Johnstown area native and Pitt-Johnstown alumna Heather Muir will share her rise through New York City's competitive fashion publishing industry as the featured speaker at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown's 40th Commencement ceremony. The ceremony, which will be presided over by campus President Dr. Jem Spectar, will honor 554 graduates who completed requirements for Bachelor Arts, Bachelor of Science, or Associate of Science degrees in August or December 2011, or are completing requirements in April or June of this year. Commencement will begin at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 28 in the Pitt-Johnstown Sports Center.
After graduating in 2006 with her Bachelor of Arts degree in communication and a focus on public relations and marketing, Ms. Muir moved to New York City where she landed a job as a beauty editor at Cosmopolitan. In her role, she was heard regularly on Sirius XM's Cosmo Radio and was co-author of a beauty book. Advancing through the industry, she moved on to Seventeen as beauty editor where she directed photo shoots and provided beauty commentary for backstage fashion show videos. Now, at the early age of 27, she is the beauty news editor at Allure, the country's leading women's beauty magazine with 7.2 million readers. In addition to keeping tabs on the latest product news and industry trends, Ms. Muir has interviewed celebrities including Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Heidi Klum, Eva Longoria, and Usher. She has served as an Allure beauty source for local television news programs across the country, and her blog posts for allure.com have been picked up by Yahoo, Yahoo Shine, and New York magazine’s The Cut. She is also the go-to authority for newspapers including The New York Times.
In her speech to graduates, she will emphasize the importance of stepping out of one's comfort zone and seizing opportunities. During her junior year at Pitt-Johnstown, Ms. Muir completed an internship at Self magazine, which she credits with giving her an important edge over other college graduates. Following graduation, she received an e-mail message from a contact she had made at Self inviting her to interview for a position at Cosmopolitan. She has been working in the industry ever since. She commented, "Pitt-Johnstown provided me with a solid foundation to enter the magazine world. Thanks to my innovative communication courses, I built the necessary skill set and confidence to excel as an editor in the beauty field."
Since graduation, Ms. Muir has served as a mentor to several Pitt-Johnstown students by helping them to find internships and offering suggestions on how to break into the competitive publishing business. She commented, "I owe so much of my success to mentors I've met along the way. I find it satisfying now to mentor others, and I especially welcome the opportunity to give back to my fellow Pitt-Johnstown alums."
Also speaking at the ceremony will be Student Government Association President Clifford Maloney '13, who will offer remarks on behalf of the students. Dr. Janet Grady, vice president for academic affairs, will present the candidates for degrees. Jeffrey Philibin '88, president of the Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Association, will recognize graduates as the school's newest alumni.
Dr. Ola Johansson, associate professor of geography, will serve as the grand marshal for the ceremonies, which will include a procession of graduates, faculty, staff, administration, and members of the Pitt-Johnstown Advisory Board. Faculty marshals are Neelima Bhatnagar, assistant professor of management; Jill Henning, assistant professor of biology; Dr. Ako Inuzuka, associate professor of communication; Dr. Manisha Nigam, assistant professor of chemistry; Dr. John Thompson, associate professor of mathematics; and Dr. Paul Washington, assistant professor of geology.
Celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, Pitt-Johnstown is located in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. The University offers a high-quality educational experience in a supportive living-learning environment designed to prepare students for the real world of the 21st century. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best Northeastern College,” by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” and Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization" for 2011. Additionally, Pitt-Johnstown has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.
Pitt-Johnstown…at the forefront of leading baccalaureate colleges…