University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
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Mountain Cat Announcements and News

Babik Receives Service to Community Award University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Advisory Board presented its 14th annual Service to Community Award to Pitt-Johnstown Assistant Athletic Director Nikki Babik at its spring meeting.  Ms. Babik also received a $250 cash prize from the Advisory Board.

This award was established to recognize students, faculty and staff who have actively contributed to the quality of life in our region.

The Public Affairs Committee of the Advisory Board members evaluated nominees based on established criteria, including volunteerism and service that has significant impact or enduring effect. (click here to continue reading.)


President's Medal of Excellence 2011

Elizabeth “Liz” Murray is this year’s recipient of the President’s Medal of Excellence Award.  Ms. Murray was presented with her medal at the Pitt-Johnstown's 39th Commencement ceremony held Saturday, April 30, in the Pitt-Johnstown Sports Center.  She is the second person to receive the award. (click here to continue reading.)


President's Message to the Class of 2011

Dear Graduates, Families, and Friends of the Class of 2011:
Welcome, to the members of the graduating class of 2011. Today you join more than 19,000 Pitt-Johnstown alumni who are making a difference in our communities and around the world. 

It was just four short years ago that you and I began our careers at Pitt-Johnstown. One of my first official duties as President of our fine institution was to welcome you to campus. On that day in August 2007, I made a promise to you:

By the time you graduate, you will have participated in a distinctive learning experience that blends traditional arts and sciences education with rigorous professional programs and options; you will have enhanced your classroom experience with enriching co-curricular out-of-class activities. If you avail yourself of the rich in-class and out-of-class learning opportunities at Pitt-Johnstown and if you apply yourself diligently and purposefully, you will graduate with the knowledge, skills, dispositions, and attributes of an educated person in an emerging global society; you will be Ready for the Real World!

Congratulations! You have done it! You have availed yourself of our high-quality educational programs, and, with the help of talented faculty, you have expanded your ability to think critically, reason soundly, engage in inquiry, communicate effectively, solve complex problems, and link theory-to-practice with an eye toward real-world implications. In addition to a high-quality education in the classroom, you also took advantage of a wealth of experiences outside of the classroom. You took an active role in shaping your career and professional development, were engaged on campus, participated in our communities, and developed an ethos of service. In the process, you gave your time and talents to those in need, refined your leadership skills, and focused your mind and passion on the issues that challenge our communities in a rapidly changing world. You have learned to appreciate the importance of a healthy balance between the mind, body, and spirit. You are a Pitt-Johnstown graduate, ready for the real world.

One way to think of Pitt-Johnstown is as one large social network. Remember this network also contains dozens of faculty and staff who were instrumental to your success here, as well as your many friends who helped you achieve this milestone. I hope these friendships will help to keep you connected to your alma mater through the many memories that you share, and that they will sustain you as you navigate the road ahead with all the challenges and opportunities that life will surely bring. And I hope, for your part, that you continue to update your network of 19,000 alumni. I hope you continue to reconnect with your friends and family at Pitt-Johnstown. Pitt-Johnstown will always be home to you.  You are always welcome here.

I would be remiss to not to take a moment to acknowledge the family, friends, and support from those who gave so much in innumerable ways to make this day count. To them we owe an enormous debt of gratitude.

It is always bittersweet to say good bye.  But, in some respects, even though it is bittersweet, we are happy to be a part of this celebration and watershed event and happy to help you set sail to a world of possibilities.  We are grateful that you chose Pitt-Johnstown for this phase of your life’s journey. We wish you well as you move on, even as we ask you to come back, and come back anytime. Godspeed as you pursue your dreams and make a difference in the world.

Jem Spectar

72 Students Honored for Academic Achievement Pitt-Johnstown

Seventy-two University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown students were honored for exemplary academic achievement in a variety of fields at the college's annual Academic Honors Convocation, held Sunday, March 27, in the Pitt-Johnstown Living/Learning Center's Heritage Hall.

Dr. Janet Grady, Pitt-Johnstown interim vice president for Academic Affairs, presided over the event, which was attended by student honorees, their families and friends, faculty, staff, and award donors and honorees. The honorable Bryan Barbin was the keynote speaker.

Pitt-Johnstown Staff Member Recognized for Excellence in Service

 Brian ValentineI am delighted to report that Bryan Valentine has been selected to receive a 2011 Chancellor's Award for Staff for Excellence in Service to the Community. He will be recognized at a reception hosted by the Chancellor later this year, and his name will be added to a plaque displayed in the William Pitt Union inscribed with the names of all recipients of the Chancellor's Awards.

Mr. Valentine is the first University of Pittsburgh staff member to receive both the Chancellor's Award for Staff for Excellence in Service to the Community and Excellence in Service to the University, which he received in 2005 while employed at the Greensburg campus.  He also was the first-ever Pitt-Greensburg employee to receive the President's Citation for Distinguished Service (2002).

Mr. Valentine joined Pitt-Johnstown as the Director of Student Engagement in 2007 and serves as advisor to the Habitat for Humanity Chapter on campus.  (click here to continue reading.)

Vira I. Heinz Scholarship Recipients

Three University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown students, Kristin Shaak, Amanda Shaheen, and Dedra L. Totin, have been named recipients of the 2011 Vira I. Heinz Scholarship for Women in Global Leadership.  All three recipients will be studying abroad this summer.

     Ms. Shaak, is the daughter of Dave and Judy Shaak of Pine Grove, Pa., will use the scholarship to study in Krakow, Poland with Academic Programs International.  Ms. Shaak plans to enter the entertainment industry following graduation from Pitt-Johnstown.

     Ms. Shaheen, an English literature major and daughter of Marcia Yesenosky-Shaheen of Johnstown, will use the scholarship to study in London, England with the University of Pittsburgh.  She hopes to enter law school or earn a doctorate in English literature following graduation from Pitt-Johnstown.

     Ms. Totin, a political science major and daughter of George and Sheila Totin of Mongahaela, Pa., and will use the scholarship to study in London, England with the University of Pittsburgh.  She hopes to become involved in international politics following graduation from Pitt-Johnstown. (click here to continue reading.)

Pitt-Johnstown Opens New Wellness Center

The Pitt-Johnstown campus hosted the official grand opening of it's new Wellness Center on January 5th, 2011, a 40,000 square goot, $9.7 million dollar facility. Ground was broken in November of 2009 for the new facility, which brings the total number of buildings ont eh 655-acre campus to 36. The Wellness Center includes a three-lane elevated running track, cardiovascular and strength-training equiptment ... (click here to continue reading.)

 Historic Faculty Initiative Continues for 2011-2012  

In today’s “sink or swim” economic environment, the success of higher education may be reflected in new graduates’ readiness to move quickly into jobs that may not have existed when they were freshmen. The development of new technologies has created untold numbers of specialty jobs across the board:  from chemistry to communications, education to energy, humanities to healing, it is clear that today’s students need and demand new programs that can prepare them to compete in the hypercompetitive world that exists today. (click here to continue reading.)