University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

Professor Emeritus John Klavuhn's Passing Mourned by Campus Community

Pitt-Johnstown Professor Emeritus John Klavuhn passed away on February 17, 2019.

Pitt-Johnstown expresses heartfelt appreciation for Mr. Klavuhn’s talented and dedicated contributions to the education of thousands of students who have gone on to make a difference in our world.

We appreciate his service to his colleagues in the Division of Engineering, the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, and to the broader community. Mr. Klavuhn joined Pitt-Johnstown as an Assistant Professor in Engineering Technology in January 1974 and retired as a Full Professor with Emeritus status on April 30, 2000.

“All of us in engineering who knew John remember him as a first-rate teacher, wonderful mentor and colleague, the person who could cut through the bologna to keep us on track and of course, a friend,” said Engineering Division Chair Jerry Samples, PhD. “John leaves a legacy – students and colleagues who are better off from knowing him.”

In 2008, Dr. Lane Miller, a former student of Mr. Klavuhn, and his wife Louise Miller created a scholarship to honor him.  Mr. Klavuhn taught Dr. Miller thermodynamics at Pitt-Johnstown.  Dr. Miller said, “Louise and I talked for a long time about giving something back to the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.  We felt that we had been blessed with a great education and experience when we were students and now we are in the position to show our gratitude by helping others. Naming the scholarship after Professor John Klavuhn was fitting because he was an inspiration to me, being both my advisor and mentor. In addition to being a gifted educator and charismatic person, John applied engineering theory to practical problems, such as turbine design, embodying the essence of what it means to be an engineer.”

William Swihura, a Mechanical Engineering Technology alumnus, was a recipient of the scholarship. He said, “To be selected for an award like the John G. Klavuhn Scholarship is really a once in a lifetime experience, and I don’t believe that a simple ‘thank you’ is enough.  When I told my family members about the award I received gestures that pointed towards relaxing my senior year of undergraduate studies.  Instead of taking the easy way through, I help myself to a higher standard, on where I would work as hard as possible so the donor of the award could be proud that it went to a dedicated student.  This award really means the world to me and my family.”

The first John G. Klavuhn Scholarship was awarded to Johnathan M Burkett (Mineral Point, PA).  The scholarship rewards mechanical engineering students who have a QPA of 3.25 or higher, have financial need and reside in southwest Pennsylvania.

“I will always remember Professor Klavuhn as a great teacher who had complete command of his subject matter, exhibited a great sense of humor, and was foremost a great human being.  As a young man from a dairy farm with limited life experience, Professor Klavuhn was unselfish with his time in mentoring me.  He helped me succeed beyond my expectations. Professor Klavuhn will be missed, but the legacy he left in his students will impact generations to come,” Lane Miller said.

Dr. Samples shared comments from Mr. Klavuhn’s former students.

“One wrote: ‘It is rare in this world to meet a man that is first your teacher, becomes your mentor and then your friend.  As you can imagine that takes an extremely special man,’ said Dr. Samples. “Another stated that John ‘helped and inspired me during all four years at UPJ.’”

His legacy lives on at Pitt-Johnstown through his son, Dr. Kurt Klavuhn who was hired on September 1, 2014, as an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering.

On behalf of the university community, we extend our deepest condolences to his family.

Arrangements are being handled by The J. Paul McCracken Funeral Chapel, Inc., of Ligonier is assisting the family. Memorial contributions, if desired, may be made in John’s memory to Trout Unlimited to aid in their conservation programs. You may send your donation to: Trout Unlimited, P.O. Box 7400, Woolly Bugger, W.Va 25438 or to The Klavuhn Scholarship Fund at UPJ, c/o Kurt Klavuhn, Engineering Division Office, Engineering and Science Building, UPJ, Johnstown, PA 15904.