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Engagement, Leadership, Well-Being A NEW STRATEGIC PLAN



Twenty-first century America is awash in data, and for better or worse, numbers rule our lives. Companies like Google and Amazon amass troves of data about our purchases and online behavior to deliver customized advertising and product recommendations. Elected officials use finely parsed voter registration data to draw legislative districts that give one party an insurmountable electoral advantage over the other. The fate of our public school districts hinges on the reams of data produced by standardized testing. Yet, with all this data at our disposal, we still don’t always know whether we are measuring the right things with the right numbers. It’s a dilemma that vexes many of us who work in higher education: Does the service we provide, at considerable cost, produce the correct outcomes? That’s the dilemma that Purdue University President Mitch Daniels set out to resolve when he partnered with the Gallup organization to develop a survey that would identify the undergraduate experiences that contribute to personal and professional satisfaction. The Gallup-Purdue Index (page 16) is prescriptive as well as descriptive: It tells colleges and universities what they need to do to turn out graduates who are highly engaged and fulfilled in their personal and professional lives. When RMU set out to develop its next strategic plan, we did not know the Gallup-Purdue Index was in the offing, and we certainly did not anticipate the sobering message it would send about our industry’s shortcomings. But as we pored through the results and took note of the factors of success the GPI identified, we realized we had found an ideal tool to assess the quality of the education and experiences we provide our own students. That’s why we are now one of 12 universities nationwide to partner with Gallup and administer the survey to our own graduates to determine where we can improve. We sent email invitations to complete the survey to a list of alumni who received bachelor’s degree from RMU, and we are grateful to all of you who participated. As you read about our next strategic plan on page 12 of this issue of Foundations, you will see how closely its initiatives dovetail with the measures of success identified by Gallup. As many of you know, I will be leaving Robert Morris University at the end of the current academic year to become the president of Rider University in my native New Jersey. This was a deeply personal decision for me, and it will not be easy to leave all the wonderful friends, including many of you, that my wife, Polly, and I have made in the RMU community. These have been 10 wonderful years for my family and me, and I am proud of all that you and I have achieved together. With your support, the next president will take your alma mater to even greater heights. Robert Morris University’s best days are yet to come.


G R E G O R Y G . D E L L’ O M O , P H . D . PRESIDENT



DEPARTMENTS 02 06 08 30 32 41


CREDITS EDITOR Mark Houser CONTRIBUTORS Alan Buehler '13, Kimberly Burger Capozzi, Matt Crouch '14, Jannah Jablonowski '14, Charlotte Latvala, Jonathan Potts M'11, Linda K. Schmitmeyer, Matt Sober ART DIRECTOR Amy Joy PHOTOGRAPHY/ILLUSTRATIONS Front Cover: iStock. Back Cover: Nazari Dorosh ‘10 Other Photos/Illustrations: Jason Cohn, Tim Cowie, Denny Harsh, Glory Days Photography, iStock., Mitch Kramer ‘08, Michael Will ‘08 PRINTING Heeter Direct FOUNDATIONS ONLINE RMU.EDU/FOUNDATIONS Alan Buehler '13 Foundations (ISSN 1934-5690) is published three times a year by the Office of Public Relations and Marketing in conjunction with the Office of Institutional Advancement and mailed free of charge to alumni, donors, trustees, faculty, staff, and friends of Robert Morris University. The opinions expressed in the magazine do not necessarily reflect the official policies of Robert Morris University. Contributions to Class Notes and address changes may be sent to: Office of Alumni Relations Robert Morris University 6001 University Boulevard Moon Township, PA 15108-1189 Phone: (412) 397-6464 Fax: (412) 397-5871 Email: It is the policy of Robert Morris University to provide equal opportunity in all educational programs and activities, admission of students, and conditions of employment for all qualified individuals regardless of race, color, sex, religion, age, disability, national origin, and/or sexual preference.

A New Center Rises... p. 26 Construction of a new School of Nursing and Health Sciences building has begun.

Measuring Our Impact. . . . . . . . 16 When a Pittsburgher at Gallup helped design a survey to study what aspects of a university education lead to success and satisfaction, RMU got in on the ground floor.

Coal Patch Kid . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 His father and his grandfather were miners, but Bob Stovash ‘61 stayed in the sunlight for his career in coal. He is the recipient of the 2014 Heritage Award.

Honing His Craft. . . . . . . . . . . 24 If Dominic Cincotta M’09 D’14 went through a lot of beer to earn his doctorate, it’s understandable. His research focused on marketing analysis of “nanobreweries” like his CoStar Brewing.

A Decade of Growth . . . . . . . . 28 As the 10-year term of President Greg Dell’Omo approaches its end, Robert Morris University begins the search for a new leader to guide the institution into the future.

10 Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Castle Shannon Mayor Donald Baumgarten ‘57 is the Pennsylvania Mayor of the Year.

CAMPUS REPORT > Early Start Made

a Little Easier RMU received an $8,000 grant from Waste Management to support the First Semester College in High School Program, which allows high school students to earn college credit at a deep discount. The money will cover the costs of textbooks for students at Moon, Montour, and Hopewell high schools.

> Catch a Rising Star > Polishing Our Resume has named RMU’s online master’s degree in human resources management to its list of the top 50 such programs in the nation. The ranking is based on publicly available information about faculty credentials, student services and technology, student engagement, tuition, selectivity, and peer assessment.

Khulood Al Ali, an engineering major concentrating in biomedical engineering, is this year’s recipient of the Rising Star Award, given to a senior who demonstrates academic success, individuality, determination, passion, and potential. Al Ali is active and a leader in numerous student organizations, including Carpe Mundum, the Saudi Student Club, Senior Class Gift Committee, RMU Creativity Club, and Mosaic. She is a committed volunteer, having spent two alternative fall breaks helping the homeless in Pittsburgh, an alternative spring break in Harrisburg assisting the elderly, and another in North Carolina rehabilitating homes. She tutors Arabic language at RMU and the Carnegie Library, and has volunteered more than 400 hours at the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Coraopolis Community Development Foundation, Santa’s Workshop, and Shepherd’s Heart.

> > FIND US ON FACEBOOK Page: RMU Alumni URL: 2 • R M U . E D U / F O U N D AT I O N S

> First Canton, Now Moon

When the university’s top supporters get together each year for the President’s Council Dinner, they need a big venue. The club of donors who contribute $1,000 annually continues to grow, with a record 408 members in the last fiscal year — more than doubling in just four years. Luckily, Heinz Field has the space to hold everybody. President’s Council members this December heard President Gregory Dell’Omo, Ph.D., give his final State of the University address and saw Robert V. Stovash ‘61 receive the 2014 Heritage Award (see p. 22).

> Room to Grow Construction of a new building next door will allow the School of Engineering, Mathematics and Science to expand its space in the John Jay Center, and not a moment too soon. The school, which celebrated its 15th anniversary in the fall, is the fastest growing at RMU, and engineering is now the university’s largest major. The school started with just 22 engineering students in 1999 and today enrolls nearly 1,000 across each of its disciplines, including actuarial science, mathematics, biology, and environmental science. SEMS boasts the only ABET-accredited manufacturing engineering degree program in Pennsylvania, and is one of only 25 Centers for Actuarial Excellence worldwide. Thanks to the school’s expertise in 3-D printing, RMU is part of the federally funded America Makes initiative, putting RMU in the same company as engineering powerhouses such as Carnegie Mellon and Penn State.


> Bigger Each Year

Among the inductees this year to the RMU Sport Management Hall of Fame were the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Rooney family for their longtime and generous support of the university, including the Rooney Visiting International Scholars Program. Brian Ross M’03, the senior director of ticket sales and service for the New Orleans Pelicans and New Orleans Saints, was also inducted, as were USA Football events director Russ Yurk M’94 and Pittsburgh Marathon and Dick’s Sporting Goods executive director Patrice Matamoros. The induction ceremony was part of the 11th annual Sport Management Student Conference, which attracted 150 students from 18 colleges to network with dozens of industry professionals representing every major U.S. professional sports league, many of them RMU alumni. Fifty students in the last three years have landed internships or first jobs from leads at the conference.

> A Tragedy About Tragedy “Remembrance,” Colonial Theatre’s first full-length original production written by a student, was performed on the Massey Hall stage in October. Senior English major and honors student Tanner Sebastian wrote the play, which follows a family struggling with how to grieve for someone who has done the unforgivable after the youngest son shoots and kills 14 people, including himself and his mother.

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> Giving It Their All, and Then Some Three staff members nominated by their peers received the University Distinguished Achievement Awards for accomplishments beyond their regular tasks during the past fiscal year. Dawn Smoot, social media/web designer; Joe Hale, video engineer; and David Ausman, senior financial analyst, each received a check for $1,000 and a marble bookend etched with their name and the university seal. Their names have been engraved on a plaque in Nicholson Center.

> Pittsburgh’s Wild History History professor Daniel Barr, Ph.D., has written his third book, A Colony Sprung From Hell: Pittsburgh and the Struggle for Authority on the Western Frontier 1744-1794. The book examines how the political struggle between Pennsylvania and Virginia over which colony would control the Forks of the Ohio produced a chaotic region that struggled for security and stability for decades. It is published by The Kent State University Press.

> Movers & Shakers Communication professor Ann Jabro, Ph.D., presented research at the World Conference on Soil Science on Jeju Island, South Korea, from her longitudinal study of how scientists change presentation strategies for technical information after receiving training in presentation skills.


Library learning resources professor Jacqueline Klenztin, Ph.D., was elected to a two-year term as at-large member of the Western Pennsylvania/West Virginia chapter of the Association of College and Research Libraries.


Computer and information systems professor Karen Paullet, D.Sc., presented a NASA Cyber Security Webinar about security issues and threats when using a mobile device in August titled “Opening the Digital Pandora’s Box.”

> Nursing News

> Music Man

O’Roark began with a survey of the best pop songs about economics, including Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” and Madonna’s “Material Girl.” Now colleagues, friends, and family give O’Roark a steady stream of ideas for songs he can mine for principles of economics. “It helps students to see the economic concepts we are learning in class are not entirely esoteric. They are things that do show up in everyday life,” O’Roark says. “It gives them a different perspective on economics and a different perspective on music.”

> Transatlantic Teachers RMU professors Michele Cole, Ph.D., Daniel Shelley, Ph.D., and Louis Swartz, J.D., along with Nigerian professor and former Rooney International Visiting Scholar Blessing Adeoye, Ph.D., presented their research at the Smart Technology Based Education and Training Conference in Greece last year. Their paper, “Does Student and Instructor Use of Social Media Facilitate Online Learning: A Look at Two Universities,” was based on research conducted over a two-year span at RMU and the University of Lagos.

> Manufacturing Workforce The Community College of Allegheny County has named engineering professor Arif Sirinterlikci, Ph.D., to its mechatronics advisory board, which connects employers with skilled manufacturing workers. Sirinterlikci also was recently recognized at the Society of Manufacturing Engineers annual conference in Detroit for his work on committees for journals and for manufacturing engineering and research.


The Middle Atlantic Association of Colleges of Business Administration gave economics professor J. Brian O’Roark, Ph.D., its Undergraduate Teaching Innovation Award for his project “Incorporating Music into the Economics Classroom.”

Nursing professor Lynn George, Ph.D., gave a presentation titled “The Effect of the Dedicated Education Unit on Student Self-Efficacy” at the University of Portland School of Nursing Conference in July. Several faculty and staff from the School of Nursing and Health Sciences and the RISE Center gave presentations last summer at the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Nursing professor Susan Van Cleve, D.N.P., was inducted as a fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners in 2014; also inducted last year was new D.N.P. graduate Lorraine Bock D’14. Fellows are chosen for outstanding contributions to the nurse practitioner profession by writing and publishing articles, conducting research, developing clinical practice models, teaching innovations, or influencing health policy.

The Emergency Nurses Association gave nursing professor Denise Ramponi, D.N.P., its Frank L. Cole Nurse Practitioner Award for exceptional professional practice, innovation, leadership, and advocacy in emergency nursing. In addition to her duties at RMU, Ramponi works as an emergency department nurse practitioner at the Heritage Valley Sewickley and Heritage Valley Beaver hospitals.

recycle this magazine Give it to a neighbor who’s in high school and help spread the word about RMU.

R O B E R T M O R R I S U N I V E R S I T Y F O U N D AT I O N S • 5

TAKING AMERICA’S PULSE Highlights of the latest surveys by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute Powered by Trib Total Media:








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TARGET FOR HACKERS While more than two-thirds of Americans install anti-virus protection on their desktop computers, they are not so careful with their smartphones and tablet computers. Almost one in ten respondents (8%) say they personally have been the victim of identity theft, and twice that number say they have experienced a data theft or computer security breach at a business.

VIRTUAL CURRENCY Opinions are evenly divided about Bitcoin, the most prominent “virtual currency” used for online purchases and transactions. About one in four (27%) say they could see themselves using Bitcoin or another virtual currency, but public opinion is evenly split over the idea, with 44% saying it “seems like a more secure and safe way to conduct transactions” and 45% saying it “sounds like a scam and a way to lose money.”

FILLING IN THE DOTS A slight majority (52%) of those with at least some awareness of the Common Core State Standards support the effort towards standardizing school curriculum. Support for other education reform principles is higher: More than half (57%) say charter schools perform better than public schools, and a large majority (77%) support the right of parents to homeschool children. Just under half (49%) support teachers’ right to unionize.

ABOUT THE ROBERT MORRIS UNIVERSITY POLLING INSTITUTE POWERED BY TRIB TOTAL MEDIA The polling institute conducts national and regional opinion polls on current affairs in areas of interest and expertise to RMU faculty. It provides nonpartisan polling on a range of issues, including health care policy, the environment, health and wellness, economic policy, higher education, and gender equity. The institute works under the direction of the faculty through an advisory board including representatives from each of the five academic schools. Polls are typically conducted using an online survey measuring the opinions of 1,000 U.S. adults, and have a +/- 3.0 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level on a composite basis. Percentages shown here are rounded.

To see all the survey questions and learn more about the Robert Morris University Polling Institute Powered by Trib Total Media, go to RMU.EDU/POLL.

R O B E R T M O R R I S U N I V E R S I T Y F O U N D AT I O N S • 7



We pick some of the most exciting home games this season. Mark your calendar now, and make a trip back to your alma mater. Let ‘em hear your Colonials cheer!

ICE HOCKEY MEN Fresh off their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the Colonials began this season stronger than ever, reeling off a program-record nine-game unbeaten streak to take command of Atlantic Hockey and rising to No. 17 in the national rankings.



The home finale at 84 Lumber Arena and senior night ought to be a perfect prelude to the playoffs. The Purple Eagles took the Colonials to OT in the last season’s AHA semifinals before RMU won 5-4.




WOMEN The team is coming off its best season ever, when it spent 12 weeks in the Top 10 rankings.

MEN’S BASKETBALL In the history of the National Invitational Tournament, only four No. 8 seeds have beaten a No. 1 seed – and two of those are the Colonials. Last season the men went to St. John’s in the NIT first round and completely dominated the Red Storm, bringing back memories of the previous year’s legendary first-round upset of Kentucky at the Sewall Center.







The Colonials led the NEC in 3-point field goal accuracy last season. TEAM




38.5% 35.5% 35.5%

Lucky Jones, a dominating presence in both of those program-defining wins, is back for his senior year. The team’s top rebounder is one of three returning starters from a squad that went 14-2 to lead the conference before falling in the NEC championship game. If this is the year the Colonials make it back to the NCAA Tournament, some NIT No. 1 seed will probably breathe a sigh of relief.

THE BIG GAME FEB. 14 VS. CENTRAL CONN. ST. Packing the Chuck for a noon tipoff is the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, especially against Central Connecticut, picked in preseason polls to finish at No. 2, a spot ahead of the Colonials.


LACROSSE MEN The Colonials look to bounce back into the postseason with the help of junior midfielder Eric Rankel, their scoring leader with 35 points last year and a two-time All-NEC First Teamer.

THE BIG GAME MARCH 24 VS. MARYLAND The team tests its mettle against a big dog of college lacrosse. The Terrapins have made the NCAA Final Four in three of the last four seasons.

WOMEN Coming off their second appearance in the NEC Tournament, the team will be aiming to make even more noise this year.

THE BIG GAME APRIL 17 VS. BRYANT Last year’s conference champions visit the Colonials in what could easily be a postseason preview.

#27 ZAC LYNCH MEN’S HOCKEY Look for Lynch on the power play, no matter whose it is. He led Colonials in manadvantage scoring last season and also tapped in four short-handed goals.

#4 ANNA NIKI STAMOLAMPROU WOMEN’S BASKETBALL Stamolamprou scored the most points of any Colonial in the NCAA Tournament vs. Notre Dame, then opened this season with a career-high 21 points at No. 19 Iowa.


WOMEN’S BASKETBALL Last year’s regular-season and tournament champions, the Colonials again are preseason picks to repeat, thanks in large part to another Greek import. Anna Niki Stamolamprou made last season’s all-tournament team as a freshman, alongside her countrywoman and Colonials all-time scoring and rebounding leader Artemis Spanou. The international roster also includes 2013 NEC Rookie of the Year Ashley Ravelli of Italy as well as players from France, Spain, Canada, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

#36 JESSICA AND #24 COREY KARWACKI WOMEN’S LACROSSE The Karwacki twins are a double bill of talent: Jessica set the NCAA single-season record with 216 draw controls, while Corey led the Colonials with 31 goals.

THE BIG GAME FEB. 28 VS. ST. FRANCIS The Red Flash will be shooting for revenge in this rematch of last year’s title match, when St. Francis jumped out to an early lead before the Colonials took control. > STAMOLAMPROU 11


A SMASHING SUCCESS Opponents hoping to spike a volleyball should look out for Becky Jay. The senior middle blocker finished her Colonials career with 463 blocks, breaking a school record of 460 that had stood since 1995. Jay’s defensive prowess earned her All-NEC First Team honors and helped the Colonials set another record: The team posted a winning season in the Northeast Conference for the 16th year in a row — the longest streak for any NEC team in any sport. Only one team in the NEC was able to stop the Colonials — undefeated LIU Brooklyn. Unfortunately, the Blackbirds spoiled Robert Morris’s return to the conference championship by winning their third NEC title in a row. But that shouldn’t dim the accomplishment of the team’s 12-2 conference record, the best in the five-year tenure of coach Dale Starr. For Jay, who started playing in fourth grade in suburban Cleveland, life without volleyball is unimaginable: “It taught me how to work for what I want, and gave me an outlet for my drive to compete.” Not only excelling on the court, Jay and her teammates earned a collective cum laude GPA of 3.564 in the 2013-14 academic year. That was second among all RMU varsity teams and helped the university win the 2014 Northeast Conference Institutional Academic Award, bestowed annually on the NEC school whose student-athletes earn the highest overall GPA. Jay also stands out for her impressive credentials in leadership, service, and global experience, as can be seen on her Student Engagement Transcript. Every RMU graduate receives the formal records of their experiential learning outside the classroom to give potential employers a fuller picture of their accomplishments at the university. Last summer, Jay was in Nicaragua with fellow nursing students working in a clinic in a poor barrio, assessing family home conditions, and helping bring in basics like toilets, sinks, and beds. “I saw houses made out of Coke machines and sheet metal, and it made me extremely grateful for the life I have,” she says. “They did not have much, but every day they brought out chairs for us. They would use their limited electricity to plug in a fan to make it a little less hot. We were there to help them, yet they still went out of their way to be generous hosts.” WRITTEN BY MATT CROUCH ‘14 PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON COHN

R O B E R T M O R R I S U N I V E R S I T Y F O U N D AT I O N S • 1 1


A NEW STRATEGIC PLAN Robert Morris University’s new strategic plan sets the vision for the next five years, strengthening the university’s commitment to prepare graduates for a lifetime of professional and personal fulfillment through high-quality engaged learning opportunities and talented faculty who care about each individual student.

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The new Gallup-Purdue Index affirms that college graduates who are engaged in their careers and thriving in their daily lives are also those who say they: • had a professor who made them excited about learning • believed their professors cared about them as a person • had a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams • worked on a project that took at least a semester to finish • had an internship that applied what they learned in class • got very involved in activities and organizations outside the classroom Fewer than 3 percent of graduates nationwide say they experienced all six. The new strategic plan aims to change that for RMU alumni. In order to help make that possible, the university has entered into a direct partnership with Gallup to measure how well the university delivers on those important experiences, both to validate successes and point the way forward for improvement. The new strategic plan has six main pillars:


said personal attention from faculty made a big difference to him. “Robert Morris just had a way more intimate feel about everything. My professor even took a call from me on a Saturday, which would be unheard of at Pitt.” Oberst appreciated the expertise of faculty and a career center that placed him in multiple internships: “A lot of my professors have come straight from industry. One of my professors was a practicing C.P.A. at his own firm, coming into class in his spare time for teaching. He knows what we need to know for our actual, practical application of accounting knowledge.”


RMU will expand its innovative emphasis on engaged learning, offering more opportunities to supplement lectures and labs with learning outside the classroom through the Student Engagement Program. The university also will continue to encourage its faculty to act as mentors for their students and to spark their love of learning. “We want academic credentials, we want people who are excellent teachers, we want people who are connected to their industry,” says David Jamison, J.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “But most of all, we want faculty members who care about student connections, who want to interact with students, because the research shows that connection is critical to student success.”

Personal attention is just as important for the university’s expanding online learning options. Two out of three RMU online students in a recent survey say the university delivers rigorous academics, professional focus, and engaged learning better than other schools. Their responses tell the story: “wonderful professors who have given me crucial career advice and helped me to continue my academic and professional goals” … “availability of all professors when I have needed them” … “an online advisor who went out of her way to assist me, proving Robert Morris truly cares about my educational goals.”


The new strategic plan focuses on expanding the university’s commitment to its students over the course of their entire lives. That commitment to RMU graduates’ personal and professional

Dan Oberst ‘14, who earned a B.S.B.A. in accounting last spring after transferring from the University of Pittsburgh, 13

“IT’S JUST SO REWARDING TO BE A PART OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THIS well-being begins with their first contact with the admissions office as prospective students, and continues long after graduation, as they move through their careers and seek opportunities for professional development and personal growth. Significant expansion is planned for the career services center, along with even more robust alumni relations programming. “I think what excites me about the strategic plan is how we are actually taking everything and connecting all the dots now,” says John Michalenko, vice president for student life. “From the time that you arrive here as a freshman to the time that you graduate and you’re a successful alum, happy to come back to Robert Morris, we’re all connected — academics, student life, athletics, student support, and of course the all-important career services and preparing you for your career. So it’s all about the physical well-being, social well-being, and the academic preparedness, and when you leave Robert Morris, you feel passionate that you actually got what you paid for from this institution.” And you are excited to remain connected to the university on many levels, including giving back so that future generations of RMU students can carry on this great tradition. The relationship never ends; it just changes and matures as time goes on. Consider recent graduate Mike Boylan ‘12 M’13, who credits his RMU experiences in the classroom, at conferences, and in his on-campus IT work and internships with preparing him for his current job with a major computer corporation. “The university has invested a lot in me. I just felt it was right to invest back in the future of RMU,” says Boylan, a President’s Council member for the last two years.

UNIVERSITY OF CHOICE FOR FACULTY AND STAFF Just as the university strives to ensure its graduates become engaged in their workplace, the strategic plan also calls for measures to make RMU an engaging workplace for all its

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employees, faculty, and staff. Particular emphasis will include helping talented staff members identify career paths within the university, and offering developmental opportunities for them to assume higher-level positions throughout the university. The university also seeks to expand opportunities for staff to mentor student workers. Ellen Wieckowski, vice president of information technology, explains how helping her student IT workers prepare to enter the workforce is among the most uplifting aspects of her job. (One of her recent success stories: Mike Boylan.) “One of the most significant things we do is we hire students, and we don’t just hire them for meaningless jobs, we give them jobs with a lot of content that help them develop in their careers,” she says. “A lot of times we help them with resumes, portfolios, contacts we might have. We send them through the career center. And then we watch them go into their first job. It’s just so rewarding to see that you’ve been a part of the development of this young person, and that they’re doing so well in their career.”

INFRASTRUCTURE AS COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE With the construction of a new building for the School of Nursing and Health Sciences – set to be completed in time for the start of the 2015-16 academic year — RMU takes another step toward the completion of five distinct “academic villages” with a living-learning environment and state-of-the art academic facilities and technology to enhance high-quality teaching, learning, innovation, and research for each of the five schools. • The new building will allow the School of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science to expand to occupy all of John Jay Center. • The School of Business has its own new building, as well as Massey Hall. • The School of Communication and Information Systems has a new home at Wheatley Center. • The School of Education and Social Sciences has fully renovated and expanded space in Nicholson Center.

YOUNG PERSON, AND SEE THAT THEY’RE DOING SO WELL IN THEIR CAREER.” With enrollment steadily growing, the university is also assessing athletics and recreational spaces and student housing to consider whether and what kind of expansion may be necessary. Driving these decisions is the objective of contributing to student engagement in all phases, enhancing a dynamic and vibrant living-learning environment that creates a strong sense of place and community. That provides a competitive advantage to Robert Morris University when prospective students are considering their college options.

SOLIDIFY AND LEVERAGE THE RMU BRAND The university will build on the success of its “Changing Lives” campaign, bolstering the message of service to the community with a strong emphasis on professional experiences, particularly through meaningful internships that apply and reinforce lessons learned in class. Inherent in this message is the concept of a holistic “RMU experience” that is personal, caring, and rigorous, and that maintains the professional focus with great outcomes for which the university is known. At the same time, our message will stress that RMU addresses its students’ maturation process with an aim to produce graduates who contribute successfully in an ever-changing world, and thus are prepared for a lifetime of professional engagement and personal fulfillment. And just as the university’s impact extends beyond its alumni community, RMU’s story will continue to be aimed at engaging not only graduates and potential students but also the region as a whole.

same time, RMU will continue to emphasize tuition affordability, sound financial management of its assets, and a focus on continuously strengthening the overall value proposition of a Robert Morris University education for our students and their families.

THE GOAL Even before there was a Gallup-Purdue Index, Robert Morris University proclaimed six core values: Changing lives. Engaged learning. Academic excellence. Professional focus. Global perspective. Individuals matter. The university continues to be dedicated to those six core values. In many ways, they are mirrored in the six collegiate experiences the GPI has singled out, and that RMU is committed to making possible for every one of its students. The university has already begun working with Gallup to survey its alumni on a regular basis, both to validate our progress so far and to calibrate our actions going forward. Recently we sent emails to thousands of alumni who earned a bachelor’s degree at this institution, inviting them to complete a survey designed in partnership with Gallup (see story on p. 16). We look forward to sharing key findings from that effort in the near future. Five years from now, our goal is to have even more people recognize Robert Morris University as a “best value” among midsize, private, comprehensive universities — one that offers students a highly personal and engaged educational experience that successfully prepares them for life. Or as our strategic plan says, a lifetime of engagement, leadership, and well-being. ■

STRENGTHEN RMU’S FINANCIAL POSITION The generous support of our alumni and other donors and friends has fueled the university’s success so far. In order to achieve the objectives described here and other milestones as the university expands its size, reach, and effectiveness, significant additional investments will be required. At the




MEASURING OUR IMPACT How does a university make sure it is equipping its graduates to lead rewarding, successful lives? It’s not an easy question.

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Universities have long relied on job placement rates and starting salaries to determine how well their students are doing after graduation — that includes Robert Morris University and its billboards advertising graduates’ 92 percent placement rate. But while this is important, a college education must prepare students for more than just the first job they land. That’s why RMU and 11 other universities — including major institutions like Ohio State, Arizona State, and George Mason; private universities like Creighton and Bentley; and some online-only programs — are partnering with the national polling firm Gallup to expand its growing national database on how colleges and universities can ensure their graduates succeed. More than 1,500 Robert Morris alumni in October filled out an extensive, confidential 75-question survey asking about their university experiences, their careers, and their daily lives. Gallup is well known by many for its political polls, but the company has an extensive history of polling research on a wide range of social issues, including workplace engagement and job satisfaction. The firm’s Gallup-Purdue Index, released last spring and based on random surveys of 30,000 college graduates nationwide, singled out six factors of a college experience that strongly influence whether college graduates report being engaged in their workplace and thriving in their personal life. Those six factors deal with relationships — professors who made them excited about learning, who cared about them as people, mentors who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams — and experiential learning opportunities — a project that took at least a semester, an internship that applied classroom learning, strong participation in activities outside the classroom. When President Gregory Dell’Omo, Ph.D., read the study, he felt vindicated. “I’ve been preaching this stuff for the last 25 years, and now I have data to support what I’ve been saying,” he says. Dell’Omo resolved to use the new research to help focus the university’s new strategic plan, then under development. At a June leadership conference in San Francisco organized by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Dell’Omo had breakfast with the person at Gallup behind the index — who turned out to be from Pittsburgh. Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education, even remembers visiting RMU years ago for a track meet when he was on the North Allegheny High School team. Busteed, who now lives in suburban Washington, praised the university for wanting to measure its impact on its students’ lives.

“Robert Morris is one of the first 12 institutions in the world to lead off, and it’s for all the right reasons — a sincere interest in continuous improvement, seeing how you’re doing, and trying to measure the broader impact of a university education, not just how much money your graduates are making,” he says. The university will benefit by comparing the responses of its graduates to the national survey benchmarks, Busteed says. Gallup will benefit also, by being able to look at more specific and detailed questions in individual university surveys that weren’t asked in the bigger Gallup-Purdue Index questionnaires. “The researchers here at Gallup are just chomping at the bit to figure out the things we can learn from this,” he says. The Gallup-Purdue Index came about after Mitch Daniels, the president of Purdue University and former governor of Indiana, approached Gallup about finding a better measure of how a bachelor’s degree affects long-term outcomes for alumni. Daniels specified that he wanted more than the statistics universities typically use, like salaries and job placement rates of recent graduates. “I told Mitch to do this we need a national representative sample,” says Busteed. “I kind of said it jokingly, and he looked at me with a serious look on his face and said, ‘Let’s figure out how to do this.’” With funding from Purdue and the Indiana-based Lumina Foundation, which supports education research, Gallup pollsters began with the roughly 1,000 people they call each evening for their various polls, asking for the emails of those with a bachelor’s degree. In six months, they had enough emails to send out questionnaires for their national sample. For Busteed, the Gallup-Purdue Index boils down to this: The two most transformative experiences a university can provide are professors who act as personal mentors, and meaningful internships that apply lessons from the classroom. “Those are going to become more important ways of thinking about the choices of where you can go to college,” he says. Robert Morris has long espoused engaged learning with a professional focus and personal relationships with faculty and mentors that change the lives of students. Now at the outset of a new strategic plan, the university has an effective new way of measuring how well it makes good on that promise. ■





REAL WORLD, REAL ENGAGEMENT When Anthony Moretti, Ph.D., tells students about the importance of “engaged learning,” the newly minted director of RMU’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Directed Engaged Learning can hold up one of their former classmates as an example. Ask Besart Stavileci ‘12 and he’ll say he learned many of his most valuable lessons outside the classroom.

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Stavileci, a Kosovo native who majored in actuarial science and now works as an actuarial analyst at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care in Boston, says his internships and extracurricular experiences as an RA, math tutor, senior class president, and founder of the international student organization Carpe Mundum were invaluable in preparing him to work with a wide variety of people. “In the classroom, you’re surrounded by students your own age,” he says. “Upon graduation, you usually end up in a job where there are employees from three different generations, from different cultures and origins, and it can be overwhelming if you’re not used to it.” Getting involved in leadership roles on and off campus also gave him more opportunities to practice other real-world skills. “Juggling classes, a part-time job, and extracurricular activities is a great exercise in effective time management,” Stavileci says. “You’re forced to organize your day in such a way that everything fits, and that’s really important for happiness both in and out of the office.” Moretti, an associate professor of communication, is excited about his mission at the new center: expanding the role of experiential learning at the university. “We’re coming up with some ideas from scratch, and borrowing some from other institutions. This is our first year, and we’re putting out a lot of ideas,” Moretti says. “Some will stick; some will not.” What he does know: “We want to ensure that we have the technology and pedagogy options so that teachers can be their best – and that students have the best possible learning environment.” That will include more courses designated “engaged learning intensive,” as well as interdisciplinary and collaborative efforts across campus. “When the nursing building is done, we will have five schools in five buildings, and it’s easy to become isolated,” says Moretti. “With the new initiatives, we will connect across all schools and departments. For instance, a professor may be doing something that the rest of the university doesn’t know about – say, a professional development mentorship program. Is it something the whole university can adopt? We can spread the message more effectively.” Faculty workshops, forums, and brown-bag lunches will be part of the equation. Another focus is online learning. “We really want to ensure that faculty who teach online stay in the mix,” says Moretti. “The challenge there is the disconnect from campus; you might literally never talk to other faculty or students. We’re cognizant of ensuring the online students and faculty aren’t forgotten.” Whether it’s online or in a traditional classroom, Moretti adds, students learn best when their professors truly care about them. “That’s a real strength for us,” he says. “At RMU, our faculty cares. We can shout that very loudly.”

Directed engaged learning includes campus leadership opportunities, internships, community service, and global experiences. Mike Funyak, who will graduate in May with a bachelor of science in business administration, credits the engaged learning process for broadening his RMU experience. In addition to two internships, Funyak has served as marketing director for Sentry Media and is currently a global ambassador for RMU, a peer mentorship program for international students. “I’ve matured since I arrived here, and have learned a lot about myself and others,” he says. “These organizations have provided me a chance to know what it’s like to be in the workforce and deal with real-life situations.” Sometimes, it’s the experiences away from the textbooks that make the most impact. For instance, between 50 and 60 students volunteer at the Mooncrest Afterschool Program each week, helping disadvantaged children complete homework and leading them in organized play. But it’s about more than homework help, says Sister Rene Procopio, executive director of Mooncrest Neighborhood Programs. “The students’ role modeling helps give these children a different perspective on life,” she explains. “Their home life is not the best; some of the mothers and fathers are on drugs or incarcerated, and the children feel a lack of love and attention. While the RMU students are here, the children have an opportunity to be with someone who will show them something better.” For the college students, the interaction is just as valuable. “Working at Mooncrest gives the RMU students an experience where they reach out to others and aren’t focused on themselves,” says Procopio. “They see that others are struggling in life and that together they can make better things happen.” Such experiences help college students become more well-rounded human beings, in and out of the workforce. “They learn to be role models and advocates, and their presence here is the best thing for these children,” says Procopio. “What they bring is invaluable – their integrity, their own set of values, their example.” And that’s what truly engaged learning is all about – becoming a happy, successful, empathetic human being in the classroom and beyond. ■




TOP SECRET COLONIALS When the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars chose RMU as its 2014 Academic Seminar University of the Year, it was partly a nod to how Robert Morris students turned what was supposed to be a field trip to the Chinese Embassy into a terribly uncomfortable day for one bureaucrat there.

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The 17 cyber forensics and information security majors were in the capital for a two-week national security seminar in May conducted by The Washington Center, which organizes programs in D.C. for nearly 500 colleges and universities. “It’s basically a semester worth of hours in two weeks,” says professor Karen Paullet, D.Sc., the group’s advisor, who joined the faculty three years ago after working 14 years in the Allegheny County District Attorney’s office and has taken her students to two Washington Center seminars already. “They get to learn from experts in the fields where they want to have careers,” she says. “At Robert Morris we can give them the hands-on and technical skills, but experience is what this program provides. We can take them to where the action is, get the experiences and get the credits, and it’s pretty amazing.” So along with classes, panels, and site visits to the Defense, Treasury, and Justice departments, the FBI, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, Paullet’s group booked a meeting at the Chinese Embassy. And by chance, that morning, the U.S. government accused the Chinese military of stealing trade secrets from some very prominent Pittsburgh corporations – U.S. Steel, Alcoa, Allegheny Technologies, and Westinghouse Electric. “The students were jumping out of their skins that morning,” says Paullet. “They couldn’t wait to get in there.”

companies? The embassy official was evasive, Meyer says, “turning it around and making it sound like America was at fault.” But the experience was life altering. “What happened that day supports the fact that cybercrime is rising, and this is going to be my reality when I graduate,” says Meyer. “It is something I want to help change.”


She is on track to do just that. Meyer credits the seminar with helping her get a summer internship in Los Angeles, and eventually a job offer at The Aerospace Corp., a federally funded research center that works with the U.S. Air Force. On the final day of her internship, Meyer’s team had to block hackers in France and Russia, she says. “It was pretty cool, and it was all with a program that Dr. Paullet taught me. … It became such a useful tool for me in the real world.” Paullet and her students, joined by President Gregory Dell’Omo, Ph.D., traveled to Washington in September to accept the university’s Washington Center Award. “Robert Morris University is a true leader within the academic community, and we congratulate them on this very deserving honor,” said Washington Center President Mike Smith. “It is a shining example of how universities are taking the traditional curriculum model and incorporating study-away academic seminar experiences that teach selfawareness, community engagement, and lifelong leadership skills.” ■

Danielle Meyer ‘14, who attended the seminar in both her junior and senior years, says the Chinese official welcomed them with a standard introduction lecture and short video before he realizing his visitors were from Pittsburgh and wanted to talk about the hacking accusations. “His reaction was very clear,” says Meyer. “His whole demeanor changed. He turned red in the face and got uncomfortable very quickly.” For the next 45 minutes, the students asked their questions: Why was Pittsburgh targeted? Why did China feel that the U.S. was ahead in technology? What did China hope to achieve by attacking the Pittsburgh



COAL PATCH KID His grandfather was a coal miner until well past retirement age, and his father went down in the pits until the local Coverdale mine in Bethel Park finally shut down. Robert Stovash ‘61 made a living from coal too, but he did his work above ground as a top executive at Consol Energy.

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Life in a mining company town wasn’t luxurious, Stovash recalls. The “red dog” roads were paved with burned mining waste, and the humble homes had outhouses and cold water only and a coal stove for warmth. “The place was referred to as ‘The Patch,’ and for a number of years as I went through grade school, we were looked down on a little bit. We were the poor mining kids from Coverdale,” he says. Stovash is the 2014 recipient of the RMU Heritage Award, the university’s highest alumni honor, for his distinguished 40-year career in the coal industry and his longtime dedication and contributions to the university. He was honored at the annual President’s Council dinner at Heinz Field in December. A brother went into the mines too, but from an early age, Stovash decided a desk job was for him. He worked in bookkeeping at a local bank branch when he was still in high school, and his first full-time job after graduating was proofreading financial reports at Ernst & Ernst. The local mine had closed by that time, and one of the buildings was converted to a rollerskating rink. It was there that he met Eileen, now his wife of 55 years. He also began taking evening classes in accounting at Robert Morris.

“He was very influential in moving production, not only in good times, but in bad times,” Shook says. “He had a knack for knowing the market and where coal could move.” Stovash returned to corporate headquarters in Upper St. Clair three years later, but over the next two decades continued regular overseas travel that took him to nearly every country in Europe and northern Africa, selling coal that was then transported across the ocean in huge ships. He retired in 2003 as vice president of European marketing, but still visits friends in Europe regularly, especially to join three friends for a long golf weekend every year in Spain.


After several years delivering carefully proofed annual reports, Stovash caught the eye of Tom Shook ‘50 (another Heritage Award winner), who hired him to work in Consol’s controller’s office. In 14 years there, Stovash traveled to all of the company’s mining operations to implement a financial reporting system. He was then promoted to international marketing, first selling coal to the Far East, then to Europe and northern Africa. In 1981 he became a vice president for the company, and he and Eileen moved to Belgium, where he opened Consol’s first overseas sales office.

The Stovashes have two children: son Robert and daughter Janice Veith ‘84, who took her father’s advice and came to Robert Morris for her degree too. So did her daughter, Mandy Kotz ‘06. In fact, Stovash says, he’s counted another nine relatives who also attended his alma mater. “That’s why I’m a spokesman for Robert Morris — I know so many people who have just enjoyed going there,” he says.

The Stovashes created an RMU scholarship fund to support a graduate of Bethel Park, South Park, or Peters Township high schools. “We put a lot of value on secondary education,” he says. “I’ve been very fortunate in my career. It started with my background at Robert Morris, and then my business career has been very good. It’s just nice to give back.” ■


HONING HIS CRAFT Dominic Cincotta M’09 D’14 is an active guy, balancing a full-time marketing career with mountain biking, fly fishing, snowboarding, and travel. But these days he is pouring more and more energy into yet another hobby: craft beer. The company Cincotta formed around that hobby, CoStar Brewing, is experiencing so much success that he and co-founder Jeff Hanna have outgrown the modest two-car garage that serves as their base of operations.

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A so-called “nanobrewery,” CoStar produces small batches of beer for bars and restaurants near Highland Park, the Pittsburgh neighborhood that’s home to the business’s namesake alley, Costar Way. “Our operation is on the smallest of small scales,” Cincotta says. “We brew 30 gallons every Saturday.” That only meets about one-fifth of demand, he says, but if all goes as planned, the company will soon secure as much as 100,000 square feet to produce its lineup of 12 malt-andhop concoctions including a coffee stout, a strawberry wheat, and the signature Hopland Park Pale Ale. A Harrisburg native, Cincotta has worked in marketing since 2001. His beverage industry experience includes positions with Red Bull and Vitamin Water, and he was recently named the marketing manager of the Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Beaver County. He and Hanna met through a mutual love of beer and mountain biking, and they started home brewing six years ago.

For all of Cincotta’s marketing savvy, he and Hanna take a decidedly understated approach to the CoStar brand – particularly in an industry where whimsy is the rule, not the exception. “When we started, we decided we’re not extreme brewers,” he says. “We want to do the simple beers very, very well.” To that end, they rarely christen their creations with catchy names, instead identifying them simply by the beer’s style. “Our perspective is that we like our beers to speak for themselves, so rather than create an image beforehand, we try not to invoke a whole lot of imagery before you try the product.”


Cincotta already had an M.S. in organizational leadership from RMU, and in May he completed the Doctor of Science program in information systems and communications. “I’d been reading about technology’s role in branding and communications, and I wanted to run my own brand and be responsible for the brand image,” he says. “This program was a perfect match.” Cincotta’s final field project combined marketing, technology, and his product, and had the eye-catching academic title “Collective Beer Brand Identity: A Semiotic Analysis of the Websites Representing Small and Medium Enterprises in the Brewing Industry of Western PA.” “In trying to expand CoStar, we have to talk to banks and investors,” he says. “When I’m able to talk about my dissertation, they know we’re serious. Those three letters – D.Sc. – get people interested very quickly. It gives a lot of credibility to what you do.”

Keeping things simple is their style. “Our favorite places to hang out always had very simple names: William Penn Tavern, Kelly’s,” he says. “When we were sitting outside Jeff’s house filing out business applications, we realized we didn’t have a name. We were in an alley called Costar Way, and we thought it was a good way to represent where we’re from.” And where might one try the product? For now, generally within a couple miles of that two-car garage in Highland Park, at neighborhood establishments like Harvard & Highland, Kelly’s Bar & Lounge, Independent Brewing Co. in Squirrel Hill, and Harris Grill. “We’ve got a lot of great relationships with local businesses, and we think the word’s going to spread pretty quickly when we increase production. But over the next few years, we’d like to keep that production limited as part of our commitment to quality,” he says.

“If you can’t do the simple things well, you have no right to do anything more. We decided this represents our personality – doing simple things really well.” ■





A NEW CENTER RISES Robert Morris University celebrated the groundbreaking for a new building for the School of Nursing and Health Sciences on Friday, Sept. 19, at its Moon Township campus. The 30,000-square-foot facility will include the Regional Research and Innovation in Simulation Education (RISE) Center, RMU’s state-of-the-art medical simulation laboratory that currently is housed in the John Jay Center with the rest of the university’s nursing programs.

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The new building allows RMU to expand the professional development and training programs it offers to local health care professionals – including physicians, nurses, and EMTs – as well as offer resources to the community at large. For example, the building will include a model apartment that experts can use to demonstrate to families how they can configure their homes to care for an ill loved one. “This building will support the important work we are doing with our own students and the community to improve the health and quality of life for all our citizens in western Pennsylvania,” said Valerie Howard, Ed.D., dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. “It provides a space for all our faculty, students, and staff to come together, share ideas, and work toward our common goals.” Robert Morris first offered a nursing degree in 2003 with 18 students enrolled. Four years later it formed the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, and today enrollment stands at 793 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs, including wholly online degree and certificate programs. Its doctor of nursing practice program, launched in 2008, was the first to be certified by the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing, and its nuclear medicine technology program was the first such four-year degree offered in western Pennsylvania.

research, and community service on a global scale,” said RMU President Gregory Dell’Omo, Ph.D. The School of Nursing and Health Sciences building will be the third new academic facility that Robert Morris has built since 2011. That year, the School of Business Building opened, followed a year later by the Wheatley Center, home to the School of Communications and Information Systems. During the same time period, Robert Morris has built a new apartment-style residence hall, Salem Hall, and converted a former hotel less than a mile from campus into Yorktown Hall, the university’s largest student residence.


The School of Nursing and Health Sciences enjoys partnerships with the region’s premier health care providers, including Highmark, UPMC, the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, and the Heritage Valley Health System. At least twice each year RMU nursing students and faculty travel to Nicaragua to provide health care to residents in the barrios of Managua in what has become one of the university’s signature study abroad and student engagement activities.

“The School of Nursing and Health Sciences has been one of the great success stories in RMU’s recent history. In a relatively short period of time the school has established itself as a leader in health care education and medical simulation, clinical

The nursing school building is the next step in RMU’s plan to provide dedicated space for each of its five academic schools. Currently the School of Nursing and Health Sciences shares a home in the John Jay Center with the School of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science, which will expand its space in John Jay once the nursing school moves to its new building. When Wheatley Center opened, the School of Education and Social Sciences, whose faculty had been scattered across campus, moved into the Nicholson Center in space previously occupied by the School of Communications and Information Systems.

“These new and renovated facilities will allow our schools to become true communities of scholars, and give our faculty the tools they need to prepare our students for meaningful careers and engaged lives, which has always been at the heart of our mission at Robert Morris,” said Dell’Omo. ■





A DECADE OF GROWTH President Gregory Dell’Omo, Ph.D., announced in December that he will step down at the end of the current academic year. His departure ends a 10-year tenure during which Robert Morris University accelerated its transformation from a regional, commuter-based institution to a comprehensive residential university that draws students from across the country and around the world.

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Dell’Omo will return to his home state of New Jersey to become president of Rider University in suburban Trenton. Being near his extended family was an important factor in the decision, Dell’Omo said. “The Rider opportunity is an exciting one, but this was still a very difficult choice,” he said. “The progress and achievements that we’ve made over the past 10 years are gratifying for all of us, and I only see an upward trajectory continuing at RMU in the years to come.”

Perhaps the greatest symbol of the university’s transformation under Dell’Omo’s leadership is the dramatic increase in the number of students living on campus, from 1,140 in 2005 to 1,990 as of the fall of 2014. Fewer than 40 percent of full-time undergraduates lived on campus in 2005, versus nearly 60 percent today. At the same time, full-time undergraduate enrollment has grown 35 percent, from 2,928 ten years ago to 3,968 this year. Total enrollment is 5,359.

The RMU Board of Trustees will appoint a presidential search committee from among its members, led by Richard Harshman ‘78, vice chairman of the board and chairman, president, and CEO of Allegheny Technologies Inc. The committee will engage a search firm to assist with what is expected to be a national selection process. Trustees also will appoint a university advisory committee of faculty, staff, students, and alumni to provide perspectives on the most important leadership criteria for the next president and to help the presidential search committee narrow the field of candidates.

Increased emphasis on student engagement and campus life is at the heart of Dell’Omo’s legacy, exemplified by the Student Engagement Program and Student Engagement Transcript instituted in 2008. He also sought to bolster RMU’s academic reputation, and the university has strengthened its honors program and placed an increasing emphasis on international education. With the launch of online degree programs, Dell’Omo built on a long tradition of educating nontraditional students and working adults. Robert Morris also was one of the first private institutions to participate in the federal Yellow Ribbon Program, agreeing to cover the difference between the cost of tuition and the education benefit veterans receive under the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Program.

“The university community and many important partners have embraced Dr. Dell’Omo’s strategic vision for RMU,” said Gary Claus ‘74, chairman of the Board of Trustees. “He leaves us with a strong and collaborative team of administrators, trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and donors who have helped propel Robert Morris in becoming a university of choice.” During Dell’Omo’s presidency, the university has enjoyed a rising academic reputation, dramatically increased the number of students living on campus, and launched a student engagement program that has impacted all aspects of campus life. Dell’Omo led RMU through the completion of its most recent five-year strategic plan and its most recent comprehensive capital campaign. The fundraising campaign ended in 2012 and raised $41 million, exceeding its goal and funding two academic buildings. The campaign also helped to boost the endowment by more than 60 percent and allowed the university to fund 30 new endowed scholarships and a research center focused on achievement among African American men. Most recently, the university broke ground on its new building for the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, expected to open in the fall. The university also built two new apartment-style residence halls and converted a nearby hotel to student housing.

Several Colonials teams enjoyed success during Dell’Omo’s tenure. The men’s and women’s basketball teams each earned berths in the NCAA tournament, with the women going twice. Last year the Colonials men’s ice hockey team earned its first bid to the NCAA tournament, and in 2012 the women’s ice hockey team won the College Hockey America tournament championship. RMU student athletes also excel in the classroom, with an average graduation rate 10 percentage points higher than the national average for Division I athletes. Dell’Omo said his family “will always remain part of the RMU community,” particularly since two members are RMU alumni. His wife, Polly Dell’Omo M’12, received her master’s in instructional leadership, while their youngest son, Vincent Dell’Omo ‘13, has a bachelor’s degree in accounting. ■




After more than 30 years working in hospitals, Holly Hampe, D.Sc., is now sharing her experience with RMU health administration and nursing students in the digital classroom. The former vice president and chief quality officer of St. Clair Hospital in Mt. Lebanon, Hampe joined the School of Nursing and Health Sciences full-time faculty this fall and is director of the university’s B.S. and M.H.A. online degree programs in health services administration. The program focuses on health care infrastructure and management, and has been selected as a Top 25 Smart Choice School for Online Healthcare Administration Degrees in 2014. Hampe, who earned her doctorate from RMU in 2011, says she enjoys leading students in online class discussions and collaborations with the help of tools like Google hangouts. “Some topics have been controversial; in the health law class we asked if prisoners on death row should be able to donate their organs to transplant patients. We also talked about Obamacare and what’s involved in that legislation,” Hampe says. Because classes are online, she says, students are less shy about asking questions and sharing their opinions. Students in the online program can earn their degrees at their own pace while working full-time jobs. Hampe says she’s eager to use her network of connections to help students follow her path from R.N. to hospital leadership roles. “Next semester I’m teaching a graduate class on strategic planning,” she says, “and I’m bringing in a retired CEO and chairman of the board I know so the students can ask questions and get their perspectives, and learn the importance of networking in health care.” WRITTEN BY ALAN BUEHLER ‘13

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As an audit and compliance intern with Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, she completed effectiveness training and worked with internal financing documentation. Before that, Lander was a wealth management and tax services intern at PricewaterhouseCoopers, collaborating on tax projects. An exceptionally engaged student, Lander is president of the sports marketing association, a lead community advisor, and a committee chair for Colonial Chaos, a charity basketball tournament. Sport management conferences, accounting networking day, even mock interviews offered on campus — Lander has done them all.


“Every time that I’ve had an opportunity thrown at me, it’s easy to say, ‘No, I’m too busy.’” But you have to see that the experience you take away from it is so beneficial,” she says. After graduation in May, Lander expects to keep a foot in both her fields of expertise. She already has a full-time job offer from PricewaterhouseCoopers as an assurance associate. “I plan on getting some accounting experience while I try to break into the sports industry,” she says. “Maybe someday I’ll be a controller for a professional team.”

Shelby Lander

Growing up in Lucinda, Pa., near Clarion, Shelby Lander used to help her mom keep the books at the family store. Then in high school, she recorded stats for the varsity teams and “really fell in love with the atmosphere,” she says. So at Robert Morris, Lander juggles a dual major in accounting and sport management with a number internship and volunteer roles and extracurricular activities. That can be a tall order for most college students, but it’s one Lander seems to have mastered.


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CLASS NOTES JACQUELINE MYEROWITZ TRAVISANO ‘90, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Nova Southeastern University, received the 2014 Glass Ceiling Award from Florida Diversity Council. Recipients of the Glass Ceiling Award were



honored for demonstrating THOMAS ARNOLD ‘92


leadership excellence,

participated in the

maintaining a steady increase

ARNOLD ‘92 M’97 and their son,

Instructional Technology

in responsibility throughout their

Griffin, moved to Hudson,

Council’s 2014 Distance

careers, establishing a record of

Ohio, where Tom is CFO at

Education Leadership

TAMBELLINI ‘72 recently

accomplishments, providing

Western Reserve Academy.

Academy at Holland College,

illustrated Easy-to-Say First

a positive influence in the

Previously he was vice

Prince Edward Island,

Words: A Focus on Final

workplace, and demonstrating

president for finance at Shady

Canada, as an office

Consonants, a children’s

Side Academy in Pittsburgh.

technology professor at

book by her daughter, Cara.

Tracie is a benefits consultant

Community College of

Mary lives in Mt. Lebanon.

at Londino Ross Associates.

Beaver County. Mary Jo has




been with CCBC for 35 years and helped create the office technology program. She lives in Center Township.

integrity and high ethical standards. Jackie is pursuing her doctorate in higher education leadership. She lives Davie, Fla. KEITH PETERKA ‘92 joined Marks Paneth, a New York City accounting firm, as partner in the professional practice group

1980s JOHN KAIRYS ‘80, joined Carroll Tire in April as executive vice president and general manager. He was with Cooper Tire and Rubber for 15 years, where he oversaw the development of key accounts and the execution of company growth. >> LOCKHART



in May. HEATHER FERRARI MILKENT ‘94 was inducted into the Mid Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame in June. She was a three-time section player of the year and was the first female student-athlete at Belle Vernon to receive an NCAA Division I scholarship in softball. Heather played for the Colonials

> HALL OF FAME 2014 The 24th annual class of inductees into the Robert Morris University Athletic Hall of Fame includes former student-athletes TONY LEE ‘10 (men’s basketball; 2004-08), MELISSA LOCKHART ‘97 (women’s tennis; 1993-97), BRIANNE MCLAUGHLIN BITTLE ‘11 (women’s ice hockey; 2005-09), SUGEIRY MONSAC ‘07 (women’s basketball; 2004-07) and JEFF WITMYER ‘08 (men’s track and field; 2004-08), as well as former volleyball coach TIM HORSMON, who guided the Colonials from 1999 to 2002. .

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1990s DEBORAH ALLEN MCCOMB ‘90 was appointed tax collector in April for New Albany Township, Pa., where she is a lifelong resident. For the past 10 years, she has owned and operated McComb Tax Service.

and was inducted into RMU’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000, and her No. 7 jersey was retired. Heather lives in Carroll Township with her husband, George, and daughter, Megan.


strategic financial and capital

named president and chief

promoted to director of SD

planning practice in Skokie, Ill.

operating officer of IntegraCare,

Medallion Services at Schneider

Brian lives in Sarver.

which she co-founded.

Downs. She joined the firm in

IntegraCare operates 12 senior

1999 and has extensive experience

LEROY BALL M’97 was promoted

living and assisted living

in corporate, partnership, and

to president and CEO of Koppers

communities in Mt. Lebanon,

individual tax advisory work,

Holdings on Jan. 1. He joined

McKees Rocks, Butler,

including philanthropic tax

Koppers in 2010 as chief financial

Greensburg, Chambersburg,

planning, retirement planning,

officer, a position he had held at

Lancaster, Camp Hill, and

executive compensation tax

Calgon Carbon. Before his



Lanham, Md.

benefit planning, individual state

promotion, Leroy was chief


residency planning, and family

operating officer.


business advisory services. She

her own business, Blurt Digital

lives in Upper St. Clair.

and Design, in Greensburg,


and daughter Lucy welcomed a new addition to


the family, Lily Abigail Del

is a recruiting manager at

Brown, born March 22.

following a lifelong passion for

BRIAN R. KELLY ‘97 M’06 is CFO of

design and photography. She

Excela Health, the Greensburg-

Deanna and husband ANTONIO

formerly worked in marketing for

based hospital system. He was


GlaxoSmithKline. Kimberly lives

formerly senior vice president at

in Franklin Park.

in Jeannette.

Kaufman Hall in the company’s

Pinnacle Accounting and Finance.

“I made a lot of personal and professional connections at Robert Morris, and they’ve enhanced my career opportunities. Considering what I received, I am pleased to return something to the university each year.” – TOM MARCHLEN M’08

BE PART OF SOMETHING YOU CAN BELIEVE IN For just $84 a month, President’s Council members are part of something important. They give the gift of opportunity to RMU students. They invest in the future prosperity and growth of our region.


They change lives. To find out more about joining the President’s Council, please contact JEN YOUNG at 412-397-5452 or RMU.EDU/JOINPC


R O B E R T M O R R I S U N I V E R S I T Y F O U N D AT I O N S • 3 3



This year’s Reunion crowd barely fit.


Many pairing possibilities at HYP Club.




Here’s a look at a few of the alumni events we’ve featured since the last Foundations.


his first golfing title in the

participated in the Library of

114th West Penn Amateur

Congress Teaching with

Championship in June. The

Primary Sources Summer

former member of the

Teacher Institute. Miriam is

Colonials golf team was one

the librarian for Cornell

of only four competitors to

School District and teaches

finish under par. Trent

English for the grades 7-12

teaches computer science at

online education program.

Montour High School.

She lives in Ambridge.


In 2012, Shawn authored the

to RMU as an assistant softball

book Developing and Maintaining

coach after a hiatus for her eighth

a Successful Professional Indoor

season on staff. She was one of the

Football Program, and in 2013

top pitchers in RMU history and

was inducted into the Minor

as assistant coach one of her

League Football Hall of Fame.

primary duties will be working

He lives in Lower Burrell with

with the Colonials pitching staff.

his wife, Allison, and daughter,

Erica and her husband NATHAN


LIST ’98 live in Beaver. CATHY ROGERS M’02 and her


Inspiring the next generation of students.

These are just some of the highlights of what has been a very busy Alumni Events calendar in recent months. We see more and more of you each time, but plenty of alumni still haven’t experienced all the fellowship and fun. Make sure you don’t miss the next big thing. Stay tuned to the alumni events calendar at RMU.EDU/ALUMNI.

3 4 • R M U . E D U / F O U N D AT I O N S


husband, Paul, participated in the

SHARI PAYNE M’00 became vice

cycling trip in June organized by

president for enrollment

the American Lung Association.

management at Shepherd

The 3,300-mile ride departed from

University in West Virginia in

Seattle and ended in Washington,

June. Shari was the former dean of

D.C. Cathy is owner and

engaged learning at RMU. She

president of Aero Tech Design,

lives in Shepherdstown, W.V.

a Coraopolis manufacturer of

Big Ride Across America, a

cycling clothes. SHAWN LIOTTA ‘02 returns for his sixth season as head football


coach and director of football

promoted to assistant head

operations for the Erie Explosion.

football coach of the Colonials









DAN LAPIC M’06 and

and his wife, Kathleen, and

was named 2014 Business

elected to the board of


son, Conrad, welcomed Ross

Communicator of the Year

directors of Big Brothers Big

welcomed daughter Maizie

Daniel to the family on

by the Pittsburgh chapter of

Sisters of Beaver County.

Elle to the family on

March 31. Jeffrey is a licensed

the International Association

Lucas is a project manager

September 2. Dan is a senior

CPA and works as a budget

of Business Communicators

with the public accounting

lending representative at

analyst at the University of

at its 35th Golden Triangle

firm Cottrill, Arbutina &

Allied Mortgage Group and


Awards in September.


in September. Scott has been with the RMU football program for 13 seasons, serving as defensive

Cara is a global product

Michele is associate professor

manager for strategic

of journalism and public

initiatives at BNY Mellon.

relations and chairs the

The Lapics live in Freedom.

department at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

coordinator for eight. He lives in

She is a lieutenant colonel

Pleasant Hills.

in the Pennsylvania Air inspector general in the

head football coach at Charleroi

171st Air Refueling Wing.

High School in May. He is also

Michele lives in Brush Valley

principal at the Madonna Catholic

Township, where she is the


National Guard and DON MILITZER ‘04 was named

Regional School in Monongahela.

elected chairwoman of the

‘06 joined Cottrill, Arbutina

township supervisors.

& Associates in Beaver as a

the director of group sales for the Orlando City Soccer Club. She


previously worked for nine

a buyer for Bayer HealthCare in

years in group sales for the


Orlando Magic. KRISTIN ROTH BRANVOLD ‘06 M’06 JON LEDONNE ‘05 is a senior

is a senior business analyst at

engineer at Bettis Labs and head

Dick’s Sporting Goods after

coach of the Shaler High School

previously working for

football team. Jon and MAGGIE

Coventry Health Care. Her

POPE ‘06 are the parents of Mia,

husband, CHRIS BRANVOLD ‘05,

Makenna, and Marco and live in

is an account executive assistant

Gibsonia. Maggie is a regional

with Tucker, Johnston & Smelzer.

sales manager at Western Spirits

They live in Oakdale with

Beverage Company.

daughters Mazie and Alexa.

senior tax accountant. She




previously worked for Hebb

and his wife, Katelyn, and

& Company in a similar role.

their son, Grayson, welcomed


Logan Patrick to the family on May 20. Ray is a senior SCOTT FODI M’06 is director of

associate for Deloitte

public works for Penn Township

Transactions and Business

in Westmoreland County. He was

Analytics, and Katelyn

formerly manager of Middlesex

teaches seventh grade

Township, Butler County.

reading in the Bethel Park School District. The Genslers

KERI MEYER ‘06 is assistant coach

live in Green Tree.

for the Colonials softball team. The RMU Hall of Famer was formerly head coach at Monroe College and assistant coach at Fairleigh Dickinson. R O B E R T M O R R I S U N I V E R S I T Y F O U N D AT I O N S • 3 5










became head coach of the

‘08 writes “Officially

JAMISON ‘09 and her

is a S.T.E.M. Academy

men’s and women’s track

Outnumbered,” a blog that

husband, Michael, are the

director at Steubenville City

and field programs at Geneva

focuses on motherhood and

proud parents of Charlotte,

Schools. She previously

College in June. Phil was a

lifestyle issues.

born January 14, 2014.

served as the dean of the

former assistant at Geneva as

Megan is a marketing

school of business and

the sprint coach and a

coordinator at Qorpak.

information technology at

teacher’s aide at Union

Blue Ridge Community and

Middle School while serving

Technical College in

as the cross country coach at

The couple lives in Pittsburgh,

Shenango High School.

where Colin works as a senior

Martinsburg, W.V.

accountant executive for FedEx Business Sales and Solutions.

DARRYL HUSENITS D’08 was given the Pittsburgh Business Times Educator Energy Leadership

Colonials lacrosse as a volunteer

Award, which recognizes “the

assistant coach. He is founder of

influencers who have helped


Crosse Studios, a Pittsburgh-

shape the energy industry.”

are the proud parents of

based company dedicated to

Darryl is vice president for

Maxwell David, born on June

creating lacrosse video games.

material and supply chain


CARLO SUNSERI ‘07 returned to TODD HENDRY ‘09 and

management at Consol Energy

10. Todd is a business BEN CAMPBELL D’08 was awarded

and a facilitator in the M.B.A.

Advantage Sales Marketing,

the 2014 J. Kevin Scanlon Award

program at Waynesburg

JAMERSON M’08 D’12 was

and Julie is an external

for the Promotion of Science,


named corporate assistant

relations specialist for Direct

which celebrates individuals

vice president of Northwest

Energy. The family lives in

who enhance science education


Savings Bank. She was

Bethel Park.

in western Pennsylvania. Ben is

consultant at Deloitte & Touche in

an assistant professor of

Washington, D.C. Previously he

engineering at RMU.

was with Cotton & Company as a


development manager at KRISTA GOLDBERG

formerly professional development officer and will continue to manage professional development and health and wellness initiatives for the bank’s employees. Krista lives in Kane, Pa., with her husband, Mike, and their children, Kahne and Kash.

STEPHEN BISER ‘07 and his wife, Casey, welcomed their first son, Cooper Edward, born on June 7. Stephen is an inbound transportation coordinator at Thermo Fisher Scientific. The Bisers live in Hopewell. COLIN LUDWIG ‘07 married Amanda Wint on May 17.

3 6 • R M U . E D U / F O U N D AT I O N S

senior auditor. MADELINE SHAFFER HANES ‘08 opened Lucky Larry’s Sports


Cards and Collectibles with her

was honored as a Fast Tracker

husband, Ryan, in Hopewell.

by the Pittsburgh Business Times,

Madeline is a clinical analyst at

which recognizes the region’s

Heritage Valley Health System.

most outstanding business,

She, Ryan, and daughter Emme

government, and nonprofit

live in Industry.

leaders. Kate is a senior

CLASS NOTES development officer at The

commissioned as a faith

at Sisterson & Co, where she

worked as an account support

Pittsburgh Foundation. Previously

community nurse upon

previously worked as a senior

representative. Andrea lives in the

she was director of major gifts at

completion of the Pittsburgh

tax associate.

Buffalo, N.Y., area.

RMU. Kate, her husband, Shawn,

Mercy Hospital parish nurse and

and daughter, Brooke, live in

health ministry program. She will



Mt. Lebanon.

be volunteering in her ministry to

is the franchise communications

is development director for the

enhance physical and spiritual

and marketing coordinator for

Pittsburgh affiliate of Susan G.


health at St. Frances Cabrini

GNC in Pittsburgh. She is a

Komen for the Cure. She was

M’09 is a sales associate in

Parish in Center Township.

former assistant online editor

previously director of

Howard Hanna’s west suburban

for Pittsburgh Magazine and

development and public relations

office. She also works as a

MATT STEWART M’09 is chief

graphic designer for the

for YouthPlaces. Megan and her

merchandise analyst at Dick’s

information security officer at

Sweetwater Center for the Arts.

husband, JOSHUA DLUHOS ‘06

Sporting Goods.

Duquesne Light. Previously he

Alex earned a master’s degree in

M’09 M’11, live in Bethel Park.

was director of information

journalism from the University

security at RMU.

of Missouri in May. She lives

ROBERT MARASTI ‘11 was hired

in Shaler.

as an assistant coach of the

JOYCE ALISESKY OTT D’09 was appointed as a board member of the Central Valley Education

Colonials lacrosse team. He is

Foundation in Center Township.


ANDREA BEATS ‘11 is a sales

also the owner and co-director

Joyce, who is the director of RN-


operations specialist at New

of Low and Away Lacrosse.

MSN and MSN online nursing

was promoted to tax supervisor

Era Cap, where she previously

programs at RMU, also was






















R O B E R T M O R R I S U N I V E R S I T Y F O U N D AT I O N S • 3 7

CLASS NOTES Pennsylvania. Cory is a veteran


of Operation Iraqi Freedom and

communications and interactive

is experienced in helping veterans

media coordinator with the NHL’s

transition from military

Class Notes would love to hear from you.

to academic life.

Nashville Predators. He


producer at KDKA.

previously worked as an associate KPMG as an EMC. Previously ALAN BUEHLER ‘13 married Emmie


Weavertown Environmental

Baird, his high school sweetheart,

were married on August 8.

married on August 2. Vanessa

Group. Nick lives in Shaler.

on August 13. He is a digital

Jackie is the marketing

is a staff accountant at Celtic


coordinator/graphic designer at Heartland Homes, and Josh is an accountant


he was a staff accountant for


JOSH KEIL ‘11 and


marketing specialist at RMU in the

Healthcare, and Josh is a


PR/marketing department. Alan

logistics account executive at

promoted to Comcast University

and Emmie live in Whitehall.

Total Quality Logistics.

program manager, L&D Spotlight,

at Limbach.

where she is responsible for


developing and delivering sales

is a civil structural engineer

training content for Comcast

for System One Holdings,

Spotlight employees nationally.

where he previously was a


modules engineer.

piping support/mechanical owner of Elite Strides Hockey on Neville Island. He previously

ERIC FERBER ‘13 is a commercial

played three seasons with the

real estate associate with

Reading Royals.

Re/Max Commercial Brokers in



Phoenix, Ariz. Previously he

DANE SMITH ‘11 and


married Ralph Neiman IV on


September 6. Bethany is the

married on August 9 in a

project manager for RMU’s

beautiful outdoor ceremony

office of diversity, inclusion

at the Chesapeake Bay Beach

and equity. The couple lives

Club in Stevensville, Md.

in Coraopolis.

After a honeymoon in Aruba, the couple now lives in Rockville, Md.

NEIL SHAFFER ‘11 joined the Harrisburg City Islanders of the United Soccer League

MYLES RUSS ‘11 M’14 was named

Professional Division for the 2014

a Bill Walsh Minority Coaching

season as a midfielder. He played

Fellowship participant and

for the Kitsap Pumas the year

assisted the Buffalo Bills coaching

before that.

staff during their 2014 summer training camp. Myles is assistant

CORY SHAY M’11 is director

coach for running backs for the

of the Military Resource Center


at Indiana University of

3 8 • R M U . E D U / F O U N D AT I O N S

MIKE BOYLAN ‘12 M’13 is a

was manager of business

systems engineer at Apple, where

development at Ideatron. Eric,

he empowers K-12 educators to

a former Colonials ice hockey

help students find their passions

player, also coaches amateur

through the use of technology. He

hockey in the Phoenix area.

previously was a senior systems engineer at RMU.

MELISSA GARRISON ‘13 married Justin Yetsick on June 7. The

JACLYN TIMKO ‘12 M’13 was

ceremony was at Mingo Creek

named head softball coach at

County Park in Washington, Pa.

New Jersey City University. Previously she was an assistant


coach at RMU.

check services work leader at BNY Mellon.

ANDREW BLAZEK ‘13 is playing professional hockey as a

JASMINE TATE ‘13 released a new

defenseman with the Cincinnati

album in April, “Life and Love.”

Cyclones, an affiliate of the NHL’s

She is a former basketball player

Florida Panthers and Nashville

for the Colonials.


CLASS NOTES MEGAN WALSH ‘13 was promoted

CORINNE KATICH ‘14 works in

Ga., passed away February 2, 2014

to manager of consulting services

social media/production at

at the age of 72.

at Sisterson & Co.

age of 53. He is survived by his WILLIAM PFEFFER JR. ‘67 of

TRACEY SHEETZ D’14 joined West

NATALIE DEBARTO ‘14 is a logistics

passed away on June 4 at the

ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.

Email us at

LLOYD MULLIN JR. ‘03 of Irwin


Altoona passed away on July 9

MULLIN ‘83, and his daughter,

at the age of 67.


Virginia University as the first

specialist at the Cystic Fibrosis

director of its office of graduate


THOMAS GAYDOS passed away on

Foundation in Buffalo, N.Y.

admissions and recruitment.

Beach, Fla., passed away on

August 10. He was professor

Previously, she was the manager

March 22 at the age of 66.

emeritus and founding director of


of enrollment and outreach for the

junior repricing analyst for

Duquesne University School of


and a faculty member for 30

Envision Rx Options in

Leadership and Professional

of Monroeville passed away on


Twinsburg, Ohio.


July 28 at the age of 58.

Columbus investment

In Memoriam

JASON WICKLINE ‘98 of Penn Hills

on November 20 at the age of 86.

management and financial

passed away on March 27 at the

Bill was a proud member of the


advisory firm Hamilton Capital

age of 40.

Robert Morris faculty for 35 years.

‘63 of Alpharetta/Johns Creek,

Robert Morris Colonial Theatre,

WILLIAM A. KELLY passed away


Management as a client relations representative.




R O B E R T M O R R I S U N I V E R S I T Y F O U N D AT I O N S • 3 9



Donald Baumgarten ‘57

As the mayor of Castle Shannon for 13 years and a prominent figure in local politics for four decades, the Pennsylvania State Mayors Association’s 2014 Mayor of the Year is as comfortable taking calls on his cell phone about a constituent’s personal problems as he is nudging high-ranking officials to support development projects in his South Hills borough. Before politics, Baumgarten had a long career at J&L Steel. He also raised two daughters with Ruth, his wife of 62 years.


What’s a typical day like for the mayor of Castle Shannon, population 8,300? I’m involved with developers, and finding out what’s going on. The police chief and I talk. People call me all the time with problems, some real – they think the mayor can solve everything. I can do certain things, like get them in touch with the right people. I think I do pretty good dealing with people.


How did your degree from Robert Morris in accounting and business law help you get started? I went to classes in the William Penn Hotel at night because I was working during the day. I wanted to better myself. It paid off. I had hoped to get into accounting, and was in the data processing department at J&L Steel with the old accounting machines. I was one of the first computer programmers, when the computing power I’m holding in my hand used to fill a whole room.


It sounds like it requires a lot of resilience and patience to be mayor. No, it’s fun. I just enjoy it. There’re a lot of happy things that go on. I can perform wedding ceremonies. I’ve probably done a hundred weddings and that’s happy. I tell them, if I marry them then they stay married. It’s gratifying. If you can help people, that’s the best thing about it.



What was it like to have other Pennsylvania mayors select you as Mayor of the Year? I was overwhelmed. I just didn’t believe it. They give you a plaque and a microphone and I didn’t know what to say, which is unusual for me. I couldn’t believe afterward the outpouring of so many people who came out of nowhere to congratulate me. We had to go from the borough building to the fire hall because 80 people said they were going to come. We actually made a party out of it. A lot of your mayoral duties involve convincing federal, state, and county authorities to help you move ahead with projects. Is the slow pace of government frustrating? It is frustrating, but I figure that’s the way it is. That’s government and I’m used to it. As long as I know it’s going to happen.

Do you have any words of wisdom to share? I think it’s very important to be involved in the community, especially for the younger people to volunteer. There’re so many things you can do. Just know what’s going on and be part of the community. I just think people are missing something if they don’t do it. It’s very rewarding. 40

Written By Kimberly Burger Capozzi

What’s another project you’re proud of? We had an old bridge in the borough that wasn’t in great shape. I started the ball rolling. We got the bridge replaced, and development is still ongoing in an industrial park there, with about five businesses there now. That really generated a lot of jobs. I’m very proud of that.



When you retired from J&L Steel in 1981, you were project manager of information systems overseeing analysts and software developers. Are you still tech-savvy? It’s kind of gotten ahead of me. I have a home computer and I have a laptop and I have a tablet. I can manage. You’re hoping to break ground soon on the $42 million Shannon Transit Village, a retail and apartment complex at a light rail station that’s been in the works for 14 years. What will the project do for Castle Shannon? It means a lot to the community. We are involved in a redevelopment process right now. We’re doing a lot of things to turn the downtown around and fill some empty storefronts. That development would be right in the middle. We figure that will jump start a lot of business that will want to be there.


What’s next for you? Do you have further political aspirations? People wanted me to run a long time ago for the state house, and I said no. I’m happy where I am. I don’t want to get into that business. Going to Harrisburg every week is not for me. I can do more for Castle Shannon as a mayor.


Upcoming Events >



11 Colonial Theatre presents “Bare: A Pop Opera” Massey Theater, 7:30 p.m. Through Feb. 15 (2 p.m.) 18 Robot war expert P.W. Singer Pittsburgh Speakers Series Heinz Hall, 8 p.m. 19 Alumni Association Council Meeting Sewall Center, 4 p.m. 28 Legacy Recognition and Brunch Sewall Center, 11:30 a.m.






25 Author David McCullough Pittsburgh Speakers Series Heinz Hall, 8 p.m.

7 Spring Career Fair Noon - 4 p.m. Sewall Center

8 Graduate Commencement

27 D.C. Alumni Night

8 Uzuri Symposium:

9 Undergraduate Commencement

Wizards vs. Hornets Verizon Center, 6 p.m.

28 Philly Alumni Night Flyers vs. Sharks Wells Fargo Center, 5:30 p.m.

Diversifying the STEM Workforce Fairmont Hotel, Pittsburgh Through Apr. 10

16 Colonial Theatre presents “Balm in Gilead” Massey Theater, 7:30 p.m. Through Apr. 19 (2 p.m.) 29 Futurist Michio Kaku Pittsburgh Speakers Series Heinz Hall, 8 p.m.

FOR MORE INFORMATION on these and other upcoming events, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at (412) 397-6464 or

2015 Alumni Tour

SPAIN MAY 10 - 19

Join Greg and Polly Dell’Omo and RMU alumni and friends as we discover the beauty and mystery of Spain. Toledo, the mountaintop “Imperial City” of La Mancha. Madrid, with lively thoroughfares, world-class museums, and tapas. Andalusia, the legendary home of flamenco, with its fiery guitars and dancers. The dazzling mosques and medieval cathedrals of Cordoba, Granada, and Seville. To find out more, contact Jay Carson at (412) 397-6404 or

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage

PAID Pittsburgh, PA Permit No. 280 Robert Morris University 6001 University Boulevard Moon Township, PA 15108-1189 RMU.EDU

230 GREEN ACRES Look on YouTube for “RMU from the Air” to get a bird’s-eye view of campus.

Foundations Winter 2015  
Foundations Winter 2015