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Pitt-Johnstown Community Report - Spring 2012

Pitt-Johnstown Community Report - Spring 2012

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Community Report CoverGreetings:

I am proud to present you with the most recent issue of the Pitt-Johnstown Community Report.  In this milestone year as we celebrate our 85th anniversary of getting students ready for the real world, this report provides a snapshot of the momentum that has helped to transform Pitt-Johnstown from a two-year "Junior Pitt" to the nationally recognized institution that it has become.  It is through the collective efforts of you, our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends that Pitt-Johnstown is fulfilling its mission and earning its rightful place at the forefront of baccalaureate colleges. 

At the core of our success is the deep commitment of our faculty to their students and their fields.  This spring, for example, faculty members including Drs. Jill Henning, Nickole George, Christine Dahlin, and Sharon Bertsch led student research projects, and many others contributed to their fields as presenters at conferences held around the country.  A special thanks to Drs. Natalie Conrad Barnyak, Andrew Rose, and John Mullennix for sharing their experience and expertise with fellow faculty members at the second annual Teaching Showcase.  It was particularly gratifying this semester to recognize the work of Amy Miller as the recipient of this year's President's Award for Teaching Excellence.  Ms. Miller's outstanding work both inside and outside the classroom is a shining example of the great work that our talented faculty are doing to prepare our students for the real world.  Kudos to Dr. Ann Marie Stewart and her troupe of students who dazzled audiences with their performance of "Chicago!"  Our committed staff also continue to serve the needs of our students through their dedication to providing an outstanding level of service to not only our students, but their parents.  Congratulations to our legendary wrestling coach Pat Pecora for his record-breaking 500th career win!  Mountain Cat Proud!

We are fulfilling our commitment to strengthen our faculty by completing the final year of a three-year historic faculty hiring initiative that will result in the hiring of nearly 50 full-time faculty since the 2010-2011 academic year.  Many of these positions are the result of new and responsive programs that were introduced this semester in areas including energy and resources, geographic information systems, and management information systems. 

Our students continue to make us proud through their academic achievements and commitment to serving others.  We celebrated the exemplary academic achievement of 78 students at our annual Academic Honors Convocation in March, where retired Admiral and former Congressman Joseph Sestak delivered an inspiring keynote address.  The accomplishments of our students were further showcased at the annual Symposium for the Promotion of Academic and Creative Enquiry.  Outside the classroom, our students continue to support their community by offering their time and talents for the benefit of more than 40 community organizations.  It is their outstanding ethos of service that has earned Pitt-Johnstown a place on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for another year!

Progress continues to be made on transforming our academic and residential facilities.  The full-scale Krebs Hall renovation project is underway with several offices and classrooms already receiving a makeover.  The full scale renovation will begin in the coming weeks, with completion by the end of summer.  Biddle Hall renovations continued with another classroom being constructed in the former location of the Registrar's Office.  Groundbreaking for the Nursing and Health Sciences Building, which was delayed in the spring, will occur in June (information on the project is available at: The soon-to-be-completed Athletics Hall of Fame will stand as a fitting tribute to those outstanding athletes who have contributed to our strong legacy of athletics excellence.  In addition to the expansion of wireless Internet service into several residence hall common areas, a number safety upgrades have been completed across campus. 

Our alumni continue to give back to their alma mater in many meaningful ways.  The Alumni Association's creation of a Legacy Scholarship is the most recent example of the group's efforts to support our students.  The Association is also embarking on a very ambitious plan to restore the Log Cabin, which holds a very special place in the hearts and minds of our alumni.  It was an honor to showcase the talents of five outstanding alumni athletes at this year's Athletics Hall of Fame dinner.  Congratulations to Mike Gresik '85, Quinn Harris '93, Maureen Latterner-Brown '85, Teri Menett-Cruse '93, and John Strittmatter '99.

While preparing to conclude another academic year and bid farewell to our graduating seniors, we are also saying a heart-felt good-bye to some of our esteemed colleagues who announced their retirement this year, including Ron Vickroy and Dr. David Ward.  The difference that these faculty have made in the lives of our students is immeasurable.    On a sad note, we recently mourned the passing of someone who played a key role in the evolution of Pitt-Johnstown, Dr. Jack Freeman.  Dr. Freeman served as the second president of Pitt-Johnstown and his tenure saw the establishment of five academic divisions, the formation of the faculty senate, the first academic convocation, and groundbreaking for the Engineering and Science Building.

I want to personally thank all of you for the role that you have played at Pitt-Johnstown, whether it has been for one year or 40.  Thanks to you, and those who have served before you, Pitt-Johnstown has been a leading contributor to the region's educational, social, cultural, and economic development for 85 years, and will continue to be for generations to come. 

Jem Spectar

To view the Pitt-Johnstown Community Report, please click here.

Posted by Knipple, Robert on 4/27/2012 11:35:00 AM