the patrol division. Christian E. Schuster ENGR ’88, KGSB ’92, a patent attorney, was promoted to director and vice president of The Webb Law Firm in Pittsburgh.


Scott C. Martin A&S ’90G wrote Devil of the Domestic Sphere: Temperance, Gender, and Middle-Class Ideology, 1800-1860 (Northern Illinois University Press). He’s an associate professor of history and American culture studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Tammy Singleton-English LAW ’90, a real estate attorney and certified public accountant, is a council member of the Allegheny County Bar Association’s Solo and Small Firm Section. She also serves on the board of the Estate Planning Council of Pittsburgh. Charles J. Vrscak A&S ’90 joined Rothman Gordon, a Pittsburgh law firm, as a paralegal. He has more than 16 years of trial-preparation experience.


Michael R. McDonald A&S ’91G, ’94G was awarded the Senior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award from Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Meyers, Fla. He’s a founding faculty member of the university and founding chair of the school’s anthropology program.


Thaddeus Mason Pope A&S ’92 was hired as an associate professor at Widener University law school in Wilmington, Del., where he will teach health law and bioethics. Sheila Weis Scanlon A&S ’92 joined Pittsburgh law firm Burns, White and Hickton as an associate. She’s focusing on asbestos exposure cases in the transportation and manufacturing industries.


Michelle Lea Whitman CGS ’93 opened a Nationwide Insurance office in Beaver Falls, Pa.


Dave Popelka A&S ’94 was named senior vice president/director of account planning at Mullen, a Pittsburgh communications agency. James Thomson KGSB ’94 was named president of Saint-Gobain Crystals in Ohio, which manufactures radiation- detection equipment and optical technologies used in medical imaging.


Marcia M. Sturdivant EDUC ’96G was honored this year at a Black History Month celebration hosted by Park Place African Methodist Episcopal Church in Homestead, Pa. She’s deputy director of the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and administrator of the Office of Children, Youth and Families, the second-largest child welfare agency in Pennsylvania. She’s also president of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Black Child Development Institute.


Richard R. Harris LAW ’98, a partner with the Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell, and Hippel law firm, spoke at this year’s Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers conference. His presentation was titled, “Will the Case Go Federal, and Then What?” Chris A. Stachtiaris LAW ’98 joined the Pittsburgh law firm Raphael, Ramsden and Behers as a family law attorney. Thomas C. Wolski A&S ’98, a patent attorney, joined The Webb Law Firm in Pittsburgh.


Kate Lovelace A&S ’99 and Jessica Rose Wingenroth LAW ’03 opened a Pittsburgh office of MEDVAL, a company that assists with liability and workers’ compensation settlements involving Medicare.


Joseph F. Kulesa A&S ’00 is a partner in the law firm of Thomas, Thomas & Hafer in Bethlehem, Pa. His practice areas include admiralty law and commercial law. Jarrett T. Lockhart CGS ’00 is chief of staff for New York City Council Member Maria Baez, who represents the 14th District in the Bronx. Heather McNeish Gray A&S ’00 married Matthew Gerstner Gray, a College of General Studies student, on April Fools’ Day in Las Vegas. Heather is an American Sign Language interpreter and an instructor with the Community College of Allegheny County. Matthew is programmer/analyst with Employee Benefit Data Services. J. Matthew Pritchard IV LAW ’00 was promoted to shareholder with The Webb Law Firm in Pittsburgh. He’s a patent attorney.


Brian Mancos LAW ’01 was hired by Burns, White and Hickton as an associate in the firm’s Transportation Group. He focuses his practice on occupational illness litigation.

Zakiya Young Mizen A&S ’01 made her Broadway debut in The Little Mermaid. She played several supporting characters, including Ariel’s sister Atina. An-Jey Su A&S ’01 and Deena Schneider Su EDUC ’04G announce the birth of their second son, Benjamin BoYuan Dylan Su, in February 2008. Grandparents include Judith Schneider UPG ’95 and Cheng-Hong Su ENGR ’87G.


Abigail K. Myers A&S ’03 earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from Temple University in Philadelphia. She’s a pediatric resident at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa.


Ian Lindsay KGSB ’05 was named director of finance and administration for Leadership Greater Washington, a nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C. He also serves on the finance committee of the Episcopal Archdiocese of D.C. and the selection committee of the national Hispanic College Fund.


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Carl Hagins and his wife, Christa (far right),
with President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush

Secret Agent Man

At the airport in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, agents wearing dark suits and earpieces watch Air Force One as it glides along the runway. If everything goes as planned, few people will even notice the U.S. Secret Service operatives today.

When the plane stops, President Bush emerges. He descends the stairs to the tarmac, where he’s greeted by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete and local drummers and dancers dressed in traditional garb.

Nearby, agent Carl Hagins (CGS ’93) monitors the scene for possible threats, ready to protect the president’s life at all costs, even if it means taking a bullet. For the past two weeks, he has worked with fellow agents and Tanzanian security officials to analyze the airport’s layout and plan each move the president will make during his diplomatic visit. Teamwork and protection are skills that Hagins honed on Pitt’s football team. As a fullback, he blocked defenders blitzing Pitt’s quarterback.

Hagins has been protecting the president since 2005 and will continue under a new administration until 2010. Before he entered the protection phase of his career, he investigated financial crimes, a function of the secret service less glorified in Hollywood movies. During his career as an agent, Hagins has helped execute security plans for presidential events on six continents and in more than 20 countries. From his base at the White House, he often drives a limousine in the president’s fleet.

In Tanzania, Hagins and his partners successfully protect President Bush on his three-day tour. Then they guide the commander-in-chief back to the airport. After Air Force One takes off, Hagins can return to Washington, D.C., knowing the president will be safe in the hands of teammates who are waiting at his next destination.

Sweet Success

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After 200 hours of hand-molding 500 feathers and 80 orchids—all out of sugar—the artist is pleased. For the first time in his competitive career, he is satisfied with his wedding cake, which is saying a lot.

Mark Seaman (A&S ’92), owner of Marked for Dessert bakery in Chicago, is one of the country’s leading wedding-cake stylists. For years, he has entered the National Wedding Cake Competition, in which cake decorators from around the world compete to create the best wedding-cake design based on an annual theme. He won a bronze medal in 2003, when the Food Network followed his progress and featured him in a one-hour special. In 2005, he won a silver medal.

For the current event, hosted by the Oklahoma Sugar Arts Festival, the theme is “Hollywood glamour.” Seaman’s six-tiered entry spotlights Lucille Ball. It’s adorned with blue, purple, and yellow flowers—not to mention all those sweet feathers, handcrafted orchids, and elegant beading. He stumbled upon a picture of Ball while looking for photos of another actress, Audrey Hepburn, who was the initial focus of his design plan. Though Ball is better known for her kooky comedy, Seaman was so moved by her elegance in the photo and the beautiful orchids on her dress that he redrew his plans.

Now, during a nerve-wracking awards ceremony, competitors line up with their cake creations. There are more than 60 competitors and several categories of prizes. Seaman watches as many well-respected designers are singled out for wins. Then he hears his name—first place and a gold medal in the 2007 competition, making every one of those 200 hours completely worth it.


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David Fruchtman A&S ’82 is the Web project coordinator for the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Among his responsibilities is the center’s “Keeping Young Drivers Safe” Web site.





missing image fileRalph J. Cappy A&S ’65, LAW ’68 retired as chief justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in January. He became chief justice in 2003, and he served on the court for 18 years. In 2007, he received the Harry L. Carrico Award for Judicial Innovation from the National Center for State Courts. He was recognized for cofounding the Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Fairness; improving continuing judicial education; and setting qualifying standards for defense lawyers in death penalty cases. He is chair of Pitt’s Board of Trustees.




Web Roots

missing image fileIt’s April 4, 2008, exactly 40 years since the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. It’s also the biggest day, so far, in the history of a new online magazine published by The Washington Post Company. In a Dupont Circle office in Washington, D.C., Lynette Clemetson clicks around her computer screen, navigating the magazine’s stories commemorating King’s legacy.

Clemetson (A&S ’90, ’94G) is the managing editor of, a daily Web magazine that has been making quite a buzz since its debut in January. The site offers a mix of voices, issues, and points of view that reflect the complexity of Black life and experience—including two opinion columns by Pitt history professor Laurence Glasco. It even has genealogy tools to help people trace their ancestry.

Formerly a New York Times reporter and foreign correspondent with Newsweek, Clemetson decided to take on the ambitious project of The Root because it informs readers about perspectives that aren’t typically expressed in mainstream news. She works closely with editor-in-chief Henry Louis Gates, a celebrated scholar, Harvard professor, and executive producer of, among other projects, the documentary series African American Lives. At The Root, she is responsible for visionary decision-making, supervising the staff, working with freelance writers, and overseeing the list of blogs that are linked to the magazine.

When Clemetson sat back and scrolled through the stories of the magazine’s Martin Luther King Jr. memorial issue, she felt pride in how far the magazine had come. The breadth of coverage of Black lives showed progress during the past 40 years. Surely, King would be proud, too.


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Cynthia M. Maleski A&S ’73, an attorney in Natrona Heights, Pa., was re-elected to the national board of directors and the executive committee of the First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association. The society was founded in 1892 and has chapters in 30 states.




missing image fileSylvia M. Gholston SHRS ’80G was named director of client services for Novations Group, a business consulting firm in Boston.

In Memoriam

Tony Alfidi ENGR ’59 died in January 2008 at age 74. During his 34-year career with California’s Department of Water Resources, he helped design pumping plants and developed field-testing procedures. He also served as president of the Sons of Italy in Sacramento.

Uranus J. “Bob” Appel A&S ’37 died in April 2008 at age 91. A bacteriologist and entrepreneur, he founded the first publicly owned hospital management company in the United States. The company, American Medical International, still operates worldwide.

Charles J. Martin A&S ’44, ’51G, who was an assistant professor of biochemistry at Pitt for part of his career, died in March 2007. He left Pittsburgh to become an associate professor at the Chicago Medical School (now part of the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science), where he became chair of the biochemistry department, dean, and eventually vice president for academic affairs. He retired from his administrative duties in 1987 and carried on his research until his full retirement in 1995. In his youth, he attained the rank of Eagle Scout with Palm, and he remained an active outdoorsman until late in life, enjoying camping, woodcrafting, hiking, and fly-fishing.

Richard G. Stottlemyer EDUC ’50G died in December 2007 at age 86. During his 32-year career in public education, he served as superintendent of the Armstrong School District in Kittanning, Pa., for 10 years. He was an avid gardener and an elder of the Grace Presbyterian Church in Kittanning.

Harry Wolfarth ENGR ’52 died in January 2008 at age 93. He was an associate professor of industrial engineering at Pitt from 1947 until his retirement in 1983. In World War II, he served in the Navy as a pilot and lieutenant, flying PBM-5 planes on antisubmarine patrols.

Michael Wolfarth ENGR ’77 died in October 2007 at age 51. The son of the late Pitt engineering professor Harry Wolfarth, he worked for General Electric Transportation. He was a model train hobbyist.

William James Offutt Jr. A&S ’54G died in December 2004 at age 90. He was self-employed in the nursery business. Known as a man of nature, he established the Bill and Virginia Offutt Micro Forest at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa. The five-acre, historic forest now has more than 1,000 trees. All of the trees are species that were present before European immigrants began settling in the area in 1795.

Dorothy A. Williams EDUC ’71G, a teacher in the Pittsburgh Public Schools for 40 years, died in July 2008 at age 81. She was committed to the Civil Rights Movement and led a youth chapter of the NAACP in Pittsburgh. In 1965, Williams received the Ike Small Award from the national NAACP for leading the largest and most active youth group in the country.


SCENE in Atlanta
Amy Doltis Cooper (CBA ’01) ignores CNN’s headquarters, preferring the news in her Pitt Magazine instead. She’s in the shade of a pillar marking an entrance to Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Ga.

SCENE in Honduras
Frank Mou (A&S ’95G) explores Mayan ruins in Copan, Honduras. While there, he chose to spend time with Pitt Magazine rather than trying to decipher the Mayan “Hieroglyphic Stairway,” which has been an ancient object of study.

SCENE in 1759
Susan Claus (SIS ’99G) shares her favorite magazine with some locals during a “living history” holiday in Old Fort Niagara on Lake Ontario.

SCENE in Russia
Robert Wassam (A&S ’68) isn’t bothered by the imposing figure of Lenin in a park in the Russian city of Zheleznodorozhny, about 20 miles east of Moscow. Whatever Lenin is reading, it can’t be as interesting as Pitt Magazine.


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