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Posts from the ‘alumni’ Category

Become an Active RMU Alum in 2014!

WarnerHappy New Year!

With the new semester upon us and the students back on campus, there’s a real buzz in the air and everyone’s excited about the months ahead.

Those of us working in the alumni office would like to thank all of you who attended at least one event this year and for demonstrating your Colonial spirit. We would also like to encourage those that couldn’t make it to an alumni event in 2013 to try to attend one this year so that you too can experience the rewards of staying connected to RMU.

So far on the calendar we’re hosting a reception lounge for Graduates Of the Last Decade (GOLD alumni) during the Saturday, February 1, basketball game versus Central Connecticut. Another one is our annual Legacy Reception Program on Saturday, February 22, which brings together current legacy students, legacy alumni and their families. (Log in to your Net Community account to RSVP.)

In March the alumni office will be hosting receptions for alumni in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Cleveland around their professional basketball teams. We’ll also be in other regional cities like Erie, Harrisburg, and Greensburg throughout the spring months.

Of course, these are but a few of the many events we will be hosting this year. We hope you can make it to at least one event, and we encourage you to reach out and bring another alum to an event as well. After all, the more the merrier!

Continue to check the Alumni web page for details… and I hope to see YOU in 2014!!

Warner Johnson
Director, Alumni Relations

RMU Alums Working Together at TV3 Winchester News

Channing and Maria

Maria Satira ’12 and Channing Frampton ’11 at the TV3 Winchester news desk

Back when they were students at Robert Morris University, Channing Frampton ’11 and Maria Satira ’12 took advantage of every opportunity that came their way. Today they’re reaping the benefits of their RMU experience as they work side-by-side for TV3 Winchester, ABC’s local affiliate in Winchester, Va.

Frampton majored in media arts at RMU, while minoring in both international studies and theater. He also worked for four years as a producer, forecaster, reporter, and anchor for the Telly Award-winning show “RMU-Live”, interned with and shadowed forecasters in both the United States and Finland, and played the male lead in Elton John’s modern take on “Aida”. As a senior, he received RMU’s inaugural Renaissance Award for completing activities in all seven categories of his Student Engagement Transcript.

Maria graduated magna cum laude from RMU, with a double major in TV/Video production and journalism. In 2010, she was part of a team that won a journalism competition funded and coordinated by The Heinz Endowments as part of its sponsorship of its annual Women’s Health & the Environment Conference. She was also the first recipient of the Amanda Marie Werkmeister Memorial Scholarship and, in 2011, received the Alexander M. Tanger Award from the Broadcast Education Association. In 2012, she was awarded the Renaissance Award. During her time at RMU, Maria served as a student representative to the Middle States re-accreditation team, vice president of programming for Delta Zeta, the president of Voci Italiane, and a staff writer for The Sentry student newspaper.

TV3 Winchester News hired Frampton in the spring of 2011 to be a weekend meteorologist and weekday reporter. Today he works as a producer, reporter, forecaster and anchor for the station’s 7 p.m. news broadcast.

About a year after he was hired, a position opened up for a reporter, and Frampton had the perfect fit for the opening. “Having worked with Maria in college and knowing her track record as a reporter, I tipped her off to the opening and was glad to see she got the job,” he says.

Now Satira is a general assignment reporter for “Good Morning Winchester”, developing stories on local topics and covering community and breaking news.

“What I love most about my job is that every day is different,” says Satira. “I also love the impact that I’m making on our viewers’ days. It’s a great feeling when I’m out somewhere and a viewer comes up to me and tells me that one of my stories helped them and made a difference in their life.”

Satira says being engaged in her education made all the difference. “My message for other RMU students with goals of a career in broadcasting: take advantage of everything! You can not get a job without an internship. Leave your comfort zone because in this field, you do it every day.”

As for working with a fellow alum, Frampton says it’s always fun working together with Satira. “We’re both proud of what we’ve accomplished since graduation.”

Changing Lives Update – Lee Folk ’10

(click image for a video update on Lee)

Back in September of 2010, Robert Morris University unveiled its “Change A Life” ad campaign. Through six TV commercials, 24 radio spots, and 38 billboards across the Pittsburgh region, the campaign featured stories of how RMU changes our students’ lives, and how they change the lives of others.

One of those stories was that of David Lee Folk ’10.

Lee studied nursing at RMU, graduating with honors in 2010. That year he also received the Presidential Transformational Award, the university’s highest undergraduate honor, given annually to a graduating student who has been transformed by his or her experience at Robert Morris and has also contributed to the transformation of the university in a meaningful way. He was also the inaugural winner of RMU’s Rising Star Award, given to a graduating senior who demonstrates academic success, individuality, determination, passion and potential in his or her field of study.

In the summer of 2009, Lee traveled to Nicaragua as part of a collaboration between RMU and the Polytechnic University of Nicaragua (UPOLI), led by University Professor Carl Ross, Ph.D., wherein students and faculty provide basic medical care to residents in the barrios of Managua.

“The people of Nicaragua touched my heart in ways I couldn’t have imagined,” he said. “To be honest, it’s still hard to look through the pictures without getting teary-eyed.” An avid and talented writer and photographer, Lee documented his experiences in a series of blog posts that portray, in searing detail, the deprivation of the Nicaraguans as well as the emotional toll that working with them sometimes exacts on the students and faculty.

One of these stories, “David and His Trumpet“, documented a Nicaraguan boy’s beloved trumpet, how it was stolen, how it was replaced thanks to Lee, and what it meant in the boy’s life.

Lee says being featured in RMU’s Change A Life campaign was a high point in his life, both personally and academically.

“It was humbling to be a visual part of such a large movement by the university to implement community service into student life,” he says. “I really enjoyed the whole process of creating the campaign, and it’s been such a thrill to see the ripple effects that it has had throughout the community.”

Following graduation, Lee spent a year at WVU’s Ruby Memorial Hospital, before joining the nursing team at St. Clair Hospital in Pittsburgh’s South Hills. He also started back to school at RMU this past fall, where he’s pursuing his Doctorate of Nursing Practice to become a family nurse practitioner.

Lee believes the “Changing Lives” theme connected with so many people, particularly with the Pittsburgh public, because of the kind of people who populate this area.

“We take community very seriously, and it made people proud to see a local university cultivating that spirit of goodwill in its students. That translates to strong character in the future workforce as well as stronger communities. All in all, it gives everyone a great feeling about working together for the greater good, and a campaign that can translate that message is bound to be successful.”


Written by Valentine J. Brkich

Watch this behind the scenes video for more on Lee and what he’s up to today.

Robert Morris launched the Change A Life advertising campaign in September 2010. The Change A Life TV commercials won a Gold ADDY Award from the Pittsburgh Advertising Federation, which gave a Silver ADDY to the Change A Life web site. The campaign won a silver medal for advertising campaigns in the national Circle of Excellence Awards from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. RMU also won a Silver Medal for video PSAs and commercial spots for the Change A Life ads. The web site also won a Silver CUPPIE in the category of electronic media/web site from the College and University Public Relations Association of Pennsylvania (CUPRAP) and a Golden Quill Award from the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania for creative use of technology in storytelling.

"We’re the only ones who gave ourselves a chance."

During a recent conversation with RMU men’s basketball coach Andy Toole, I learned that the RMU Gameday Exclusive videos, available at our YouTube channel, have been a hit on the recruiting trail. One of Andy’s most recently landed recuits and the recruit’s father were particularly impressed by the emotionally raw videos that documented the Colonials’ up-and-down 2010-11 season. The season ended with an overtime loss in the NEC championship game, which was chronicled in the final Gameday Exclusive installment:

According to Andy, coaches of rival teams have praised the videos, and few offer anything similar. Kudos go to the talent behind Gameday Exclusive, 2010 RMU graduate Nazari Dorosh and senior RMU student Justin Downs.

— Jonathan Potts

No more sloppy joes

First Lady Michelle Obama has thrown down the gauntlet, and RMU alumna JoAnn Bohonik has picked it up.

Dubbed the “Chefs Move to Schools Campaign,” the First Lady has called on chefs nationwide to partner with local schools to promote healthy eating to children. Chefs are asked to work with school dieticians, teachers, and cafeteria staff to teach students the benefits of eating healthy foods by presenting fruits and vegetables in fun and appealing ways to student appetites.

Bohonik, who attended the Pittsburgh Culinary Institute before enrolling at Robert Morris University, has been working as a personal chef preparing meals in individual client homes. She is a member of the United States Personal Chef Association and the American Culinary Federation (ACF). Her involvement in these organizations and her experience as a personal chef garnered an invitation to take part in “Chefs Move to Schools”, which kicked off in Washington, D.C.

At the kickoff for the campaign, 500 chefs from 37 different states were in attendance. This included celebrity chefs such as Rachael Ray, Tom Colicchio, and Cat Cora. The chefs-in-schools program comes on the heels of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, which called on local students in Washington to help grow and harvest vegetables in the White House kitchen garden.

Bohonik lives in West Middlesex, Pa., and has not yet been assigned a local school to adopt, but is looking forward to finding out in the coming weeks. She earned her bachelor’s degree in hospitality and tourism Management in December 2009, and is currently enrolled in Youngstown State University’s Dietician Program, which she will conclude in the spring.

“RMU taught me to have patience and confidence in myself and in time everything will work out,” said Bohonik.

"We were pretty much waiting to die"

I just learned that RMU alumnus Luther Lockhart will be on Oprah Tuesday for a reunion with his fellow passengers of U.S. Airways Flight 1549, which had to make an emergency landing in the Hudson River on Jan. 15. Everyone on board survived.

Luther shared this harrowing experience with RMU’s Foundations magazine. You can read the article here. We’re grateful that Luther and everyone else on board is here to tell the tale.

— Jonathan Potts

4th Annual Susan K. Hofacre 5K Run/Walk

Just today, I got an e-mail announcing the 4th annual Susan K. Hofacre 5k Run/Walk, which will take place at RMU’s Moon Township Campus on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 9 a.m.

This e-mail came at an interesting time, since I’ve recently been considering getting back into running again. Considering. I have a two-year-old daughter, you see. Ever since she was born, instead of running, I’ve been working on my long-distance loafing on the couch, which is a lot easier on the knees.

Susan K. Hofacre, Ph.D., was RMU’s first female athletic director. Hofacre, who earned an MBA from RMU in 1999, joined the university’s athletic department in 1989 as its senior women’s administrator, assisting with compliance issues, academic advising, events scheduling and policy development. She also served as department head and professor of sport management.

As athletic director from 2000-2005, Hofacre helped the Colonials add seven new NCAA Division I athletic programs, including the first men’s and women’s hockey teams in Pittsburgh. She also oversaw the development of the new track and field at the RMU Island Sports Center, as well as the construction of Joe Walton Stadium and athletic administration building.

In 2002, Hofacre was awarded the Robert Morris University Alumni Philanthropist Award by the Alumni Association for her establishment of endowed scholarships and her raising of funds for the University. She passed away on Jan. 8, 2005, at the age of 54, after a courageous battle with cancer.

The Susan K. Hofacre 5k Run/Walk benefits the Susan Hofacre Memorial Scholarship Fund. If you’re an avid runner or considering getting back into running like me (considering), be sure to mark November 7 on your calendar and support this important cause. (Registration starts at 8 a.m. at Joe Walton Stadium. The race begins at 9 a.m.)

— Valentine J. Brkich

A good landing is one you walk away from

U.S. Airways Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger got a rock star’s treatment during his testimony today before the National Transportation Safety Board, according to the Wall Street Journal. It turns out there is an RMU connection to Flight 1549, which Sullenberger successfully guided to an emergency landing in the Hudson River after geese were sucked into the plane’s engines. Luther Lockhart, a 1999 RMU graduate, was a passenger on board that brief but harrowing flight. He gave an account of the flight and its sudden landing to Foundations magazine, which is available online here.

Thanks, Sully, for keeping our folks safe.

— Jonathan Potts

The good fight

Back in 2003, as war was just breaking out in Iraq, RMU graduate Tammy Alvarez ’61 contacted renowned director Terry Sanders of Sanders & Mock Productions with the idea for a film that would document the lives of students in the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU).

Five years later, Alvarez’ vision became a reality as “Fighting for Life” premiered on Oct. 5, 2008, in New York City. Since then, this drama documentary on military medicine practices has appeared on PBS TV affiliates and in theaters across the country. On May 24, “Fighting for Life” will be broadcast at 9:30 p.m. on Pittsburgh’s WQED.

Filmed over a three-year period in a combat hospital in Iraq, on military aircraft, and in various military hospitals, “Fighting for Life” follows military doctors, nurses and medics, as they work to provide care to wounded soldiers. It also documents USU students as they study to become career military physicians, and shows the struggles of wounded soldiers fighting to survive and heal.

Alvarez, who served as executive producer, raised over $1.5 million to produce the movie. “‘Fighting for Life’ is a story about health, hope and humanism,” she said. “The film is about the tireless, selfless service of our military medical personnel. Their dedication and care for others is an example for all.” Alvarez’ husband is a 20-year member of the USU Board of Regents, and their son Bryan is a USU medical student graduate and second-year resident in general surgery at Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego.

“Fighting for Life” was directed by Terry Sanders, a two-time Academy Award winner and one-time Emmy award winner and head of the Santa Monica-based American Film Foundation. Since its completion, the film has received positive reviews from U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, Variety, Rolling Stone, and ABC News.

Alvarez holds a bachelor’s degree in secretarial science — a degree program that has not been available at the university for quite some time. She also attended the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University, and completed four years of art studies under Eric Butters at the Yellow Barn Art Gallery in Glen Echo, Md. “My experience at RMU was most influential in broadening my organizational, interpersonal and technical skills,” she said.

A native Pittsburgher now living in the D.C. area, Alvarez is founder and president of the Friends of the Uniformed Services University Inc. – an all-volunteer, not-for-profit membership organization, based in Maryland, which seeks to support USU. Previously, she served as director of special services for United Airlines. In addition to producing, she dedicates much of her time to volunteerism and has created and implemented various mentoring and social-awareness programs for young people.

We’ll put this one on the refrigerator

Kudos to City Charter High School for receiving an Effective Practice Incentive Community Award. This makes us particularly proud given the number of RMU alums who work there, which can you read about in this recent Foundations magazine article.