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April 17, 1997

UPJ conference center wins award

The Conference Center at Pitt's Johnstown campus (UPJ) has been given the 1997 Outstanding Institutional Achievement Award of the Association of Conference and Events Directors-International (ACED-I).

Conference Center director Charles Salem, assistant director Christian Stumpf and graduate assistant Dennis Horner accepted the international award at ACED-I's annual meeting last month in Seattle.

The award recognizes significant achievement in the collegiate conference industry by an institution based on a long-term development that represents a milestone in collegiate conference and events management.

According to UPJ's Salem, this is the first time that a small institution such as UPJ has been selected for the honor.

"This is an award which the Conference Center shares with the entire Pitt-Johnstown campus and the greater Johnstown community," Salem said. "Without the support from the campus and the community, we could not have achieved this recognition from our peers." In particular, Salem praised the cooperation he has received from UPJ's physical plant and food service departments.

ACED-I was founded in 1980 by a group of professionals committed to the development of college and university conference and events professionals. The group works to define the role of campus conference and special events programs and the staff that coordinates them.

UPJ's Conference Center was nominated for the award by Michelle Nichols, publisher of "The Guide to Unique Meeting Facilities." The awards committee was comprised of representatives from 20 ACED-I member institutions.

"This team's exciting combination of entrepreneurial spirit and exceptional customer service has quickly attracted attention from colleagues and the meetings' industry at large," Nichols noted. "Watch these professionals as they take collegiate conferencing to new levels." UPJ's Conference Center coordinates more than 600 events each year. About 60 percent of the events and conferences are repeat users.

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