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Spotlight on Alumni



Over the years, the Pitt Repertory Theatre, Kuntu Repertory Theatre, and other performance groups on campus have staged hundreds of rockin’ shows.

Anyone care to guess the occasion for the appearance of this Danny-and-Sandy duo? (Hint: The photo was taken in 1987, even though the clothes suggest that Elvis may emerge at any moment.)

Tell us more! The most dramatic story wins a solo performance of “Greased Lightning” by the magazine’s art director.


Arts and Sciences

Edith Hughes ’53 received both the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association and the President’s Award for lifetime achievement from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania, honoring her career in journalism. She’s the director of community relations with Gateway Newspapers, a group of community newspapers in the Pittsburgh region. From 1990 to 2006 she led the Gateway publications as executive editor. She also serves on the board of the Pennsylvania Society of Newspaper Editors. Harry Gilmore ’60, a former U.S. ambassador to Armenia, was elected to the board of Global Gold Corp., a mining company with operations in Armenia and Chile. He’s retired from a 35-year career as a foreign service officer. Joe Kerrigan ’61 is a community columnist for The Florida Times-Union. He resides in Green Cove Springs, Fla. Marlene Gary Hogan ’73 joined the Duquesne City School District Board of Control. She directs the Education and Community Resource Center at Pittsburgh’s WQED television station. Gary Mucciaroni ’77G, ’76 coauthored Deliberative Choices: Debating Public Policy in Congress (University of Chicago Press), a book about the accuracy of claims that lawmakers use. He’s an associate professor and chair of the political science department at Temple University in Philadelphia. Sharon M. Sherban ’78 received the Ruth G. Wirls Memorial Award from Planned Parenthood of the Susquehanna Valley for nearly two decades of volunteer service to the organization. She has served as chair of the board of directors, chair of the fundraising committee, consultant, and advocate. She resides in Lancaster, Pa. Rudy A. Mazzocchi ’80 was named vice president, business development, with The Innovation Factory and venture partner with Accuitive Medical Ventures, both in Duluth, Ga. He’s patented more than 40 medical devices and has founded two start-up medical companies, Image-Guided Neurologics and Microvena Corp. Joe Fiedler ’87 released a CD, Joe Fiedler Trio Plays the Music of Albert Mangelsdorff, a tribute to the late German trombone master. Fiedler is a professional trombonist and is active in New York’s Latin Jazz scene. Lisa Kustra ’87 is the founder and CEO of Plan4Demand Solutions, a supply chain management company in Pittsburgh. This year, the Pittsburgh Business Times listed it as one of the city’s 100 fastest-growing companies. John S. Oliverio ’91 was named vice president of human resources with the online division of Education Management Corp. He’s the president of Pittsburgh Cares, a community service group that coordinates volunteer projects with more than 100 nonprofit organizations in the Pittsburgh region. Michael E. Bertin ’95 was named a 2006 Rising Star by Philadelphia Magazine and Law & Politics magazine. He’s an attorney in the litigation department of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel law firm in Philadelphia. Robert R. Watson Jr. ’96, an attorney practicing construction and municipal law, was elected a shareholder of the Flamm, Boroff & Bacine law firm in Blue Bell, Pa. He lives in Collegeville, Pa., with his wife, Lauren M. Watson (SHRS ’97), and their son, Ben. Matthew D. Schell ’97 joined Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin, Pa. A Navy officer, he’s married to Jaime Fritz Schell (CAS ’00). Mark A. O’Neill ’98 is serving as chief of patient affairs with the U.S. Army’s Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, a military hospital in Germany that’s jointly staffed by Army, Air Force, and Navy personnel. He’s a medical service corps officer and a lieutenant in the Navy. He and his wife, Kelly, have a son, Ambros. Hossein Shahmohamad ’00G is an associate professor of mathematics with the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York. He also directs the graduate program in the institute’s School of Mathematical Sciences and has served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Combinatorial Mathematics and Combinatorial Computing. Georg Menz ’02G received the 2006 Best Book award from the University Association for Contemporary European Studies for Varieties of Capitalism and Europeanization: National Response Strategies to the Single European Market (Oxford University Press). Judges lauded it the year’s “most substantial and original contribution” to European studies. He’s an instructor with the University of London’s Goldsmiths College. Michael Moyer ’05 is engaged to Elaine Costy. The couple is attending law school at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Jennifer Aites ’06 is attending the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa. Barbara Bertrand ’06 is a Peace Corps volunteer teaching environmental conservation in Niger.

College of General Studies

Robert E. Fisher Jr. ’67 was coroneted a 33rd degree Mason in August 2006. He’s a professor emeritus at the Community College of Allegheny County. Daniel C. Ferrere Sr. ’89 was named director of business operations with Magnum Products in Berlin, Wis. The company produces mobile generators. He and his wife, Jeanne Thomas Ferrere (NURS ’88), live in Oshkosh, Wis., with their two children. Michelle Balionis ’96 joined the Pittsburgh Technology Council as a senior accountant.

Faculty of Arts and Sciences

James Davidheiser (FAS ’72, ’66) received the 2006 Jacqueline Elliott Award for Outstanding Service in Higher Education from the Tennessee Foreign Language Teaching Association for his efforts to promote language studies and intercultural understanding. He’s a German professor at Sewanee: The University of the South, where he has been recognized for his creative teaching methods. He also is an in-demand speaker for foreign language teachers of all levels.

Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Rich Cunningham ’74 was appointed to the Northern New Mexico Citizens’ Advisory Board by the U.S. Department of Energy. The board oversees the environmental cleanup of hazardous waste from the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He’s an adjunct environmental sciences instructor with the College of Santa Fe. Vanessa K. Lund ’96, CAS ’92 was named a Pittsburgh 40 Under 40 honoree, a distinction bestowed on 40 people from the Pittsburgh region who are younger than 40 and making a difference in the community. These annual awards are sponsored by the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project and Pittsburgh Magazine. Lund is the project director of the Human Capital Policy Initiative in Pitt’s Institute of Politics. Tricia Eileen Kissinger ’00 married Matthew Lion Nemeth in December 2006 in New York City. They’re both senior analysts at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

College of Business Administration

J. Roger Glunt ’60, director emeritus of the Pitt Alumni Association, was appointed chairman of the National Homebuilding Community Foundation board, a charity founded in 2001 by homebuilding industry leaders. He’s president of Glunt Development Co. and Jayar Construction Co.

Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business

Aleta Richards KGSB ’98, CGS ’90 was appointed vice president of the Coatings Marketing Unit at Bayer MaterialScience in Pittsburgh. She is responsible for all of the unit’s North American sales/marketing efforts, including global key account management, sales/business operations, distribution, business planning, and commercial trainee development. She also serves as vice president of the company’s internal ACCESS Network for African American employees.

School of Dental Medicine

Stuart N. Kline ’55, CAS ’54 received the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons’ Donald B. Osbon Award for an Outstanding Educator. He’s a professor emeritus of surgery at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

School of Education

Edward F. Sobota ’72G, ENGR ’67 was elected president of the International Titanium Association. He’s president and CEO of TechSpec in Derry, Pa. Bill Toth ’95G, CAS ’94 was named the weekend sports anchor/reporter for the WJET and WFXP television stations in Erie, Pa. He and his wife, Kirsten Gross Toth (SOC WK ’96), have two children.

School of Engineering

Raymond Volpatt ’61 is the chairman of Volpatt Construction Corp., which he founded in 1991 in Castle Shannon, Pa. Thomas J. Usher ’71G, ’66G, ’64, a member of Pitt’s Board of Trustees, founded Camp Usher, a free summer camp in Rector, Pa., for disadvantaged youth. He served as chairman and CEO of U.S. Steel in Pittsburgh for a decade, retiring in 2005. Rafael A. Perez ’73G, ’67G was appointed associate dean of engineering for academics and student affairs at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Douglas R. Rabeneck ’88 was elected senior vice president for technical networking for the Institute of Industrial Engineers’ Board of Trustees. He’s a business development manager with H.B. Maynard and Co. in Pittsburgh. Jeffrey J. Bailey ’90 is vice president of operations for Soliant, a Lancaster, S.C., manufacturer of decorative paint coatings for cars and boats. Stanley Orr ’92 earned a PhD in aeronautical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. He works for Boeing and resides in Swarthmore, Pa., with his wife and three children.

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Marcia Bales Hoover ’74 and Timothy J. Sullivan (KGSB ’89, CAS ’76) were married in March 2006, 35 years after they met during their freshman year at Pitt. They reside in St. Petersburg, Fla.

School of Law

Thomas J. Terputac ’53 received the Clarity Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Plain English Committee for promoting the use of clear writing by legal professionals. He retired this year, at age 80, from his post as a senior judge in the Washington County, Pa., judicial system. In 1989, he published A Handbook of English Usage—A Guide for the Bench and Bar (Brunswick). Roger J. Dodd ’76 coauthored the second edition of Cross-Examination: Science and Techniques (LexisNexis). He’s a personal injury lawyer based in Valdosta, Ga. Kathryn Lease Simpson LAW ’78, KGSB ’75 was named cochair of the Federal Practice Committee for the Pennsylvania Bar Association. She’s a partner with Mette, Evans & Woodside in Harrisburg, Pa. She focuses her legal practice on commercial litigation and professional liability law. James Garraux ’78 was named general counsel and senior vice president for labor relations with U.S. Steel. He joined the company in 1979. Joel Pfeffer ’85, an immigration and nationality law attorney with Meyer, Unkovic & Scott in Pittsburgh, is listed in the 2007 edition of The Best Lawyers in America (Woodward/White). Penina K. Lieber ’86, FAS ’73, CAS ’63, an attorney focusing on nonprofit and tax-exempt law, was appointed to the board of the Pennsylvania Interest on Lawyers and Trust Account, a program that supports legal services for the poor. She holds the “of counsel” position in the Pittsburgh office of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel. Mary Beth Buchanan ’87, the U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania, was named acting director of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. Jeffrey L. Pollock ’87 and Mark Gubinsky ’94 were both elected officers of the Collaborative Law Association of Southwestern Pennsylvania, a group that negotiates domestic law issues. Pollock was named secretary and Gubinsky was named treasurer. Jacob C. Cohn ’88, an insurance law attorney with Cozen O’Connor in Philadelphia, served as cochair of the 2006 Mealey’s Asbestos Insurance Conference. Elizabeth W. Schooley ’89 joined Pollock Begg Komar Glasser in Pittsburgh as a senior associate focusing on matrimonial law. Tammy Singleton-English ’90 presented a lecture, “Estate Planning Techniques,” to business professionals in Great Falls, Va. She’s an accountant and attorney based in Upper St. Clair, Pa., who focuses her practice on tax and estate planning law. Debra Z. Anderson ’93, a patent attorney, joined the Intellectual Property Group of Meyer, Unkovic & Scott in Pittsburgh. Renee Mattei Myers ’94 was named a Central Pennsylvania 40 Under 40 honoree, a distinction bestowed on 40 people from Central Pennsylvania who are younger than 40 and making a difference in the community. The award was sponsored by the Central Penn Business Journal. She’s a partner in the Harrisburg office of Wolf Block Schorr and Solis-Cohen. Maria L.H. Lewis ’94, an attorney focusing on employment disputes and insurance insolvency, was named a shareholder of Miller, Alfano & Raspanti in Philadelphia. Jennifer M. McEnroe ’98, a family law attorney, was named a partner of McCarthy McDonald Schulberg & Joy in Pittsburgh. Lara A. Northrop ’02, a patent attorney, joined The Webb Law Firm in Pittsburgh. Amanda Braunecker ’06 was appointed an associate in the transportation group of Burns, White & Hickton in Pittsburgh.

School of Information Sciences

Jill Hackenberg SLIS ’90G, CAS ’89, a sciences librarian at the University at Buffalo in New York, curated “Tibet: A Cultural & Natural History,” an exhibition in honor of the Dalai Lama’s campus visit in September 2006.

School of Medicine

H. Clay Yeager ’00 was inducted into the Wall of Fame at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, honoring his accomplishments as a champion tennis player for the university. He had a career record of 54 wins and 6 losses in singles competition. He’s now a physician with Scripps Mercy Medical Group in San Diego, Calif.

School of Social Work

Stanley F. Battle ’80G, GSPH ’79 was named chancellor of North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, a historically Black public university. He has authored or coauthored 11 books about social issues in the Black community. Cynthia Bradley-Pugh ’98G was named a field assistant professor with Pitt’s School of Social Work. She’s also serving as the academic coordinator of the school’s Child Welfare Education for Baccalaureates program. Betsy Bledsoe ’01G was named assistant professor of social work at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Candice Williams ’04 is now campus director of an after-school program at Eastway Middle School in Charlotte, N.C. The national program, Citizen Schools, focuses on hands-on learning and mentorship with career professionals.

University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg

Mike Testa ’84 is founder and president of Testa Consulting Service, a Pittsburgh-based company that provides staffing services for businesses in need of specialized workers. The Pittsburgh Business Times named it one of the city’s 100 fastest-growing companies. Justin Cilenti ’94 joined law firm Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti as an associate in the New York office. He’s an attorney focusing on insurance and commercial litigation.

In Memoriam

Daniel F. Carlstrom KGSB ’49, a retired vice president of the Popular Club in Passaic, N.J., died in September 2006 at age 80. He was a volunteer for the Atlantic City Rescue Mission and an active member of the First Presbyterian Church of Ocean City.

Murray S. Fitzgerald ENGR ’38 died in August 2006 at age 89. He was a retired chemical engineer who had served as vice president of Cooper Industrial Products Corp. in Ohio and Indiana. A talented woodworker, he also was a member of the Lion’s Club in Auburn, Ind.

Susan Ashner Lieberman EDUC ’68 died in November 2006. During her career as a social worker, she established the Infertility Counseling Service of Planned Parenthood of Westchester County, N.Y., and served as director of admissions for the The Children’s Village in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

Paul Wesley Oblack ENGR ’72 died in July 2006 at age 56. He was a construction management operations manager for Harris & Associates in Las Vegas and served as an ordained deacon and elder with Green Valley Presbyterian Church in Henderson, Nev.

Albert Raizman BUS ’39, an active volunteer in national and Pittsburgh Jewish organizations, died in October 2006 at age 87. He served as president of the National Association of Temple Brotherhoods and was a board member of the Union for Reform Judaism. He was an assistant professor of business with Duquesne University in Pittsburgh for nearly 30 years.

William T. Shaughnessy PHARM ’63 died in August 2006 at age 65. He was a pharmacist who served as a district manager for People’s Drug Stores in Maryland and was active with his children’s Boy Scouts and swimming activities.

Robert B. Stuart MED ’55, CAS ’51, a physician who practiced family medicine in Erie, Pa., for 49 years, died in September 2006 at age 76. He also served as executive director of the Erie County Medical Society for 30 years and as medical director of the Sarah Reed Retirement Center for more than 20 years.

Talmage W. Wilson Jr. EDUC ’55G, a pastor and teacher who dedicated himself to nearly 25 years of missionary work in Africa, died in September 2006 at age 80. He had also served as a longtime pastor of Charleston Baptist Church in Bremerton, Wash.

Putting Around

A young American businessman, golf putter in hand, leads a group of Chinese university students underneath palm fronds, around a clump of ferns, and to the first hole. He steadies a yellow golf ball on the AstroTurf and aligns his stance, shifting his feet apart and bending his knees. The students listen carefully as he explains the fundamentals of a proper swing: Square your hips. Keep your eye on the ball. Line up the putter and gently (gently!) swing.

Timidly, the students attempt to imitate his movements. Shoppers shuffling past the minigolf oasis peer through the jungle flora, curious about this new sport that Joseph Constanty (CAS ’02) is teaching in a Shanghai mega-mall.

Last summer, Constanty opened Lucky Greens, one of the few miniature golf courses in China. Golf, which some scholars say originated in China, is still considered an elite sport there, played mostly by the wealthy. Through minigolf, he hopes to revolutionize the game by making it affordable for China’s cosmopolitan population.

Lucky Greens is just the first venture of Constanty’s Tangential Consulting Co., which he cofounded after moving to China in 2002. His interest in the country began while he was studying abroad through the Pitt in China program. Now he’s planning to turn the putt-putt course into a franchise, and he’s already consulting other foreign entrepreneurs about business development in the country.

Back on the Shanghai green a few weeks later, one of the university students squares his hips and eyes the ball, reciting the fundamentals of a good swing. He’s teaching his date how to play the game. —Marin Cogan

Brick by Brick

Robert Abraham brushes away crumbling chunks of masonry and stacks a fresh brick against the wall. He’s working in a place that gets even hotter than the smoke-choked summer air outside—the flue of an open-hearth steel mill furnace. The bricks that line the flue gradually disintegrate from the intense heat and have to be replaced.

Replacing flue bricks was one of the less dangerous aspects of his summer job during the early 1970s. At other times, molten steel burned his scalp and a saw nearly claimed one of his fingers. But it was the price he paid for an education: His earnings helped cover his undergraduate tuition.

After graduating from Bucknell University, Abraham enrolled in Pitt’s School of Pharmacy, where he pursued his lifelong interest in the workings of the human body. “I was always curious about how all these different cells got together to form such an amazing machine,” he says.

He became especially intrigued by how the body metabolizes compounds, sometimes turning otherwise benign chemicals into cancer-causing agents. When he graduated from Pitt, he pursued this interest at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

In 1995, Abraham’s team identified and cloned an enzyme named mTOR. Scientists believe the enzyme and others like it may be able to stunt cancer growth by jamming the signals that tell cancer cells to grow uncontrollably.

Abraham (PHARM ’81), a 2005 Pitt Legacy Laureate, now works as vice president for oncology research at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals in Pearl River, N.Y. His job is far less physically dangerous than the one he had during those steel-mill summers, but his approach to research is just as methodical as those brick-by-brick days. Sometime soon, enzymes like mTOR may be used in therapies that transform terminal cancers into
manageable conditions. —Reid Frazier

Higher Ground

In a central stairwell of the Cathedral of Learning, a woman dressed in jogging clothes races up the 42 stories of the stone tower, not stopping until she reaches the top. Maggie Schneider (FAS ’94), a Pitt academic advisor, isn’t deterred by the bustle of students, staffers, faculty, and visitors throughout the building. Her focus is on getting to the stairwell’s pinnacle, high above the Oakland campus.

This stair run is part of a training regimen that has given her the stamina for 15 years of mountain climbing. She has scaled volcanoes in Mexico, reached the base camp on Mount Everest, and climbed 17,600 feet to the saddle of Russia’s Mount Elbrus, the tallest mountain on the continent of Europe.

Although mountain climbing is a huge challenge, Schneider has an even bigger obstacle to brave. She has multiple sclerosis, a degenerative nervous system disease, which has permanently numbed one of her legs. “I joke that it’s actually a benefit,” she says, “because I’m used to paying attention to my feet, and when you’re on a mountain wearing crampons and navigating uneven ground, you have to pay close attention to your foot placement.”

Clearly, the disease doesn’t deter her. At 11:05 a.m. on December 25, 2006, she reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa. —Kathy Hawkins

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