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

December 4, 2008

Obituary: Ana M. Guzman

Ana M. Guzman, retired associate vice chancellor of Facilities Management, died Dec. 1, 2008, following a brief illness.

During her tenure leading Facilities Management from 1996 until 2005, Guzman presided over an unprecedented era of expansion on Pitt’s five campuses.

After her retirement, Guzman continued her association with the University, serving as a consultant as well as a member of the Pitt United Way steering committee.

“It is impossible to overstate the value of her contributions to the University,” said Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “In fact, her impact was so significant that I used to refer to her, both publicly and privately, as ‘St. Ana,’ a title reflecting the enormous respect she had earned throughout the University community.”

A native of Argentina who earned a degree at the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Guzman came to Pittsburgh in 1967 with two small children and her husband, Alberto, a materials science engineer who was hired that year by Carnegie Mellon.

“I decided to go to work right away,” Guzman told the University Times just prior to her retirement in 2005. “I had a degree in architecture and I didn’t want to lose the training.”

She also wanted to learn the English language better, so Guzman took a part-time job with John Schurko and Associates, a Downtown architectural firm that specialized in university architecture and state-funded projects. At that time she was one of only four female architects in Pittsburgh.

Guzman left the Schurko architectural firm with associate status and began her Pitt career in 1978 as a construction supervisor and designer for the Bradford and Johnstown campuses. She then moved to the Pittsburgh campus as a project manager, manager of state-funded projects and director of design planning, among other responsibilities.

She was named head of Facilities Management in 1996. That put her in charge of some 500 employees, 64 buildings, more than 6.5 million square feet of building space and 12 miles of underground utilities on the Pittsburgh campus alone.

During her last decade at Pitt, Guzman presided over the largest capital development effort in the University’s history — more than $500 million in capital projects that included the Petersen Events Center, Sennott Square and the renovation of Alumni Hall.

She also is credited with leading Pitt’s campus beautification efforts by providing consistent building signage, improved outdoor lighting and seasonal flora where green space allowed.

Jerome Cochran, executive vice chancellor and Guzman’s former boss, said, “Everywhere you turn on Pitt’s campuses, you see the gift that was Ana’s.”

Guzman’s professional success transcended the University campuses: In addition to being one of the few women in the country to manage large-scale construction projects, she also was the first woman appointed to the City of Pittsburgh’s Board of Appeals, eventually becoming board chair. She also was the first woman invited to membership in the Association of University Architects. She served as that organization’s president (1995-96), received its distinguished service award in 2004 and was named a fellow of the association that same year.

She also was named to the Pennsylvania State Architecture Licensure Board and to the board of trustees of the Ellis School.

In addition to her husband, Guzman is survived by her son Javier Guzman; her daughter Ana Cecilia Quezada; five grandchildren, Luis, Alex, Elliot, Rio and Cruz; two sisters; a brother, and two sisters-in-law.

A service in celebration of Guzman’s life is set for noon, Dec. 5, in Heinz Memorial Chapel, with a reception following in the Connolly Ballroom in Alumni Hall.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, 1 N. Linden Street, Duquesne 15110.

—Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 41 Issue 8

Leave a Reply