The Pitt-Johnstown alumni community is mourning the passing of fellow alum Congressman John P. Murtha ('60). Mr. Murtha was the first-ever recipient of the Pitt-Johnstown Distinguished Alumni Award (2008). He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1962, after having completed his first two years of study at Pitt-Johnstown.
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 175 students have earned their graduate degrees in social work, engineering, and nursing through the Murtha Educational Center.
In addition to a 37-year military career, Congressman Murtha served the people of the 12th Congressional District since 1974. During his time in the House, Congressman Murtha helped to create more than 5,000 family-sustaining jobs in Western Pennsylvania. At the time of his death, Mr. Murtha was 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.
President Spectar offered the following statement on Congressman Murtha's passing, "Pitt-Johnstown has lost a great friend and distinguished alumnus, and our community has lost a tireless champion with the passing of Congressman John P. Murtha. Mr. Murtha’s loss will be felt far and wide. He will be remembered as someone who cared deeply about his community, who devoted his life to service, and whose work made a tremendous difference in the lives of his constituents. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mrs. Murtha and her family."