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January 20, 2005

2 UPJ Staff Named Winners of President’s Award

Elizabeth Whiteman, associate director of housing and residence life, and Robert Knipple, director of outreach and professional services, have been named the recipients of the sixth annual Pitt-Johnstown President’s Award for Excellence in Service.

In announcing the award, UPJ President Albert Etheridge stated, “Beth is committed to providing UPJ students with a safe and secure environment. She is recognized as an individual that encourages students to ‘spread their wings’ and to explore their talents. She is recognized, across campus, as the champion of students. Beth never refuses to take on additional assignments and has always been willing to assume responsible committee assignments.”

Whiteman, a 1980 UPJ graduate, joined the staff in 1999. She also works with a number of community service organizations, directs students in developing programs for local children’s groups, and is instrumental in the Student Life “Adopt a Family” program, which leads the efforts of students in providing assistance to needy families in the Greater Johnstown Community.

In addition, according to Etheridge, Whiteman works beyond the standard hours. “You will find Beth on campus, in resident halls, in the Student Union, or other locations at most any time during a 24-hour period,” Etheridge said. “She has contributed in noticeable ways to the success of the freshman year experience and to the exceptional retention rate that UPJ enjoys.”

“Receiving the President’s Award is a very humbling experience – especially knowing the work of those before me and that of those whose virtue and character have yet to be sung,” Whiteman said. “The award is a tribute to my parents, who have lovingly shaped me into the person I am, and to the supportive and helpful supervisors, student employees, colleagues and friends at UPJ who have enabled me to serve our community in ways that I alone never could have.”

Knipple, a 1987 Pitt-Johnstown graduate, joined the UPJ staff in 1985.

Etheridge stated, “Through his years at UPJ, Bob has continued to advance professionally. During this time he has consistently encouraged his peers and colleagues to take advantage of their talents and assist them in reaching their goals. Bob never refuses to take on additional assignments and has always been willing to assume responsible committee assignments.”

In addition to his campus activities Knipple is involved extensively in the Greater Johnstown Community, Etheridge noted. “The quality of his community work has earned him much deserved recognition from many community leaders and service organizations. His investment in the success of UPJ is a reflection of his values and commitment. He continues to take advantage of opportunities to initiate new programs that serve a myriad of audiences. His commitment to the success of the Great Americans Day Lecture, Salute to Working Women, and LEARN Program are examples of the breadth and depth of his commitment to UPJ and its community.”

“I’m very honored and flattered to receive this award, but I share it with the many other employees who inspire excellence in each other through their commitment and dedication,” Knipple said.

While it is uncommon to recognize two recipients to receive the President’s Award for Excellence in Service for staff in the same year, the individuals recognized are equally deserving, Etheridge said.

“It would have been a disservice to recognize only one,” he said. “A common characteristic of these recipients is their commitment to the entire UPJ community. They do not recognize boundaries and they are energetic in their pursuit of goals articulated by students, staff, or faculty.”

Whiteman and Knipple each received a $1,000 stipend and an engraved mantle clock with the university seal.

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