The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown has named Kelly Austin, of Friedens, as UPJ associate vice president for student affairs and acting vice president for student affairs, and Robert Knipple, of Johnstown, director of alumni and community relations.
The announcement of the appointments was made by UPJ President Dr. Jem Spectar. Both appointments are to Dr. Spectar’s senior executive staff.
Mr. Austin most recently served as UPJ’s director of student union/student activities. Mr. Austin holds a master’s degree in business administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, a master’s in student personnel from Slippery Rock University, and is currently working towards the completion of his doctorate in social and comparative analysis in education from the University of Pittsburgh.
“Mr. Austin brings a wealth of experience in student affairs administration and has been responsible for managing programs related to student activities, first generation students, multicultural affairs, and leadership development. An effective leader with diverse skills, Mr. Austin has underwritten grants aimed at assisting at-risk and first generation students; implemented mentoring programs; facilitated academic advising assessment and conducted extensive program evaluation. He has a passion for promoting student success both in and out of the classroom, and he will provide dynamic leadership that fosters student engagement, development, and responsibility,” stated Dr. Spectar.
Prior to his work at UPJ, Mr. Austin held positions in student affairs and academic support services at Embry-Riddle, with additional experience in the airline and finance industries.
Mr. Knipple most recently served as UPJ director of outreach and professional services. He received a bachelor’s degree from UPJ and master’s degree from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is an active community member and currently serves as president of the East Hills Business Association; chairman of the board of directors for the Learning Lamp; member of the Board of Directors for the United Way of the Laurel Highlands, and the Johnstown Area Regional Industries business and education consortium.
“Mr. Knipple possesses extensive experience in developing community-based programs, raising awareness of UPJ, reaching out to community members and developing productive relations on behalf of UPJ. Thanks to his leadership UPJ has developed a range of non-credit learning opportunities as well as successful special events, including the Great Americans Day Citizenship Forum and the Foy Lecture Series. Mr. Knipple is highly enthusiastic about UPJ and our extended family of 16,000 alumni; he will be an excellent addition to our institutional advancement efforts, particularly as we launch the next phase of our capital campaign,” states Dr. Spectar.
UPJ is a vital knowledge center defining excellence and a foremost contributor to the area’s educational, social, cultural and economic environment through: excellent faculty teaching, scholarship, and service, as well as enriching faculty-student mentorships and collaborations in scholarship, research, and creative activity; operating as a top employer and key partner in shaping the economic future with an annual impact exceeding $60 million; engaging the community through exceptional volunteerism by faculty, staff, and students; expanding the workforce capacity by linking theory to practice through experiences such as internships and service learning projects; exceeding the national averages of student graduation and retention rates of similar institutions; a tradition of athletic excellence, with nationally recognized and award-winning programs; 17,000 alumni making a difference throughout the community and world; and by growing partnerships with businesses in areas such as healthcare, education, commerce, technology and the arts.