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Homecoming


Spotlight on Alumni



The Panther gets a lift from some friends during the fall of 1995, not long after Mark Nordenberg became interim chancellor. Soon, the University’s reputation would rise, too, on the shoulders of lots of Pitt people. Winner of the best Panther mascot story gets a tour of the Petersen Events Center on the shoulders of our magazine staff.



Arts and Sciences

Bill Slomanson ’67 coauthored California Civil Procedure, second edition (West). He is a law professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, Calif. Jacob Kovalio ’81G, ’72G, an Asian history professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, is president of Japan-Pacific-World Consulting. Danielle Macbeth ’88G, associate professor of philosophy at Haverford College in Haverford, Pa., published Frege’s Logic (Harvard University Press), a study of the modern logic of philosopher Gottlob Frege. Carolyn Nunamaker Graham ’90 was named agricultural program assistant for the Westmoreland Conservation District in Westmoreland County, Pa. Robert P. Batchelor ’91 wrote a cover story for the University of Southern Florida’s USF Magazine about the arts community in Tampa and its relationship to business endeavors in the city. Scott Abel ’93 was promoted to lead technical analyst and senior systems engineer with George Weston Bakeries in Bay Shore, N.Y. He also serves on the information technology council for the parent company, George Weston Limited. Heather Michael Callahan ’95 served as a Rotary International goodwill ambassador to Argentina in April 2005. She received a grant from the Rotary Foundation to participate in the month-long Group Study Exchange Program. She is a compliance specialist for the U.S. Department of Labor in Hartford, Conn. Nathaniel A. Finkin ’95, vice president and regional manager for Citizens Bank Commercial Lending Group in Lancaster, Pa., writes that he keeps in touch with fifth-floor Tower A guys, “a great group that still gets together a couple of times a year.” He and his wife, Shannon Kramer Finkin ’95, live in Palmyra, Pa., with their children, Emma and Brendan. Jennifer Lynn Sepp ’95 and her husband, Thomas Rose, are happy to announce the birth of their son, Thomas Henry Rose, on April 7, 2004. Sepp is a family physician who lives with her family in Johnstown, Pa. Kenneth Kleckner ’97 earned his Doctor of Medicine degree in June 2005 from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pa. He’s completing his emergency medicine residency at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. Anita Pytlarz Ponchione ’97 earned her Master of Arts degree in higher education administration in May 2005 from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Adam J. Kotkiewicz ’99 earned his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in June 2005. Melissa M. Black McLeod ’99 and Stephen A. McLeod are happy to announce their marriage. The couple resides in Chicago, Ill. Lino Frank Miele ’99 earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. He’s completing his general surgery residency at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, Pa. Ory A. Okolloh ’00 graduated in June 2005 from Harvard Law School. Kendra A. Mohn ’01G earned her Master of Divinity degree in May 2005 from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn. Mohn and her husband, Erik K. Gronberg, plan to be parish pastors in the Greater Milwaukee Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Brandi Leigh Coleman Samelko ’01 and Jason Thomas Samelko ’01 are happy to announce that they were married on May 21, 2005, in Harrisburg, Pa. Melissa Layton Kranack (NURS ’00) was in their wedding party. The couple resides in Livonia, Mich. Steven D. Aguzzi ’02 earned his Master of Divinity degree in May 2005 from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, N.J. He accepted a call to serve as associate pastor of youth and families at Skidaway Island Presbyterian Church in Savannah, Ga. Omid Gohari ’03 was featured with his company, College Prowler, in the July issue of Entrepreneur magazine. He’s a cofounder of the Pittsburgh-based publisher of college guidebooks. Conchitina R. Cruz ’04G wrote the poetry chapbook Disappear (High Chair). Her poems have been published in various journals, including the Indiana Review.

College of General Studies

Chris Anitori ’89 was promoted to manager of investor services in JP Morgan’s mutual fund division in Columbus, Ohio. Rick Nowlin ’97 was named a board member of St. David’s Christian Writers’ Association, which meets annually at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa. He is the contemporary jazz critic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and was part of a panel discussion about the late musician Ray Charles that was broadcast on the Pittsburgh Cable News Channel in April and May. Timothy R. Cerula ’02, a marine with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines, 4th Marine Division, was deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Leon Weintraub ’67 retired in 2004 after nearly 30 years as a foreign service officer in the U.S. Department of State. He is an adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Sharon A. Weinberger ’96 was named editor in chief of Defense Technology International, a new magazine published by the Aviation Week Group of the McGraw-Hill Companies. She was previously lead military editor at Defense Daily.

Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business

Joseph H. Menendez ’73 was named vice president of Bonded Abrasives Worldwide and Abrasives North America at Saint-Gobain Abrasives, based in Worcester, Mass. Previously, he served as president of the company’s Grains and Powders Division. Walter T. Wardzinski Jr. ’78, ENGR ’76 was appointed airline support account manager for select Boeing Commercial Airplanes customers in North America and the Middle East and for all operators in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. His father was the late Walter T. Wardzinski Sr. LAW ’52, CAS ’49, and his son, William Todd Wardzinski, is a senior in Pitt’s School of Information Sciences. Arthur P. Woods ’84 earned his Doctor of Science degree in May 2005 at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. He’s employed by U.S. Steel in Pittsburgh. Pauline Long ’95, EDUC ’73, past president of the University of Pittsburgh African American Alumni Council, earned her Doctor of Science degree in May 2005 from Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh. She has been employed as an accounting and information technology manager with U.S. Steel for more than 28 years.

School of Education

Charles E. Davis ’56G, ’50G is retired after 30 years as a school superintendent. He visited Pitt last year on an Elderhostel trip and enjoyed tours of Heinz Chapel and the Cathedral of Learning. Frank P. Belcastro ’62G, ’51G, ’50 wrote an article that appeared in the American Annals of the Deaf and another in the Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities. Fred Sehring ’68G received Gateway Rehabilitation Center’s Volunteer of the Year Award. Since 1991, he has spent more than 900 hours counseling recovering drug addicts at the center in Aliquippa, Pa. He retired in 2002 as associate registrar of Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Indiana, Pa. Joanne Caputo ’76 filmed On a Roll, which received the 2005 Audience Award from viewers who voted it the best documentary of the PBS Independent Lens series. Jennie K. Bullard ’82G, chair and associate professor of the Department of Industrial and Labor Relations at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, was named outstanding teacher of the year in the university’s College of Health and Human Services. Brenda Annette Sheridan ’04G accepted a position as director of college relations at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

School of Engineering

John M. Barsom ’69G, FAS ’63, ’60, coauthor of Fracture and Fatigue Control in Structures: Applications of Fracture Mechanics (Butterworth-Heinemann), was awarded the 2003 Charles B. Dudley Medal from ASTM International. He’s retired after 31 years with Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel, most recently as research fellow and chief of the Materials Behavior Division.

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Robert A. Kennedy ’87 was appointed vice president of governmental relations and community health services for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Previously, he was deputy mayor of the City of Pittsburgh.

School of Dental Medicine

Donald E. Davis ’64, CAS ’62, a general practice dentist in Lancaster, Pa., received the Herbert K. Cooper Dental Achievement Award from the Lancaster County Dental Society for “distinguished service and dedication to the dental profession and our community.”

School of Law

Jack H. Olender, ’60, CAS ’57, of the Washington, D.C., malpractice firm Jack H. Olender & Associates, received the Bar Association of the District of Columbia’s Constance Belfiore Quality of Life Award, honoring law firms that enhance the quality of life for their lawyers and staff. Olender also received the Charles Hamilton Houston Medallion of Merit from the Washington Bar Association, one of the first African American bar associations in the country. Marvin J. Rudnitsky ’67 was appointed chair of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s disciplinary board. He was also a 2005 honoree of Beta Gamma Sigma, an international business honor society, by the society’s Susquehanna University chapter. Dennis St. John Mulvihill ’72 was named a 2005 Pennsylvania Super Lawyer by Law & Politics magazine. He’s a senior partner of Robb Leonard Mulvihill in Pittsburgh. Paul R. Jackson ’77 was appointed to the board of directors of the West Shore Symphony Orchestra in Muskegon, Mich. He’s a partner with Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Warner Norcross & Judd. Deborah DeAugustino Olszewski ’79, CAS ’70 was named one of the Top 50 Lawyers in Pittsburgh, one of the Top 50 Female Lawyers in Pennsylvania, and a 2005 Pennsylvania Super Lawyer by Law & Politics magazine. She’s an attorney with Olszewski & Quinlin in Pittsburgh. Christopher E. Miles ’82 was inducted into the National Academy of Arbitrators at its annual meeting in Chicago, Ill. Penina Kessler Lieber ’86, FAS ’73, CAS ’63, an attorney with Pittsburgh’s Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, was named a 2005 Pennsylvania Super Lawyer by Law & Politics magazine. She’s an adjunct professor in Pitt’s law school.

School of Medicine

Todd M. Oravitz ’94 was certified by the National Board of Echocardiography as a diplomate of perioperative transesophageal echocardiography. He is one of only 277 physicians worldwide to hold this distinction. He’s chief of hepatobiliary transplant anesthesia at the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center, University Drive, in Pittsburgh.

School of Pharmacy

Wayne Miller ’56 received the 2005 Bowl of Hygeia Award from the Ohio Pharmacists Association for contributing to community progress. He volunteers for many organizations and serves as treasurer and trustee of the Pharmacists Rehabilitation Organization and treasurer of the Pharmacy Foundation of Ohio. Lindsay Pell ’01 coauthored a chapter in Nutrition Support for the Critically Ill Patient: A Guide to Practice (CRC Press). She also was first author of an article in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. She is a specialty practice pharmacist in critical care/rehabilitation at the Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus.

School of Social Work

Lota Echols Mitchell ’80G, a nationally recognized expert and advocate on Prader-Willi syndrome, received the Distinguished Service Award from Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio. She was instrumental in initiating the Prader-Willi syndrome program, still the only one of its kind, at the Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh in 1981. She is the associate editor of The Gathering View, the national newsletter of the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association. Cynthia Bradley-Pugh ’98G was named director of the Homewood/Brushton Center of YWCA Greater Pittsburgh. Previously, she was director of the Pathways to Success Program at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa.

In Memoriam

Christopher G. Argyros PHARM ’55 died in July 2005. He was the owner and pharmacist of Family Pharmacy in Verona, Pa., for 38 years. After retiring in 1992, he worked at Presbyterian Senior Care in Oakmont, Pa.

Timothy A. Babik GSPIA ’76 died in January 2005. He was a supervisor of Innis Free MNA Inc. in Pittsburgh. Before that, he served as payroll supervisor of the City of Pittsburgh and finance officer of the City of Johnstown.

Edward “Red” Bombich CBA ’60, a former Pitt football player and member of Sigma Chi fraternity, died in April 2005. He was employed by Metropolitan Insurance and the Pennsylvania State Lottery.

Timothy J. Brendel DEN ’76 died in June 2005. Brendel practiced dentistry in Orefield, Pa., and directed the dental residency program at Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown, Pa. He also served as president of the Lehigh Valley Dental Society and president of the Valley Forge Second District of the Pennsylvania Dental Association.

James R. Buck EDUC ’72G died in August 2005. A 38-year employee of the Penn Hills School District in Penn Hills, Pa., he most recently served as principal of Washington Elementary School.

Dorothy Elaine Caruso SLIS ’69G, ’58, a former teacher and researcher in Pitt’s School of Library and Information Science, died in June 2005.
Thomas J. Concannon CBA ’65 died in April 2005. He was an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of New York for more than 33 years, most recently serving as attorney in charge of the Eastern District of the Federal Defender Services Unit. During his career, he won prestigious awards from the New York Council of Defense Lawyers, New York State Bar Association, and American Inns of Court for his service as a defender of the poor.

John J. Draksler, who played Pitt football from 1960 to 1962, died in October 2005. He was a retired human resource analyst for the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare in Harrisburg.

Paulene Guzanick Dyakon EDUC ’51G, ’45 died in March 2005. Dyakon was an educator at Brinton Avenue and Hartman elementary schools in the former North Braddock School District that encompassed the eastern Pittsburgh suburbs.

John K. “Jack” Ellis Sr. CBA ’47 died in July 2005. A retired owner and operator of Ellis Real Estate Co. in Pittsburgh, Ellis was a bomber pilot during World War II. More recently, he was president of the Western Pennsylvania Leukemia Society of America and St. Bede’s Church parish council.

Louis Galletta EDUC ’83 died in July 2005 while rescuing a 10-year-old boy from drowning in rip currents off the Florida coast. (The boy survived.) He worked for Western-Southern Life Insurance and lived in Villa Rica, Ga.

Francis E. “Gene” Holahan LAW ’53, CAS ’49, professor emeritus in Pitt’s law school, died in July 2005. As a student, he served as editor of the University of Pittsburgh Law Review.

H.R. “Hank” Kristy CBA ’48 died in May 2005. A bomber pilot during World War II, he later worked for Westinghouse Electric for 38 years, retiring in 1986 as controller of Westinghouse Power Systems.

Robert Blaine Lutes CBA ’49, a former supervisor for Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel, died in April 2005. He served eastern Pittsburgh suburbs as a church lector and was a Little League baseball coach, public library board member, borough auditor, and secretary of American Legion Post No. 712.

Francine Zipfel Matuszak PHARM ’78 died in February 2005. She was a 26-year employee of Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Jefferson Hills, Pa.

John Townsend McNew CBA ’50 died in June 2005. He was retired from Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel after 50 years as a systems analyst. A World War II veteran, he was a prisoner of war with two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star.

Wade Raymond Murphy CBA ’50, founder of Murphy’s Specialty Markets, a chain of retail stores in the Pittsburgh area, died in July 2005. He served as president and a board member of the Rotary International club in Monroeville, Pa.

William R. Noullet ENGR ’64 died in August 2005. Employed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for 31 years, Noullet retired in 1996 as chief of the information management office.

Raymond J. Pallof CGS ’69 died in June 2005. He graduated cum laude from Pitt and was a member of Delta Sigma Pi fraternity.

Paul C. Riffle ENGR ’29 died in August 2005. He served as president of David T. Riffle General Contractors, the Pittsburgh company that built the Cathedral of Learning’s foundation.

Henry J. Schmitt Sr. DEN ’27 died in May 2005 at the age of 104 in Nashville, Tenn. At Pitt, he was an athlete with the football and track teams. He worked as a dentist for 60 years.

Henry Allan Solodar PHARM ’41 died in April 2005. Except for service in the Air Force during World War II, he worked continuously at Potomac Pharmacy in Pittsburgh’s South Hills until his retirement in 1998.

David R. Wagner ENGR ’58 died in May 2005. He served 23 years in the Navy and 15 years as an environmental officer for Defense Logistics Agency at Defense Electronics Supply Center in Dayton, Ohio.
Michael Anthony Weaver KGSB ’80, ENGR ’79G, ’76, a self-employed mining and law consultant, died in June 2005. He had worked as a fuel supply manager for Indianapolis Power & Light Co. in Indiana’s state capital.

Nicholas Wulderk Jr. KGSB ’89, CAS ’84 died in March 2004. He worked for H.J. Heinz Co. and Marsh and McLennan, both in Pittsburgh, and started his own consulting business, SPECs, in 2001. He was an elected councilman in Woodstown, N.J., and served as a liaison to the Jersey Transportation Planning Organization and the South Jersey Economic Development District.

Alfred Clyde Young Jr. CAS ’53G, ’46, DEN ’43 died in May 2005. He graduated summa cum laude from Pitt’s dental school, where he worked in the ceramic lab of the former Crown and Bridge Department. He was a member of Delta Tau Delta and Delta Sigma Delta fraternities and was a charter member of the Heinz Chapel Choir.

 
 
  Gazarik and crewmembers
 

Leading Edge

The crowd of well-wishers at the “Welcome Home” press conference buzzes excitedly, stirring the air with little American flags. The occasion is the safe return of the space shuttle Discovery. Astronaut Charlie Camarda, wearing the trademark blue NASA jumpsuit, speaks from the lectern, pride and relief evident on his face. In front of the world’s press corps and a host of supporters, he takes a moment to thank NASA engineer Mike Gazarik (ENGR ’87).

Gazarik (far right in photo) led the team that created a special infrared camera to help keep shuttle astronauts safe. The device, which accompanied the Discovery crew last summer, allows spacewalking astronauts to scan the shuttle’s “leading edge,” the charcoal-colored front edge of the wings, to reveal potentially dangerous defects. The infrared capabilities allow the camera to record not only surface imperfections, but also invisible flaws beneath the surface.

The technology was available, says Gazarik, but “our job was to make it work in orbit.” In designing the camera, the team had to grapple with issues from zero gravity to radiation to astronauts whose spacesuits render them only slightly more agile than sumo wrestlers on the ocean floor. The camera was created in eight months—record time, according to Camarda.

“You don’t get many chances to work on something that can mean so much,” says Gazarik. “It was an exciting opportunity for me and the team.”

Teamwork, he says, is something that was emphasized during his studies at Pitt. “The engineering community we had at Benedum Hall was a great experience, because it all comes down to that in the end—working together.”
Bo Schwerin

 
 
  Self-portrait by Tom Scioli
 

Super Success

Tom Scioli’s studio is nothing special. White walls, a couch, a window, an angled drawing table. “Just a room set aside for drawing,” he says. But in this room, astronaut Adam Archer lies in the palm of an enormous green hand, awestruck by the otherworldly beings hovering around him. In this room, Basil Cronus, whose head bobs in a preservative-filled jar, hunts an elephantine alien dog that crash-landed on Earth. In this very ordinary room, Scioli (CAS ’98) creates Godland.
Godland, Scioli’s new comic book series, tells the story of Archer, whose spaceship crashes on Mars. The astronaut survives and gains cosmic powers, attracting the attention of a host of aliens, not all friendly.

Scioli’s drawing credits include the popular comics Freedom Force and Fantastic Four. He studied engineering at Carnegie Mellon University but later caught the artistic bug and transferred to Pitt’s studio arts program. His career took off when he won a Xeric Foundation grant, awarded to help comic book creators self-publish their work. Using the grant, Scioli launched The Myth of 8-Opus and attracted the attention of Image Comics. The comic publisher paired Scioli with writer Joe Casey, and Godland was born. The series, released last fall, has won acclaim from readers and a B+ review from Tom Sinclair in Entertainment Weekly.

Scioli is quick to lend advice to aspiring comic book artists. “Just draw and send it out,” he says. “You learn to make comics by making comics, so the more you draw, the better you’ll get.”
Katie Pegher

 
  Shay-La Romney and friends
 

Sanctuary

During the seven-hour drive from the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo to the Trincomalee district, Shay-La Romney marveled at the golden Buddhist statues on the hillsides, the wild elephants grazing by the road. In Trincomalee, however, she found houses and hotels crushed, thousands of newly homeless people living in tents.

Banda Aceh, Indonesia, was even worse.

“In Sri Lanka, at least there were the remains of houses,” says Romney. “In Banda Aceh, communities were completely gone. A barge, almost as big as a cruise ship, had plowed into a neighborhood a mile inland.”

Romney (EDUC ’98G), an emergency/child protection associate for the Christian Children’s Fund, had been working for the charity only six days when the tsunami hit Southeast Asia in December 2004. Soon after, she was on a plane bound for Sri Lanka.

Romney spent two months in Trincomalee, establishing a number of child-centered sanctuaries wherever there was room—in an old school, under a large tree. There, children, many of whom had lost homes and family, played games and created art in safety.

“We wanted to give the kids a sense of normality,” says Romney, “somewhere to play and learn.”

The ruin that Romney saw in Sri Lanka only fueled her desire to help elsewhere, too. In Banda Aceh, she developed health education materials for teaching local children about hygiene and nutrition.

Eventually, Romney returned to her Virginia home. But her aid efforts are far from over—she most recently spent three weeks in Mississippi, helping families affected by Hurricane Katrina.
—Nicole DeFazio


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