Betty Victor was ‘director of everything’ at the Swanson School

Betty Victor, long-time director of administration for the Swanson School of Engineering whose career at Pitt spanned more than 50 years, died Jan. 9, 2023, at 81.

“She was really director of everything,” said Swanson Dean Emeritus Gerald Holder, under whom she worked for more than two decades beginning in 1997. “She worked very hard, all the time. She was the person people went to when they needed an issue they wanted to have solved” — even those from outside the school, including other deans, he noted.

As director of the Office of Administration, Victor managed the school’s financial activities, from budgets to gifts, research, endowments and cost centers, as well as legal and audit issues. She also oversaw faculty and staff hiring and other personnel functions, as well as undergraduate probation and dismissal.

“She had a wide responsibility and she was very good at it,” Holder recalled. When new systems from payroll or new computer systems were being rolled out, Victor would volunteer to adopt them first in the school and deal with the complexities that occurred, he said.

There were, as he remembers, “a lot of deadlines to meet, a lot of reports to write. She was really valuable across many, many things for her skills, her loyalty, her responsibility. I could rely on her and didn’t have to double check that she was doing things right.”

George Klinzing was Swanson’s associate dean for research (1995-2005) and worked with Victor at the time. “She knew everything that was going on in the school,” Klinzing said. “She was actually a workaholic and used to come in on weekends. When department administrators asked her a question, they always got an answer — the right answer. She kept the School of Engineering on its toes.

“There was a lot of confusion before the office of administration came into being,” he added. “She made it work … and she hired good people to work for her. That was a very positive thing for the school.”

In 2009, Victor was among three staff members chosen for the inaugural Swanson School Staff Awards (which Holder established) to recognize outstanding staff performance and service.

Betty Faye (Lacaria) Victor was born on Dec. 17, 1941, in Export, Pa. She is survived by her husband of 52 years, Mario "Vic" Victor;  a sister, Debbi Kucich; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

Memorial contributions are suggested to Animal Friends or the ASPCA.

— Marty Levine