Volunteer Excellence Award

The Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association (PGAA) is currently accepting nominations for the 2018 Volunteer Excellence Award until July 9, 2018. Complete the form below to submit a nomination.

The Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association (PGAA) Volunteer Excellence Award was established in 2009 to recognize alumni who volunteer their time to the PGAA and the University. When designating an alumnus or alumna as a particular year’s Volunteer of Excellence, his or her award certificate indicates that they have been designated as such, “For outstanding service to the Alumni Association and the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.” This PGAA award honors alumni who have dedicated a significant amount of personal time to attending alumni meetings and events, working on special projects, and contributing to the overall success of both the alumni association and the University it represents.

Click here for full award guidelines and criteria.

Click here to nominate!

Year Awardee
2017 Scott Szypulski '14
2016 Harry P. Bowser '72
2015 Brian Root '04
2014 Mary Lynn Yothers '80
2012 Robert Merda '85
2011 Jason P. Gongaware '87
2010 Brian Moreland '98

Scott Szypulski

Scott Szypulski ’14, of Irwin, PA, was the recipient of the PGAA Volunteer Excellence Award. 

Scott Szypulski graduated in 2014 with a BS in Management-Accounting and minors in Actuarial Science and Theatre. While a student, he was a member of the Student Activities Board, Habitat for Humanity, Judicial Board, Peer Leader Program, and Phi Eta Sigma. A Community Assistant (CA) and campus leader, Szypulski was named 2014 CA of the Year and served as president of the Student Government Association, Resident Student Council, and the Presidential Ambassadors program. He also was named Senior of the Year and was the recipient of the Dean’s Leadership Award and the PGAA Community Service Award.

Upon graduating, Szypulski was employed as a Financial Assistant in the Department of Critical Care for the University of Pittsburgh. In 2016, he was promoted to Financial Research Administrator there. As a member of the Staff Association Council since 2015, he has been active in multiple activities, including assisting in the establishment of the Frisch Fund Scholarship and serving as chair of the 2017 Kennywood Committee for Pitt Day at Kennywood, which sold out of the allocated 2,000 tickets. In addition to these responsibilities, he is pursuing his MBA at the Oakland campus.

Since 2014, Szypulski has been actively involved with the Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association (PGAA) and is currently the PGAA Treasurer and Executive Committee liaison for the events committee. He has been directly involved in the organization of alumni events including the Holiday Wine Tasting, Welcome Back Picnic, and Pitt Greensburg at PNC Park. He also remains involved as a volunteer with the campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity (HFH) and served as a chaperone for the 2017 HFH Alternate Spring Break Collegiate Challenge trip to Tucker, Georgia.

Harry P. Bowser '72

Harry P. Bowser is the recipient of the 2016 PGAA Volunteer Excellence Award. Bowser attended Pitt-Greensburg for two years prior to transferring to the Oakland campus. He graduated in 1972 with a BA in secondary education. After graduation, he completed his term of service with the Pennsylvania National Guard and was hired by the Southmoreland School District. There he taught social studies, served as head of the Social Studies Department, and was active in athletics, coaching baseball, football, and basketball.

Bowser has been associated with the Pitt-Greensburg’s Men’s Basketball Program from the start as a member of its inaugural team. His service as a volunteer and paid coach has spanned the decades starting as an assistant coach for the 1972-1973 Pitt-Greensburg Men’s Basketball Team through today as a volunteer character coach through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He holds “character sessions” that provide team members with an outlet to share their goals, frustrations, and friendship in a way that has a positive effect on both the team and the individuals.

Bowser currently serves on the board of the Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association (PGAA) and is a founding member of the PGAA Men’s Basketball Alumni Club.

“Harry’s determination to connect his former teammates with the current student athletes has helped us to create a model for developing other alumni communities within the PGAA,” said Sheila Kudrick, Pitt-Greensburg alumni coordinator. “His enthusiasm and ability to bring people together stand out as distinguishing qualities in his success. We look forward to building on the foundation that he has helped us to put in place.”

Bowser’s work continues in the community, as well. Past service includes establishing an elementary-age basketball program and coaching Southmoreland girls’ basketball. He currently volunteers with the Fairview Church of God in its Soup Kitchen and doing lawn work. He also volunteers with the Buchanan Church of God Soup Kitchen.

He and his wife, Karon, have two sons, Adam ’03 and Ryan, and two granddaughters, Alexis and Mikayla.

Brian Root ’04

Brian Root ’04 is the recipient of the 2015 PGAA Volunteer Excellence Award.

Root has been active with the PGAA since graduating from Pitt-Greensburg. He is one of the 2004 Class Agents and has served stints as the PGAA Secretary and Vice President. He is currently serving as chair of the PGAA Events committee, which is responsible for planning activities for the alumni body.

“Brian attends every PGAA event, and he’s always willing to help,” said Sheila Kudrick, alumni coordinator at Pitt-Greensburg. “He’s reliable, resourceful, and energetic. He has a great passion for Pitt-Greensburg and all that it is, and he desires to see it continue to grow.”

An active local Kiwanian with the Kiwanis Club of Greensburg where he has served twice as club president, Root is also one of the campus co-chairs for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) One Walk, which brings hundreds of people to Pitt-Greensburg’s campus to support JDRF.

“This is certainly ‘Brian Root Year’ for he received the Chancellor’s Award for service by staff and is now being acknowledged here for his extraordinary contributions to our alumni association,” said President Smith. “One of the most important roles of a state-assisted university is to provide service to the community. Brian personifies that role:  he makes this area a better place through the service he gives.”

Root graduated from Pitt-Greensburg with a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in English Writing. He went on to earn a master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2006 and returned to Pitt-Greensburg serve as Resident Director from 2006 to 2009. After a year away from the campus, he returned in the summer of 2010 as the assistant director of Housing and Residence Life.

In addition to his responsibilities in Housing & Residence Life, Root serves as the director of the Outdoor Adventure & Community Service (OACS) living community, as well as the advisor to the Circle K Club and the campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity, where he leads the campus’ primary Alternative Spring Break Trip. Root is Pitt-Greensburg’s Employee Campaign Coordinator for the United Way Campaign and has been a long-time member of the Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association’s (PGAA) Board.

This past spring, he was the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in Service to the University and to the Community. He also received the 2014 President’s Distinguished Service Award for Staff at Pitt-Greensburg.

A native of Transfer, PA, who lives in Greensburg, he is the son of Diane Heckman and Stan Root, both of Mercer County, PA. He is the proud uncle of three who enjoys playing card and board games, volunteering in the community, going to Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games, geocaching, and exploring social media in his free time.

Mary Lynn Yothers ’80

Mary Lynn Yothers ’80, DC, is the recipient of the 2014 PGAA Volunteer Excellence Award. Yothers earned this recognition because of her commitment to and activity with the PGAA. PGAA president from 2009 through 2011, she returned as interim PGAA president to complete the 2012-2013 term. She regularly participates in Admissions events, Pitt Day in Harrisburg, National Pitt Networking Day, as well as Student Alumni Association (SAA) events and activities. Yothers’ ability to recognize new alumni and her warm welcome helps to keep them connected to the PGAA. She also actively recruits PGAA board members, helping to diversify the skill set and strengths of the group. Her contributions to the PGAA include assisting in expanding alumni communications through the use of social media, initiating conversations that resulted in an annual alumni weekend tradition being established, and proposing that the Alumnus of Distinction award presentation become part of the annual alumni weekend. These changes in when and how the award is presented helped to establish an Alumni Dinner, which allows more focus to be placed on the recipient and his or her family, as well as providing an event that brings alumni together to celebrate.


Robert Merda '85

Robert Merda ’85 is the recipient of the 2012 PGAA Volunteer Excellence Award. An active member of the Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association (PGAA) Board, Merda’s loyalty to his Alma Mater is evidenced by his participation in PGAA events and as a member of the Pitt-Greensburg Golf Outing Committee. Merda, who earned an MBA from Waynesburg University in 2005, serves as a Project Controls Engineer at Westinghouse. A resident of North Huntingdon for more than 30 years, he serves as an Emergency Management Team member, as well as having served seven years as a Township Commissioner and more than 10 years as a Planning Commission member. He and his wife, Martha, have one daughter, Mallory, who is a sophomore Sports Communications major at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.


Jason P. Gongaware '97

Jason GongawareJason P. Gongaware ’97 is the recipient of the PGAA Volunteer Excellence Award. The president of the Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association from 2002 to 2005 and chair of the Pitt Alumni Association (PAA) scholarship committee, he receives this award posthumously. His primary focus as president of the PGAA was identifying ways the alumni association and scholarship program could be used to increase the number of qualified students applying to the University. He also served on the Pitt-Greensburg Advisory Board as part of his duties as PGAA president and then as a representative of Chapel Hill Investment Analysts, his employer. His legacy of service lives on through the PGAA Executive Board members who reference him as the reason they became involved in the organization. He is survived by his wife Sheri Campbell Gongaware and two sons, William Campbell and Joseph Elliott, who accept the award on his behalf.


Brian Moreland '98

The Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association (PGAA) is pleased to announce that Brian Moreland ’98, DC, is the first recipient of its newly established Volunteer Excellence Award. The award was created to showcase and reward a member of the PGAA Board of Directors for his or her outstanding service to the board and to the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.

“While president of the PGAA, Brian was instrumental in strengthening the PGAA’s relationship with the Pitt Alumni Association in Oakland, increasing scholarship dollars available to incoming Pitt-Greensburg students, and advocating for the needs of the University.” said Mary Lynn Yothers ’80, DC, president of the PGAA.

Dr. Moreland, owner of Back in Motion Chiropractic in Latrobe, graduated with a BS in psychology from Pitt-Greensburg. He continued his education at Logan College of Chiropractic, earning a BS in Life Science in addition to his Doctor of Chiropractic degree. Moreland has attained Board certification as a Diplomate in Chiropractic Rehabilitation and serves as an associate clinical instructor in the Activator Methods Chiropractic Technique. Moreland served his profession as the secretary/treasurer of the Pennsylvania Chiropractic Educational and Charitable Foundation. He also has been published in peer-reviewed journals and is scheduled to begin a National Institute of Health-funded research study through the University of Pittsburgh to compare the results of the Activator Chiropractic Technique to a manual adjusting technique on lower-back pain patients this upcoming year.

“I am very thankful for the success I have achieved as a chiropractor, which is why I desire to give back to my profession and to my alma mater. The University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg is a focal point of this community, and it is exciting and rewarding to be a part of an institution that is advancing many new programs and to serve on an alumni association that is so passionate about helping students achieve their goals and dreams,” explained Moreland.

A Life Member and winner of the 2008 Pitt Alumni Association Volunteer Excellence Award, Moreland recently completed a third term as the Pitt-Greensburg delegate to the PAA board of directors where he served on the legislative and membership committees. Moreland continues to serve as a member of the Alumni Legislative Network and Pitt Career Network for the University, as well as providing internship opportunities to Pitt-Greensburg students at his chiropractic office in Latrobe.

Moreland’s service to the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg includes serving on the board of directors of the Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association as treasurer, vice president, president, and now, immediate past president. Moreland also served in an ex-officio role on the University’s Advisory Board.