This season of celebration is also an appropriate time to be thankful for our progress as a community. Thanks to you all—our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends—the University continues to make great strides, fulfilling its mission and realizing our vision to be at the forefront of baccalaureate colleges when it comes to preparing students for the RealWorld.
Our faculty continue to mentor their students through collaborative research projects and prepare them for success in the real world. This fall, for example, Drs. Manisha Nigam, Thomas Malosh, and Timothy Evans led student research projects. Several faculty continue to present papers in their disciplines around the country. Others continue to receive recognitions for service in their discipline including Dr. Ola Johansson who received the Pennsylvania Geographical Society's Distinguished Service Award.
We continue to strengthen our faculty with new hires as 19 new faculty members joined us this fall in several newly created degree programs including Justice Administration, Geographic Information Systems, Green Chemistry, Energy and Resources, Management Information Systems, Nursing, and Special Education. The process of hiring 15 additional faculty is already underway, and I commend the division chairs as well as search committee chairs and their colleagues for handling so many successful searches.
Student involvement on and off campus continues to be very strong, highlighting the impact of our RealWorld Action Program. Our students recently set a record by performing more than 6,000 hours of service during the fall term. Our international students, whose number has grown ten-fold in the past five years, are also having an impact in our community. Over the past several weeks, they have visited K-12 classrooms and shared stories about life in their native countries.
The success of this institution is dependent on the high quality and dedicated service of our professional staff. We recently recognized two staff members for outstanding service. Congratulations to Mrs. Francine Cooper on receiving the President's Staff Award for Excellence in Service to the Community and Mr. Andy Csikos on receiving the President's Staff Award for Excellence in Service to Pitt-Johnstown. Both Francine and Andy exemplify the spirit of service that inspires the rest of our staff to give of their time and talents. It is also fitting to take this opportunity to say goodbye to long serving staff who are retiring this year. Our colleague, Sam Gemus retired from Information Technology after 33 years of service, and David Kovaksly retired from Physical Plant after a 26-year career. Thank you for a job well done, and a we wish you the very best in the next phase of your lives.
This week, I had the privilege of recognizing staff members who marked milestones in their careers at Pitt-Johnstown. These 34 employees collectively represent nearly half a millennium of service to Pitt-Johnstown:
The physical transformation of our campus continued apace in the past few months. Earlier this
fall, we unveiled the newly renovated Biddle Hall to rave reviews. The Krebs academic building renovation is already underway and should gather steam by the end of the spring term. Briar Lodge saw significant renovations during the summer; the University Square project is completed, and we addressed the longstanding problem of campus signage. Meanwhile, the addition of the Heroes Memorial has transformed the space next to the Whalley Chapel. The tribute to our wounded and fallen also stands as a “teachable monument,” to remind us of their sacrifice and to challenge us to be citizens worthy of their service.
We are continuing to strengthen ties to our communities and to reconnect with our more than 19,500 alumni. At recent alumni receptions in Philadelphia (where more than 550 Pitt-Johnstown alumni reside) and Pittsburgh, attendees talked about the important role that their Pitt-Johnstown years played in preparing them for very successful careers in the real world.
As we prepare to join our families and friends for holiday celebrations, I offer you my appreciation for your contributions to Pitt-Johnstown and hope that you enjoy the wonder of this wonderful season.
To view the complete Community Report, please click here.