Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

January 19, 2006


Robbie Ali, director of the Center for Healthy Environments and Communities at the Graduate School of Public Health (GSPH), was one of six Pittsburghers elected last month to the Pittsburgh Public Schools Alumni Hall of Fame.

Now in its third year, the hall of fame program highlights graduates of the Pittsburgh School District who have distinguished themselves through their career and their service to the community.

Ali, who also holds joint appointments at GSPH in the departments of behavioral and community health sciences and of environmental and occupational health, is a Pittsburgh native who attended Peabody High School, where he has coordinated a number of special programs. Those programs include the Coordinated School Health Council and the CAST (college after-school team) mentoring program.

In addition, Ali is the liaison for the Highmark-funded Pittsburgh Obesity Prevention Initiative and serves on the school district’s wellness policy committee.


The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) announced two administrative appointments last week.

Vijaya Gandhi will assume the role of associate director of administration and strategic planning at UPCI. Gandhi will continue as director of clinical research services and take on added responsibilities as the designated administrator for the cancer institute’s support grant and contact for the National Cancer Institute and other National Institutes of Health agencies. She will work on fiscal strategies for expansion of UPCI’s research endeavors and provide operational leadership for the clinical research program. Gandhi has worked with Ronald Herberman, UPCI’s director, for more than 10 years.

Maryann Donovan has been named associate director for research services and advancement. Donovan will be responsible for oversight of shared resources and coordination of research and faculty development activities, and will prepare and coordinate submissions to secure institutional funding to support research.

She also will become UPCI’s scientific representative to the Pennsylvania Cancer Control Consortium and the Pennsylvania Cancer.


Chief resident Costas Hadjipanayis received the best presentation award in the inaugural Department of Neurological Surgery Stuart Rowe Society Lectureship last month.

Hadjipanayis’s presentation on DNA repair was one of 10 research lectures presented by department residents during the day honoring Stuart Niles Rowe, the department’s first chairman and an early advocate of broad neurosurgical training.


Pitt-Greensburg President Frank A. Cassell has announced that Patty LaMantia is the recipient of the 2005 Award for Staff Excellence.

“Nurse Patty” is the director of the campus’s health center. She was chosen by the president based on recommendations from a panel of civic leaders.

Under her leadership, Pitt-Greensburg has participated in relief efforts for Hurricane Ivan and the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami. LaMantia also has organized blood drives on campus and has participated in first aid and CPR training.

LaMantia joined the UPG staff in 1996.


Jeanne Susko and Linus Ronald Pryal have been named the recipients of Pitt-Johnstown’s President’s Staff Awards.

Susko, UPJ Office of Outreach coordinator of community programming, was the recipient of the seventh annual President’s Award for Excellence in Service.

She has been involved with a variety of projects on the UPJ campus, including engaging the campus community in donating items to send to UPJ service men and women stationed in Iraq and purchasing and distributing flowers on Veterans’ Day to employees whose spouses or children were serving in the Middle East. Susko’s other volunteer projects include helping to collect and package donations for the UPJ Hurricane Katrina Relief Project for the American Red Cross; participating in the UPJ Salvation Army Project Bundle-Up; volunteering at UPJ’s commencement; assisting the Light the Night staff in processing donations, and volunteering at a Red Cross blood drive.

She also serves on the board of directors for the Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center and the Women’s Information Network.

In announcing Susko’s award, President Albert Etheridge stated, “It is evident that Jeanne is very active in the UPJ community and that she cares for her colleagues and for the students. Jeanne goes the extra mile to help others both reach their potential and to help sustain a healthy working environment.”

Pryal, machine shop supervisor, was the recipient of the first annual President’s Staff Award for Excellence in Service to the Community. The new award recognizes the increasing level of service by UPJ employees to the community.

Pryal has worked for more than 10 years with the Somerset County Habitat for Humanity. As chair of its building committee, he has helped to procure funding, serve as the project and site manager and recruit volunteers. His efforts have led to the construction of 13 homes for families in the Somerset County area.

Etheridge stated, “Ron was a most deserving choice to receive the inaugural award for service to the community. His labor on behalf of the Habitat for Humanity is an example of his commitment to the community and his willingness to be a participant in making things better. Ron exhibits a love for his community in the best possible way: He acts.”

Susko and Pryal each received $1,000 and an engraved mantel clock.

Leave a Reply