RMU’s Walking Man
If you’re on Robert Morris University’s campus everyday, there’s a good chance you’ve seen Monte Griffith.
Griffith isn’t a teacher or a student or even a staff member at RMU. But you’ll see him here almost every day, taking his daily walk around the university grounds before returning to his home in the neighborhood next to campus, where he’s lived for the past 32 years.
Originally from Georgetown, Guyana, Griffith and his parents emigrated to Brooklyn in 1968.
During the Vietnam War, he served in the Army (1970-74), achieving the rank of staff sergeant with the 82nd Airborne Division, before moving on to the Department of Defense.
While he was still serving as a staff sergeant, Griffith instructed cadets at Camp Buckner, West Point, N.Y. Two of his many students were retired U.S. Army General David Petraeus, leader of the 2007 American military “surge” in Iraq and former director of the CIA under President Barack Obama, and retired U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan and the former leader of Joint Special Operations Command. Griffith actually got to catch up with McChrystal back in March of 2012, when the former general came to speak on campus as part of the RMU Pittsburgh Speakers Series.
“I’m really proud of most of those young men/cadets and what they’ve accomplished under the leadership of then Maj. William “Lonesome End” Carpenter,” said Griffith.
Following his military career, Griffith attended NYU and later worked as an auditor for Equitable Life of New York City. He came to Moon Township in 1980.
Griffith has been walking RMU’s campus for close to 20 years now. He used to be a runner but had to give that up after two knee surgeries. “I walk for exercise and clarity of thoughts,” he says. “I love being outdoors.”
In the 32 years he’s lived next to campus, Griffith has seen a lot of changes, and all for the better. “It’s beautiful,” he says. “The improvements have been great. Personally, I can’t say enough about your maintenance team for keeping the walkways clear during the winter months.”
He says his favorite place on campus is the Rudolph Family Gardens, down by the School of Business and Massey Hall. “Anytime I hear young couples looking for a good spot for their wedding pictures, I tell them the gardens are the place to be.”~
Written by Valentine J. Brkich