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UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH

WORLD VIEW

SUMMER 2018


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C O N TENTS

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH

SUMMER 2018

F E ATU R E S

12 Beyond Books

28 In Sight

It has been 50 years since Hillman Library opened its doors to the world. In honor of the anniversary, Pitt alumni recall how the campus cornerstone brought the world to them.

A dedicated team of researchers at Pitt’s Corneal Cell Biology Lab is using regenerative medicine to find solutions to a common form of blindness. Their innovative results could help restore vision to millions around the globe.

—By Ervin Dyer

28 In Sight

—By Jennie Dorris

20 World View Empowered by the vibrant legacy of a trailblazer, a Pitt-hosted program is using the transformative power of travel to turn today’s young women into tomorrow’s leaders. —Cover story by Cristina Rouvalis

D E PA R T M E NT S

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EDITOR’S NOTE

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FEEDBACK

4

FRONT PAGE

9

Commons Room

9

COMMONS ROOM

18

SKETCHBOOK

27

PITT CHAT

34

EXTRA CREDIT

36

BOOKSHELF

37

INSPIRE

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ALUMNI HALL

46 ALUMNI SCRAPBOOK

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Beyond Books ON THE COVER, World View. Photo by Tom Altany/Pitt Visual Services. Story on page 20. S U M M E R

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E D I TOR’S

NOTE

Collective Memories

UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH

SUMMER 2018

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his issue, the Pitt Magazine editorial team dove into campus history for “Beyond Books,” a celebration of Hillman Library’s 50th anniversary through the words of alumni (p. 12). To create the piece, we sifted through dozens of testimonials. As Pitt alumni ourselves, reading them often reignited our own fond memories of the library. So, in honor of Hillman’s big 5-0, I asked my fellow editors to share their favorite memories of the campus staple. Ervin Dyer, Senior Editor: “In 2012, I began researching the extraordinary Thelma Nelson and the aspirations that propelled her to Pitt in 1926. I turned to Hillman to investigate her campus life. The 1930 yearbook and other records revealed a tenacious, achieving sorority sister anxious to participate in a changing world. After years of rejection, she became a Pitt Player, the first Black woman to join an allWhite Pitt student organization. When she graduated in 1930, Nelson became the first of more than 28 family members to earn a Pitt degree. Thanks to the University Archives and Hillman’s staff, I found the history and detail to humanize the pioneering eldest sister who opened the doors for them all.” Susan Wiedel, Assistant Editor: “As an incoming Pitt student, I thought libraries were simply holding places of books. But through events I attended at Hillman Library, I encountered people whose stories I would have never heard had the library not brought us together. People like Julieta Paredes, an Aymara Bolivian women’s and indigenous rights activist who participated in a symposium, and George Reid Andrews, a Pitt history professor whose presentation on Afro-Latin America encouraged me to delve into questions of personal experience and identity. Thanks to events hosted at Hillman, I learned that libraries could be incubators of people and ideas—on and off the page.” As for me, my favorite Hillman memories consist of those quiet moments when, reading away in the library, I noticed that others similarly immersed in their work surrounded me. While I studied nonfiction writing, they explored biology, or engineering, or a foreign language. There was something electrifying about being part of a space where active learning and discovery takes place. These days, working on Pitt Magazine gives me that same feeling of electricity. Like Hillman, the University as a whole is a place that gives rise, over and over again, to vital knowledge and extraordinary outcomes. This issue is filled with stories that exemplify just that.

University of Pittsburgh

Recent Awards 2018

Patrick Gallagher (A&S ’87G, ’91G)

Hermes Creative Awards Publications/Magazine Writing/Publication Article Writing/Publication Overall

Chancellor

Ellen Moran

Vice Chancellor for Strategic Communications and Marketing

Cindy Gill (A&S ’74)

Executive Director Marketing and Magazines (Interim)

Pitt Magazine Laura Clark Rohrer (A&S ’14G) Editor in Chief (Interim) Gary Kohr-Cravener Creative Director

Ervin Dyer (A&S ’11G, ’16G) Senior Editor

Susan Wiedel (A&S ’15) Assistant Editor

Sherry Shrum

Editorial Assistant

Chuck Dinsmore

Production Manager

Platinum Platinum Platinum

Robert L. Vann Media Awards Pittsburgh Black Media Federation Feature Photography

First Place

Press Club of Western Pennsylvania Feature Illustration Education/Magazines Arts and Entertainment/Magazines

First Place Finalist Finalist

Contact Us Send all correspondence to: Pitt Magazine University of Pittsburgh 200 S. Craig St., 400 Craig Hall Pittsburgh, PA 15260 E-mail: pittmag@pitt.edu Visit us on the web: www.pittmag.pitt.edu Telephone: 412-624-4147 Fax: 412-624-1021

Emma Creighton

Student Intern, Fall ’17

Caroline Eddy Thanks for reading,

Student Intern, Spring ’18

Laura Clark Rohrer Editor in Chief (Interim)

Pitt Magazine is published by the University of Pittsburgh, Office of University Communications, 400 Craig Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, pittmag@pitt.edu, 412-624-4147. © 2018 by the University of Pittsburgh. Please send change-of-address correspondence to the above address. Pitt Magazine accepts no responsibility for unsolicited contributions of artwork, photography, or articles. The University is an affirmative action, equal opportunity institution.

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F E E DBACK

COMMENTS Languages Center! My own career in the intercultural field was launched with a double-major BA degree in French and German from Pitt’s School of Education, enhanced by summers abroad with scholarship support from various Pitt organizations. This was just the beginning of lifelong opportunities for travel and service.

FEATURE

An ambitious young man left his native South Korea to attend Pitt, where he found a wealth of knowledge and new ideas. What he later brought home helped him transform his country. He wasn’t the only one.

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Ann Bush Puyana Education ’68 Orlando, Fla.

Looking Good WINTER 2018

Feedback Welcome

Pitt Magazine 200 S. Craig St., 400 Craig Hall University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260 E-mail: pittmag@pitt.edu Fax: 412-624-1021 Comments are subject to editing for length and clarity. Although we don’t have space to include all correspondence, we always appreciate hearing from you.

News Makers

Thanks to writer Adam Reger for the short piece on my fellow sportswriter, Jim O’Brien. I worked with Jim on the Pitt News in the early 1960s. It was fun to see what he has been up to and to see his picture. Thank you to Pitt Magazine for your diverse coverage of current and past people and events.     Art Fleischner Arts and Sciences ’64 Troy, N.Y.

Speaking the Language

I was very happy and encouraged to learn about Alana DeLoge’s work with the Quechua language and the Pitt in Bolivia program [“Pitt Chat” by Liberty Ferda]. There are few learning experiences so profound and long lasting as cultural immersion and the process of language acquisition as a means for individual growth and discovery, human connection, and understanding. It’s good to see Pitt doing its part with a Less-Commonly-Taught

It is always good to read about the wonderful research and innovations being made by Pitt graduates. As I looked through the Winter issue of Pitt Magazine, I was also intrigued by the dramatic and colorful illustrations for the Commons Room. I don’t know if this is the first time illustrator Mark Bender has been commissioned for an article in the magazine, but he is a master at zeroing in on the subject and attracting the reader’s attention. Roberta Lewis  Arts and Sciences ’73 Naples, Fla.

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WRIT TEN BY ERVIN DYER

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEONG YI

he phone call came like it always did: without any warning. It interrupted the diplomat’s reading, and when he put the phone down, he didn’t have a lot of time. Government officials were telling him it was time to go. He scurried to pack clothes, shoes, and his hairbrush. He grabbed his attaché case, the one already stuffed full of confidential documents, and rushed off to the airport in the purple glow of the evening. It was not uncommon in the early ’90s for Byong Hyon Kwon to quickly jet into Beijing or Hong Kong under the blanket of darkness. The South Korean ambassador’s diplomatic missions were of such a sensitive nature that they had to be conducted in secret. Even his wife did not know where he was going. There were times he did not know either. “I felt like 007,” he recalls of the years of classified discussions and meetings. Kwon was trying to do what had not been possible for a thousand years—reset and cool down a highly contentious political and trade relationship between the Republic of Korea (commonly known as South Korea) and its neighbor, the People’s Republic of China.

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Going Global

I loved reading the accounts of the first wave of South Korean students who came to Pitt [“Change Agents” by Ervin Dyer] because it illustrated what I am most proud of about our University. It was inspiring to see the international impact our alumni have gone on to have and the fulfilled potential of a Pitt education. More than that, though, each of the alumni highlighted the power of a truly international network. I feel immensely lucky to have had the opportunity to study at Pitt as an international student. Reading the accounts

of the first students who paved the way made me proud to continue working for our University. Thank you for doing such a fine job of capturing the ongoing importance of our global mission. Ariel C. Armony Vice Provost for Global Affairs and Director of the University Center for International Studies Arts and Sciences ’98 Pittsburgh, Pa.

Lasting Legacy

I just wanted to let [former editor in chief] Cindy Gill know how much I have enjoyed Pitt Magazine over the years. I earned an MBA at Pitt in the late ’60s while thoroughly enjoying living, working, and studying in Pittsburgh for a year.  I grew up in a small southern town, so Pittsburgh was a new experience. The articles about Pitt people and their variable backgrounds always remind me of my fellow students from Western Pennsylvania and all around America and the world. I hope the magazine staff keeps up the current high standards of this magazine. Bob Stephens   Katz Graduate School of Business ’69 Wilmington, N.C.

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F R O N T PA G E Medical Marvels Pitt’s history of trailblazing medical advancements has another new chapter. The University, in partnership with UPMC, is creating a hub to nurture and speed the development of new ideas and breakthrough technologies focusing on immunotherapy, cancer treatment, and organ transplantation. It will house the Immune Transplant and Therapy Center as well as laboratory space and offices to attract industry collaborators, scholars, and students. Located at 5000 Baum Boulevard in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood, the space is expected to open in 2020 and will be home to work that could reinvent the way health care is delivered in such areas as transplantation, cancer and aging, and chronic disease. “This initiative—and this incredible partnership with UPMC and the business community—is about building the right ecosystem to tackle some of medicine’s greatest challenges,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. —Caroline Eddy

Front Page is written by Susan Wiedel, unless otherwise noted.

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Big Ideas Student entrepreneurship at Pitt has

Sports Stars

accelerated in the decade since Pitt

For nearly 150 years, the Panthers have built an impressive athletics legacy that includes Olympians, All-Americans, worldrecord performances, and national championships. To honor and showcase this history, Director of Athletics Heather Lyke recently announced the creation of the Pitt Athletics Hall of Fame. The inaugural class of 16 honorees, nominated by the public and selected by a special committee, includes famous footballers Mike Ditka, Dan Marino, and Hugh Green, top gymnast Lisa Shirk, and Olympian Herb Douglas. An induction ceremony will be held in September.

trustee Bob Randall (A&S ’65) and his family instituted the Randall Family Big Idea Competition and its related experiential programming. This year’s student innovation and entrepreneurship compe-

Dan Marino, far right, talking with coaches, circa 1980

tition involved the largest number of participants yet—and included the announcement that the Randall family has committed a seed gift of $2 million to launch a Big Idea Center. From within the Innovation Institute, the center will offer new resources, increased mentorship, and a physical space for incubation activities for students of all levels and all disciplines. —Kimberly K. Barlow

Top Scholar While shadowing at a cardiology practice near his home in northern Virginia, Joseph Kannarkat started wondering about the connection between health and policy. To what extent was the patient care he was learning to provide constrained by the political system governing it? Now, he is headed to the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom in search of answers through a new version of the prestigious Churchill Scholarship. Kannarkat, who graduated from Pitt this spring with dual degrees in economics and neuroscience and a minor in chemistry, will spend the next year working to earn a Master of Philosophy in public policy as he delves into the United Kingdom’s universal health care system and the ways it could benefit patients in the United States. He is the only college student in the nation to win the inaugural Kanders Churchill Scholarship. —Micaela Fox Corn

O D O G

W O R D

#1

Pitt Nursing’s doctor of nursing practice program is ranked first in Pennsylvania and fifth in the United States, according to the U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 edition of America’s Best Graduate Schools.

Kannarkat

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Pitt is again one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright recipients, with 10 students and six scholars awarded Fulbright grants in the 2017-2018 academic year.

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The Princeton Review profiled Pitt in Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools that Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck, calling it an “academic powerhouse.”

In Communication A new vice chancellor for strategic communications and marketing is helping to share Pitt’s story far and wide. Ellen Moran comes to the University from the Dewey Square Group, a leading public affairs firm in Washington, D.C. She has held high-level nonprofit and U.S. government positions, including director of the White House Communications Department under President Barack Obama, followed by more than two and a half years as chief of staff and chief adviser to Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke. —Sharon S. Blake

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COURTESY OF JAMES R. MARTIN II

G O O D

The University of Pittsburgh recently welcomed four new deans: Bernard J. Costello has been named dean of the School of Dental Medicine. A Pitt professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery since 2001, he is chief of the Division of Craniofacial and Cleft Surgery at the School of Dental Medicine and the Division of Pediatric Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. He previously served as the school’s associate dean for faculty affairs and senior associate dean. Elizabeth M. Z. Farmer has been named dean of the School of Social Work. She arrives Aug. 1 from Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Social Work. She served there as professor and associate dean for research and was involved in community-engaged projects and the revitalization of the school’s research focus and doctoral curriculum. Her research has centered on improving treatment and care for youth with mental health issues. James R. Martin II has been named the dean of Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. Recently a professor and chair of the Department of Civil Engineering at Clemson University, he was also the founding director of that university’s transdisciplinary “collision space” for interactions between research, academic programs, and corporate partnerships. His own work focuses on earthquake engineering and risk assessment for natural threats. Amy J. Wildermuth has been named dean of the School of Law. She formerly served as a law professor, chief sustainability officer, and associate vice president for faculty and academic affairs at the University of Utah. Her academic career focuses on areas of civil procedure, administrative law, environmental law, and U.S. Supreme Court practice.

THOMAS KOJCSICH/VCU UNIVERSITY RELATIONS

New Deans


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In the News Media outlets around the country tap experts at the University of Pittsburgh for insight into a variety of subjects. To keep up with the many Pitt-related news and magazine stories, visit pittwire.pitt.edu. For example: The Chronicle of Higher Education spoke to Linda DeAngelo, associate professor in the School of Education, about the importance of historically black colleges in higher education today. The New York Times spoke to David A. Harris, the Sally Ann Semenko Endowed Chair and professor of law, about the complexities of trying police officers accused of excessive force. The Wall Street Journal spoke to Umamaheswar Duvvuri, assistant professor in the Department of Otolaryngology, on how new technology can help surgeons in the operating room. GQ magazine spoke to Lara Putnam, professor and chair of the Department of History, about the increase in the number of U.S. women in and engaging with politics.

Extra, Extra Read all about it! Historic issues of the student-run Pitt News and its predecessor, the Pitt Weekly, are now available online. The collection dates back to 1910 and offers a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of student life at the University. (The ads are fun to see, too—5-cent hamburgers, anyone?) Start reading at the University Archives’ documenting.pitt.edu.

High Achievers At this year’s Honors Convocation, two graduating seniors were recognized with the University’s most prestigious awards for undergraduate students. Dina Fradkin, a nursing major, won the Emma W. Locke Award for “high scholarship, character, and devotion to the ideal of the University of Pittsburgh.” Fradkin served as a teaching assistant, first-year peer adviser, and research assistant in the School of Nursing and engages in patient advocacy. Jahvon Dockery, a dual computer science and business economics major, was presented with the Omicron Delta Kappa Senior of the Year Award for “a high standard of leadership in college activities.” Through the student organization Students Engaging in Conversations about Consent and Sexuality, Dockery educated his peers about issues surrounding sexual violence.

G O O D W O R D

5,900+

Congratulations, graduates! The University of Pittsburgh in Oakland awarded more than 5,900 degrees this spring.

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A New Era of Innovation in Education Chancellor Patrick Gallagher connects with Valerie Kinloch, the Renée and Richard Goldman Dean of the School of Education. An author and researcher in the realms of literacy, language, culture, and community engagement, Kinloch has worked in public schools in Houston and Harlem. Before coming to Pitt in 2017, she served as a professor and associate dean of diversity, inclusion, and community engagement at the Ohio State University. Gallagher: What made you want to become an educator? Kinloch: A couple of different experiences. I was the first in my family to graduate college. As a young girl, I knew that my father did not graduate high school, and I began to think more deeply about who could access higher education. Growing up in Charleston, South Carolina, there were people in my family and community who deserved opportunities for higher education but could not find them. Much of my work has been about understanding these obstacles and fighting against them.

Gallagher: At Pitt, you’ve created the position of Associate Dean for Equity and Justice in Education. This may be the only title of its kind in higher ed. How does this position help Pitt advance education?

Kinloch: That all voices must have equal value. In my role in Ohio, I listened to family members, children in public schools, nonprofit groups, social service agencies, after-school program leaders, principals. If we’re not listening to all perspectives, then we are not learning how to provide access to educational opportunities. When we invite people in to speak for themselves, we send the message that we value and validate their histories and experiences. ■

Gallagher (left) and Kinloch

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Kinloch: The institute is a learning environment where senior scientists will mentor and support junior investigators as they develop research to help the whole community have a healthier quality of life. In terms of educators, it’s about providing wellness research that allows them to put on their full armor. We want educators to not only access the best policies and curricula to be stronger leaders, but we also want them at their best when it comes to their physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being in our classrooms and communities. Once they have this armor, they can walk into our schools, our children’s communities, and model this wellness to others.

Gallagher: You came here from Columbus, Ohio, where you had years of community engagement work. What lessons did you bring to Pitt?

Kinloch: It makes Pitt an innovator in the pursuit of equity— creating access and possibilities despite differences in economics, race, or geography. This position will enable us to marshal the resources, support, and opportunities for diverse faculty and students to come into our school. If we can bring more of those voices to Pitt, the ideas of how to pursue justice and inclusion for people who are historically excluded from higher education will resonate throughout society.

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Gallagher: Also new is the Healthy Lifestyle Institute. How is it related to education?


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n a Thursday night, three undergrads gather near the entrance of Market Central, the largest dining hall on the Oakland campus. It’s dinnertime, but they aren’t here to eat; they are on a mission. With the small group assembled, senior computer science major Emily Hanna leads the way on a familiar path through the sprawling facility. They stride through the scents of savory soup and sizzling vegetables, past a line of hungry students waiting for grilled chicken, and to the kitchen doors. Once inside, they beeline to the walk-in refrigerator, where much of their quarry awaits. The trio volunteers with the University of Pittsburgh’s chapter of the Food Recovery Network, a national organization devoted to helping students reduce food waste on college campuses and fight hunger in their communities. Throughout the week, Pitt’s Food Recovery Heroes visit Market Central, Oakland Bakery and Market, the Perch at Sutherland hall, and other University eateries to collect quality foods that go unsold. They then distribute the chow to local shelters, soup kitchens, and after-school programs where it will reach those in need. Hanna, the club president, works quickly with her fellow volunteers. They pack boxes with the untouched leftovers that Pitt

ILLUSTRATIONS BY GREGG VALLEY

BY EMMA CREIGHTON

Dining Services staff has put aside for them in the refrigerator. Within 20 minutes, the heroes make their exit, their arms filled with about 15 pounds of salads, bagels, sandwiches, and more. They rush through the evening to a waiting car and then they are off to deliver the bounty to the night’s donation site. When Hanna joined the club as a freshman, her interest in community service was unfocused, she says. Yet, as she learned more

about food waste and food insecurity, she became more passionate. Between 30 and 40 percent of the country’s annual food supply ends up as waste, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and much of that fare is in perfect shape for eating when discarded. “It felt like such a disconnect that these huge amounts of food could be thrown away while people were going hungry,” Hanna says. “Joining Food Recovery Heroes allowed me to directly participate in a solution addressing these issues.”

Working with Pitt Dining Services and local nonprofit 412 Food Rescue, the club has recovered and delivered more than 22,000 pounds of surplus food since its founding in 2014. The dedicated efforts have even received commendation in the City of Pittsburgh’s “Climate Action Plan 3.0.” The work also complements the University’s other methods of reducing waste, which include removing trays from dining halls to help students resist loading up with more than they can eat. The initiative cut food waste at Pitt by 30 percent. It seems the more good Hanna and her fellow Food Recovery Heroes do, the more driven they become. As they head back to campus after an evening delivering delicious eats to help feed Pittsburgh’s hungry, the trio’s focus turns to organizing the next pickup. They’re helping people and the planet—one bite at a time. ■

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Love Renewed

The World on a Plate

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he Pitt alumnus has a plan. It is the Friday evening of Homecoming Week, and while waiting for the celebratory laser and fireworks show to begin, Harry Crytzer and his family stroll around the outside of the Cathedral of Learning. Reaching the flagpole, he points to Heinz Memorial Chapel, its open front doors spilling light across the darkened lawn. The chapel is open, he says casually to his wife, Theresa. Why don’t we take a tour? With their 12-year-old son, Toby, in tow, the Crytzers walk to the neo-Gothic landmark, where Theresa quickly discovers that they aren’t really going to take a tour. Waved on by a greeter, Harry (CGS ’94, ’11) walks his wife down a side aisle to the chapel’s main altar, where he procures a red rose, gets down on one knee, and promises “to take the garbage out and clean the basement as best as I can.” The Crytzers are one of dozens of couples to participate in I Do, I Do ... Again! Held every Homecoming weekend, the event gives all couples—married or not—an informal opportunity to share their love and renew their dedication to each other. When Harry learned about this event, he knew he wanted to bring Theresa, his partner of 22 years. “He kept it a secret that we were even coming here tonight!” says Theresa, a Pitt assistant professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology. After snapping a photo together at the altar, the Crytzers walk down the center aisle, arm in arm, to the grand sounds of the organ. Their smiles are contagious. The occasion is a chance for alumni to reconnect with each

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other and a unique part of their alma mater, says Patricia Gibbons, Heinz Memorial Chapel director. Dedicated in 1938 and renowned for its architectural allure, the nondenominational sanctuary has played host to hundreds of weddings and countless concerts and events. Along with the Crytzers, the evening’s visitors include a couple that has attended the I Do, I Do celebration every year since it began in 2012, and another that is celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. Though you don’t need to have been married at Heinz to enjoy the event, several couples who were return, this time with

their kids. Shannon Perry (A&S ’93) and her husband, Mark, wed in the chapel in 1997. “It’s the only school I applied to,” says Shannon, referring to Pitt. “I knew I wanted to be here; I knew I wanted to get married here,” she remembers. “It was a dream.” After sharing a smooch at the altar, the Perrys head toward the chapel’s front stairs to catch the laser and fireworks show in front of the Cathedral of Learning. Twenty years after their wedding, the couple has made a new memory— one of love renewed—in the place where their lives together officially started. ■

he aromas drifting from the William Pitt Union Assembly Room are sublime. The bold fragrances of garlic and onion meld with the subtle scents of turmeric, paprika, and peppers. The effect is mouthwatering and catches the attention of several passing students, who peer curiously through the room’s open doors. Inside, the space is packed with people. Many wait in lines that snake from tables bearing posters and different national flags. Atop each table are varied dishes that all have one delicious thing in common: potatoes. This is You Say Potato, a whole new approach to a language fair. Faculty representatives of most of the languages taught at Pitt are inspiring interest in their programs by serving up a potato dish related to their discipline. Cohosted by the Less-CommonlyTaught Languages Center, the Department of Linguistics, and the Study Abroad Office, it’s a fun way to introduce students to the University’s diverse range of language course offerings. Colored slips attached to the tables indicate the word for “potato” in each language. In Hungarian, it’s krumpli. It’s khoai tây in Vietnamese; práta in Irish; papa in Quechua; and aloo in Hindi. As students approach each dish, instructors answer questions about classes and encourage them to sound out the foreign words. The dishes are as varied as the languages represented. At the Hungarian table, there’s a steaming urn of paprikás krumpli—potatoes stewed with onions, sausage, and paprika. Crunchy potato latkes shine with oil at the Hebrew table, and over with the Mandarin instructors is a heap of thinly sliced and stir-fried potatoes


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in a dish called la chao tu dou si. As for the American Sign Language Program? Several flavors of potato chips, one of the country’s favorite snacks. Karen Park, assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics, pauses from helping interested students to savor the moment. “This event brings me great joy and great envy because I want to study every one of these languages,” she says with a laugh. Each language is an opportunity to learn about the world, Park continues. “When you explore a language you oftentimes get insights into culture and history.” So, why specifically target tubers? According to Park, linguists can use the humble potato to talk about language, agriculture, migration, power, and other complicated issues. The world’s fourth-largest food crop is indigenous to the Andes region of South America and is a relatively new entrant into globalized cuisine. But, in the 16th century, after it arrived in Europe in the ship hulls of Spanish conquistadors, the hearty vegetable would quickly travel the world, eventually rooting itself in the diets of people from Ireland to Indonesia. Back in the Assembly Room, the platters of starchy snacks are rapidly emptying. “Everything’s so good, but I don’t think I can eat anymore,” one young woman laments, an empty plate in her hand and a mind full of new information. Yet, as the swelling crowd demonstrates, an insatiable hunger for knowledge can transcend even the limits of the stomach. ■

Great Debaters

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nervous energy fills the room in the moments before the debate begins. There’s a shuffling of papers as some participants conduct a quick, final review of their notes. Others welcome the distraction of friendly chatter. In just a few minutes, the Pittsburgh City Debate will kick off, matching members of the William Pitt Debating Union (WPDU) with top orators from Duquesne University for a spirited, thoughtfully crafted exchange. The Pitt teammates have spent hours preparing for today’s big showdown. They have dug through reams of research at Hillman Library and hammered out arguments in the group’s “squad room” on the 11th floor of the Cathedral of Learning. By now, they have learned just about everything they can about the assigned topic: “Pennsylvania should lower its corporate tax rate.” It’s a tough, nuanced subject, but Pitt’s debaters—who have been appointed to argue on the “against” side—are ready to take it on. Even before the official argument begins, some Pitt debaters are already immersed in a good-

natured dispute—but not on the topic listed in the program. Teammates and undergrads Izumi Presberry, Henry Ferolie, and Aaron Hill are jokingly arguing over which celebrity Presberry most resembles. Is it the star athlete or the famous recording artist? They banter back and forth, enjoying the mental gymnastics of debate even before they step to the podium. They have an easy camaraderie that comes, in part, from the time they spend together preparing for and traveling to collegiate and community debates throughout the year. There are about 20 students in all who elect to participate in about 10 policy debating events at universities and conferences each year. Teammates, who are supported by graduate student assistant coaches, also initiate, plan, and participate in local public debates, tackling issues that are important to the Pittsburgh community. The moderator calls the teams to the front of the room and Presberry, Ferolie, and Hill straighten up, their faces tensing with concentration. Game on. By the end of the first round of argument, it’s clear that the WPDU’s enthusiasm and mastery of the subject can make even discussion of corporate tax rates

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engaging. Their argument is well organized and highly researched. After multiple back-and-forths and a 10-minute question-and-answer session with the student audience, the Pitt debaters are in good spirits—and rightfully so. The audience votes and the announcement is made: Pitt secures a City Debate victory for the second year in a row. Winning is great, says Eric English, the WPDU’s associate director and a lecturer in Pitt’s communication department, but it isn’t the primary incentive for many involved. It certainly wasn’t his when he was a Pitt undergrad and WPDU member some 20 years ago. “Debate is incredible,” he says. “It motivates students to do all sorts of research and read all sorts of things that they might never come across in their classes.” It also builds critical thinking skills, confidence, and friendships, adds English (A&S ’01, ’13G). It’s easy to see what he means as the teammates, grinning widely, congratulate each other on their victory. They pass around their trophy, which is destined for a place of honor back in the squad room where they will soon be preparing together for the next big debate. ■

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WRITTEN BY ERVIN DYER PHOTOGRAPHY FROM UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES AND PITT VISUAL SERVICES

illman Library’s glass doors first swung open on January 8, 1968. Named in honor of John H. Hillman Jr., father of business executive and philanthropist Henry Hillman, the expansive limestone building greeted visitors with more than 600,000 books, a knowledgeable staff, and bright, airy study spaces. Half a century later, much has changed within the University’s first centralized library. Patrons now have access to more than 7 million volumes. Computers have replaced card catalogs. There are new study spaces and an abundance of digital resources. A multi-year renovation is in the works to make room for new services, spaces, and equipment. What remains constant, however, is the important role the library and its staff play in the Pitt community and beyond.

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or the past 50 years, “Hillman Library has been a central place on campus for our students, faculty, and staff to find inspiration and feed their academic aspirations,” says Kornelia Tancheva, director of the University Library System (ULS). “As we look toward the next chapter of its history, we know it will remain a space that nurtures the pursuit of knowledge for the campus and the community.”  

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(Center) Philanthropists Henry and Elsie Hillman in 1968. Gifts made by the Hillman family and Hillman Foundation made the library possible. (Above and below) The library in 1966, beginning to take shape.


I took a civil engineering course at Pitt in the late 1950s and learned about soil engineering, material strength, concrete design, and more. It was all helpful when, as a young engineer, I was assigned the prestigious role of project manager for the building of Hillman Library, 1965 through ’68. I worked for Dick Corporation, one of the city’s premier general contractors. The success of this project helped to launch my career in construction management. I became vice president of the company, and went on to work on U.S. highways, mills, and power plants.

In 1968, I was a freshman and commuted to Pitt from my family’s home in Forest Hills. Thank goodness for Hillman Library. It was a place where I could hook up and sit with my friends on the long, empty tables on the first floor near the Cantini wall sculpture. Sometimes we would be told to keep the noise down and we tried. It was a blessing to have the new library at the center of campus (and near the bus stop) for commuters who had no dorm room to retreat to when we needed to relax and re-energize.

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o help celebrate the building’s 50th anniversary, ULS encouraged alumni, faculty, and staff to share their favorite Hillman memories. Among the more than 100 submissions are stories of how the library served as a study hall, a sanctuary, a social setting, and, above all, a place that broadens and enriches lives. ■

—Marylyn Devlin (A&S ’72)

—Jack Nieri (ENGR ’60)

Library patrons in 1968, hard at work inside the first floor “smoking room.”

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Hillman Library introduced me to new cultures. As a graduate student in the 1988-1989 academic year, I was in the stacks, doing research, when I first saw a Muslim student take out a prayer rug and answer the call to prayer. I didn’t have a broad sense of the world then, and I remember being impressed by a student who would openly profess their faith so responsibly. Now, my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, is a refuge for many Muslims escaping war and violence. But back then, before the Internet or anything, it was an eye-opening experience.

—Jennifer Collins Young (SCI ’89)

(Top right) As it did in 1970, the first floor still hosts a tapestry by Virgil Cantini (A&S ’48G). (Middle) Staff help students and faculty circa 1969. (Bottom) Librarians and work study students shelve newly acquired books in November 1970.

I have always been told that education is power, and I found that out at Hillman Library. I have a learning disability. Students I studied with got their 10- to 20-page assignments done in a few days, while I needed an entire table with 10 books and several weeks to complete the same assignment. I probably spent 30-40 hours a week studying at Hillman because I needed more time than most people. The Hillman reference desk and computer staff took extra time to lead me to proper research and resources. With their help, I earned the GPA that allowed me to graduate with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work.

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—Jeffrey Parker (SOC WK ’97, ’98G)


A little more than a decade ago, I was an undergraduate library assistant at Hillman. I saw the excellent people skills of the staff as they helped ‘customers’ get music from the Stark Listening Center, journal articles, and microfilm. The staff always had a smile. I’d hang out with them after work. They inspired me to get a master’s of library and information science at Pitt, and learning while ‘on the job’ literally changed my life. All of these years later, I work as a business librarian and stay in touch with some of the people I worked with at that world-class library within a world-class school.

—Curt Friehs (BUS ’03, SIS ’05)

(Top) Students in Hillman’s Archives and Special Collections reading room. (Below) An archivist digitizes a document in the ground floor’s Digital Scholarship Commons.

It was summer 2008, and once a week I found myself drilling down into the K. Leroy Irvis papers for a course called Collections Conservation. I was a graduate student in library sciences specializing in archives, preservation, and records management. The class goal was to mount an exhibition in Hillman’s K. Leroy Irvis Reading Room, to publicly share the story of Pennsylvania’s first Black Speaker of the House. Touching his legislative papers, photographs, and personal arts brought Mr. Irvis to life. It showed that history could come alive at the library. I’ve worked as a professional archivist since. That experience shaped my career.

—Brigette Kamsler (SIS ’08)

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n Uganda’s capital city, four young siblings were suddenly left without parents. Their mother had succumbed to injuries sustained when she was doused in corrosive acid. Their father, the crime’s perpetrator, was jailed. The children were alone, their fate uncertain. That is, until Hanifa Nakiryowa got involved. She’s the founder of the Kampala-based Center for Rehabilitation of Survivors of Acid and Burns Violence (CERESAV). As part of her work, Nakiryowa visited the mother in the hospital to provide psychological counseling. Upon the woman’s death, she leapt into action again, securing resources and ensuring that the children received a safe and loving home. Nakiryowa (GSPIA ’17) is all too familiar with the challenges experienced by acid-attack victims and their families. Her life was forever altered in 2011 when acid was thrown in her face as she waited outside her exhusband’s home to pick up their two daughters. She was rushed to the hospital, where she would remain for months. Her case is one of hundreds of acid attacks documented in Uganda since 1985 and more than 1,500 reported annually around the world. Many assaults, like Nakiryowa’s, stem from domestic violence. Survivors endure a painful and emotional road to recovery. Nakiryowa underwent more than a dozen surgeries while hospitalized. She eventually accepted that her face—a source of her identity—would never be the same. But she refused to be defeated. “I started thinking, ‘Yes, this has happened to me, but what am I going to do? I’m still alive,’” she recalls. Before her hospitalization, Nakiryowa had never encountered acid violence survivors. When she did, she realized they often withdraw from society because of shame and stigma. She decided she would not do the same; she would confront the world and use her strength to help others. In 2012, she formed CERESAV, which provides medical and emotional support to acidattack survivors, raises awareness, and strives to prevent future violence through legislative change. Her work helping the four orphaned children drew the attention of the founder of Bright Kids Uganda (BKU), an organization that aids vulnerable children. At the founder’s urging, Nakiryowa met with BKU board member Louis A. Picard, director of Pitt’s African Studies Program and a professor in the University’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA). Picard was impressed by her work, and encouraged Nakiryowa, who already held a master’s degree in economics, to continue her education at Pitt. She was awarded an H.J. Heinz Fellowship through the University’s Global Studies Center and arrived with her daughters in 2015. GSPIA’s master’s degree program in International Development and Human Security allowed the nonprofit leader to focus on gender-related issues and strengthen the crucial negotiation and development skills vital to her efforts with CERESAV. “What I learned in class I made sure I could apply in the field,” she says. Now with a Pitt graduate degree, Nakiryowa continues to serve as president of CERESAV and recently began work with the advocacy group Women’s Health Activist Movement (WHAMglobal), a nonprofit arm of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. It’s another way she’s advancing human rights, empowering those in need, and helping to heal the wounds of violence around the globe. ■

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Studying abroad can open students’ eyes to new ways of seeing the world and themselves. But what to do with those fresh perspectives when the trip is over? An innovative program, hosted by Pitt and inspired by a trailblazer, is giving young women the tools to channel their international experiences into something more.

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he spent the van ride staring outside, first at the tree-lined Cape Town cityscape, then, once they hit the highway, at the suburban sprawl and the distant profile of mountains rising from the horizon. The farther they rode, the more the scenery changed. Eventually, the pitched roofs and watered lawns of more affluent neighborhoods disappeared beyond the walls that divided them from the road. In their place appeared tiny homes pieced together from plywood, plastic, and tin. Mariah Butchko had reached a crowded, parched corner of the Cape Flats. Thousands of Black South Africans were forced to relocate here during apartheid, the country’s segregationist system institutionalized between 1948 and the 1990s. Many remain confined to the cramped, impoverished quarters today, living under sagging roofs and without running water. S U M M E R

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The van delivered Butchko and a group of other American college students to a local school. Four times a week they volunteered there at an after-school program as part of a service-learning project, helping to lead discussions where teenagers could talk out their problems. There had been other volunteer options at the school. Butchko, an early childhood education major at Pitt–Johnstown, could have tutored or assisted with music or dance classes. But she felt drawn to the discussion group, where she hoped she might be able to make a small difference in the students’ lives. “They realized that we weren’t going to leave and we were actually interested,” Butchko says of herself and two fellow volunteers. “Once we started to open up, that’s when they started opening up as well.” Before long, the teenagers began to talk about the difficulties of supporting their families when parents can’t find work; the consequences of dropping out of school; and the struggles for excellence in communities with so few resources. Butchko knew that she couldn’t save these students from their problems or the complex circumstances that caused them, but she had recently learned that she could still help guide them forward, simply by being open, and being present. Up until that summer, Butchko was sometimes shy and often reserved. Yet, there was little trace of that person in the South African classroom. The trip strengthened her—but it wasn’t the only experience to do so. Months before she packed her bags, a powerful, Pitt-hosted program was already providing her with the tools she needed to flourish. nternational travel has the potential to transform. Trading home for unfamiliar places, becoming immersed in different customs and cultures, trying out new foods, activities, and perspectives—travel experiences are built upon the act of leaving behind what is known and welcoming new possibilities. Vira Ingham Heinz knew just how metamorphic seeing new corners of the world can be. A Pittsburgh civic leader and philanthropist who often served in positions previously closed to women, she relished travel, the independence it nurtured, and the discoveries 22

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“They realized that we weren’t going to leave and we were actually interested,” says Mariah Butchko. “Once we started to open up, that’s when they started opening up as well.” it yielded. Yet Heinz recognized that, in her era, usually only young men were afforded the opportunity to travel by themselves. If they could do it, she knew that young women should, too. In 1954, Heinz wrote a check for $1,000—equal to Vira I. Heinz about $9,000 in today’s money— to fund an overseas trip for one female student

at the University of Pittsburgh. Over the years, she established similar scholarships at schools across Pennsylvania, enabling dozens of women to journey abroad and broaden their horizons. By the time of her death in 1983, arrangements had been made to ensure that the scholarships would remain available for generations to come. Today, the philanthropist’s efforts have evolved into the annual Vira I. Heinz (VIH) Program for Women in Global Leadership. Last year, 43 young women from 15 Pennsylvania universities were selected for the program, including Butchko, the traveler in South Africa.


Administered by Pitt and funded through The Heinz Endowments, it’s an innovative, yearlong experience that blends travel with leadership training, cultural explorations, and community engagement to empower women to become tomorrow’s leaders. Every woman chosen for the VIH Program is a first-time traveler outside of the United States, and many come from underserved communities. They each receive at least $5,000 to study abroad during the summer in a country of their choosing, be it Australia or Argentina, Thailand or Tanzania. Bookending that journey are intensive development retreats and a community engagement project, making it more than your typical study abroad program. The leadership development component of the program was created at Pitt in 2007, inspired by a drive to provide the young women with all the tools they need to grow. That includes both preparing them to make the most out of their travels and helping them use all they learn abroad to best serve themselves and the world around them. “I’ve heard from so many former students that VIH was a really healthy place for them,” says Sarah Wagner, the VIH Program’s director. “That they found a sense of community, that they stretched themselves and supported each other and learned about new cultures and different types of people. They become awakened and invigorated and ready to act with all of this new knowledge and new skill. We help them capitalize on that.”

Being courageous in the face of uncertainty and receptive to new perspectives were skills the Pitt sophomore had practice in before she left the United States, thanks to the spring’s pre-departure retreat, the VIH Program’s first phase. Held on Pitt’s campus, the weekend gathering brought Hailu and her cohort together to prepare for their adventures abroad through leadership training and cross-cultural explorations. They got a taste of foreign cuisine and dining decorum at an Ethiopian restaurant in East Liberty. They felt the physicality of culture through an Indian dancing lesson. They listened to a panel of young women discuss what it

is like to be Muslim in America. Each awardee learned about what differences to expect in their destination country through chats with their “cultural coach”—a person from their destination country or a VIH Program alumna who has traveled there. Complementing these experiences were discussions about how to balance personal and global perspectives and the common challenges that women face around the world. “Leaders have to be equipped to foster relationships and nurture abilities and skills within everyone,” says Wagner. “When we think about developing global perspectives, we think about generating a person who looks at a

“Everyone asked me why I walked so fast,” recalls Eden Hailu. Recognizing that her American pace was out of place in East Africa, she adjusted her stride and loved the result. “I felt like I had no worries. It was very peaceful.”

den Hailu felt nervous. As the days leading up to her flight to Tanzania melted away, worries arose inside her. The Pitt political science and economics major had never been on a plane before. What if she had trouble getting through security or missed her flight? What if she couldn’t get around on her own in Tanzania? After all, she only knew a few words of Swahili. Those fears dissipated as soon as Hailu arrived. Excitement, and the confidence to explore new ways of living, propelled her forward. She took classes in Swahili, public health, and East African culture at the Primary Health Care Institute in the clifftop town of Iringa. On weekends, she traveled to rural villages where she talked to girls about the obstacles they face in pursuing an education. Understanding their perspectives had been one of the key goals Hailu had when accepted to the VIH Program. S U M M E R

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situation and doesn’t immediately bring their own values into play, but instead asks, ‘What are the values of others?’ Or who learns to be an active listener and lets someone else talk who has less power than them.” Hailu exercised these lessons in the rural villages in Tanzania. But the reminder to be open and accepting of difference had a lighthearted impact, too. “Everyone asked me why I walked so fast,” she recalls. Recognizing that her American pace was out of place in East Africa, she adjusted her stride and loved the result. “I felt like I had no worries. It was very peaceful.” n a busy store in Seoul, thousands of miles from home, Courtney Yu spotted somet hing familiar: a small, foil-topped plastic container of bananaflavored milk. The drink is popular in South Korea, where Yu had just begun to study abroad through the VIH Program, but it was also a treat she enjoyed while growing up in a Korean-American household. She gave it up, however, when some kids at school teased her for bringing in the foreign fare. In Seoul, she plucked the drink from the shelf. Later, when she cracked it open, it tasted just as good as she remembered. Yu had always been conflicted about her cultural identity—whether she was more Korean or more American. She often felt like an outsider growing up in predominantly White Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. At Pitt, she found ways to explore her heritage. She joined and became president of the Asian Students Alliance, where she built a close group of friends. She applied to the VIH Program with hopes to explore her father’s home country. During her six weeks in Seoul, Yu immersed herself in her roots by taking Korean language classes and studying Asian fiction at Yonsei University. She journeyed to the hometowns of her grandparents and struck up friendships with locals. By the time the political science major had returned to Pitt in the fall, she saw the experience as a crucial step in coming to terms with her identity. Finally, she had the assurance to just be herself. “I don’t have to pick one or another, Korean or American,” she says. That September, the VIH Program held its fall retreat, which brings all awardees together again to share and process their travel expe24

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By the time Courtney Yu had returned to Pitt in the fall, she saw the experience as a crucial step in coming to terms with her identity. Finally, she had the assurance to just be herself. “I don’t have to pick one or another, Korean or American.”

riences. Each woman makes a poster board presentation filled with photos and mementos that represent the understandings she achieved while abroad. Yu’s display boasted a large, 3D yellow banana milk carton. It symbolized how her time abroad put her on the path of selfacceptance. Wagner says that providing VIH awardees with opportunities to reflect on their international experience and create meaning from it is

an important component of the fall retreat and the program as a whole. The practice encourages students to integrate the transformative parts of their journeys into their lives back home. Plus, it’s just plain fun for all of the women to get a glimpse into the adventures undertaken by other members of their cohort. With travel tales shared, the next step is to help the scholars extend what they have learned about the world and themselves into becom-


ing strong female leaders. At both the fall and spring retreats, attention is given to acknowledging and learning to navigate the challenges many women encounter as they ascend to leadership positions. It’s another way the program is channeling Vira Heinz’s trailblazing legacy into empowerment for new generations of women. Ra’Van Williams, a Pitt engineering major who spent part of the summer studying engineering and business in Munich, Germany, found these discussions instructive. She learned from one guest speaker that some women have been socialized to be modest or shy when it comes to acknowledging their accomplishments to avoid sounding pompous or resistant to being part of a team. As a result, they may get passed over for advancements in the workplace. Williams recognized falling into this habit herself. So, she made the choice to begin claiming her successes with more confidence. “I decided to own things and not feel bad about it,” she says. “Women have done so much in so many areas,” says Wagner. “But if you look at the gender composition of leadership roles, you can see a disparity. The more women we have in leadership roles, the more we can help each other. And that’s good not only for women, but for society, too.”

eled how to deal with confrontation in a productive way. More people showed up for the workshop than they expected. Standing there before the crowd with something important to share felt a little scary, but also really good. She felt more confident and more capable. The VIH Program gave Butchko another gift—insight into where she wants her path to lead after college. A teacher-in-training with a

focus on special education and a fresh case of wanderlust, she’s hoping to go abroad again, this time to work with special needs children in a country where resources for such students aren’t always available. “Now I’m not so scared,” she says of her life’s next adventure. “I broke out of my little shell. I did it, and I can do it again.” Vira Heinz would surely be proud. ■

Ra’Van Williams recognized falling into this habit herself. So, she made the choice to begin claiming her successes with more confidence. “I decided to own things and not feel bad about it.”

y the autumn after her experience in South Africa, Mariah Butchko felt changed. The travel had given her new perspectives not just about the world, but also about herself. The support she received from the VIH Program and her fellow awardees created a foundation on which she could keep growing. And the final phase of the program—the community engagement experience—was turning out to be an opportunity to put all of her new knowledge into action. With the goal of encouraging participants to “think globally and act locally,” the VIH Program requires women to work as a team with other awardees from their institution to use their newfound knowledge to provide a service to their community. Butchko’s team at Pitt–Johnstown prepared a multi-faceted workshop, delivered on campus, about how to discuss difficult subjects —something with which she had a lot of practice. “It was titled Step Out: Get Comfortable with Getting Uncomfortable,” she says. They spoke about effective communication and modS U M M E R

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rowing up, Bryan Salesky was fascinated by robotics. “I always got a kick out of how software can add intelligence to a piece of hardware,” he says. He studied computer engineering as an undergraduate at Pitt and then launched a career taking on one of the biggest robotics challenges of the era: engineering autonomous vehicles, also known as self-driving cars. Combining sensors, cameras, and software, these vehicles are being designed to take to the road without a human driver. Today, Salesky (ENGR ’02) is a cofounder and CEO of Argo AI, a start-up that recently received a $1 billion investment from Ford Motor Company to develop autonomous vehicle technology. They already have test vehicles on the road in Pittsburgh, Michigan, and Florida. Though there is still more work to do before the tech hits the commercial market, Salesky sees a not-too-distant future where self-driving cars make transportation safer, easier, and more accessible to all.

What good will self-driving cars do? Fatal car accident rates are increasing for the first time in a decade. Ninety-four percent of collisions are because of human error. Also, vehicles sit for 95 percent of their life. It’s an expensive depreciating asset and takes up a lot of space to park. Imagine a world where we have a shared fleet of autonomous vehicles on demand. You can hail one on your smartphone and get a cheap ride because there’s no driver. And the cost of the vehicle can be amortized over the car’s whole life because it doesn’t sit parked for hours.

Salesky

What’s the most difficult challenge of developing the technology? The hardest problem is perception: using the sensors to see and understand the world around the car. We’ve made huge strides with larger amounts of storage, faster processors, and improved sensor quality. Now our cars can see and understand the world within 100–200 meters with quite a bit of reliability and robustness. As we improve automation, we’ll work on more difficult situations like foggy weather and challenging terrain—that’s why Pittsburgh’s great: all the grade changes, funky road geometry, and 10-point intersections. It’s the perfect test bed. You once wrote that you’re “avoiding the hype” around self-driving cars. What do you mean? When you’re in a new industry that is super competitive, it’s easy to get ahead of your skis. What I like about Argo is that we know how difficult it is to solve this problem, so we’re being data-driven and recruiting the best team possible, not necessarily going after what might be trendy for one moment. Although 2021 is our goal with Ford to bring self-driving cars to the road, we’re going to let the data tell us when the car is safe enough to be operated without a human driver.

An Argo AI vehicle in downtown Pittsburgh

How did your time at Pitt influence your career? Getting a Pitt computer engineering degree meant that I saw diverse coursework: physics, chemistry, math, electrical engineering—the amount of exposure was significant in only four years. Robotics brings together all of these disciplines to make really complex systems. It gave me the foundation needed to be successful.

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At Pitt’s Corneal Cell Biology Lab, researchers have developed an innovative way to address a common form of blindness— by converting stem cells to regrow part of the eye. The work is bringing into focus a future of better treatment options for people around the world.

In Sight WRIT TEN BY JENNIE DORRIS PHOTOGR APHY BY GE T T Y IMAGES AND TOM ALTANY/PIT T VISUAL SERVICES

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Jim and Martha Funderburgh in Pitt’s Corneal Cell Biology Laboratory

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stood in an operating room in 2014, suited up in surgical scrubs. The two researchers were in the Indian city of Hyderabad, waiting for a moment that was decades in the making. In just a few minutes, they would watch as a colleague performed the first operation using a technique they helped develop—a technique that can restore vision to damaged eyes. The procedure would take less than 10 minutes, but it has the potential to bring a sea change to more than 6 million people around the world who suffer from corneal blindness. The only way to reverse this condition used to be through transplantation—removing the impaired cornea and replacing it with one from a deceased donor. The quicker, more elegant solution, pioneered at Pitt, offers the chance to rescue sight in a safer, more affordable way. Later, Sayan Basu, the ophthalmologist who performed the operation, would tell Jim that he had a name for the procedure: “The Funderburgh Technique.” Jim politely declined the offer. It’s been a team effort to get this far, he explained. And the path there was illuminated, in part, by his wife, Martha. 30

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She was in her early twenties when she woke up with a strange tingle in her right eye. Soon, the tingling evolved into a painful sore. Doctors identified the problem as ocular herpes, a recurrent virus that causes cold sore-like lesions on the eye and annually affects more than 50,000 people in the United States. Over the years, she was warned, the condition would lead to scarring on the cornea and a loss of vision. The diagnosis was troubling, but it didn’t hold her back from her ambitions, which included the pursuit of a career in science. It was something she shared with her husband, Jim Funderburgh. Martha would go on to earn a master’s degree in public health, and Jim, fascinated by the fundamental elements of the body, would earn a PhD in physiological chemistry. Although Martha’s corneal disease never slowed her studies, it did influence the course of the Funderburghs’ careers. Almost a decade after Martha’s diagnosis, Jim made

a fortuitous connection with Martha’s ophthalmologist at the University of Washington. The eye expert explained to him the worldwide impact of corneal disease the likes of Martha’s and the imperfect treatment options available. Jim accepted a postdoctoral position studying corneal disease in the ophthalmologist’s lab, and through that job, he found his calling. “The cornea is a living window to the world,” Jim says. A transparent outer layer that covers the iris and pupil, it’s responsible for helping the eye focus by bending, or refracting, light. “I became really fascinated with it as an important component of the visual system and also as a useful experimental system for understanding cell biology.” He eventually established a lab at Kansas State University to study the cornea. Martha, her eyesight progressively diminishing, taught biology at the college and later channeled her scientific curiosity into her own career in ocular research alongside Jim. By her early forties, however, her vision had diminished significantly. When it got so bad that she could no longer coach youth soccer, she knew

Each year, more than 40,000 corneal transplants are performed in the United States, and about half fail within 10 years.


Stem cells are a basic building block of the body and a core component of regenerative medicine. They can be converted to generate specialized cells that perform different jobs, like building bone, regrowing heart muscle—or forming the cornea. It’s believed that they lead to more successful outcomes when used as alternatives to transplantation, because the body is less likely to reject them. that the only option to restore her vision was to undergo corneal transplantation. Each year, more than 40,000 corneal transplants are performed in the United States, and about half fail within 10 years. Martha is lucky—the transplants she received are still going strong. Her vision is now “pretty good,” she says, though she still takes daily medication to limit complications. In thinking about the people who aren’t so fortunate, Jim’s inquisitive mind whirred. Could there be a better way to treat this kind of blindness?

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body harbor stem cells. A light bulb suddenly turned on. “We could grow these stem cells and then convert them into corneal cells,” Jim remembers realizing. In other words, they could use adult stem cells to regrow a healthy cornea. Stem cells are a basic building block of the body and a core component of regenerative medicine. They can be converted to generate specialized cells that perform different jobs, like building bone, regrowing heart muscle—or forming the cornea. It’s believed that they lead to more successful outcomes when used as alternatives to transplantation, because the body is less likely to reject them. Martha set to work with donor tissue, looking for stem cells near the cornea that had the potential to become corneal cells. In 2005, she found them. Over the following years, the Funderburghs and their colleagues in the lab learned to differentiate stem cells into functional corneal cells. For the first time, these cells could make transparent corneal tissue in a laboratory dish. When the tissue was implanted into an animal eye, it remained transparent, just as it should. The solution wasn’t perfect, though: the tissue wasn’t strong or thick enough to be a substitute for a human cornea. The lab began to explore ways to produce a bigger, stronger, bioengineered cornea. “Then the idea occurred to us: Maybe we don’t have to build a whole new tissue,” Jim

In other words, they could use adult stem cells to regrow a healthy cornea.

he Funderburghs arrived

at the University of Pittsburgh in 1999, drawn by the opportunity to translate Jim’s research into potential treatments. He was named associate director of the Louis J. Fox Center for Vision Restoration, a nationally regarded comprehensive research and clinical program dedicated to ocular regenerative medicine. There, Jim established the Corneal Cell Biology Lab. Martha, with decades of corneal research under her belt, serves as lab manager. The researchers went to work investigating alternatives to corneal transplants. They started by brainstorming what type of tissue could mimic a donated cornea. Efforts to grow corneal cells in the lab weren’t panning out—they couldn’t get them to create the transparent tissue that makes up the cornea. Then, in a seminar in 2002 at Pitt’s McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the scientists learned that most tissues in the

says. “Maybe we can just put those stem cells directly into an eye and they would fix the scarring problem. To which everyone kind of rolled their eyes and said, ‘Yeah, right.’” Amazingly, however, it worked. When injected into the cornea, the stem cells produced healthy corneal tissue. More importantly, in the presence of stem cells, the vision-reducing, opaque scar tissue gradually disappeared and was replaced by normal, transparent corneal tissue. “I believe that the stem cells may be activating a potential present in our body that allows organs to regenerate on their own,” explains Jim. “We are very focused on finding more about this ‘biological switch’ that might control our ability to regenerate damaged tissue. Being able to induce our own bodies to heal themselves would transform medicine.” The research was published in the journal Stem Cells. It took years of hard work to get there, but it was just the beginning.

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n 2011, Jim Funderburgh had just finished delivering a presentation on his lab’s findings to an international conference when he and his team made a connection that would expand the possibilities of their work. They were approached by Virender Singh Sangwan, a professor and ophthalmologist from the L V Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India. “We were saying that stem cell therapy was working really well and we were kind of wondering where to go with this,” Martha says. “And he said, ‘We’ve got a million people who need this.’” With Sangwan was Sayan Basu, an ophthalS U M M E R

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From within the sterile operating room, the Funderburghs watched as Basu delicately worked on the patient, a woman with corneal scarring that had impaired her vision—just like what Martha had once experienced. He gave her local anesthesia before gently removing the outer layer of the corneal cells. He then spread on a dab of gel that contained the patient’s own stem cells mixed with a protein that would work to heal the scarring and restore sight.

mologist and cornea specialist. He often saw corneal damage from injuries or illnesses in his practice, but donor corneas in India are in short supply. He hoped to learn more about how stem cells might be able to help his patients. Basu soon came to Pittsburgh Basu to study at the Corneal Cell Biology Lab. Between 2012 and 2013, he learned laboratory techniques and how to culture stem cells—information he took back with him to Hyderabad, where he set up his own lab. But Basu also helped advance the Pitt lab’s research. In India, he had developed a technique called limbal biopsy, where stem cells can be extracted from a patient’s own eye using an incisional biopsy. There, he used it for the treatment of corneal burns. But in Pittsburgh, he wondered if the practice could be used in place of Jim’s way of getting stem cells—through donor tissue. Basu tried it out, wondering if the limbal biopsy stem cells would be comparable to those 32

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taken from donor tissue. They were. It was a breakthrough. Now they didn’t have to negotiate the severe shortage of donor tissue. Eye banks in the United States sent more than 26,000 corneas overseas in 2016 to those awaiting transplants, according to the Eye Bank Association of America. Yet, in India at least 120,000 people are blind and 6.8 million people have visual impairment because of corneal damage. Basu’s findings, made in collaboration with the Pitt team, were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine and would help pave the way to future clinical work in patients. While working with Basu, Jim Funderburgh had his own breakthrough. He developed a way to paste the stem cells onto the eye in a kind of gel, rather than injecting them. It simplified the procedure and made it safer.

After returning to Hyderabad, Basu started a series of trials to treat corneal damage in humans using stem cells applied in gel. Then, in 2014, Jim and Martha traveled to the L V Prasad Eye Institute in India to witness that firstever procedure. From within the sterile operating room, the Funderburghs watched as Basu delicately worked on the patient, a woman with corneal scarring that had impaired her vision— just like what Martha had once experienced. He gave her local anesthesia before gently removing the outer layer of the corneal cells. He then spread on a dab of gel that contained the patient’s own stem cells mixed with a protein that would work to heal the scarring and restore sight. After placing a bandagelike contact lens over the area, the operation was complete. It took mere minutes.

Eye banks in the United States sent more than 26,000 corneas overseas in 2016 to those awaiting transplants.


Basu conducted a pilot trial and a clinical trial in which Jim was a collaborator and senior investigator. Over 70 patients have been treated with the technique so far, with no reported complications and a high rate of vision improvement. They are waiting for patients to complete their one-year follow-up and for regulatory authorities to approve publishing. The interim analysis of the results, Basu says, is “extremely encouraging.”

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hrough the Funderburghs’ ongoing research, exciting new treatment options in ophthalmology are in sight. “The initial results of the ongoing trial in India lay the basis for a much larger therapeutic program that has the potential to cure or prevent blindness in a significant number of patients worldwide,” says José-Alain Sahel, the chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at Pitt’s School of Medicine and director of the UPMC Eye Center. “This would be the culmination of an amazing scientific career demonstrating the Jim Funderburgh in Pitt’s Corneal Cell Biology Lab importance of unwavering, steady pursuit of a line of research over decades, from cell biology regenerate the cornea. The to molecular mechanisms and clinical finding presents the possibiltranslation. This, alongside the human ity that adult stem cells may values that Martha and Jim illustrate soon become more accesevery day, sets a standard for our desible. partment’s future.” As he looks to the future, They aren’t the kind of people to Jim wants to make restoring rest on their laurels, however. corneal damage even easier “I think I am just a born scientist,” and more convenient for Jim says. “I like to investigate and dispeople in need around the cover stuff.” globe. To that end, the work coming out of “Can we get a way to dehis lab continues to explore new facets liver these cells that doesn’t of potential treatments, often through mean the doctor’s office has multidisciplinary collaboration. One to be across the hall from particular partnership has emerged the cell culture lab?” he asks. from Pitt’s School of Dental Medicine, where “Can we get these to people around the world?” Fatima Syed-Picard, an assistant professor, has Funding from the United States Departconducted research indicating that stem cells ment of Defense is helping the lab answer extracted from wisdom teeth can be used to those questions. With it, the researchers have

Research indicates that stem cells extracted from wisdom teeth can be used to regenerate the cornea.

TOM ALTANY/PITT VISUAL SERVICES

developed a collagen-like stem cell bandage that could be administered to wounded service members in the case that a blast or other trauma burns their cornea. The study with their finding was recently published in Stem Cells Translational Medicine. Meanwhile, the researchers are exploring options of using either the stem cells or the products made by the cells in clinical trials in the United States. Though the process is slow and expensive, Jim is hopeful that they could have a product ready for initial clinical trials within the next two years. It’s an exciting outlook for a research team inspired by personal experience and driven by the desire to help others see a brighter future. ■

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I N N OVATION

EXTRA CREDIT Mind and Body

Uncovering vital clues to addressing treatment-resistant depression

E

BY ELAINE VITONE

ve was 12 when she first started thinking about suicide. By the time she was a senior in high school, she had tried several times. Even when hospitalized and on 17 medications, Eve (not her real name) was still trying to end her life. “I went up to see her,” recalls her doctor, Lisa Pan, years later, “and there was nothing. No side effects. No response. Nothing.” Pan, a Pitt professor of psychiatry and clinical and translational science, began her research career studying neuroimaging markers of suicide risk in young people. She trained under the wing of David Brent, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics who holds Pitt’s Endowed Chair in Suicide Studies and is among the world’s foremost experts on treatment-resistant depression and suicidal behavior in teens. He’s also the cofounder of Services for Teens at Risk (STAR) at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, where Pan saw Eve. Unsure of how to help the teen, Pan thought of an out-ofthe-box approach. Could they find any new leads by examining a sampling of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for clues of what was circulating in Eve’s central nervous system? She decided to give it a try, with Brent’s support. After doing a complete neurological workup with the help of David Finegold, a professor of genetics at Pitt’s Graduate School

An artist’s rendering of neurotransmitters

of Public Health, the team found something curious. Eve’s CSF levels showed an extremely low level of biopterin, a chemical the body uses to make several neurotransmitters, the brain’s chemical messengers. Pan and Brent started her on a replacement-therapy regimen, and over the next few months, they observed the gradual return of this long-absent chemical so crucial to the production of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, pain modulators, and melatonin. It had a profound effect on Eve. After 10 weeks and some adjustments to her medications, Eve was feeling what psychiatrists call euthymia—normal. Pan and her team were skeptical at first. Then they tried the same screening on three more patients suffering from treatment-

resistant depression, figuring they were long shots, as well. But all three turned out to have similar metabolic disorders, all of which improved once their systems were regularly “fed” with special, highly absorbable forms of what were essentially vitamins. The scientists’ disbelief sharpened to questions: How did these biochemical anomalies happen to these young people? Could there be others who are one lumbarpuncture test away from finding their own paths to recovery? And what if the team could build a cheaper and easier test? Practically overnight, these investigations became the focus of Pan’s career. Their first phase culminated in a study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, and that was one of the most

lauded psychiatric papers of 2016. Though the study included just 33 patients, the results were striking. Of the patients with treatmentresistant depression, 64 percent had some form of metabolic deficiency of the central nervous system; controls had absolutely none. And once the patients’ deficiencies were treated, the majority of their symptoms improved. For two of them, their depression vanished altogether. The team is now hard at work on a multi-front research effort: validating their findings in a larger patient sample; examining possible genetic and environmental factors in these deficiencies; widening their scope to include more metabolic chemicals; and developing a bigger, better test.

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I N N O V AT I O N

It is an effort to understand some of the molecular mechanics of treatment-resistant depression and suicidal behavior. What clinicians and researchers now lump together under the umbrella of depression may be symptoms of many different diseases or disorders, which the team is now beginning to categorize through multidisciplinary research. This work does not involve a treatment study, Pan emphasizes. It is an effort to understand some of the molecular mechanics of treatment-resistant depression and suicidal behavior. What clinicians and researchers now lump together under the umbrella of depression may be symptoms of many different diseases or disorders, which the team is now beginning to categorize through multidisciplinary research. There’s still much work to be done, but the investigations have already helped young people, including Eve. With continuous treatment, she is leading a normal life as a college graduate and professional. Pan hopes that through her research, others may follow suit. ■ This is an adaptation of “Cut Off,” originally published in Pitt Med magazine. Read more at pittmed.health.pitt.edu/story/cut.

BREAKTHROUGHS IN THE MAKING

Waste Not

Need to Know

Are the concepts of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom universal? Edouard Machery, a distinguished professor in Pitt’s Department of History and Philosophy of Science, is coleading an international, multidisciplinary group of researchers exploring this question. The Geography of Philosophy Project is a comprehensive study of how environment, background, and upbringing influence questions of knowledge around the world. Machery says the work, which is supported by a $2.6 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation, could ultimately help individuals on opposite sides of racial, ethnic, gender, or class divides see their counterparts’ points of view.

What’s one way to reduce plastic pollution? Preventing the material from becoming waste in the first place. Pitt researchers are working to alter the microstructure of recyclable plastic so that it can be used to replace plastic packaging that can’t be recycled because of its various inseparable layers. The team, made up of Eric Beckman, Susan Fullerton, and Sachin Velankar from the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, was recently recognized at the World Economic Forum, where the game-changing idea earned them a prize from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and tech accelerator NineSigma.

Shared Sight

Computers are capable of recognizing individual human faces, but programming them to decipher subjective attributes—like formal or feminine—has remained a challenge. Adriana Kovashka and Nils Murrugarra-Llerena from Pitt’s Department of Computer Science are tackling the task by developing “gaze maps.” The visual guides, made by mapping people’s eye movements when identifying a subjective attribute in an image, may assist scientists in programming machines with more human-like sight and improve communication between people and machines.

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BOOKSHELF Safety First

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BY SUSAN WIEDEL

he biker stared at his phone as he pedaled down the sidewalk, seemingly unaware of the busy intersection ahead. Steve Casner, standing at the corner, saw the young man breeze by but it was too late to stop him. He rode into traffic without looking up, only narrowly avoiding a collision. Casner (A&S ’90G), a NASA researcher specializing in the psychology of safety, says these kinds of careless mistakes are becoming more common, and not just because of mobile phones. Despite modern safety advancements, the rate of accidental death in the United States has been on the rise since 1992. In Careful: A User’s Guide to Our Injury-Prone Minds (Riverhead Books), Casner explores how we put ourselves in harm’s way by underestimating risks and overestimating our own abilities. Through real-life examples, scientific studies, and conversations with experts, he argues that the next safety revolution won’t come from design or technology; it must take place in our minds. Take the biker’s attempt to multitask. Casner cites research showing that effectively paying attention to more than one thing at a time may not be possible. Understanding our limitations, he concludes, could save us all some serious pain. Casner explored the human mind at Pitt as a graduate student in the Intelligent Systems Program, one of the country’s first academic programs with a multidisciplinary approach to applied artificial intelligence. His studies ranged from computer science to psychology to art as he learned to make computers “behave in human-like ways.” After earning a PhD, Casner was hired by NASA, where today the psychologist works with the Human Systems Integration Division. There, he studies safety in relation to interactions between humans and computer programming—how pilots work with automated cockpits, for example. As a hobby, he keeps track of national safety statistics. When he noticed the number of accidental deaths steadily rising, he thought, “We’ve already made aviation safer. Why not give the rest of the world a shot?” The result is Careful, a book praised by publications including the New Yorker and Wall Street Journal. But for Casner, the real challenge is just beginning: convincing others of our fallibility. “Eventually,” he says, “I think people will stop and say, ‘Hey, maybe I’m not as invincible as I thought I was.’” Superman has kryptonite, he writes. We have ourselves. ■

Casner

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Beautifully Said (Quarto Books)

This collection of quotations by and stories of women and girls from throughout history is intended to inspire readers to invent, explore, lead, and overcome. Coauthored and edited by Alicia Williamson (A&S ’13G), it draws on voices the likes of architect Zaha Hadid and astronaut Mae Jemison, and is designed to be shared. —Caroline Eddy

All That’s Left to Tell (Flatiron Books)

An American is taken hostage while working in Pakistan, where he is bound and blindfolded for weeks and visited every day by a mysterious woman. In his debut novel, Daniel Lowe (A&S ’83G), a professor of English at the Community College of Allegheny County, weaves together a story about heartbreak, family, and redemption.—CE

Animals Strike Curious Poses (Sarabande Books)

Writer and actor Elena Passarello (A&S ’00) reintroduces readers to famous animals past and present in her latest collection of essays. Through the stories of unique beasts like Yuka the Mammoth and Mike the Headless Chicken, Passarello explores myth, history, and science to give new meaning to the cultural immortality of animals.—CE

History from the Bottom Up and the Inside Out (Duke University Press)

In a rethinking of social and labor history, James R. Barrett (A&S ’81G), a professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, investigates how immigrants became Americanized through race and class identities. Using personal testimonies, Barrett investigates the more intimate side of social history, building on the histories of work, migration, and radical politics in early 20th-century America.—CE


P I T T

GIVING

INSPIRE

Kevin Rieth (fourth from left) poses in 2014 with his Seminar and Field Program cohort in Bolivia's Salar de Uyuni, the world's largest salt flat. The sign reads "thank you" in Quechua, a language native to the Andes region.

Cross Currents

A

BY LAURA CLARK ROHRER

young foreigner approached a woman selling goods on a bustling roadside in the Bolivian city of Cochabamba. He smiled as he strode up to her cart, stacked high with candies and newspapers, and introduced himself as Kevin Rieth, a University of Pittsburgh undergraduate conducting field research. “Would you mind answering a couple questions about the water system here?” he asked in Spanish. The woman agreed. Within minutes, the two were sharing a

candid conversation about the cost and difficulty of accessing water in a city where many households are not connected to the municipal supply. Rieth was in Bolivia through Pitt’s Center for Latin American Studies’ (CLAS) Seminar and Field Program, which sends 10 to 15 Pitt students, accompanied by an instructor, to a Latin American country each summer. After a semester-long preparatory course, they spend six weeks abroad, immersing themselves in the language and culture, living with a host family, and carrying out independent research

projects related to the region. For his project’s focus, the business student chose the state of the city’s water system following the Cochabamba Water War, a 1999-2000 grassroots movement that fought the privatization—and subsequent rate increases—of the city’s municipal water supply. It was a subject with which he had only a passing familiarity before planning to study in Bolivia. As a supply chain management and business information systems doublemajor, Rieth was intrigued. He especially wanted to learn more about the state of

Cochabamba’s water supply, which he found is still unavailable to many residents, particularly those with low incomes. “I’m worried,” the street vendor told him. “How am I supposed to better myself and better my children and move up in society if I’m worried all the time about having water?” This interview, like other encounters Rieth had abroad, opened a window for him into a reality far from his own. The woman’s words showed him the real and wide-reaching human toll business and politics can take.

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perfectly. They committed to underwriting the program, and today their contribution funds the airfare and room and board of each participating student. Though Ursula (GSPH ’82) died in 2015, Bob continues to support the program in her memory. “Ursula and I always felt joyful that so little has done so much in influencing the students to do the kind of work we believe in,” he says. And influence it has. Students and faculty say that the program helps with far more than career development. It also builds language skills, confidence,

Gifts: Boxed

Street vendors in Cochabamba, Bolivia

Over the past five decades, more than 500 Pitt students have traveled to Latin America through the CLAS program. Their journeys were made possible by the donations of a couple who preferred to remain anonymous until recently. Today, Rieth (BUS ’16) works as a supply chain specialist at a global food producer and says his time in the CLAS program informs what he does every day. “It’s different when you’re just reading about people’s experiences versus looking them in the eye,” he says. “It reminds me how much of an impact our company can have on a day-to-day basis in communities many of us will never visit. It changes the way you look at things.” Over the past five decades, more than 500 Pitt students have traveled to Latin America through the CLAS program. Their journeys were made possible by the donations of a couple who preferred to remain anonymous until recently. Bob and Ursula Jaeger met and fell in love at a Spanish language school in Mexico. They both relished travel, particularly the kind that goes beyond the traditional, passive tourist experience, and instead actively engages with and learns

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intercontinental friendships, and global citizenship. “It really provides a singular experience,” says Julian Asenjo, who directed the program between 2007 and 2016. “It is very powerful.” “We are extremely grateful to the Jaegers for making this experience possible to so many students,” adds current CLAS director Scott Morgenstern. This summer, 11 students headed to Valladolid, Mexico, as the program’s 45th cohort. With help from the Jaegers, the door to the world remains open at Pitt. ■

from other cultures. As they built their lives together in Western Pennsylvania, the Jaegers wanted to help young people expand their worldviews through travel. In 1972, they met the first director of CLAS, Cole Blaiser, who told them about the recent creation of the Seminar and Field Program. Its objectives—to provide cross-cultural immersion in Latin America to adventurous and inquisitive students—fit the Jaegers' aspirations

“The generosity of donors transforms lives at the University of Pittsburgh every day. Our benefactors come from diverse backgrounds and represent every generation. They are linked by a love for Pitt and a desire to help others.” —Chancellor Patrick Gallagher

First-generation college graduates Rhonda Backers-Garrett (NURS ’75) and Beverly J. Backers (A&S ’77) have endowed a scholarship in memory of their mother. The Tommieree Vawters-Backers Scholarship Fund in the Pitt School of Nursing was created with a $26,000 gift and will benefit students from single-parent homes, like the one that lovingly shaped the sisters’ generosity. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of his graduation from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, Mark Rose (GSPIA ’67) and his wife, Susanne Rose (GSPH ’70), are encouraging the success of others. The Mark L. Rose and Susanne M. Rose Endowed Fund, made with a $100,000 gift, will provide tuition support to GSPIA students who demonstrate high academic achievement. Zachary A. Carrieri (BUS ’08, ’14G) endowed a student resource fund to support undergraduates in the College of Business Administration. He says as a “finance guy” he understands the impact that donations to the University can have on future generations and hopes his $10,000 gift encourages other young alumni to give.

Bob and Ursula Jaeger


A L U M NI

HALL

CLASS NOTES 1967

William Slomanson A&S ’67 received the 2018 Thomas Jefferson School of Law Student Bar Association’s Lewis & Clark Award for Teaching Innovation; a 2017 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award; and the 2015 San Diego Law Library Justice Foundation’s Bernard E. Witkin Award for Excellence in Legal Education. He is an emeritus faculty member at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, Calif. Nan Tynberg A&S ’67 published Shape: Reading in Three

Dimensions (CreateSpace), a collection of essays that examines a diverse range of novels, short stories, and poetry.

services firm. He will oversee daily operations throughout Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

1972

1975

Quincy Massachusetts: A Shipbuilding Tradition (Quincy Historical Society). It is his second book on the history of the maritime trade in the coastal city. Dorel Watley A&S ’72 was promoted to southeast regional vice president of BRAVO! Group Services, a leading janitorial

been appointed executive director of the Westmoreland Land Trust, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of open space in Westmoreland County, Pa.

Wayne G. Miller BUS ’72G published

Betsy Aiken A&S ’75, BUS ’76G has

Eric 'Rick' Hursh BUS ’75G is now managing director of Huntington Bank’s new

SPOTLIGHT

Come Rain or Shine BY EMMA CREIGHTON

I

t looked, thought Erikah Abdu, like an epic scene from the Bible. What had once been a busy highway instead appeared to be a fast-moving river, the roofs of abandoned cars sometimes visible beneath its current. This was just one of the sights the Pitt alumna took in when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Tex., last August. Abdu was lucky—though her neighborhood was temporarily cut off by floodwaters, she and her home escaped unscathed. But as the rain stopped, she began to think about how she could help the thousands who weren’t as fortunate. As an undergraduate at Pitt, Abdu (BUS ’10) got plenty of practice assisting her community. A finance major, she joined Delta Sigma Theta, where she learned to “lean into volunteerism,” helping out at senior retirement communities, and collecting school supplies for local children. Today, the financial analyst remains connected to her sorority sisters and her alma mater, serving as the social director of the Houston Pitt Club. Abdu recognized that there were Pitt alumni and sorority members around the country who wanted to help in the wake of the storm. Organizing their good will, she set up a way to donate online. In the end, she raised more than $3,500 for hurricane victims. The donations allowed her to buy groceries, clothing, and fuel gift cards that she distributed to people in eight separate shelters. With the remaining funds, Abdu provided individuals without flood insurance mini-grants to help them get back on their feet. It was highly rewarding, she says, to channel her social network's generosity into making a real difference—and bringing a little sunshine—to people in need. Erikah Abdu, left, with fellow volunteers

Capital Markets Institutional Sales and Trading office in Indianapolis, Ind.

1976

Francis Feld A&S ’76, EDUC ’85G, a registered nurse anesthetist, was deployed to Texas and Puerto Rico by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to aid relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria. In 2017, Pittsburgh Magazine named him an Excellence in Nursing honoree. Joan Such Lockhart NURS ’76, ’79G, ’92G published Nursing Professional Development for Clinical Educators (Oncology Nursing Society), which provides guidance on staff development for nurses. She serves as clinical professor and master of nursing degree coordinator at Duquesne University. Lynda Waggoner A&S ’76 retired as vice president of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and president of Fallingwater after nearly 40 years of service. She remains active in advancing Fallingwater’s application to the UNESCO World Heritage list of significant cultural landmarks.

1977

Krish A. Prabhu ENGR ’77G, ’80G is now a special strategic advisor to Cloudify, an open source cloud orchestration framework. He previously served as president and chief technology officer of AT&T Labs.

Dennis Palumbo A&S ’73 published Head Wounds (Poisoned Pen Press), a thriller set in Pittsburgh.

Legend G = Graduate Degree H = Honorary Degree

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HALL

Yolanda Avram Willis A&S ’77G published A Hidden Child in Greece: Rescue in the Holocaust (AuthorHouse), which details her experiences during World War II and chronicles the good deeds of the Greek families who risked their lives to hide her family from the Nazis.

1980

Dennis B. Ledden A&S ’80G was promoted to assistant teaching professor of English at Pennsylvania State University, where his scholarship focuses on the writings of Ernest Hemingway.

1981

moted from director of research and innovation to director of engineering for EDAX, a materials analysis provider in Mahwah, N.J.

1982

Daniel Dunmyer GSPH ’82, ’96 was named CEO of Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling, W.Va. He previously served as CEO of Vibra Hospital of Charleston in Charleston, S.C. Amy Jonas SOC WK ’82 was named executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Beaver County, Pa. Her duties include fundraising, outreach, and overseeing the administration of programs.

SCENE IN ARGENTINA

Julia Swenda (BUS ’01) took Pitt Magazine along to Ushuaia, Argentina, the world’s southernmost city. Swenda, an accomplished globetrotter, visits two new countries each year.

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SPOTLIGHT

Patrick Camus ENGR ’81, ’86G was pro-

Robert Cartia (right) with MSET CEO Robbie Ingram

Interplanetary Effect BY SUSAN WIEDEL

O

n the marshy grounds of Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi is a massive structure built of concrete and laced with metal framing. This is NASA’s primary test site for deep-space rocket engines that may one day travel to Mars. Seeing it fills Robert Cartia with pride. Although he’s no rocket scientist, Cartia still plays a role in NASA’s mission to Mars. As a volunteer with the nonprofit Mississippi Enterprise for Technology (MSET), he connects NASA to companies whose products and services could help make the Mars mission possible. He was drawn to the work, he says, by the encouragement of a Pitt professor. Ten years ago, after serving in the Air Force and working up to being a business system leader with a Pittsburgh metal company, Cartia already held a Pitt MBA and five other degrees. Still, he wanted more. The high achiever decided to pursue a PhD in business, and consulted his former Pitt business professor, Thomas Saaty, who asked a life-changing question: What have you done to impact or change the world? The professor saw what his former student had earned, but not what he had done. Inspired, Cartia decided to use what he already knew to make an impact in business. Today, in addition to a successful career serving as vice president of operational excellence at a major global marine terminal company, he volunteers with MSET to provide opportunities for growth, collaboration, and innovation on Earth and in space. When the opportunity first arose, the late Saaty was one of the first people Cartia (BUS ’08G) told. “He influenced me more than anybody else in my life,” he says. “It makes me wonder, would I have gone on to do the things I’ve done if it weren’t for Tom?”


CLASS NOTES 1983

Rich Sedory A&S ’83, LAW ’86 won the Charlotte Business Journal’s award for 2018 Outstanding General Counsel of the Year in the small company category. He has worked at Wastequip, a waste management equipment company, since 2013.

1985

Emily G. Hannigan A&S ’08 advanced to senior associate at the law firm of Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman LLP in Albany, N.Y. Hannigan’s practice includes representing public sector labor unions and litigating personal injury cases.

Gladys M. Brown A&S ’85, LAW ’88 was named 2017 Government Lawyer of the Year by the Pennsylvania Bar Association. She serves as chairwoman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and has dedicated her career to public service.

SCENE

IN ARIZONA

Janet Bukovac Lochner (SHRS '81) and her husband, Chris Lochner (A&S ’81, GSPIA ’82) recently adventured on a rim-to-rim hike through the Grand Canyon. No wonder they took a rest with Pitt Magazine while making a pit stop at Phantom Ranch inside Grand Canyon National Park.

Dream On

SPOTLIGHT

BY SUSAN WIEDEL

R

ed stiletto heels tied together by a string and slung over a telephone wire. A cluster of weather-worn stucco chimneys standing against a cloudy sky. These, and many more carefully composed images of Paris, hang in a Venice, Calif., art gallery. It’s photographer Bob Friday’s first official showing. He watches with joy as a parade of visitors—including children from a local French-language preschool— come to enjoy his work. Friday says his path here started nearly 50 years ago at Pitt. To fulfill an assignment for a psychology class, he created a black-and-white film portrayal of a dream. He loved working on the project and remembers it as the impetus to his lifelong passion for photography. But the environmental biology and developmental psychology major wouldn’t find his creative niche right away. After graduating, Friday (A&S ’72) started work with the Environmental Protection Agency and quickly realized the job wasn’t for him. He jumped between fields, applying his creativity where he could. Eventually, he landed in advertising and public relations, first serving a large firm in Pittsburgh and then establishing his own company. It wasn’t until 2016, after a long vacation in France, that Friday turned his full focus to photography. He relished strolling through Paris with his camera, using his artistic eye to capture evocative scenes and stunning sites. Upon returning home to California, he became inspired to show his work professionally. He’s since turned his lens on a variety of subjects, and his photography shows have drawn thousands of visitors from around the world. “I needed to learn how to learn and nurture my curiosity throughout a lifetime,” Friday says. “I got that at Pitt.”

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A L U M NI

HALL

1988

Michael Herron MED ’88 is now executive officer of the Operational Hospital Support Unit at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C. Robert Debski ENGR ’88 was named president of Graboyes Smart Buildings, a Philadelphia-based building performance firm.

1991

Kathleen Getz BUS ’91 was named one of The Daily Record of Maryland’s 2018 Top 100 Women. She is dean of the Sellinger School of Business and Management at

Loyola University Maryland. Steve Suroviec GSPIA ’91 was selected to serve as president and CEO of ACHIEVA, a national leader in services for children and adults with disabilities. He previously served as chief operations officer and director of intellectual/developmental disability services at the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association in Harrisburg, Pa. Paul Zolfaghari LAW ’91 is now managing director of operations at Carrick Capital Partners, LLC, a technology-focused investment firm based in Newport Beach and San Francisco, Calif.

SCENE IN SCOTLAND

Christine Carroll Namey (SHRS ’02G) and Tom Namey (A&S ’00, SHRS ’02G) introduced a Harris's hawk to Pitt Magazine while exploring the Scottish Highlands.

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SPOTLIGHT

Meaningful Movement BY SUSAN WIEDEL

A

t the end of the yoga class, when everyone is relaxed yet invigorated by the hour’s practice, instructor Felicia Savage Friedman introduces a final exercise. She asks the students to form a circle, with each person standing beside a classmate with a skin color different from their own. After instructing them to place their hands on their hearts and look each other in the eyes, she leads the group in a mantra: “When I am in that place of love, truth, light, and peace in me, and you are in that place in you, we are one." “The mindfulness encouraged by yoga is ideal for self-reflection and discussion of race,” Savage Friedman later explains. The Pitt alumna is an anti-racism trainer and yoga instructor with 22 years of experience and a belief in the connection between healthy bodies and minds, and healthy communities. She’s taught her approach to yoga, which she calls “Felicia Fusion,” to diverse groups of students in the Pittsburgh area, including those in the Allegheny County Jail and the Shuman Juvenile Detention Center. Now she’s bringing the conversation about health and race to young people, particularly children of color, with the goal of promoting positive racial identity development. Through Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education, a program within Pitt’s School of Education, Savage Friedman (CGS ’01, EDUC ’07) goes to community centers and schools to hold classes that combine yoga, drawing, and peer-to-peer communication. The safe and calming environment of a yoga classroom assists her in introducing and discussing ideas of selflove and the celebration of differences. By helping youngsters embrace who they are, Savage Friedman says she hopes to “encourage future generations to find the joy within themselves and others.”


CLASS NOTES 1996

Gregory Gromicko BUS ’96G is now a client services manager for the engineering and consulting firm POWER Engineers, Inc., at its York, Pa., office. The Central Pennsylvania Engineers Week Council selected him as 2018 Engineer of the Year.

1997

Norman Hainer Jr. A&S ’97 published ABC’s with Jakee (Outskirts Press), an educational children’s book inspired by the author’s son, Jakob. Hainer is a patent attorney at Smith & Nephew, Inc, and resides in Westlake, Ohio.

1998

Steven Singer A&S ’98, EDUC ’03G published Gadfly on the Wall: A Public School Teacher Speaks Out on Racism and Reform (Garn Press). Singer, an eighth-grade language arts teacher, was also a finalist for the 2018 Champions of Learning Award in Teaching, sponsored by the Consortium for Public Education in Pittsburgh.

1999

Charles Grindle SCI ’99G, ’14G joined Kentucky’s Commonwealth Office of

Technology as its new chief information officer. He also serves on Gov. Matt Bevin’s executive cabinet and previously served as associate professor at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.

2000

SCENE IN SLOVENIA

What pairs well with a great castle? A great read, of course! John Sefko (EDU ’70) took Pitt Magazine along when he journeyed to south-central Slovenia to see Predjama Castle, which was built in the mouth of a cave.

Michael A. Malia LAW ’00 advanced to partner at the New Jersey-based law firm of Peri & Stewart, LLC. His areas of expertise include complex insurance coverage matters, personal injury, and civil litigation.

2005

Melanie Linn Gutowski A&S ’05 published Kaufmann’s Department Store (Arcadia Publishing), a pictorial history of the Pittsburgh landmark, as part of the Images of America series.

Nicole Pezzino PHARM ’12, ’14G was named 2017-18 Academia Practice Director of the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association. She is an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Wilkes University’s Nesbitt School of Pharmacy.

Kenneth D. Hackman LAW ’08 was elected partner by the Philadelphia-based law firm Dechert LLP, where he represents investment banks, commercial banks, life insurance companies, institutional investors, specialty finance companies, real estate investment trusts, and private equity funds.

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2006

Guiping Hu ENGR ’06G, ’09G, an associate professor of industrial and manufacturing systems at Iowa State University, is creating a new digital application technology to increase manufacturing efficiency. She collaborates with companies like Boeing and John Deere to build systems that can be integrated into individual IT frameworks. Daniel Sumner BUS ’06G was voted chief financial officer of Westinghouse Electric Company by the Westinghouse board of directors. He has served as acting director since May 2017.

and business division. A certified public accountant accredited in business valuation, she focuses on tax and estate law. Yi Hong ENGR ’08G, an assistant professor of bioengineering at University of Texas Arlington, won a National Science Foundation Early Career Development program grant in support of his research designing biodegradable and elastic conductive materials, which could be used for muscle, neuron, and heart repair and regeneration.

2008

Kenneth Krause BUS ’09G won the

Laura DelFratte LAW ’08, BUS ’08G joined Eckert Seamans at its Pittsburgh office

2009

Pennsylvania region. He is vice president, chief financial officer, and treasurer of MSA Safety, a global safety equipment manufacturer.

2013

Claire Eckroate A&S ’13 is an account executive at the BGB Group, a New York City-based medical communications agency. Kristen R. McGuire A&S ’13 was named an associate at the York, Pa.-based law firm Stock and Leader. Her areas of practice include estate planning, estate administration, elder law, and fiduciary planning.

Pittsburgh Business Times 2017 CFO of the Year Award for the western

SCENE

Nathaniel Dutt A&S ’07 joined the law firm of Shuffield, Lowman, & Wilson, P.A., in Orlando, Fla. His practice areas include tax and corporate law.

2014

IN GREECE

Pitt pride can be a family affair—even while traveling. Last summer, the Balouris family and their friends visited the Grecian island of Evia and took Pitt Magazine along, too. From left to right: Mike Iasella (ENGR ’17), Karen Byers Lindauer (PHARM ‘97), Maria Balouris Handrinos (A&S ’92, LAW ’95), Christos Georgiou (ENGR ’90G), Zita Balouris Iasella (ENGR ’80), Athena Balouris Grover (EDUC ’88), Steven Iasella (ENGR ’14), Tom Germanos (A&S ’84), and Penny Balouris (ENGR ’88).

Adam Dove A&S ’14, a Pittsburgh-based writer, authored The Truth, a serialized novel sent to readers via email. Soyapi Mumba MED ’14 presented a talk at TEDGlobal 2017 on his work at the Baobab Health Trust in Malawi, where he is now director of public health informatics. As a software engineer, Mumba worked to create the East African nation’s electronic medical record system for HIV treatment. Hannah Thyberg NURS ’14 contributed a chapter to Reifying Women’s Experiences with Invisible Illness: Illusions, Delusions, Reality (Lexington Books), a book targeted toward students in the health communications field. Jessica Vamos BUS ’14 is the new executive director of the Humane Society of Cambria County in Johnstown, Pa.

Bobbi Jo “BJ” Leber A&S ’76 joined the Pennsylvania Commission for Women by invitation of Gov. Tom Wolf. Chosen for her dedication to Pennsylvania women and girls, Leber was sworn in by Pennsylvania Secretary of State Robert Torres in October 2017. 44

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CLASS NOTES I N

M E M O R I A M

Wilmer “Bill” K. Baldwin A&S ’58, December 2017, age 81, of Mt. Lebanon, Pa. A dedicated public servant, he began his career as assistant city manager of Wilkinsburg prior to his tenure as the municipal manager of Wilkins Township. Later, he served as assistant and then city manager of Mt. Lebanon. In the 1990s, he was an instructor at Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He was a volunteer and supporter of numerous organizations in the region. John “Jack” D’Amico A&S ’49, LAW ’52, November 2017, age 90, of Fort Worth, Tex. He was born in Stowe Township, Pa., and served in the U.S. Army as a young man. After earning bachelor’s and law degrees at Pitt, he was admitted to the bar in Pennsylvania. He worked for property and casualty insurance companies before retiring in 1989. Even after moving away from Pittsburgh, he remained an avid Pitt fan.

Juana Gamero de Coca CGS ’94, October 2017, age 57, of Middlebury, Vt. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Pitt and a doctorate in the same subject from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. In 2004, she began teaching at Middlebury College and became a tenured assistant professor of Spanish there in 2012. A native of Spain, she focused her scholarship on 20th- and 21st-century Spanish literature and culture and was valued as a respected teacher and scholar.

Edward Gerjuoy LAW ’77, January 2018, age 99, of Pittsburgh. As a theoretical physicist he worked on sonar technology for the U.S. Navy during World War II. He taught at several universities, including Pitt, where he began his research on the intersection of law and science, and later on quantum computing. He was made professor emeritus at Pitt in 2002. In 2013, he presented a TEDx talk in the Netherlands on successful aging. Earl Richard Koenig ENGR ’52, January 2018, age 88, of Eugene, Ore. He served two years in the U.S. Army and 10 years in the Standby Reserve. His career in industrial sales took him to cities across the country. Involved in his community in Eugene, he served as president of Eugene's Emerald Empire Kiwanis Club and volunteered with a number of organizations. He was a lifelong singer in barbershop quartets and choirs and had a passion for harmonizing.

Gary Lincoff A&S ’64, March 2018, age 75, of New York, N.Y. He was a selftaught and enthusiastic mycologist, or mushroom biologist, whose field guide to North American mushrooms sold a halfmillion copies. He taught at the New York Botanical Garden for more than 40 years and published many articles, songs, and poems about mushrooms. In 1981 he cofounded the Telluride Mushroom Festival in Telluride, Colo. In his obituary published in the New York Times, he was called “a pied piper of mushrooms.”

Emily L. Wilson A&S ’51, October 2017, John F. Ogurchak Jr. EDUC ’98G, March 2017, age 69, of Elizabeth Township, Pa. A native of Clairton, Pa., as a young man he was motivated to find work outside of the steel mills and soon found a passion for education. He earned a doctorate in education from Pitt and spent his entire career with the Clairton School District, serving as a teacher, principal, and superintendent before his retirement in 2007.

Ernest Harold Lampkins A&S ’76G, January 2018, age 89, of Shreveport, La. He was a music enthusiast, double bass player, Pitt-trained ethnomusicologist, and dedicated teacher. He founded the Louisiana School of Professions and served as a grade-school teacher and college professor. In his long musical career, he performed with Duke Ellington, Clark Terry, Roberta Flack, and Sammy Davis Jr. In 2004, he was elected mayor of Greenwood, La., and was actively involved in civic and community organizations throughout his life.

Paul Viccaro ENGR ’79, February 2017, age 59, of Upper St. Clair, Pa. He served as a professional engineer and managing director of facilities and handling support for FedEx Ground for 32 years. He loved his family and pets, enjoyed playing golf, and had a passion for sports, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins, and Pitt football. He was a talented baker, who loved to make cookies and breads for his family and friends during the holidays.

Federico “Fred” Reginella ENGR ’57, ’64G, December 2017, age 84, of Oakmont, Pa. He served as chief of the structural engineering departments of the Comstock Company, Swindell-Dressler Company, and the Peter F. Loftus Corporation. In the 1980s, he joined the City of Pittsburgh as assistant director of engineering and construction and became director in 1994. The Engineers Society of Western Pennsylvania named him Engineer of the Year in 2004 and the Pittsburgh City Council named Dec. 20, 2004 “Fred Reginella Day.”

age 95, of Broadview Heights, Ohio. A beloved English teacher, she inspired many generations of students to find the fun in reading. She taught in Parma City schools in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, for 28 years before retiring in 1981. In 2016, she was inducted into their Alumni Hall of Fame. Former students remember her fondly for her warmth and smile.

Lawrence M. Yahr BUS ’50, December 2017, age 91, of Pittsburgh. As a young man, he served as a member of the occupying forces in Japan during World War II. He successfully owned and operated Crown Rest Bedding Company, where he worked to provide a restful night’s sleep to many customers over the years. He supported the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh and was an enthusiastic handball player.

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ALUMNI ASSOCIATION

Pitt Is It in L.A.

Coming Back? It isn’t too early to start thinking about Homecoming 2018 and all it brings, including the Welcome Back Reception in the Cathedral, Distinguished Alumni Awards, and the Pitt vs. Syracuse football game. The big week is Oct. 1-7. Visit alumni.pitt. edu/homecoming for details.

Pitt Is It in L.A.: A Pitt delegation traveled to Los Angeles, Calif., earlier this year for a series of events to connect with alumni, meet with University supporters and other partners, and spread awareness of the public university named the best in the Northeast. Above, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher with L. Walter Sumansky (A&S ’52). Middle, Alicia Lowndes (A&S ’11) with Jeff Lowndes and Matt Valvardi. Bottom, from left, Barrie Fisher (DEN ’59) and Marcia Fisher; Daren DeFrank and Diane Niehaus; Daniel Darling (BUS ’02), Hiro Taylor (BUS ’05), and Amy Lind; Sylvia Ward and Frank Pinkus (BUS ’60).

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SCRAPBOOK Good to Go

Young Alumni Event

Young Alumni Event: A gathering in downtown Pittsburgh gave alumni a chance to sip champagne and gain networking tips from business leaders. Left to right: Shannon Finley (A&S ’11, EDU ’12) and Shenay Jeffrey (SHRS ’10).

T

he University of Pittsburgh and the Pitt Alumni Association are proud to welcome more than 6,000 graduates to our alumni family. We wish the class of 2018 all the best and encourage them to continue to be inspiring ambassadors for future graduates. With summer here, we turn our attention to preparing for this year’s Pitt Send-Offs, where alumni gather locally with incoming freshmen to welcome them into the Pitt family. We’re pleased to help make this transition a little easier for members of the University’s newest class and their families. Thank you for all you do to support Pitt by staying active with the Alumni Association. I encourage you to find new ways to get involved in your local Pitt Club or any of the numerous opportunities found at www.alumni. pitt.edu. Hail to Pitt!

Day of Service

Pitt+Stops

Jeff Gleim Associate Vice Chancellor for Alumni Relations and Executive Director, Pitt Alumni Association

Pitt+Stops: Experts are sharing their knowledge with alumni in western Pennsylvania through these professional development events. Recently, members of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence shared insights on prototyping. Shannon Mischler (above), Pitt Alumni Association director of regional clubs and advocacy, helped kick things off.

Day of Service: Members of Pitt’s Metro-DC African American Alumni Council collected goods to distribute to people in need during Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Young Reid Wilkerson (front) lends a hand—and a panther paw.

What the symbol means: To see more photos, visit alumni.pitt.edu

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NOW AND THEN

After a long winter, students soak up some sunshine outside of the Cathedral of Learning. PHOTO BY PITT VISUAL SERVICES

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SAVE THE DATE JOIN YOUR PITT FAMILY!

HOMECOMING 2018 OCTOBER 1-7

PITT VS. SYRACUSE OCTOBER 6 VISIT ALUMNI.PITT.EDU/HOMECOMING FOR A FULL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS, INCLUDING THE WELCOME BACK RECEPTION AND GAME DAY FESTIVITIES


UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH 4200 Fifth Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Hail to Pitt Day of Giving

4,354

With the help of alumni, students, faculty, staff, parents, and friends from six continents, we did it again! We came together on February 28, 2018 for the 2018 Day of Giving, surpassing last year’s total to set a new University record.

50 31

Gifts from all

#PittDayofGiving was seen

states and

2.88

countries

million times on social media

$9.17

million committed

Impact: Students, faculty, and staff across the University benefited from the generous support of Pitt’s global community.

Let the Victory Light Shine. It’s never too late to make your voice heard. Give today at GiveTo.Pitt.edu or call

1-800-817-8943.

Pitt Magazine, Summer 2018  

The latest issue of Pitt Magazine includes stories about an innovative program giving young women the tools to channel their international e...

Pitt Magazine, Summer 2018  

The latest issue of Pitt Magazine includes stories about an innovative program giving young women the tools to channel their international e...