Once a Bobcat, always a Bobcat! Below you'll find our most recent alumni interviews. Explore the successes of our alumni even deeper by clicking on one of the decades below!
Alumni Spotlight: Jason Atwood '11
Jason Atwood graduated from the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg in 2011 with a BA in Political Science. Read more about his life during, and after Pitt-Greensburg.
The thing that drew me to Pitt-Greensburg was…the location as a commuter student.
My first impression of Pitt-Greensburg was… the campus was beautiful and quiet.
My favorite thing as a student/fondest memory was…being active in Student Government.
The faculty member(s) who had the greatest influence on me was/were…Dr. Manning, Dr. Poke, Dr. Kelly, and Parris Carter.
After Pitt-Greensburg, I went on to…the corporate world.
My reason for becoming active with the alumni association/staying connected to the University is…I want current students to have a great experience like I did.
In my spare time, I like to…spend time with my family and volunteer at Calvary Church in Irwin, PA.
My family/friends are … the most important thing in my life. They make me want to be a better man. I met my wife, Heather (Waldrop), in Dr. Kelly’s Comp 3 class during my second tenure at Pitt-Greensburg. We were married in September of 2013 and had our son Maxamiel in January of 2015.
Tell us something we didn’t ask…I ran for Westmoreland County Commissioner in 2015. You may see my name come up again in political races in the future.
Alumni Spotlight: Catherine (O'Toole) Roberts '98
Catherine "Kate" (O'Toole) Roberts graduated from the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg in 1998 with a BA in Anthropology. Read more about her life during and after Pitt-Greensburg.
The thing that drew me to Pitt-Greensburg was…the small campus size, and it was close to Pittsburgh.
My first impression of Pitt-Greensburg was…that I was impressed with how clean the campus was compared with the main campus downtown.
My favorite thing as a student/fondest memory was…I don’t think I have a fondest memory. They are all good memories of my time in college.
The faculty member(s) who had the greatest influence on me was/were…Dr. Mark McCullough. He had a passion for history and how historical events had an impact on our culture. I took his course on labor history. My final paper was on labor unions that represented steel workers in Pittsburgh. I learned that early in the 20th century, when Carnegie first established the first steel mill in Braddock, there were no safety regulations, overtime pay, and they worked on rotating day and night shifts. By World War II, unions were representing many of the steel workers and were able to institute regular shifts, more safety regulations, and benefits. These changes helped to drastically reduce accidents and deaths at the mill. Now all workers benefit from what unions were able to acquire for steel workers.
After Pitt-Greensburg, I went on to…I went on to work as a field tech for two years for Christine Davis Co. in Pittsburgh. In 2006, I was accepted into Illinois State University Historical Archaeology program and worked with Dr. Orser in Ireland on homesteads of people who were evicted during the famine. In 2016, I was accepted to the University of Maryland Anthropology PhD program where I am working with Dr. Mark Leone. My dissertation will be on 20th century homesteads of people who once lived near Quantico, but the property was purchased by emanate domain in 1942 to support training Marines who were deploying to the Pacific. I currently work for the USMC at Quantico as the Cultural Resource Manager.
I also served in the military. From 1997 to 2005, I served eight years in the Army Reserve, and completed one tour in Iraq from February 2002 to April 2003. I recently retired from the Navy Reserve which I served in for 12 years. During my time with the Navy Reserve, I did one tour in Iraq from September 2007 to August 2008 and then another tour from April 2015 to September 2015 in the UK.
My reason for becoming active with the alumni association/staying connected to the University is… because my friend asked me to get involved, and we always had a good time together on campus.
In my spare time, I like to…hunt deer and turkey.
My family/friends are…I only have one best friend. However, I would rather have one best friend than ten “friends” I don’t really like.
Tell us something we didn’t ask…I have a 4-year-old son, Alex, who acts a lot like me.
Alumni Spotlight: Randy Stashick '82
It’s a wonderful life for Randy Stashick ’82. Recently retired, the former Global President of Engineering at UPS was the youngest of four children and the first to attend college in his family. Randy describes himself as a kid from Mount Pleasant who had the opportunity to work through the ranks of UPS, which ultimately led him around the world. He acknowledges that it took a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but also credits his time at Pitt-Greensburg as the start of it all.
Financing his own education, Randy needed to stay local and liked the Pitt-Greensburg campus. He arrived planning to go into physical therapy, but due to the limited number of acceptances into the program, he considered other options. Although good at math, he had taken a psychology class as an elective and really enjoyed it, along with sociology. He liked dealing with people and knowing what motivated them: “I pursued something that I found interesting, thinking that I could use this somewhere, thinking it would be human resources or something like that upon graduation.”
In September of his freshman year, he was walking to his car after class and a friend told him that UPS was recruiting in the Student Activities Center (now known as McKenna Hall). Randy walked back, filled out an application, and was hired a week later. He worked as a part-time package handler in the evening while taking classes to earn a BS in psychology during the day.
Randy ended up spending 38 ½ years with UPS—including over 37 years in management. Randy believes his psychology degree had a tremendous impact on his management style: “Especially in management, you have to do things through people. And the way to handle people, motivate people, treat people, read people, better understand people—I think I got the majority from the degree. And I think it helped me throughout my career.”
He spent almost 10 years in operations and the rest in engineering, relocating five times, moving from the East Coast to the West Coast, and ultimately ending up at the headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Randy ran all operations in the state of Georgia as the COO and President.
As the Global President of Engineering for the last nine years of his career, Randy oversaw plant engineering for more than 1,800 facilities worldwide. “I saw things that I never would have seen in my life,” Randy said, noting his interest in architecture that started in a fine arts elective at Pitt-Greensburg. “One may think that it was an easy class to take and it was an easy grade to get, but I learned the most from it. I learned to appreciate everywhere I went around the world from what I learned in that class.”
Other memories Randy has of his time at Pitt-Greensburg include the personal relationships. He recalls the professors as being dedicated to their profession and supportive of the students. He said he made lifelong friends with some of his classmates—some were in his wedding, adding “So that’s always going to be special.”
Prior to retirement, Randy sat on a couple university boards. He served on the Georgia Institute of Technology Board for six years and Kettering University Board of Trustees for almost 8 years. “I really got tuned in to what runs an institution, what’s involved with it.” Randy continues to serve on the United Way of Greater Atlanta Board of Directors.
“Companies like UPS, is a 24/7 job. So you’re extremely busy and you work extremely hard, but you’re rewarded for it, too. Now you get a chance to do some things that you may not have had time to do before,” Randy said of his early retirement that coincided with his daughter getting married last year. This next phase of Randy’s life will be dedicated to time with family, traveling, golfing, giving back to the community, and, as time permits, doing some consulting work—not to mention the chance to attend the Pitt-Penn State game!
Randy returned to campus last year—the first time since he left the area in 1990. “It had grown so much,” he said, noting that Smith Hall was one of the newer buildings when he was a student and the lawn where he had played flag football was now a residence hall. He also stopped by the campus store to buy a shirt for the game.
Thinking back to his college years, Randy compared the interconnectedness of those decisions to the story depicted in the classic holiday film It's a Wonderful Life, sharing that if he hadn’t turned around that day in the parking lot at Pitt-Greensburg, he may not have met his wife, Sandy, whom he was introduced to through a UPS contact. “If it wasn’t for Pitt-Greensburg and UPS being there recruiting,” Randy said, “you can argue that things may have changed a lot.”
Alumni Spotlight: Jackie McGrail ‘02
Jackie McGrail graduated from the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg in 2002 with a BA in Business Management. Read more about her life during and after Pitt-Greensburg.
The thing that drew me to Pitt-Greensburg was … that my husband graduated from there in 1995.
My first impression of Pitt-Greensburg … was that I felt that this was the right fit for me. I had recently moved to the area and would be a non-traditional student. Once I made my visit to the campus, everyone was so friendly and helpful it made finishing my degree easier.
My favorite thing as a student was … the friends that I have made as fellow students, professors, and the staff at the college. I recently participated in a recruiting event at the campus, and I ran in to some professors that I had, and it was nice to reminisce with them.
The faculty members who had the greatest influence on me were … a lot of great professors and staff members at Pitt-Greensburg who helped me prepare for my career. There were many at Pitt-Greensburg that had a great influence on me, such as Beth Tiedemann, Margaret Rechter, and Pamela Ondeck. I am very thankful for all the guidance that I received from the staff members, professors, and alumni during my time at Pitt-Greensburg and after.
After Pitt-Greensburg, I went on to … work as a Service Manager for FedEx Ground. I held the position for about seven years and then took some time off for my family. I am now currently working for Spherion Staffing as a Staffing Specialist. I have also volunteered at my church, my daughter’s activities, and other charitable events in my community. I feel it is important to give back.
My reason for staying connected to the University is … that I enjoyed my time at Pitt-Greensburg and wanted to give back. While I was attending Pitt-Greensburg, many different events were offered that helped me prepare for my career. So coming back to speak with students gives me the opportunity to give them some guidance for their future endeavors. I hope that the one thing that I can teach them is that it is so important to take advantage of the different opportunities that are offered and to “think outside the box.”
In my spare time, I like to … spend time with my family and friends. Also, I enjoy volunteering for different charities that benefit the community and youth. It is important to give back and to help others. I hope that by doing this it sets an example for my daughter, but also the other people that we help that they can come back and do the same.
My friends and family are … why throughout my life I feel I have been very fortunate. I have a loving husband and daughter, family, friends, and some incredible people who I have met in my life. I am very thankful for the people who have helped me along the way and hope that I can do the same for others.
Tell us something we didn’t ask … mostly I am thankful for the sense of accomplishment I received from obtaining my degree at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.