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April 27, 2017

People of the Times

Tony Gibson has been hired as executive director of federal relations in the Office of Community and Governmental Relations. He will lead the University’s Washington, D.C., office. Prior to his appointment at Pitt, he had been senior adviser for legislative affairs at the National Science Foundation (NSF), where he had worked for nearly 15 years.

Gibson, who began his career in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1993, moved to the White House Science and Technology Office in 1997 before joining the National Science Foundation in 2002 as a senior legislative policy analyst.

During his time at NSF, he worked as a congressional affairs group leader and legislative division director before moving into his role as senior adviser for legislative affairs. As senior adviser, he was responsible for the leadership of NSF’s strategic legislative posture and operations and the planning and coordination of the foundation’s legislative outreach to policymakers.

He earned a B.S. in political science and international and comparative relations at Northern Arizona University and an M.A. in national security and strategic studies at the Naval War College. He also did post-graduate executive-level training at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and the U.S. government’s Federal Executive Institute.

The Renaissance Society of America has awarded Todd Reeser’s “Setting Plato Straight” the Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize, which recognizes the best book of the year in Renaissance studies.

Reeser is a faculty member in the Department of French and Italian Languages and Literatures in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

The Gordan book award committee’s citation for the award read: “In ‘Setting Plato Straight,’ Reeser offers us a superbly nuanced, game-changing study of the history of sexuality through the lens of Renaissance translations of Plato. Reeser’s close readings of a wide range of continental texts are lucid and sophisticated, and his philological work is exemplary throughout.

“The book does an exceptional job of attending with care and rigor to both sexuality and hermeneutics (as well as to their intersection). The book has broad and significant implications for Renaissance studies. Scholars interested in humanism and humanist reading practices, Renaissance translation and philology, and the use of queer theory as a heuristic for Renaissance texts will all find the book engaging, challenging, useful and even entertaining.”


potts.keith gavin.wrestlingKeith Gavin has been named the 11th head coach of Pitt’s wrestling team.

Gavin steps into his first head coaching role and returns to his alma mater after spending a year as an assistant with the Oklahoma Sooners as well as three years as an assistant with the Virginia Cavaliers.

While with the Sooners, Gavin assisted in qualifying eight wrestlers for the 2017 NCAA championships, while the team earned a second-place finish at the Big 12 championships.

Prior to making the move to OU, he spent three seasons with the Cavaliers, guiding them to the 2015 ACC championship title. That same year, seven wrestlers qualified for the NCAA championships and three made it to the Round of 12 as well as one garnering All-America status.

After graduating from Pitt in 2008, Gavin remained on the staff for a season to work with the middle to upper weights. He then started training for his freestyle career. He had numerous top finishes at the international level, including a runner-up finish at the 2010 and 2014 U.S. world team trials and, in 2011, a third place at the world team trials and a second place finish at the Pan-American games.

Gavin was a member of the U.S. national team for over six years, placing third at the 2012 U.S. Olympic trials before capturing the U.S. national championship in 2013 and 2014.

As a Panther, Gavin was the 2008 174-pound national champion and a two-time All-American. His 120 career wins rank eighth in program history. Gavin is a two-time Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) champion, two-time EWL Wrestler of the Year and is a member of the EWL Hall of Fame.


potts.brienza,dave copyDavid Brienza, associate dean of research in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS), received the Kosiak Award from the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP) for his contributions to the prevention and/or management of pressure injuries.

The Kosiak Award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the prevention and/or management of pressure injuries through their leadership in the areas of research, education and/or patient care.

Brienza received the award at NPUAP’s 2017 biennial conference.


potts.toto,pamAlso in SHRS, faculty member Pamela Toto was named as the 2017 Healthcare Professional Geriatrics Teacher of the Year by the Pennsylvania Geriatric Society western division.

The award recognizes a health care professional who has made significant contributions to the education and training of learners in geriatrics and to the progress of geriatrics education across the health professions.


Alumnus Barbara J. Christner will be the speaker at Pitt-Greensburg’s 2017 commencement. The ceremony will be held April 29 at 11 a.m. on Ridilla Field (rain location: Chambers Hall gymnasium).

A 1985 UPG graduate, she is vice president and shareholder at Ward & Christner, PC, in Greensburg. In 2010, Pitt-Greensburg selected her as its Alumna of Distinction, an award that recognizes excellence among UPG alumni based on outstanding level of professional achievements, service to the community, service to the University, special recognition or honors, and other special efforts or success.

Christner also graduated from Duquesne Law School.

A past president of the Westmoreland Bar Association (WBA), Christner served on that board for seven years as a director or officer.

She has served on the boards of the Lutheran Youth and Family Services (now Glade Run), the Westmoreland Choral Society, and various committees at the First Lutheran Church of Greensburg.

She is a current member of UPG’s advisory board.


At Pitt-Greensburg’s commencement ceremony, faculty member J. Wesley Jamison will receive the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service.

Jamison was vice president for academic affairs until last spring, when he returned to the classroom as a faculty member in information science. He had served in the vice president’s role since 2006, including one year as interim vice president for academic affairs.

The President’s Award for Distinguished Service recognizes Jamison’s leadership and collaboration with faculty, which led to the development of nine new majors over the past 10 years. In addition to the newly announced nursing major, Pitt-Greensburg has added majors in biochemistry, chemistry, early childhood education, secondary education, information technology, public policy, Spanish and Spanish education. Under Jamison’s direction, the total number of majors has risen to 28.

He also marshaled three certificate programs through the approval process, including arts entrepreneurship, digital studies and manufacturing management, bringing the total number of certificate programs to five.

Jamison began his career at Pitt-Greensburg in 1987 as the first full-time faculty member to teach information science, serving as an assistant professor of behavioral and information sciences for five years. He had a joint appointment with the Department of Information Science and Telecommunications in Pitt’s School of Information Sciences from 1989 through the mid-1990s. Prior to 1987, he taught there as a lecturer and teaching fellow.

Early in his career, he served as a programmer and analyst for Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and earned tenure at Eastern Michigan University as an associate professor of psychology.

Jamison earned his B.A. in psychology from Allegheny College and an M.S. and Ph.D. in psychology from Penn State. He also earned an M.S. in information science from Pitt.


Chancellor emeritus Mark A. Nordenberg will be the keynote speaker at Pitt-Bradford’s commencement ceremony April 30.

Commencement will be held at 2 p.m. in the KOA Arena.

Nordenberg currently is chairman of Pitt’s Institute of Politics.

He came to Pitt as a member of the law school faculty in 1977. The school awarded him its inaugural Excellence in Teaching Award, and he was among the first faculty members to receive the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award.

After serving as dean of law and interim provost, Nordenberg was elected interim chancellor in 1995. The following year, the trustees chose him to be Pitt’s 17th chancellor, a position he held for 19 years.

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