The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, today, recognized Congressman John P. Murtha as the recipient of the school’s first-ever Distinguished Alumni Award. More than 100 alumni, students and community members attended the luncheon in the Congressman’s honor.
In his introductory remarks, Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar offered, “Today, we honor an alumnus whose exemplary and outstanding record of service has strengthened not only our local community, but our entire nation. His life’s work has reflected the values and principles of service to community, care for country, and courage in facing challenges.
“The legacy of a University is built, largely, by its alumni. Congressman Murtha, we thank you for your passion, pride and enthusiasm for Pitt-Johnstown. Through accomplishments in both your personal and professional lives, you continue to enhance the reputation of Pitt-Johnstown in the region and beyond.”
President Spectar presented the award with Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Association President Gladys Go (’92), who explained, “This award is the highest honor that the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown bestows upon its alumni. It celebrates the excellence and achievement of the more 17,000 alumni of the University, and it is with great pride that we present it to Congressman Murtha.”
Congressman John P. Murtha graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1962, after completing the first two years of his studies at Pitt-Johnstown.
In addition to a 37-year military career, Congressman Murtha has served the people of the 12th Congressional District since 1974. During his time in the House, Congressman Murtha has helped to create more than 5,000 family-sustaining jobs in Western Pennsylvania. Currently, Mr. Murtha is the Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
The Congressman’s honors include the Bronze Star with Combat “V,” two Purple Hearts, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the John F. Kennedy Profiles in Courage Award, the National Breast Cancer Coalition Leadership Award, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry’s Government Leader of the Year, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, and the Pennsylvania Meritorious Service Medal.
As an alumnus, Congressman Murtha established the John P. and Joyce Murtha Center for Continuing Education and Professional Development at Pitt-Johnstown, which creates opportunities for students in our region to pursue graduate-level degrees. To date, more than 150 students have earned their graduate degrees in social work, engineering, and nursing through the Murtha Educational Center.
In order to be eligible for the Distinguished Alumni Award, candidates must have earned a bachelor's or associate's degree from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Candidates can also have earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh after completing two years of study at Pitt-Johnstown during a period when four-year degrees were not available at the Johnstown campus. Nominations for the award can be submitted by any member of the University of Pittsburgh community, including alumni, faculty, staff, students and Advisory Board members.
The Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Association is currently seeking nominations for the 2009 Distinguished Alumni to be presented in May 2009. For additional information on the award and a nomination form, visit www.upj.pitt.edu/alumni.
Founded in 1927, Pitt-Johnstown is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. A vital knowledge center and a foremost contributor to the area’s educational, social, cultural, and economic environment, Pitt-Johnstown offers a high quality educational experience that is purposefully designed to prepare students for the real world of the 21st century.
Photo by Rick Povich