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Posts from the ‘alumni’ Category

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.

I’ve got a feeling, Colonials going to the Super Bowl

Jim Duzyk, our director of sports information, runs down RMU’s connections to the Super Bowl, here. One more is worth noting: Pat Rooney, wife of Steelers owner Dan Rooney, is a member of the RMU Board of Trustees and one of our most loyal and generous supporters.

Once a Colonial, always a Colonial

First of all, we hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. It is good to be back.

Second, for those of you who are RMU alumni, we wanted to let you know that starting this semester, the RMU Libraries will begin offering alumni online access to the ProQuest database service. Previously available only to students, ProQuest includes the full text of more than 6,000 magazines, journals and newspapers. Users can browse or search The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, PC Magazine, Consumer Reports and many specialized journals in nursing, education, and many other fields.

“We’re very happy to offer our most popular database to alumni,” said librarian Jackie Corinth.

For more information, call the reference desk at (412) 397-3272.

God and Man in Cincinnati

Here’s an interesting article about an RMU alum who leads a megachurch in Ohio. Crossroads Community Church is the 36th largest church in the nation, so I’m guessing that Pastor Brian Tome is well-served by his RMU business degree:

Crossroads Community Church, which is in a converted HQ superstore at 3500 Madison Road, Oakley, draws about 10,000 people each weekend to its four services.

It is the 25th fastest-growing and 36th-largest church in the country, the only church in the region to crack the Top 50 in either category.

Crossroads is a non-denominational community church with a staff of 94 and an annual budget of $13 million that covers everything from providing the 300-plus gallons of coffee and 16 cases of cream served every weekend to the funding of an AIDS hospice in South Africa.

In matters more temporal, Pennsylvania and New York are increasing the amount of credit hours required for CPA candidates, and Inside Higher Ed talks to RMU’s Frank Flanegin about how we are responding:

Robert Morris University, in suburban Pittsburgh, is also prepping for the change, encouraging accounting undergraduates to enroll in a program that awards an M.B.A. for an additional year of study. Frank Flanegin, head of the department of accounting and finance, said the university introduced the program as a way to help students meet the upcoming requirement change.

“There’s no mandate with this change to get another degree – an M.S. in accounting or an MBA,” Flanegin said, noting that about half of the university’s accounting majors go onto seek a C.P.A. “But why would you want to have students take additional credits without earning an additional degree? This provides our accounting majors who know what they want to do with an opportunity to fulfill the requirement.” (link)

Get ’em while they’re young

RMU alumnus Howard Shapiro will appear on Stan Savran’s “Savran on SportsBeat” this Friday on FSN Pittsburgh to talk about his latest children’s book “Hockey Player for Life.” The show airs at 6:30 p.m.

You can learn more about Shapiro’s book here and here.