Welcome Class of 2018!

Natalie Bombatch

posted August 21, 2014


Campus Welcome 2014The Pitt-Johnstown campus community officially welcomed the Class of 2018 today, beginning at 7 a.m. when students starting arriving on campus to move into their residence halls. Students and parents were greeted by eager student volunteers, including Peer Assistance Leaders (PALs), Student Government Association members, and student-athletes, who quickly unpacked vehicles and carried items directly to the students' rooms.

Following a break for lunch, students and their parents filled the Sports Center for a Campus Welcome. This fall, more than 950 students will begin their Pitt-Johnstown careers, marking the second largest incoming class in a decade.

Speakers at the Campus Welcome were President Jem Spectar, Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Janet Grady, Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Shawn Brooks, Student Government Association President Shelby Smith ‘15, and Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Association President Gladys Go ’92.

Additionally, upperclass student representatives introduced many ways for students to become involved in the campus community, including involvement in Student Government Association, Greek Life, MAPS (Mentors for Academic and Personal Success), study abroad, concrete canoe team, Resident Assistants, service organizations, SPACE (Symposium for Promotion of Academic and Creative Enquiry), and several student organizations.

The prevailing message to the students was to take advantage of the opportunities presented every day, and to make decisions that will keep them on the path of academic and personal success.

Vice President Grady emphasized the importance of taking an active role in the learning process and encouraged students to get to know their faculty members and then led students in reciting the Pitt-Johnstown Pledge, which is a commitment to excellence for real world readiness:

By joining the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, I acknowledge this commitment and I make the following pledge:

  • I pledge to honor Pitt-Johnstown’s legacy of academic excellence and to contribute to this heritage.
  • I pledge to fully commit myself to the continuous pursuit of knowledge, to fulfill my academic plan with diligence and integrity, and to persist until graduation.
  • I pledge to make the most of every opportunity to develop and advance my personal, career, and professional goals.
  • I pledge to make the most of campus life, to be fully engaged on campus, and to work collaboratively to enhance collegiate life.
  • I pledge to be involved in the civic, social, and cultural life of my community and to use my knowledge, skills, and talents in service of community, country and the common good.
  • I pledge to increase my knowledge and awareness of the opportunities and challenges in our world and to be ready to make a positive difference in the Real World.

In closing remarks, President Spectar enthusiastically greeted the students and took a moment to acknowledge and thank all of the parents, families, and significant others who helped bring these students to this special point in their lives. He told the incoming class that they are about to begin a journey where they will develop habits, skills, and dispositions that will take them through life. It is both a long four or five-year journey, and a short journey in the grand scheme of life. Discussing his hopes for the end of their short time at Pitt-Johnstown, President Spectar said, “The question will be, what did you learn here to prepare you for a journey that is going to last a lifetime. I hope you can say you made the most of it, made the most of every moment, because every moment counts, every moment can change everything else.”

First-year students will spend the next few days participating in a number of activities to help them make the successful transition from high school to college. Among the topics that will be presented are social justice, academic integrity, and student conduct. To celebrate community, students will complete service projects in Moxham and listen to local elected officials talk about the importance of civic engagement as part of a voter registration campaign, and watch a dance performance by a Kulani West African dance troupe led by Pitt-Johnstown alumna Rachel Allen. Students will participate in team building exercises, as well as a number of recreational programs, including a bon fire and ice cream social, hall cup competition, and themed meals, to foster the development of life-long friendships.

Upperclass students will move onto campus Sunday, with Fall Term classes beginning Monday, August 25.


Founded in 1927, 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 is the regional leader, educating for the RealWorld. The distinctive combination of our people, programs, and place results in exceptional performance in preparing students for career and professional success. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best in the Northeast” college, by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” by AC Online as one of the “Highest ROI Colleges in Pennsylvania,” and by Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization.” Additionally, Pitt-Johnstown has been presented with The Seven Seals Award by the US Department of Defense’s office of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).