90th Anniversary Launches With Events

Pitt-Johnstown

posted September 22, 2017


Blackington Hall's 24-foot wall mural chronicling the evolution of Pitt-Johnstown

Pitt-Johnstown held its 90th anniversary kickoff and memorial dedication ceremonies on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Events held true to the 90th anniversary principles of: Honoring our Past, Celebrating the Present, and Preparing for our Future.

An open house at the renovated Blackington Hall on the Pitt-Johnstown campus in Richland Township included the unveiling of a 24-foot wall mural chronicling the evolution of the college.

plaque A plaque and tree at 337 Somerset Street mark the college’s 1927 founding.

  • Dr. Spectar: 10 years

Earlier, the dedication of a memorial plaque and tree took place at the UPMC John P. Murtha Cancer Center Healing and Meditation Garden, on Somerset Street near the site of the 1927 Johnstown “Junior Campus.” 

The memorial ceremony also included the formal kickoff of a Pitt-Johnstown and community wall mural, painted by Johnstown native and master artist Stacie Krupa.

The mural will depict the City of Johnstown and the University’s history over the past century and will include images that convey and celebrate the vitality of the city and the role education has played in its collective growth.

Speakers included:

  • Dr. Jem Spectar, Pitt-Johnstown President
  • Frank Janakovic, Johnstown Mayor
  • Mike Vuckovich, Superintendent, Greater Johnstown School District
  • Donald Zucco, PhD, (’59) former City of Johnstown Mayor and Pitt-Johnstown Board of Advisors
  • Carl Sax (’58), Pitt-Johnstown Board of Advisors
  • Tom Chernisky, Cambria County Commissioner
  • Bryan Barbin, State Representative
  • John Wozniak (’78), Former State Senator
  • Richard Burkett, President, CEO JAHA
  • Ed Cernic, Jr., CamTran Chairman
  • Joe Evanko, President of Pitt-Johnstown Student Government Association

The day began with a 90th anniversary luncheon that welcomed alumni and featured remarks from Dr. Spectar, Donald Zucco, PhD, (’59), and the esteemed Frances Hesselbein ('36), who addressed the event via Skype. 

Her 70-year career in public service inspired the creation of the University of Pittsburgh’s Hesselbein Global Academy for Student Leadership and Civic Engagement.

Among other accolades, Hesselbein holds 21 honorary doctoral degrees, including one from Pitt. She is a distinguished alumna and a Pitt Legacy Laureate.

During a Pitt-Johnstown Board of Advisors meeting that capped the day, a video was presented commemorating Dr. Spectar's 10 years as university president.

Hesselbein Skype

 Frances Hesselbein addresses the Alumni Luncheon via Skype.


The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown is marking its 90th anniversary well as the 50th year of the campus in its Richland Township location. Pitt-Johnstown was founded in 1927 and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best in the Northeast” college, by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” and by Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization.” The distinctive combination of Pitt-Johnstown’s people, programs, and place results in exceptional performance in preparing students for career and professional success. Pitt-Johnstown is the regional leader, educating for success in the Real World.