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Class Notes


Bernard K. Murray (A&S 1964) writes, “it has been 50 years since my graduation. In 1962, I enrolled at Point Park Junior College. I had wasted the last two years of high school assuming I would work in the local steel mill (Jones & Laughlin). Because of furloughs, I decided a college education was the better choice. Point Park Junior College was one of the few colleges willing to take a chance on me. During 1962 –64, I met many other students who had also chosen Point Park as a quality college. I made many friends. I remember dinners with [Point Park founder Dorothy] Finklehorn and Arthur Blum. It was a professional setting that exposed students to a real working environment. I am also most grateful to [chemistry professors] Dr. Albert Apt and Dr. Madeline Apt. Both of them were caring teachers who took a personal interest in their students. I went on to a career in teaching and union leadership. Most of my life choices, I owe to Point Park and I remain a proud alumnus.”


Lovell (A&S 1976) and Ora (Jackson) Thornton (A&S 1976) traveled to China in 2014. Lovell writes: “We are both from the Pittsburgh area (Ora from Homewood, Lovell from Aliquippa) but have lived in Atlanta for the past 34 years. Travel for pleasure is something we enjoy doing (time permitting) and we decided to venture to Beijing, China in September 2014. For eight days we explored and experienced the people, culture and history of China. It was truly an experience, visiting such sites as Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven and of course, the Mutianyu Great Wall. We also took a side trip to Xi'An, China to see the Confucius Temple, the 600 year-old City Wall, Shaanxi History Museum and the Terra-cotta Warriors, truly an unbelievable site to see. The Great Wall is awesome, a wonder to behold and breathtaking (no really, breathtaking!) What better place to show some ‘Pittsburgh Pride’ wearing Point Park t-shirts and displaying a Steelers ‘Terrible Towel’? The towel was actually recognized by another visitor on the day we visited. He was from New Jersey! Our Point Park shirts and Terrible Towel have become regular items that travel with us. They represent the love and pride that we still have for our hometown city. So, from the Pacific West of Haleakala in Hawaii (we traveled to Maui and Oahu in February 2014) to the Far East in China, Pittsburgh is in our hearts and on our minds.” Ora earned her degree in biology and Lovell earned his degree in computer science, both in 1976.

Jill (Marsh) Keating (COPA 1978) performed with The REP as the infamous soprano Florence Foster Jenkins, in Stephen Temperley’s Souvenir, at the Pittsburgh Playhouse last fall. Fellow alumnus and Broadway veteran Tomé Cousin (COPA 1982) directed the comedy. Keating met her future husband, fellow alum John Keating (COM 1975), on the bridge at Point Park.

Susan (Gribble) Ryberg (COM 1971) retired last September after a long career in library and information sciences. She spent nearly two decades in a variety of positions at the University of Mount Olive’s Moye Library in North Carolina and dedicated 25 years of service at Point Park College’s Helen-Jean Moore library, where she served in multiple librarian positions. She also led undergraduate classes in Point Park’s Social Sciences Department and taught a graduate journalism course. Ryberg earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications in 1971 at Point Park and later earned a master’s degree in library science at the University of Pittsburgh. She also studied vocal and performing arts. She is married to Allen Ryberg (COM 1988) and is the mother of former Point Park student Stuart Kushon (who finished his degrees at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University). In 1997, Susan and Allen moved to North Carolina, where he served as a reporter for the Mount Olive Tribune, as communications director for the local Girl Scout Council, and as communications director for the Howell Centers. The couple live in Mount Olive, N.C.

Bob Messinger (COM 1973) received a screenwriting award at the 2014 Indie Gathering International Film Festival in Cleveland, Ohio last summer. His war drama script, The C.O., was honored in the festival's screenwriting competition in the drama category. This is Messinger's third Indie Gathering win in as many years and his second win for The C.O, which had previously taken top honors in the prestigious ENDAS International Screenplay Competition in Italy. An earlier version of the script was also a 2006 semi-finalist in Francis Ford Coppola's American Zoetrope screenplay competition. Messinger is currently in pre-production on his first feature-length film to be shot in and around Parsippany, NJ. Those interested in volunteering their talents to this micro-budget "dramedy" project in any capacity may contact him at F1Promo@aol.com.


Rachel R. Hienz (COM 1989) has received a promotion at Hanlon Electric Company in Monroeville, Pa., where she serves as service manager. Hanlon Electric is a full-service electrical contractor that specializes in such areas as commercial and industrial construction; telecommunications, schools, universities, hospitals and energy companies. Hienz earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications/secondary education.

Beverly Edwards (COPA 1983) recently served as the UK general manager for the Kenneth Branagh production of Shakespeare's Macbeth at the New York Park Avenue Armory. She worked along side fellow classmate, Rob Ashford (COPA 1983), who co-directed the production. As a current resident of London, Beverly's West End General Management credits include; Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Stephen Ward-The Musical, Jersey Boys and Rock of Ages.

Erin (Kelly) Bomgaars (COPA 1987) has been appointed global marketing operations director for Claire's Accessories, Inc. She earned her bachelor’s degree in dance and an associate degree in business management at Point Park.

Morgan Kostival (COPA 1989) is the author and photographer of a new children’s book, Spencer the Spider and the Witch in the Wood. According to Kostival, “the story takes place on All Hallows Eve when Spencer suddenly realizes that he is no longer alone in his attic. He is introduced to three enchanted toys and together they embark on a journey that leads them through an abandoned old house and into the spooky night where they meet a mischievous hobgoblin … Spencer the Spider is designed for ages 8 to 12 but will be enjoyed by anyone who loves Halloween.” The book is available on Amazon. Kostival earned his bachelor’s degree in film and video production at Point Park.

Debra (Konieczka) DeCourcy (COM 1982) has been appointed vice president for corporate communications at Angie's List, based in Indianapolis. She is the former executive communications director at Northlich, an advertising, public relations and brand management firm based in Cincinnati. Before that, DeCourcy served as vice president for corporate communications at Fifth Third Bancorp for eight years. She is married to sports journalist Mike DeCourcy (COM 1981). For more on her new position, visit PR Week magazine.


Paul Lally (COM’03) was inducted into the Silver Circle of the Boston/New England Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The prestigious honor recognizes veteran television professionals who have made significant contributions to their community, the television industry, and to individuals training for careers in the field of television. Now a resident of New Hampshire, Lally is the executive producer of the national Italian food program Ciao, Italia. He is a broadcast veteran and former Pittsburgher who worked for WQED television and Mister Rogers Neighborhood for many years. Lally earned his master’s degree in journalism in 2003 at Point Park. See a video tribute.

Patricia Lonsbary (BUS ’01) has joined Bob Carter Companies LLC as a managing director. Lonsbary will assist BCCo clients in the USA, Mexico and the Middle East with international fundraising. She previously worked in major donor global fundraising for UNICEF. Lonsbary resides in the greater Pittsburgh area; BCCo is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida, and has a regional office in Mexico City.

Doug "Bass" Basalyga (COPA ’03), recently graduated from the well-known Groundlings school of sketch comedy and improvisation in Los Angeles. He recently appeared with Lisa Kudrow, and the Groundlings, in The Comeback, a much-anticipated original series that returned to HBO last fall. Basalyga is also writing and developing several projects for film and television.

Erin Roach (COM ’06) has been appointed marketing manager and strategist at Spark Digital Strategy in Detroit, Mich. She earned her master’s degree in journalism and mass communication at Point Park.

Brian Barca (BUS ’04) and his wife Sarah own Training KAMP Baseball and Softball in Pittsburgh. The organization works with players of all ages and offers private, one-on-one workouts, small group and team instruction, organization consulting and rentals. They recently added the ProBatter PX2, the same state of the art pitching simulator used by many major league baseball teams to help anyone interested in improving their game. In addition, the facility been recognized as one of the top batting cages in Pittsburgh by CBS Local and is considered one of the top learning organizations for baseball and softball education. Brian earned his bachelor’s degree in sports, arts and entertainment management at Point Park.

Erin Whitcomb (COPA ’09), Cassidy Adkins (COPA ’12), Lily Davis (COPA’13) and David Whalen (COPA 1985) were among many Point Park alumni who appeared last fall in the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Other alumni in the production included Karen Baum (COPA ’01), James Fitzgerald (COPA’11), David Bielewicz (COPA ’09) and J.Alex Noble (COPA ’12).

Anthony Pignetti (COM ’08) has been promoted from assistant director of sales to the team to director of business development for the Fightin’ Phils Baseball Team. Based in Reading, Pa., the team is the A.A. affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Pignetti earned his degree in broadcasting at Point Park, where he was a member of WPPJ and worked as the station’s sales director. According to Pignetti, “I always had an interest in baseball and wanted to work in the sport. When the opportunity arose for a full-time internship with the Reading Fightin’ Phils following my graduation, I took full advantage and worked as hard as I could. That hard work paid off.”

Pamela E. Walck (COM ’12) has been appointed an assistant professor in the Department of Journalism and Multimedia Arts in the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts at Duquesne University. Walck is also a doctoral candidate at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio.

Kirsten E. Parke (COPA’08) has just been accepted into a graduate program in arts management at the College of Visual and Performing Arts. She earned her bachelor’s degree in stage management at Point Park.

Michael McElroy (COM ’11) accepted a position as a production engineer, media specialist and television studio manager at Thiel College.

Elizabeth Andreakos (BUS ’13) has been appointed assistant facility manager for CBRE Global Corporate Services in Pittsburgh. She manages three downtown BNY Mellon buildings for CBRE and assists the CBRE regional facility manager with BNY Mellon properties all over the United States. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business at Point Park. 

Michael Suppa (A&S ’10) recently won a grant in the Farmer's Insurance “Thank a Million Teachers” competition, in which he bested more than 600 teachers from 22 states to win a grant to buy technology for his first grade students. Suppa teaches at D.C. Prep, the highest performing school in a network of urban charter schools in Washington, D.C. He is also pursuing a graduate degree in curriculum and instruction at George Mason University. He earned his degree in elementary education at Point Park.

Michael Mann (BUS ’12 and ’14) recently completed his M.B.A. and writes, “I set out to find what would be most beneficial with this new knowledge I had attained. Working in luxury retail, as a manager for a store in Pittsburgh, was fun but I wanted to stretch my M.B.A. farther. I am now a business manager for one of Pittsburgh's leading dentists, Bobbie Lee Hawranko, D.M.D; who recently opened a new practice in Shadyside. Leading in bio-dentistry, we hope to create a luxury dental practice. The courses I took, and the strength of Point Park’s M.B.A. program, have really allowed this to come into fruition.”

Ericka Watkins (BUS ’12), a credit analyst with Koppers, Inc., earned her M.B.A. with a management concentration, in 2012. According to Watkins, as a student, “I frequently met with career counselor Laura Dulaney, [who] helped me search for jobs on the Point Park Career Network website. I landed a job in HR upon earning my M.B.A. degree but it wasn’t the right fit for me. I missed working with numbers and wanted to move into the accounting field, so I reached out to Laura again — this time as an alumna — and she connected me to the accounting internship with Urban Design Associates. The internship was a great experience and ultimately led to my current position in accounting and finance with Koppers."

David Bush (BUS ’13) is relationship manager and assistant vice president, Private Client Group, at PNC Bank. Bush, who completed his M.B.A. in 2013, was named a 2014 "40 Under 40" honoree by Pittsburgh Magazine and the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project. Individuals under the age of 40 receive this award for their commitment to shaping the Pittsburgh region and "making it a better place for everyone to live, work and play." According to Bush, “An M.B.A. degree is a building block in the foundation of the banking industry. As a lifelong learner, constantly exploring new ideas and looking at different perspectives is crucial in an ever-changing global economy.” He adds, “Point Park was a wonderful fit for my situation. It dovetailed beautifully with my work schedule and home life.”

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