It’s difficult to imagine that we are half-way through another academic year and the holiday season is upon us once again. Thanks to the dedication and commitment of our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends, we, as a campus community, have so many reasons to be thankful this season. We prepare to welcome a new calendar year with significant momentum that is further strengthening our already-outstanding academics, student engagement, community outreach, and efforts to prepare our students for the real world.
It has been a busy semester for our faculty who continue to mentor our students through the valuable work they do both in the classroom and in the research labs. Faculty members like Drs. Sharon Bertsch, Christine Dahlin-Schuster, Jill Henning, Rebecca Webb, and Kristen Majocha have worked closely with students on a very impressive list of research projects that explore cutting-edge theories and topics. The fine work of our faculty is also being showcased around the country as they continue to publish and present on topics that have far-reaching impact in their professional fields.
Our faculty ranks have grown with the hiring of 12 new faculty members who bring impressive credentials and a long list of successes in the classrooms. As we continue to expand our cadre of timely and responsive academic programs, searches are currently underway to hire an additional 16 faculty members for the next academic year. Through a robust hiring initiative over the past several years, we are strengthening quality, enhancing our distinctiveness, and creating flexibility that will allow us to explore future program development.
Our pride in the accomplishments of our students continues to shine brighter than ever. Their commitment to serving our communities has earned Pitt-Johnstown a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for the third year in a row. With more than 70% of our students participating in the RealWorld Action Program, we are ensuring that our students are positioning themselves to develop as agents of positive change in our communities and around the world.
Congratulations are in order for two staff members who have been recognized for outstanding service. Ms. Karen Barrick, office manager in the Office of Housing and Residential Life, received the President’s Staff Award for Excellence in Service to the Community and Mr. Todd Shaffer, associate director of Housing and Residence Life, received the President’s Staff Award for Excellence in Service to Pitt-Johnstown.
Pitt’s Voluntary Early Retirement Program (VERP) brought sweeping changes to our staff with the retirement of 22 employees representing more than six centuries of service. While it was difficult to say good-bye to so many long-time friends, the VERP brought many opportunities for staff to advance and explore new areas. You will read about those many changes in this report. We recently had the privilege of recognizing many other colleagues who have reached milestones in their service to Pitt-Johnstown. These 20 staff members, who represent nearly one-third of a millennium of service, are:
The transformation of our campus facilities has continued apace. On the same day that we broke ground for the long-anticipated Nursing and Health Sciences Building, the campus community got its first official glimpse at the newly renovated Krebs Hall. Our Campus Police have taken up residence in their new facility, which now provides space for unit sergeants, a dispatch station, interview room, and improved technology resources. The Heroes Memorial continues to draw visitors from throughout the Eastern United States who are moved and inspired by the tribute that we have made to our fallen heroes. On Veterans Day, we unveiled the names of 319 military men and women whose lives were lost in Iraq and Afghanistan since last year. The Memorial now contains the names of more than 9,500 men and women, the majority of whom are college age citizens.
Our campus welcomed thousands of alumni, friends, and community members over the past several months for events including Homecoming, the Great Americans Citizenship Forum, film series, poetry readings, athletic events, productions at the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, and events at the Living-Learning Center.
Sadly, recent tragedies have given us reason to pause and reflect on the frailty of life. But, as you look back over the past several months, I hope that you take pride in the role that you play in the success of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. Please accept my deepest appreciation for your ongoing commitment to Pitt-Johnstown and I hope that you enjoy the time with family and friends that this time of year affords.
Please click here to view Pitt-Johnstown's Winter 2012 Community Report.