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May 12, 2016

Obituary: Carl A. Rossman Jr.

obit.Carl Rossman-DSC_0030A memorial service for Carl A. Rossman Jr. will be held at 3 p.m. tomorrow, May 13, in Pitt-Greensburg’s Campana Chapel. Friends will be received there beginning at 2 p.m.

Rossman, UPG’s vice president for administrative affairs, died April 24, 2016, of complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 68.

A retired Air Force colonel who came to Pitt-Greensburg after a 24-year military career, Rossman would have marked 17 years of employment at UPG on May 1.

“When you saw Carl, you would have known he was a military man,” said UPG President Sharon Smith. He maintained the posture, demeanor and impeccable dress of an officer, with his outward appearance reflecting the inner man, she said.

His ability to attend to the smallest of details while keeping sight of the big picture served him well in his work on campus, where he was responsible for finances, risk management, facilities, security, conferencing, and IT and technology services.

“He was extremely disciplined and organized, and conscious of deadlines,” Smith said. With any project, “if I knew he was in charge, it was done right.”

A particular area of Rossman’s expertise was in campus security, Smith said. He established two emergency operations centers on campus and, with the support of local emergency officials, conducted campus-wide drills to prepare for a broad range of possible dangers — from weather emergencies to a plane crash on campus to a gunman or hostage situation.

Rossman oversaw many building and renovation projects on the Greensburg campus. He was instrumental in interfacing with the Facilities Management staff during construction of UPG’s first sustainable classroom and office building, Cassell Hall, said J. Wesley Jamison, vice president for academic affairs. The LEED Gold-certified structure was completed in 2012.

Jamison remembered Rossman as exacting, demanding and conscientious, with a strong focus on what was best for the campus.

“What I appreciated most was his attention to detail,” Jamison said.

Richard McMahon, director of dining services at UPG, agreed. “He had an eye for everything,” McMahon said. “You had to anticipate what he was going to ask for … if it was beef on the menu, he’d want to be sure there was A-1 Sauce,” he said.

“And the condiments were the spice of life. He ran projects that way too,” McMahon said. “He had to have everything in place” … down to the smallest of details.

McMahon worked closely with Rossman in upgrading campus dining areas. Projects included expansion of Wagner Dining Hall and renovations to Bobcat Station, both in Chambers Hall, and upgrades that have made the Village Coffee House more student-friendly.

“He had a knack for bringing in all the necessary resources you would need,” McMahon said, adding that the plans were always ambitious but always tied to the budget.

“The complexion of the campus completely changed on his watch,” McMahon said. He said Rossman always strove to ensure that the improvements were done correctly and met end users’ needs.

“The end result is the campus is gorgeous,” McMahon said.

“Carl loved this campus. He loved what he was doing,” McMahon said.
He created procedures and rules to ensure the smoothest operations, McMahon said. Mistakes could be made, but those that resulted from a failure to follow procedure — “Then you had no leg to stand on,” McMahon said.

Rossman’s commitment to quality pushed everyone to do a little more, McMahon said. In the projects already underway and in future plans, “Everyone wants to make sure the details Carl would have wanted to have will be there,” McMahon said. “His presence is still felt and will be for a long time.”


Rossman was a member of the National Association of College and University Business Officers and the Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in education at The Citadel and a master’s degree in systems management from the University of Southern California.

He was proud of his Air Force service, Smith said. Trained as a pilot, Rossman was stationed in the United States and Germany. Over the course of his military career, he also served as associate dean of faculty development, Air Force Systems Command; chief of the 8th Air Force Division Headquarters safety division; head of the North Atlantic Section of the United States Atlantic Command; commander of the 42nd Transportation Squadron; and deputy commander of the 42nd Combat Support Group at Loring Air Force Base.

Rossman was active in veterans’ groups and each year participated in interviewing service academy nominees from State Rep. Tim Murphy’s district.

His volunteer service extended to Westmoreland Hospice, the Boy Scouts, YMCA and March of Dimes. He also was involved in the annual Westmoreland Croquet Club tournament, a charitable fundraiser held each year on the Pitt-Greensburg campus.

The Rotary Club of Greensburg in January named Rossman its Rotarian of the Year in recognition of his 15 years of service to the organization. He had been a member of its board of directors and a past president.

Rossman was a regional coordinator of the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy. He also hosted students as part of the local club’s exchange program with the Greensburg, Kansas, Rotary Club. A native of Virginia, Rossman would take the visiting Midwestern high schoolers to see sites related to the nation’s early history, Smith said.

Rossman was posthumously awarded the UPG President’s Medal for Distinguished Service during the campus’s April 30 commencement. President Smith stated: “At Pitt-Greensburg, Carl set ambitious goals for the school, himself and all who worked with him. He had an uncompromising dedication to quality and made a lifelong commitment of service to the community that was only outpaced by his commitment to his family.”

Beyond his work, he enjoyed travel, dining, movies, musical theatre and motorcycle touring.

Rossman is survived by a son and daughter, Matthew Rossman and Mary Rossman; daughter-in-law Penelope Rossman; and granddaughter Lyla Rossman.

His wife of 45 years, Joyce, died in 2015.

Memorial donations may be made to the Rotary Youth Leadership Academy in care of the Rotary Club of Greensburg, 505 E. Pittsburgh St., Greensburg 15601.

—Kimberly K. Barlow 

A memorial service for Daniel S. Russell will be held at 11 a.m. May 20 in Heinz Chapel. Following the service, there will be a reception at the PAA. Russell, emeritus professor and former chair of the Department of French and Italian Languages and Literatures in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, died April 10, 2016.

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