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Posts from the ‘School of Business’ Category

A Night to Remember at RMU

It was a cold, damp, gloomy evening in western Pennsylvania. But at Robert Morris University, it was one of the brightest, warmest nights in the school’s history.

On Tuesday, Sept. 6, close to 350 distinguished guests converged at the RMU campus in Moon Township for a special, three-pronged celebration marking the university’s 90-year anniversary, the opening of the brand new School of Business Complex, and the official announcement of the Changing Lives, Building Futures capital campaign. This celebration was a long time coming, and it was one that even Mother Nature couldn’t put a damper on.

The new School of Business Complex was the focal point of the celebration. As guests arrived they were escorted by students to the building, an 18,000-square-foot, LEED-certified facility that will serve as a high-tech learning laboratory for RMU students and a valuable resource for the business community at large. Inside, the guests got the chance to check out some of the building’s state-of-the-art technology, including the Interactive Learning Module in The ATI Center, the trading room inside the PNC Business Center, and the telepresence room inside the United States Steel Corporation Videoconferencing and Technology Center.

Video: RMU’s new School of Business Complex

The evening’s program was led off by a welcome from RMU President Gregory G. Dell’Omo who spoke of RMU’s impressive transformation over its 90 years and its important role in the transformation and strengthening of the region’s economy. Dr. Dell’Omo was followed by Richard J. Harshman, chairman, president, and CEO of Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (ATI); James E. Rohr, chairman and CEO of PNC Financial Services Inc.; Susan M. Kapusta, Ph.D., general manger of community affairs and president of the United States Steel Foundation Inc.; Gary R. Claus, managing director of The Jade Group and vice chair of RMU’s Board of Trustees.

Another one of the evening’s speakers was David J. Malone, chairman and CEO of Gateway Financial and chairman of RMU’s Changing Lives, Building Futures campaign. Under Malone’s leadership, and despite a recession, RMU was able to raise $36 million thus far toward its goal of $40 million. One of the evening’s highlights was when Claus surprised Malone by presenting him with the inaugural David J. Malone Volunteer Service Award.

“This was a memorable evening for Robert Morris University,” said Jay T. Carson, RMU’s senior vice president for institutional advancement. “It was great to see the many benefactors, from so many different levels, all gathered together to show their support RMU’s mission and vision. Without them, none of this would have been possible, and we are truly grateful.”


Written by Valentine J. Brkich

RMU Dedicates New Media Arts Facility

Its nursing simulations center was recently revamped, and ground has already been broken for its new School of Business Complex. Now Robert Morris University can add media arts to its list of programs with new, state-of-the-art facilities.

Today, around 30 university employees and esteemed guests gathered at RMU’s Colonial Village to dedicate the recently completed Snee-Reinhardt House for Media Arts. Made possible by the Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Foundation, this new facility will serve as a living-learning center for students in the School of Communications and Information System’s (SCIS) Media Arts Program.

The noon ribbon-cutting ceremony was preceded by a welcome from David L. Jamison, J.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “The Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Foundation’s generous support is going to make a tremendous difference here at RMU,” he said. “This beautiful new facility will serve students, faculty, and the entire campus community in so many ways.”

The new Snee-Reinhardt House for Media Arts features a screening room on the lower level for student films and documentaries, a meeting room and conferencing room on the first floor, and ample space throughout to display the work of students. It also features an apartment on the second floor, where visiting scholars will live and work alongside students.

“This new facility will offer a number of ways for collaboration between students and faculty,” said Barbara J. Levine, Ph.D., SCIS dean and associate professor of communications.

The Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Foundation, established in 1983 by Katherine Snee, provides aid to organizations who strive to serve the community by improving social conditions. Christina Treadwell ‘91, a member of the foundation’s Board of Directors and RMU’s Board of Visitors, was instrumental in making this new facility a reality.

“We wanted to make sure it benefitted the students and benefitted the school’s curriculum,” she said. “I am so humbly honored to be a part of this and to be able to put into action the knowledge that I gained right here at RMU.”

RMU President Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D., was also very pleased to dedicate the new facility. “It’s great to see our young alums, such as Christina, becoming such wonderful supporters of the university and our vision,” he said. “The academic component is very important, particularly with respect to our commitment to engaged learning, and media arts plays right into that.”

— Valentine J. Brkich

Honored for Business Excellence

Rande Somma ‘73 fought back tears as addressed a crowd of faculty, administrators, students and their families at RMU’s inaugural Beta Gamma Sigma induction ceremony on March 29. “There is a soul about this university that I didn’t know about,” he said. “I’m not sure if you know about it yet – but you will.”

Somma had just been named an honoree of RMU’s new chapter of the international honor society, which is exclusively for business students in AACSB accredited institutions. During the ceremony, which took place in RMU’s Massey Hall Theater, thirteen juniors and 14 seniors, along with 5 M.B.A. students, 3 M.S. in Nonprofit Management students, and 1 M.S. in Human Resource Management student, were inducted into the honor society, which represents the highest honor a business student can receive.

Derya A. Jacobs, Ph.D, dean of RMU’s School of Business introduced the two chapter honorees. “I am very emotional tonight,” she said, speaking to the students and attendees. “I am so proud of you all.”

“This is really a great accomplishment for the university,” said President Gregory G. Dell’Omo, Ph.D. “Our peers have now identified and recognized us as one of the top 5 percent among business schools.”

Somma received his B. S. in Business Administration from RMU and now serves as president and CEO of Rande Somma & Associates, a consulting firm focusing on leadership coaching and development. Previously, he served as corporate officer for Johnson Controls, Inc. He is also the founder of the Rande and Georgia Somma Integrity First Scholarships, $2,500 awards given annually to the four RMU business students who write the best essays analyzing moral or ethical issues in a business case study.

Somma said that the establishment of this new Beta Gamma Sigma chapter “speaks not only to the exceptional quality of the educational experience at RMU, but also to that of the extraordinary commitment to excellence embodied in the leadership of the university and the School of Business.” He also thanked the many people who had given of themselves to help him find success in life, and who had inspired him to, in turn, give back to others.

His fellow honoree, Douglas J. MacPhail ‘74, echoed this sentiment. “You have to give back,” he said. “You have to give back to your alma mater, family, community, and religious organization. We are role models and mentors for the next generation. Be willing to volunteer your time and resources.”

MacPhail, a native of New Jersey, said his parents had convinced him to come to Robert Morris, and he was glad he’d listened to them. Now a resident of Pittsburgh, he is in his 30th year with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, where he serves as senior vice president. “This university was willing to give me a chance,” he said. “Because of [RMU], I was able to flourish.”

Joseph DiAngelo, Ed.D., dean of the Erivan K. Haub School of Business at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, awarded the charter to RMU’s School of Business and spoke of its impressive growth. “This is a school that is on the move,” said DiAngelo, “– in step with the goals of a great, student-centered university.” He added, “I know your faculty have been in the vanguard of this movement – this revival of great teaching – by embracing and actively promoting the most progressive trends in education today.

“You are a part of the best that Pittsburgh has to offer,” he said.

– Valentine J. Brkich

What’s in a Name?

One of the first things you notice on the Robert Morris University campus is that every building is named for someone. Some of these names are easily recognizable: Jefferson, Franklin, Revere, Adams, Hancock, etc. Other ones, however, may not be as familiar: John Jay, Braddock, Benjamin Rush, Wayne, Sewall, Gallatin, Washington…oh wait, scratch that last one.

So who are these people, and what did they do to get a building named after them? More important, how can I get a building named after me?? That’s what I wanted to know. Since I thought you might want to know, too, I decided to do a little research to find out.

Our first stop on the “Tour de Names” is Massey Hall – home to RMU President Dr. Gregory Dell’Omo, the School of Business, and many of the institution’s full-time professors. In addition, the building is also the home of RMU’s Colonial Theatre. Massey Hall is named for Harris B. Massey.

According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the late Massey and his wife, Doris, were leaders in the Pittsburgh business community. They were also the owners of the Massey Buick Co., which at one time was the largest Buick volume dealer in the country. During his life, Massey initiated and led several other successful businesses, while donating much of his time to serve in active roles for various civic organizations.

The Masseys established a trust fund in 1968 which, since their passing in 1984, has been active in supporting community programs in the city of Pittsburgh and throughout Allegheny County. The trust now provides support in the areas of education, health, arts and culture, conservation, religion, and human services. In 2003, the trust gave $500,000 for RMU’s Partners for Progress campaign to enhance the School of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science, which used the gift to create two new laboratories in John Jay Center.

The Massey Charitable Trust also supports programs for at-risk children, as well as the Pittsburgh Promise. In 2007, The Pittsburgh Foundation established the Pittsburgh Promise program with a $100 million commitment from UPMC, $10 million of which went to support the 2008 graduates of Pittsburgh Public Schools. The remaining $90 million was meant to stimulate support and contributions, with a goal to raise an additional $135 million. In June 2008, the Massey Charitable Trust provided a $1 million grant to the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship fund to help the program fulfill its important mission.

As we’ve mentioned before, 33 Pittsburgh Promise students enrolled at RMU in fall 2008—more than any other private school available to them. These students now have an average GPA of 3.0, right around the university average for all students and freshman students. They are active in campus activities and have become some of our most enthusiastic boosters. (If you’d like to meet some of them, click here.)

So there you have it. The story behind the name of Massey Hall. Quite an inspiring story of generosity, if I do say so myself.

Stay tuned for more on the RMU Tour de Names, coming soon…

– Valentine J. Brkich

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)

There’s no such thing as "overexposure"

If it seems to you that RMU has been all over the news lately, it’s not merely the fevered delusions of your troubled mind. Yesterday, Eleanor Chute at the Post-Gazette devoted some serious real estate to RMU’s nursing programs and its graduates in a story about nursing education.

Last week, Elise Boyas, assistant professor of accounting, was front and center in a Pittsburgh Business Times article about accounting rules changes. And today, Scott Leff, associate director of the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management, drew on his previous experience running a community bank to write an op-ed about the nation’s financial crisis.

At this rate, soon we’re not going to be able to eat in restaurants.