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Class Notes

1960s

President Paul Hennigan visited with alumni and friends of Point Park in several Florida cities last winter. He joined Paul Meese (A&S 1965) and Carol Meese, along with Joann Stein and Steve Stein (BUS 1970, HON ’11) in the Sunshine State to share stories and bring news from the University’s Pittsburgh campus.

1980s

Taitia Hager Shelow (COM 1989), writes that she “is happy to be back in the 'Burgh after a brief move to Michigan.” Shelow accepted a position as a marketing specialist for Central Blood Bank in Greentree, Pa. last February. She earned her degree in journalism and communications at Point Park in 1989.

Lisa McIntyre (Klassen) (COM 1988) has been promoted to vice president of automotive for the Pittsburgh-West Virginia region at iHeart Media. She earned her degree in journalism at Point Park in 1988.

Todd Tomasic (BUS 1983) writes to share some good health news: “On April 7, I celebrated the 20 year anniversary of my liver transplant!” Tomasic graduated from Point Park’s School of Business in 1983.

Wendy Hess (COM 1989) marked 10 years' employment with The Salvation Army last March. Her son, Vinnie Veitz, completed his freshman year in Point Park's Cinema Arts program as a cinema production major. Hess earned her degree in journalism at Point Park in 1989.

IN MEMORIAM

Rev. Jean Mairs McLean (A&S 1983) of Pittsburgh, Pa. and Naples, Fla., passed away on March 9 at the age of 86. She was the beloved wife of the late Dr. Albert McLean, an academic dean of Point Park College, who passed away in 2014. In addition to other church postings, Rev. McLean served as an assistant pastor at Hiland Presbyterian Church where she was ordained by Pittsburgh Presbytery in 1985. She also worked within the Presbytery in various roles for the Committee on Aging. In Naples, she served as an associate chaplain for Hospice of Naples. She was a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (Masters of Divinity, 1983), Point Park College (bachelor of arts in psychology) and Mt. Holyoke College (bachelor of arts in religion). In the 1960s, Jean and her family were charter members of All Souls Presbyterian Church, the first integrated church in Lexington, Ky. She and Dr. McLean also participated in Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Frankfort. In Lexington and Pittsburgh, she was active in the League of Women Voters. Jean was a devoted mother to her three children, Dr. Stuart McLean (A&S 1983) and his wife Diane McLean (A&S 1986), Cameron McLean and his wife Kathy, and Janet Mickens. She is also survived by her loving grandchildren, Ian, Collin, Matthew and his wife Dianna, Danielle, Christopher, Ashley Shock, Amy Shock, and her great grandchildren, Dominic Shock and Vivianna McLean.

Troy D. Allen, Ph.D. (A&S 1990), a professor of African-American studies at Southern University-Baton Rouge, died on March 17. He was 57. According to SouthernDigest.com, Allen “taught thousands of students World Civilization, African-American History, Race Relations, and History of Ancient Egypt courses over a span of 20 years. He was also an adjunct instructor of African-American studies at LSU. Born in McKeesport, Pa., Allen earned his bachelor of arts in political science from Point Park in 1990. He went on to receive his [master’s degree] in Black studies and Black community development from the Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in African-American studies from Temple University. In 2008 Allen’s book, The Ancient Egyptian Family: Kinship and Social Structure was published by Routledge Press. His contributions to academia include scholarly articles on race and African-American studies published in the Journal of Black Studies and the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Read the entire obituary.

1990s

Phillip W. Brath, P.E. (A&S 1992), has joined Barton & Loguidice (B&L), a sustainable planning and design group, as a senior managing engineer in the firm’s Camp Hill, Pa. office. Brath previously was a senior engineer/project Manager with another Mid-Atlantic firm where he was involved with wastewater treatment and land development as well as stormwater and erosion control projects. With over 25 years of planning, engineering and management experience, Brath will manage public and private sector planning and design projects for the Camp Hill office. His background includes water and wastewater plant and equipment design, municipal consulting and engineering, land development reviews and planning, as well as experience in design, sales, and costing, manufacturing, installation, and service of manufactured equipment, controls, instrumentation and systems, including profit/loss and budgeting responsibility at project and operational levels.  He is a leading regulatory specialist for NPDES and Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4). Brath is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Pennsylvania. Brath is a member of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan Management Team. He is also a member of the Upper Allen Township Sewer Advisory Board and on the Board of Directors of the Yellow Breeches Watershed Association. He is a graduate of Thiel College, with a B.A. in physics, and earned his B.S. in civil engineering technology at Point Park.

Betty L. Sarafin (COM 1990) is serving as an advisor to the student staff of Berea College's collegiate newspaper, The Pinnacle. She also continues to advance her writing career in the genre of poetry. Her latest poem was included in an anthology titled Where I'm From, compiled by George Ella Lyons, poet laureate of Kentucky. Betty has lived, worked and played in the Bluegrass (Central Kentucky) since 2005. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and her M.B.A. at Point Park.

2000s

IN MEMORIAM

Delores (Nazura Asaseyeduru) Haymon (A&S ’05), who earned her degree in behavioral sciences, died suddenly on March 19. She was 38. According to the New Pittsburgh Courier, “more than 100 people gathered at the Community Empowerment Association in Homewood [on April 8] for a memorial ceremony celebrating the brief, but impactful life of Nazura Asaseyeduru. Born Delores Haymon, [she] was a community activist in Pittsburgh whose life ended suddenly on March 19 while attending a conference in Washington, D.C. Before the ceremony, a community processional with everyone in white, and the women wearing red, green and black head wraps, marched, danced and drummed from the Pittsburgh Coliseum on Frankstown Avenue to the CEA. The Red, Black, and Green March set the stage for the occasion, which had all the pomp and ceremony due any true “Warrior Type,” as she was referred to by spoken-word artist, Leslie Ezra Smith, in a poem he wrote in her memory. The central theme of the day centered around her character; a “Warrior Woman,” a committed community activist whose determined spirit and commitment to her people was unrelenting and serious…Mistress of Ceremonies was local author and poet, Dessie Bey. “Nazura went to D.C. in May of 2005 for the celebration of African Liberation Day. It was during this time that she entered her Afrocentric consciousness, and she went from being Delores Haymon to Nazura Eshe Asaseyeduru, and began the fight for her people and to live out her life purpose, focusing on community organization—which she did until her last day,” Bey said. Read the entire article.

Jasmine Goldband (COM ’03) has joined The Incline as a visual producer. According to The Incline, “Her photos and videos will tell their own stories, help elevate The Incline‘s other original narratives and bring our social media accounts to life. ‘Joining a digital-only newsroom as a visual producer is a natural fit for me,’ Jasmine said. ‘I’m looking forward to providing dynamic visuals of the city, its neighborhoods and residents that I love so much.’ She comes to The Incline from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, where she started working as a photojournalist in May 2003 after graduating from Point Park. Of note at the Trib, Jasmine covered the fatal shooting of three Pittsburgh police officers in 2009 and Hillary Clinton’s primary run against Barack Obama in 2008. She also worked on a project documenting disparities faced by black women who have breast cancer and provided video coverage of the Steelers. She is a member of the Women’s Press Club of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh chapter of Women in Film and Media, the National Press Photographers Association and the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.” Read more at The Incline.

Paul Lally (COM ’03) read the article on this year’s 10th anniversary of the International Media Class trips abroad (The Point, Winter 2017) and writes to say, “Happy to see Helen Fallon (School of Communication professor and Honors Program director) in The Point magazine, and the good results of the John Fallon Travel Scholarship Fund. Lucky kids and lucky world. Nothing like travel to humble and exalt at the same time. As for me, I’m still being the ‘Energizer Bunny’ [as executive producer of] Ciao Italia!, about to begin our 28th year of production. And I am also happy to say that, after a zillion years of writing … and getting nowhere, my fiction writing took off a few years back and continues to gain readers. Five novels [published], now writing my sixth. It’s a testament to not giving up, that’s for sure. And so is my Point Park M.A. diploma, which hangs on the wall next to my computer. I see it every day, and it’s a reminder that, thanks to [Helen Fallon] and a zillion years of trying, I finally DID it! Sending a gigantic hug from snowbound New Hampshire.” Lally, who lives (and shovels snow) in Dover, N.H., presents the tastes and sights of Italy in his work leading the long-running cooking show Ciao Italia! (recently shot on-location in Valcasotto, Italy, in the country’s Piedmont region near the Swiss Alps.) Read more about Lally’s novels.

Kevin Moran (COM ’09) and Jessica LaDow (Moran) (COM ’09) were married on Oct. 8, 2016. A former editor-in-chief of The Globe student newspaper, Jessica is a partner operations manager at Google in Pittsburgh. A photojournalism graduate, Kevin is marketing coordinator at FEIN Power Tools in Pittsburgh. Among the guests was friend and classmate David Kelly (COM ’11), who took wedding photos.

2017 Tony Awards

Several Point Park alumni are performing in Broadway productions that have been nominated for the 2017 Tony Awards. They are: Jordan Grubb (COPA ’08), a native of Easton, Pa. who earned his degree in theatre arts, is a swing in the cast of the Tony Award-nominated new musical Groundhog Day. Rachel Stevens (COPA ’09), a native of Astoria, N.Y. who earned her degree in theatre arts in 2009, is an assistant director for the Tony Award-nominated Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. Courtney Bassett, a native of Sterling, Va. who received her degree in theatre arts in 2011, is part of the same show’s ensemble cast.

2010s        

Michele Tabaka (COM ’13) is a senior advertising coordinator at The Washington Post in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, she served as marketing manager at John V. Heineman Co. She earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising, with a minor in business management, at Point Park in 2013.

Angela Citrola (COPA ’15) writes, “Just wanted to update on the project I have been working on for the last year! I am currently the extras casting associate for the new Netflix series Mindhunter, executive produced by David Fincher and Charlize Theron. It is set to premiere on Netflix in spring, 2017.” Citrola studied acting at Point Park’s Conservatory of Performing Arts,

Emily (Harnett) Bezak (BUS ’10) completed her M.B.A. degree at the University of Pittsburgh’s Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business in April 2016. She married Jeffrey Bezak on September 30, 2016 in Harmony, Pa. In her new job as senior marketing specialist at PNC, she is responsible for marketing campaigns and communications that support the commercial banking segment within the Corporate & Institutional Banking division. Bezak earned her degree in business management at Point Park.

Rachel Shrensky (A&S ’12) writes, “Last August, I moved to Charlotte, N.C. and have been working at a charter school as an inclusion specialist. I work to support teachers and seventh grade students in the classrooms, coordinate and write IEPs, provide modifications and accommodations, as well as create meaningful relationships in my community. I would not have been prepared for this opportunity if it weren't for all the amazing and dedicated teachers from the Education Department!” Shrensky earned her bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education and elementary education at Point Park.

Heather Olcott (COPA ’13) writes, “I recently worked as the assistant stage manager for the 2016 national tour of Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas. I am currently working on the national tour of 42nd Street as assistant wardrobe [manager]. Olcott earned her B.A. in dance, with a minor in stage management, at Point Park in 2013.

Barbara Arroyo (A&S ’11) was recently a finalist for the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Awards. Coro Pittsburgh recognizes leaders in the community that take an inclusive approach to model Dr. King's legacy and values. Arroyo also was recently honored as part of Whirl Magazine’s 13 Under 30 2017 class. She earned her M.S in criminal justice administration at Point Park. 

Joseph Buckel (BUS ’15) writes, “I've accepted a new position as a client engagement specialist with Fi360 in Robinson Township, Pa. Fi360 empowers financial intermediaries to profitably implement prudent fiduciary practices.” Buckel earned his degree in business management at Point Park in 2015.

Prince of Broadway

Broadway performers Tony Yazbeck (HON ’16) and Kaley Ann Voorhees, both former students in Point Park’s Conservatory of Performing Arts, have been cast in the premiere of Prince of Broadway, a musical celebration that highlights the six-decade career of legendary director and producer Harold Prince. Yazbeck, who trained at Point Park from 1997 to 1999, earned a Tony nomination as Best Leading Actor in a Musical for the critically acclaimed revival of On the Town. He also performed in the lead role of J.M. Barrie in the Broadway musical Finding Neverland. Yazbeck, who recently released his debut album The Floor Above Me, was the 2016 Commencement speaker at Point Park, which presented him with an honorary degree. Shortly after completing her sophomore year as a musical theatre major in 2014, Voorhees was cast in the leading role of Christine in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. She has also appeared in Candide. Prince of Broadway starts previews on Aug. 3 and opens on Aug. 24 at MTC's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre (261 West 47th Street). Read the story at Broadway World.

Stoycho Stoychev (BUS ’14) is a credit management report and analysis manager and 14-Q corporate and CRE loan reporting analyst at The Bank of New York (BNY) Mellon. He earned his M.B.A. with a concentration in international business at Point Park in 2014 and his B.A. in criminology with a business administration minor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2010. As a student, he was active in Point Park’s Graduate Student Association and International Student Services and Enrollment. “I’m intrigued by quantitative analysis and behavioral finance, so I am always looking to expand my knowledge in those fields. My curiosity and desire for understanding how things work is what truly motivated me to get an M.B.A. and keeps me motivated to continue advancing my education.”

Cody McDevitt (COM ’13) is the co-author of Pittsburgh Drinks, A History of Cocktails, Nightlife and Bartending Tradition, published by American Palate and available on Amazon. According to the book’s description, “Pittsburgh's drinking culture is a story of its people: vibrant, hardworking and innovative. During Prohibition, the Hill District became a center of jazz, speakeasies and creative cocktails. In the following decades, a group of Cuban bartenders brought the nightlife of Havana to a robust café culture along Diamond Street. Disco clubs gripped the city in the 1970s, and a music-centered nightlife began to grow in Oakland with such clubs as the Electric Banana. Today, pioneering mixologists are forging a new and exciting bar revival in the South Side and throughout the city. Pull up a stool and join Cody McDevitt and Sean Enright as they trace the history of Steel City drinking, along with a host of delicious cocktail recipes.” McDevitt is a reporter at the Daily American in Somerset, Pa. He earned his master’s degree in journalism and communications at Point Park in 2013.

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