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April 14, 2005

A twist: Retiree gives gifts to her staff

Usually it’s the retiree who gets the gifts.

But when Pat Warnick, director of Pitt’s Student Payment Center retired last month after 39 years at Pitt, she was the one giving the gifts.

Three years ago, in anticipation of her retirement, Warnick took up oil painting.

“I had made up my mind that if I was going to retire, I had better have something to do. Painting was something I always wanted to do,” Warnick said. After taking private classes from some local artists, she found out she had some talent as well as an interest.

Shortly after Warnick began painting, one of her assistants, Lois Vogle, retired. Warnick gave her a painting she had done of a covered bridge.

That gift spawned a much larger project: “When I gave Lois that painting two years ago, I made up my mind that I wanted to give a painting to everyone on my staff when I retired.” So she went to work.

It was her last assignment, although self-imposed, at Pitt and she met her deadline. During her last week of work, Warnick gave each of her 17 staff members, plus three other people in her department, an original oil painting depicting a landscape, seascape or flowers.

“I painted those pictures with the purpose of giving them to my employees,” she said.

In retirement, Warnick of course plans to keep on painting, but now it will be her friends and family who will be the beneficiaries of her efforts.

—Mary Ann Thomas

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