University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

President Spectar Named to Pennsylvania Business Central Top 100 People List


University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown President Dr. Jem Spectar has been named to the Pennsylvania Business Central top 100 people in business and economic development list.

Read about the honor at

The list honors the top 100 men and women from a variety of industries within the Pennsylvania Business Central’s 16-county coverage area, and is composed of the most enterprising individuals from throughout Pennsylvania who have advanced the community around them through job creation, charity and hard work.

“It is an honor to receive this outstanding distinction by Pennsylvania Business Central,” said Dr. Spectar. “This recognition reinforces the Pitt-Johnstown commitment to developing a more distinctive, explicit and intentional Pitt-Johnstown signature and a first-class educational experience.”

The Top 100 People edition has been a celebrated part of the Pennsylvania Business Central for more than 25 years and was published in The Pennsylvania Business Central. 

Dr. Spectar has been president of Pitt-Johnstown since 2007. Previously, he served as Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor at Western Oregon University, Associate Provost and Professor at the University of Scranton, Director of Studies and Lecturer at Princeton University, and, Assistant Dean and Associate Professor of Law at the University of La Verne College of Law. President Spectar has provided innovative, creative and energetic leadership that has enabled Pitt-Johnstown to achieve major strategic goals, including significant academic program innovation, transformed facilities, resource development and revitalized community relations.

Under his leadership, Pitt-Johnstown launched three new schools – nursing and health sciences, business and enterprise, and engineering – that have transformed the stature and profile of the institution. Pitt-Johnstown has introduced more than a dozen much sought after degree programs that are generating great enthusiasm from prospective students and their parents. In addition, the Campus has undertaken extensive infrastructure upgrades including construction of new facilities and renovation exceeding $85 million.

Transformative construction projects to date include a new wellness center, the Nursing and Health Sciences building, and the John P. Murtha Center for Public Service. Also, the John P. Murtha Engineering and Science Building was renovated and renamed. A Chemical Science Building will open in 2019. Recently, ground was broken for a project steered by Dr. Spectar and the campus called REACHland (Recreational, Environmentally-safe, Access way for Community and Healthy-Living) Connect. The multi-phase initiative will connect, by sidewalks and bike paths, the campus and community with culture and commerce.

Meanwhile, successful fundraising efforts at Pitt-Johnstown have resulted in major gifts and grants from private and public sources and endowment has more than doubled to about $42 million.

Furthermore, under the auspices of its Real World Action Program, and, in partnership with many local organizations, the institution is playing a greater role in improving the community and the region including through a broad array of service projects. During President Spectar’s tenure, the collaborative endeavors of faculty, students, staff and alumni have produced achievements that heightened the institution’s profile, accelerated momentum and garnered numerous recognitions for quality and impact across the region and beyond. 

Dr. Spectar's vision has led to Pitt-Johnstown's CODE (Computational-Learning Opportunities in a Digital Environment) for Commonwealth & Country project. The ambitious effort promotes computer learning opportunities by working to develop and support CODE-smart schools in the area.

A widely educated scholar and an outstanding academic leader, he holds a BA in international studies from the University of La Verne; an MA from the George Washington University; an MBA from Frostburg State University; a JD from the University of Maryland School of Law; and, an MA in politics and a Ph.D. in political science from the Claremont Graduate University.  In addition to administrative leadership, Dr. Spectar has significant experience as a professor in undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institutions as well as in graduate law schools. His scholarship on pressing justice and human security dilemmas in global society has been published in several international law journals. Passionate about the arts, he has developed and curated an extensive collection of paintings, sculptures and artifacts from around the world.

Dr. Spectar has served on several boards including the American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD), the Association of International Educators (NAFSA), the Johnstown Educational Foundation, the Committee on International Education of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Johnstown Area Regional Industries (JARI).

The University of Pittsburgh at 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.