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

June 22, 2006

Farewell: Pitt employees close the book on their careers

Pitt may look a little different come July 1.

A lot of familiar faces around the University will be gone — or at least seen much less frequently.

Though June 30 always concludes Pitt’s fiscal year, this year the date also marks the end of a special two-year window for eligible employees to retire with a choice of medical insurance plans.

Human Resources officials said they did not track those employees who chose to retire specifically because of the insurance options, but some schools and departments indicated a higher number of retirements this year than usual.

Here’s a sampling of some who are closing the books on their Pitt careers.

If you’ve planned an event on the Pittsburgh campus, there’s a good chance you know Fran Czak, who served as director of Special Events for many years. Czak, who has been director of the University Senate for the past nine-plus years, has been a Pitt staffer for 33 years.

Vicki Mauclair has left her mark on many University publications. Mauclair, who started here in 1979 as a freelancer, was hired in 1983 as a graphic designer in the Department of News and Publications and was named graphics director in 1987.

In the School of Nursing, Dolores (Dee) O’Donnell, administrative assistant in the Office of the Dean, is retiring after 21 years, as is Loretta Morobitto, administrator in the Department of Health Promotion and Development, a 27-year veteran at the school.

C. Richard Bennett, chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at the School of Dental Medicine since 1971, is retiring this month.

School of Social Work professor Edward Sites, an expert in child welfare practice, education and research, has been a faculty member here for 39 years. He also earned his Ph.D. from Pitt.

Sites has been the coordinator of the school’s child, youth and family concentration, coordinator of the child welfare certificate program and the principal investigator on at least one federal-, state- or foundation-funded child welfare project every year since 1971.

Social work also is losing to retirement faculty member Esther Sales, professor and Ph.D. program director. In addition to chairing and serving on many doctoral dissertation committees during her years at the school, she has been director of the doctoral program since 1999. She also has served as associate vice chair of the University’s Institutional Review Board, overseeing the school’s research review process regarding ethical treatment of human subjects.

After 39 years at Pitt, Donald H. McBurney’s Jung days are behind him. The psychology professor taught introductory courses for more than 30 years and also was vice president of University Senate.

Professor of English Mary Briscoe came to Pitt in 1972 as founding director of the women’s studies program. She served as chair of the English department from 1977 to 1987. Briscoe also was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, 1987-1996, then returned to the English department to teach full time.

Valerie Krips joined the English faculty in 1991 and in 1995 was named director of the children’s literature program. She helped revamp the program, which now boasts 80 students a year.

“I am, of course, sad to retire, yet I am glad that I will keep an association with the University, which has been a very happy home for me,” Krips said.

Robert Gary Houston started at Pitt as a student employee in 1965 and joined the staff in 1970, advancing through the ranks in the Division of Student Affairs. He served as interim director of Placement and Career Services, the Office of International Services and the Student Health Service.

Most recently director of operations for the Medical and Health Sciences Foundation, a joint effort of Pitt and UPMC, Houston led the conversion of the benefits program, assisted with the foundation’s first tax return and worked with counsel to secure the foundation’s 501(c)3 status.

Religious studies professor Fred W. Clothey, who has taught at Pitt for more than 30 years, retired at the end of the spring semester. The co-founder of the Pitt in India program, he chaired religious studies for three different terms and also was dean of Semester at Sea (fall 1988) and acting director of the Asian studies program (1979-1980).

Sociology is losing two professors to retirement: Patrick Doreian and Thomas J. Fararo. Doreian, whose expertise is in mathematical sociology, has retired after a one-year appointment at Pitt in 1971 turned into 35 years at the University. Fararo, who came to Pitt in 1967, served as the department’s director of graduate studies in the 1970s and was named a Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology in 1998.

Three familiar faces from Facilities Management have retired: Faye Adams, a 15-year Pitt employee who worked in the Information Sciences building; Francis Helbling, a 36-year veteran who worked in the Clapp-Langley-Crawford complex, and Ronnie Bolden, who worked in Thackeray Hall and retired after 19 years at Pitt.

Faculty in the School of Medicine who have announced their retirement include Jan Smith, Miroslav Klain and Etsuro Motoyama of anesthesiology; Sandra Kaplan of pathology; James Dauber, Raymond Rault, Anthony Vagnucci, Frank Bruns, David Segel and Zella Zeigler of medicine; Richard Brenner of neurology; Martin Ontell of cell biology and physiology; Stanley Stezoski of critical care medicine, and Jerry Martin of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences.

Staff members retiring from posts in the Health Sciences include 18-year staff member Grace Bindas, a secretary in the office of the Senior Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences, and Roseann Thomas, an administrator in the Department of Medicine.

Glema Burke, who started at Pitt in 1970 as a part-time secretary in the Graduate School of Public Health, moved to the University Center for International Studies (UCIS) in 1979 as a finance assistant. Later, she was named assistant to the director of UCIS, followed by positions as assistant director and director of management there.

“Yes, I am retiring June 30,” she said. “I still can’t believe it. Was there life before Pitt? I can’t remember….”

Also retiring from UCIS is Janet Helfand, assistant director of the global studies program. She started at Pitt 1983 as a part-time research assistant in the School of Education, and has held full-time positions as a communications specialist in the Office of the Dean of the School of Education, 1986-1989, and assistant to the provost (under Donald Henderson, Mark Nordenberg and James Maher), 1989-2001.

Allen “Skip” Grandey, who works as a faculty and staff Macintosh computer support person in Computing Services and Systems Development (CSSD), is retiring this month. He has been at Pitt since 1970.

Also at CSSD, administrator Ruth Guenther is retiring after 14 years of service.

Margaret Mary Kimmel, professor and chair of the Department of Library and Information Science at the School of Information Sciences, was honored June 9 with a retirement party.

A 1996 Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award recipient, her retirement has sparked additional service from those around her. Friends, colleagues and family donated more than $5,000 to the Margaret Hodges Scholarship Fund.

With 28 years of service in educating library and children’s literature professionals, Kimmel has been recognized for her dedication and efforts on behalf of her community and the profession.

She earned her doctorate in library and information sciences at Pitt.

Barbara Donahue, who re-tired earlier this year, had worked for about the past decade in the School of Arts and Sciences (A&S) Student Records office. Prior to moving to Student Records, she was a familiar face in the Registrar’s office. Her colleague in Student Records, Karen Madia, who is in charge of the file room at A&S, is retiring June 30.

Mary Helen Hough began her career at Pitt in 1975, serving 22 years at the American Cleft Palate Craniofacial Association and Cleft Palate and Cleft Palate Foundation at the School of Dental Medicine. She followed that with three years at Institutional Advancement/Office of Development at the School of Medicine.

She retires as an administrator in the School of Education’s offices of the dean and development.

Familiar to generous alumni as well as to colleagues on campus, Gail McGuire, a major gifts officer in A&S and the University Honors College, also is retiring at the end of the fiscal year. She’s been at Pitt for 15 years. “My job has been a joy,” she said.

The A&S development office also is losing administrative assistant Elaine O’Brien to retirement.

Driving off into the sunset at the Department of Parking, Transportation and Services (PTS) are a handful of longtime employees with collectively more than 100 years of Pitt experience.

Among them are two familiar faces from the Parking and Transportation office: Lenore Rosen, a 32-year Pitt employee who’s greeted many a traveler or commuter. And Kay Sullivan will be handing out keys to Pitt motor pool users for the last time later this month. Sullivan has been at Pitt for 15 years.

Pushing the department’s years-of-experience figures into the triple digits are Phil Hopbell, manager of Central Receiving and Moving Services, Mike Cecere of Fleet Services and William A. Thomas of Receiving Services. The men, who have more than 60 years at Pitt among them, also were among the PTS staff members honored at a recent retirement party at the William Pitt Union.

Two Pitt-Johnstown staff members instrumental in students’ day-to-day lives, Bruce Haselrig, who directed the student union, and Jake Stiffler, director of housing and residence life, both are retiring this year after more than 30 years.

Some UPJ offices won’t look the same come fall: Sandra Golden, a secretary in institutional advancement, is retiring after 24 years as is Linda Erwin in Financial Aid (21 years). Betty Lewis is leaving the UPJ registrar’s office after 34 years with the University and Connie Torr, an 11-year employee, is retiring from the business office.

Three cleaners from the UPJ physical plant department: 18-year employees Louie Luque and Wayne Smith, and Robert Taylor, who’s been at Pitt 11 years are retiring.

And Patricia Richardson, a 28-year UPJ employee, is leaving the computer center. Linus Pryal of the UPJ engineering/machine shop is retiring after 23 years.

Nancy C. Grove, associate professor and coordinator of the school nurse certificate program at Pitt-Johnstown, came to UPJ in 1972 as an adjunct associate professor of natural sciences. She has served as director of the nursing program at UPJ for the past 16 years.

She also helped pioneer graduate education via distance-learning techniques at the campus.

Other faculty members retiring from UPJ include Denis Robitaille, associate professor of French and former Division of Humanities chair, who came to Pitt in 1971; chemistry professor George B. Trimitsis, who has been at UPJ 27 years, and associate professors of English Charles L. Darr, who came to Pitt in 1968, and Richard Franklin Strojan, who came to Pitt in 1971.

Andrew Dzirkalis, associate professor of political science at Pitt-Bradford, just finished his 30th and final year teaching in the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Three prominent Pitt-Greensburg employees are “calling it a day.”

Gerry Enlow is retiring after 26 years at UPG, most recently as Village coordinator in the Student Services office. Associate professor of chemistry Stanley Katzman is retiring after 29 years. And professor of physics Ted “Dr. Z” Zaleskiewicz is retiring after 42 years.

Several familiar faces also will be missed at Pitt-Titusville. Librarian Allen Hughes is departing after 41 years of service to the University.

And spouses James Messmer, a physics professor at UPT, and Wilhelmina Messmer, a UPT chemistry professor, chose to take retirement from the University as a couple.

—Peter Hart & Kimberly K. Barlow

Leave a Reply