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April 14, 2016

Regionals announce commencement speakers


U.S. Air Force veteran and dentist Maj. James M. Piper II will deliver the keynote address at Pitt-Bradford’s May 1 commencement ceremony.

Before leaving the Air Force, Piper was the assistant director of maxillofacial prosthetics at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.

A graduate of Pitt-Bradford and Pitt’s School of Dental Medicine, Piper joined the U.S. Air Force Dental Corps in 2004. Assigned to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, he completed a residency in prosthodontics.

He joined the dental teaching staff at Offutt Air Base in Omaha, Nebraska, where he mentored and trained recent dental graduates.

He returned to San Antonio to study maxillofacial prosthetics, then remained on the staff of the prosthodontic residency program. Last year he resigned his commission to join Piedmont Dental Associates in North Carolina.

U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy will speak at Pitt-Greensburg’s April 30 commencement ceremony.

Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair) is serving his seventh term representing the 18th District of Pennsylvania, which includes parts of Allegheny, Washington, Greene and Westmoreland counties.

A senior member of the House energy and commerce committee, Murphy chairs the subcommittee on oversight and investigations.

A psychologist, Murphy is a Pitt adjunct faculty member in public health and in pediatrics. He also serves as a commander in the U.S. Naval Reserves Medical Service Corps.

Murphy is a 1974 graduate of Wheeling Jesuit University. He earned a master’s from Cleveland State University in 1976 and received a PhD in educational psychology at Pitt in 1979.

In 2011, Pitt named Murphy a Legacy Laureate, the highest honor bestowed on University alumni.

Urban real estate developer Monty Hoffman, founder and CEO of PN Hoffman, will deliver the commencement address at Pitt-Johnstown April 30.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in civil/structural engineering technology at UPJ.

Hoffman started his company in 1993 and has built the company into a market leader in the Washington, D.C., metro area. He leads the company’s business development and market strategy as well as the design initiatives for every PN Hoffman project.

Among current projects are The Wharf, a $2 billion mixed-use redevelopment on D.C.’s southwest waterfront, and The Darcy and The Flats, a $250 million mixed use retail, parking, condo and rental project in Bethesda.

Peace activist Rais Bhuiyan, founder and president of World Without Hate (, will speak at Pitt-Titusville’s April 30 ceremony.

Bhuiyan was shot by a white supremacist in Texas shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. The shooter attacked people he believed were Middle Eastern, killing a Pakistani immigrant in a Dallas grocery store on Sept. 15, 2001.

Bhuiyan, a native of Bangladesh, was shot in the face six days later while working in a Dallas convenience store. He survived, but lost vision in one eye. The shooter also killed an Indian immigrant before being arrested. Bhuiyan forgave his attacker, who recanted his supremacist beliefs before being executed in 2011.

Bhuiyan’s story was told in the book, “The True American: Murder & Mercy in Texas,” which is being turned into a movie. Bhuiyan received a BS in aeronautics from the National University in Dhaka. He also studied information technology in New York and Dallas.

Now manager of a team of systems engineers and data centers for Sabre Holdings in Southlake, Texas, Bhuiyan divides his time between his work and delivering talks on the power of forgiveness.

—Kimberly K. Barlow 

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