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Class Notes



Pitt Alumni Association


Arts and Sciences

Robert A. Sedler ’56, LAW ’59, a distinguished professor of law at Wayne State University in Detroit, was elected president of the Wayne State University Academy of Scholars. Louis Coffey ’62, LAW ’69 was a featured speaker at the American Institute of Architects’ annual conference, with a lecture titled “Design on the Delaware.” He spoke about a master plan that the Center City Residents Association developed for a section of Philadelphia. He’s an attorney with Philadelphia’s WolfBlock law firm.

George Gray ’68 was named deputy operations officer for the Georgia Technology Authority, which provides computer and telecommunications services to state agencies. Richard M. Burian ’71G was named professor emeritus of philosophy at Virginia Tech; he joined the university in 1983 and was the founding head of its Department of Philosophy. Joseph M. Krall ’72, EDUC ’74G was named senior vice president for global quality and business process improvement at Remy International in Anderson, Ind.

Gregory Bossart ’73 was nominated for the Indianapolis Prize, the world’s leading award for animal conservation, for his 25 years of dedication to improving wildlife health. He’s a senior scientist, chief veterinarian, and head of pathology in the Marine Mammal Research and Conservation Program at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Ft. Pierce, Fla.

William A. Robinson ’74G was honored this year when Thiel College dedicated its theater in his name. He’s served as a professor of performing arts at the college in Greenville, Pa., for more than 30 years. Harold Hayes ’75 was honored during the Mount Ararat Community Activity Center’s Ninth Annual Recognition Celebration in Pittsburgh. He has served on the center’s executive board for 12 years and is a news reporter with KDKA-TV.

Joseph B. Testa ’75, a registered investment advisor, is founder and director of Marquis Bank of North Miami Beach, Fla. Ellen Glover ’76, GSPIA ’78 received the 2007 Janice K. Mendenhall Spirit of Leadership Award, the highest award bestowed on an information technology expert by the American Council for Technology. She’s an executive vice president with ICF International, a consulting company that focuses on environmental, security, and energy issues.

Gene Grabowski ’76, senior vice president of Levick Strategic Communications in Washington, D.C., received PR News’ distinguished 2007 Crisis Manager of the Year award for his work with companies that have had to conduct national recalls of toys and pet food.

Marc Harshman ’78G, of Wheeling, W. Va., published his 11th children’s book, Only One Neighborhood (Dutton/Penguin). Wilson Bradshaw ’80G was named president of Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Fla. Angela J. Burrows ’81 was named director of public affairs at California University of Pennsylvania.

Michael Boykins ’86 received the professional designation of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter through the American Institute for CPCU and the Insurance Institute of America. He’s an operations team manager with State Farm insurance company in Birmingham, Ala. Anne A. Skleder ’87 was appointed the first dean of the Chatham College for Women, a new academic structure within Pittsburgh’s Chatham University.

Christopher Sirola ’90G, ’95G is an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Southern Mississippi. Chris Kuzneski ’91, EDUC ’93G, of Tampa, Fla., wrote the novel Sword of God (Jove), a fictional thriller involving the U.S. military, terrorism, and religious conflict.

Darrin Alfred ’94 was named the new AIGA assistant curator of graphic design by the Denver Art Museum. The American Institute of Graphic Arts is funding the position for three years. Michael E. Bertin ’95, an associate in the litigation department of Philadelphia’s Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell, and Hippel law firm, was named a “Lawyer on the Fast Track” by Pennsylvania Law Weekly and The Legal Intelligencer.

Shawn Graham ’95 is associate director of the MBA Career Management Center at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. His first book, Courting Your Career: Match Yourself with the Perfect Job (JIST Works), hit bookstores in October 2007.

Ben Cook ’99, EDUC ’04G was named a “40 Under 40” honoree by Pittsburgh Magazine and the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project. The awards program recognizes 40 people younger than 40 who are making a positive impact on the development of the Pittsburgh region. Cook is a children’s advocacy specialist with KidsVoice in Pittsburgh.

Janalyn Budzik ’00, a certified personal trainer, is teaching fitness classes for women in Pittsburgh through the national Adventure Boot Camp program. She also owns a private business, Training by Janalyn. Marilyn Manley ’01G, ’04G received the Junior Faculty Innovative Teaching Award from Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., for the creativity she has used in her courses on Quechua, a language spoken in Peru and Ecuador.

Marquita Janinne Earl ’02 married Alexander Michael Bolden CBA ’03 in August in Ivyland, Pa. The couple met in the lobby of Pitt’s Litchfield Towers residence hall. Lauren McCarroll A&S ’02 joined the Reading Public Museum in Pennsylvania as a special events/volunteer coordinator.

Bradley Strittmatter ’02 was named a senior geographical information systems specialist with Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, an engineering firm in Lancaster, Pa. David Jortner ’03G is the new director of theater at Penn State Behrend. The first performance under his direction will be Steve Martin’s comedy Picasso at the Lapin Agile.

College of General Studies

Elaine S. Rodman ’76 was elected secretary of the Insulating Glass Certification Council, a nonprofit organization that evaluates glass safety. She’s president of the Rodman Group, a machine shop in Glenshaw, Pa. Yvonne Cook ’91 was honored during the Mount Ararat Community Activity Center’s Ninth Annual Recognition Celebration in Pittsburgh. She is president of the Highmark Foundation and vice president for community and health initiatives with the Highmark medical insurance company in Pittsburgh.

Judith Caruso Lauso ’96 has a work of art displayed in Pittsburgh’s Heinz History Center through March. Her watercolor painting “3-Rivers Water Trail Landing” is part of the center’s Pittsburgh Recast exhibition, which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators. She says the painting encourages viewers to “rediscover the simple pleasure of small, nonmotorized boat travel.”

Terra Jones ’02 was named a “40 Under 40” honoree by Pittsburgh Magazine and the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project. The awards program recognizes 40 people younger than 40 who are making a positive impact on the development of the Pittsburgh region. She owns Amani International Coffeehouse & Café in Pittsburgh’s Deutschtown neighborhood. Luke D. Miller ’05, a first lieutenant in the Marines, was designated a naval flight officer while serving with Training Squadron 86 in Pensacola, Fla.

Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Raymond E. Urgo ’77 received the Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Technical Communication for his work with the organization’s Policies & Procedures Special Interest Group. He’s founder and principal of Urgo & Associates, a communications firm in Los Angeles.

Graduate School of Public Health

George Garrity ’80, professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at Michigan State University, was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his contributions to bacterial systematics.

Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business

Robert W. Horn ’71 retired from his post as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Jefferson, Pa., after serving the center as an administrator for more than 20 years. During the 1970s, he was part of the team that designed the hospital.

Gary A. Bernstein ’81 was appointed to the board of trustees of Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. He’s vice president of finance transformation and vitality with IBM, where he’s worked for more than 25 years.

College of Business Administration

Dennis J. Steigerwalt II ’03 is a co-owner of Coco’s Cupcake Café in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood.He’s president of Steigerwalt Capital.

School of Dental Medicine

Lee D. Pollan ’71, A&S ’68 was named president of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. He’s a private-practice dentist and associate professor of dentistry at the University of Rochester in New York.

School of Education

Ruth Geis ’36 is a pianist at the Seneca Hills Village independent living facility in Penn Hills, Pa., where she lives. Although she’s 93 years old and legally blind, she serenades residents every morning at breakfast with tunes she plays by memory and by ear.

Denah Chinn ’64, along with her husband, Rabbi Yitzchok Chinn, is celebrating 50 years of spiritual leadership at Gemilas Chesed Congregation in White Oak, Pa. During the past half-century, she founded the Gemilas Chesed Nursery School, taught Hebrew, and wrote, directed, and performed in numerous plays with the Gemilas Chesed Sisterhood.

Justin James Antonini ’66G, A&S ’63, was inducted into the Euclid High School Distinguished Achievement Hall of Fame in Ohio. He served the school for 33 years as an English teacher, administrator, and head principal. Currently, he’s an assessment coordinator and supervisor for the U.S. Department of Education’s National Assessment of Educational Progress program.

Rita Kreger ’70, ’73G was recognized as a community service volunteer honoree by the YWCA of Greater Johnstown, Pa., at the annual Tribute to Women awards. She was lauded for her work volunteering with the Johnstown Memorial Hospital and Johnstown Symphony Auxiliary. She also was recognized for establishing the Pink Ribbon Ball, an annual charity event benefiting the American Cancer Society, and for serving as a religious school director at Beth Sholom Congregation.

Kate Ford Elliott ’71, president judge of the Pennsylvania Superior Court, received the 2007 St. Thomas More Award, which honors excellence among Catholic attorneys, judges, and government officials. Marilyn Barnett ’84G, ’90G was named principal of Imani Christian Academy in Penn Hills, Pa. She will lead the school in writing its own curriculum.

Swanson School of Engineering

Edward K. Feeney ’72 was promoted to executive vice president of Emerson Network Power’s Systems Group in St. Louis, Mo. Donald M. Pries ’76G was elected president of the Chicago Engineers Foundation of the Union League Club of Chicago, which encourages young people to pursue careers in engineering. He’s vice president with Harry O. Hefter Associates, an engineering firm in Chicago.

Jack Shilling ’75G, of Murrysville, Pa., was appointed to the board of directors of Horsehead Corp., which produces zinc metals and products. Randall A. Mason ’80 was elected chair of the board of directors of Natural Health Trends Corp. He also serves as the president and CEO of Marden Rehabilitation Associates in Marietta, Ohio.

Krystyna M. Kolesar ’87 received the Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service from the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense for her analyses of military spending. She serves in the secretary’s office as director of the Force and Infrastructure Cost Analysis Division. Tammy Bertram Brown ’91, an electrical engineer at NASA, was inducted into the Frazier Hall of Fame at Frazier High School in Perryopolis, Pa.

School of Law

Michael D. McDowell ’73 gave a lecture, “Decision Making and Award Writing in Labor and Employment Arbitration,” at the 2007 Association for Conflict Resolution Conference in Phoenix. Michael J. Underwood ’80, A&S ’76, an attorney with the Porter Wright Morris & Arthur law firm in Columbus, Ohio, was named to the 2008 Best Lawyers in America list for his work in labor and employment law.

Thomas K. Hyatt ’82, of the Ober Kaler law firm in Washington, D.C., was named in the Expert Guides to the Leading US Lawyers–Best of the Best USA 2007, a list of the most accomplished lawyers in the country.

Debra Todd ’82 was elected to the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court after serving seven years on the state’s Superior Court. She is the second woman ever to be elected to the state Supreme Court. Tammy Singleton-English ’90 was published in the Global Directory of Who’s Who. She is a certified public accountant and attorney who provides estate planning and tax services in the Pittsburgh region.

Rosa Copeland Miller ’94, a partner at Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis in Pittsburgh, moderated a panel discussion in October 2007 for the Allegheny County Bar Association about diversity in the field of law. Daniel Anders ’98 was appointed to Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas, becoming the first openly gay male judge in the city’s history.

Katherine M. Leech ’07 was named an associate with the Pittsburgh firm Raphael, Ramsden & Behers, where she will specialize in family law.

School of Nursing

Pearl Friedman Moore ’68, ’74G was named an executive board member of the Patient Advocate Foundation, a national nonprofit group focused on helping patients receive care they would otherwise not be able to obtain because of financial or insurance reasons. She retired this year from her post as chief executive officer of the Oncology Nursing Society of Pittsburgh.

School of Pharmacy

Jerome H. Milch ’54 was honored for his 50-year tenure as a pharmacist in the state of Florida by the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Board of Pharmacy.

School of Social Work

Diane C. Reichwein ’74, an attorney with the Porter Wright Morris & Arthur law firm in Columbus, Ohio, was named to the 2008 Best Lawyers in America list for her work in labor and employment law. Darla Poole Brescia ’87, ’88G was named Woman of the Year in Social Services by the YMCA of McKeesport and Womansplace. She is director of planning at Auberle, an organization in McKeesport, Pa., that assists abused and neglected children. Ray Murphy ’01 was selected as cochair of the Liberty City Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club in Philadelphia.

University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Kurt R. Nilson ’96, LAW ’03 was consulted for a cover story in the Nov. 12 issue of Forbes magazine about retirement and estate planning. He’s an attorney in Johnstown, Pa.

In Memoriam

Carol L. McAllister A&S ’87G, an anthropologist and former director of Pitt’s Women’s Studies Program, died at age 60 in September 2007 in Pittsburgh. She was a social researcher and advocate active with Pittsburgh’s Thomas Merton Center, the Women’s Resource Center of Greater Pittsburgh, and the Social Justice Action Team of the First United Methodist Church.

John B. Hillenbrand EDUC ’50G died in November 2007 at age 91 in Oakmont, Pa. During his career as an educator, he taught English and Latin and served as a superintendent with school districts in Bemus Point, N.Y., and Coudersport, Pa. He also was a longtime member of the Knights of Columbus.

Milton R. Hoffman CBA ’40, a brother of Pitt’s Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, died in September 2007 at age 88. He was a retail executive at the Statler Department Store in Buffalo, N.Y., and was an active member of the Buffalo chapter of Jewish War Veterans.

Sue Snyder O’Neill Johnson SIS ’64G died in September 2007 at age 68. She managed the IT Resource Center at the World Bank and trained professionals from around the globe in using information management tools in economic and social development projects. She also was a singer, pianist, and composer who performed in the Washington, D.C., area and produced a CD of her compositions in 2005.

Frank W. Knisley A&S ’47, past president of the Pitt Golden Panthers, died in October 2007 at age 84. He was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity and earned varsity letters as a member of Pitt’s basketball and football teams. During his 42-year banking career with Fidelity Trust Co. and PNC Bank in Pittsburgh, he served as a vice president and group manager.

Robert Mitchell CBA ’47, a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity, died in August 2007 at age 85. He was a U.S. Navy pilot during WW II and worked at U.S. Steel for 33 years. After he retired in 1983, he was instrumental in establishing the North Shelby County Library in Birmingham, Ala.

Robert Steiner A&S ’39, ’43G, a renowned chemist called the “father of acrylic coating,” died in October 2007 at age 89 in Shoreline, Wash. As a chemist at Mobile Chemical in Rochester, N.Y., he developed special coatings for plastics, which led to the creation of plastic bags that preserve food items. After his retirement in 1983, he moved to Seattle and volunteered with a local food bank.

John Woodruff A&S ’39, the last of 12 American men who won gold medals in track and field events at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, died in Fountain Hills, Ariz., in October 2007 at age 92. He won the 800-meter event following his freshman year at Pitt. After graduation, he worked with the New York City Children’s Aid Society, taught in the city’s public schools, and became a parole officer for the State of New York.

Recovering Hope

During a routine inspection of a New Orleans landfill, a woman weaves through piles of construction and demolition waste. As she steps around mountains of debris, something shiny catches her eye. Sticking out among the paneling and sheetrock, a child’s toy car lays upside down, its wheels in the air, its royal blue body covered with dents and scratches. It reminds her that the landfill is more than a pile of post-Katrina garbage—it’s the rubble of broken lives.

Lawyer and engineer Pam Schmaltz (ENGR ’82) is the lead legal counsel for the Louisiana Recovery Field Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. She is on her second tour of duty at the emergency sites of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, areas that are still struggling to recover two years after they were devastated by the fierce storms. Far away from Bowling Green, Ky., where she lives with her husband, Kevin, and 4-year-old son, Zachary, Schmaltz is part of an effort that has set up 288 electric generators and installed 81,242 temporary roofs, enough to cover nine square miles and shelter thousands of people. She’s also assisting with the process of removing waste and debris.

Schmaltz has a special place in her heart for New Orleans, where she studied law and met her husband. She still has many friends in the area and at one point considered relocating there. It sobers her to think that it could have been her own family that was displaced, or worse, when the hurricanes hit. Knowing this, she’s even more driven to work long hours, looking beyond the ruins to build anew. —Sam Ginsburg

Big Play

Professionals funnel into a conference room for their weekly sales meeting. Suddenly, their boss bounds in wearing a football jersey. She says they’re going to improve their teamwork skills and the company’s performance by playing football at work. Well, sort of. They won’t actually catch footballs and dive into end zones. Instead, they’ll score points by completing work-related tasks. So, at this unusual meeting, the employees create teams, draft players, and receive jerseys. Then they head to the field, err…their desks, to engage in competition.

This sports-at-work program is the brainchild of F1rst League, a company cofounded by Michael Svac (KGSB ’95). He based the company on his insights from Pitt’s Executive MBA program and years of working to motivate employees as a senior vice president with the General Electric Company.

F1rst League developed patent-pending software that allows businesses to set up virtual sports leagues, similar to the fantasy leagues that are now popular online. In the business model, participants earn points for accomplishments like increasing sales, improving efficiency, and reporting unsafe work conditions. “The challenge for companies is to get everyone on the team not only motivated but engaged,” says Svac. Through F1rst League, he now contracts with corporations like Xerox and Chevron to motivate employees across the country. Many of them are working hard to earn the next Super Bowl ring in the sport of business. —Lauren Mylo

Extraordinary Good

During the late ’60s, students on campuses nationwide became poster-waving protestors against the Vietnam War and staged sit-ins and marches in favor of civil rights and other social-justice causes. Buoyed by the era’s progressive energy, a social work student on Pitt’s campus helped create change, too. Barry L. Wells and his classmates noticed that faculty and professionals in the field of social work weren’t nearly as diverse as the people they served. So, they formed a committee to encourage the School of Social Work to hire a more inclusive faculty and to increase scholarships for underrepresented students. It was one of Wells’ first organized efforts to improve the quality of life for others.

After earning his master’s degree from Pitt, he took his classroom and diversity-building experiences into the U.S. Peace Corps. He served as a country director in Belize, managing dozens of community volunteers. Following that assignment, he worked in Jamaica, where he reinvigorated the Peace Corps in a country that was quaking from a difficult election. Then he began a distinguished career in the U.S. Department of State, eventually becoming the department’s first chief diversity officer.

This year, Wells (SOC WK ’70G) was selected for a position of even higher honor. President Bush named him Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America (a grand title bestowed on all ambassadors) to the Republic of The Gambia. Wells is now the U.S. president’s representative to The Gambia, a country on the west coast of Africa. In his new role, he is building trade partnerships and cooperating with a Peace Corps program to promote education and improved healthcare throughout the country. “It’s all about helping people to enjoy a better quality of life,” he says. That’s a movement everyone can support. —Jennifer Meccariello Layman

 



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