A New Center for Media Innovation
When Point Park envisioned the future for its widely respected School of Communication, one of its foremost considerations was to create a state-of-the-art learning center where students could merge their energy, talent and ambition into a central location. In October 2015, the University revealed the result of that academic vision, the Center for Media Innovation which, when completed later this year, will give students the opportunity to work with the latest technology. The 4,000-square-foot center will cost $2.5 million to build and is made possible, in part, with a grant from the Allegheny Foundation. Trib Total Media is a sponsor of the Center.
A River Runs Through It
As a boy, Matthew Opdyke, Ph.D. waded into the local river every spare moment, digging through the sediment and turning over rocks to find snails and insects. He loved the thrill of discovering what other people didn’t see. Three decades and many scientific papers later, Opdyke, associate professor of environmental studies at Point Park, still feels that wonder of exploring nature and passes that exhilaration onto students who accompany him into the woods and streams. He has landed external grants so students can conduct their own research and help him do studies about aquatic ecology, wetlands restoration and lichens as an indicator of air quality.
Point Park journalism alumnus Ron Esser is well-known in the Pittsburgh area as the founder of Moondog’s, a popular club that showcases local musicians such as Grushecky and Norm Nardini. The club has a devoted following and is a beloved fixture in Blawnox. Esser also runs a diner called Starlite Lounge, whose pierogies were praised in the Food Network show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. But Esser is much more than a successful businessman and a champion of live music. He has helped raised more than $2 million for the Community Food Bank as chairman of the Pittsburgh Blues Festival for the past 21 years.
Point Park Represented in Pittsburgh's "40 Under 40"
Point Park was well-represented in Pittsburgh Magazine’s 2015 celebration of 40 Under 40, recognizing the accomplishments of young professionals in the region. Honorees included Nicholas Black, a lieutenant with Point Park’s campus police (pictured at right). The magazine noted that “Black often is the face parents meet at student orientation and the face their kids see when someone needs help. [He] reaches out to students with drug and alcohol classes, CPR and first-aid training, and he teaches the vital “Refuse to Be a Victim” crime-prevention course at the downtown campus."
School of Communication senior and former men’s basketball player Gabe McNeal knows the value of an education. He also knows what basketball has given him in his life. Now he’s using what he learned playing basketball at Point Park, and his upbringing in a household where reading was encouraged, to pass the message on to kids. McNeal, who starred at Point Park with over 1,000 career points, finished up his men’s basketball career after the 2013-14 season. Since then, he has blended education and basketball into his non-profit foundation, "Go Pro in the Game of Life."
Gifts at Work
“The Development and Alumni Relations team works to fund the mission of Point Park University by building a culture of philanthropy throughout the University community,” says Sharon Navoney, vice president of development and alumni relations. “Our goal is to help our students succeed.” At Point Park’s 2015 scholarship brunch, “one of our students expressed her deep gratitude to the gathering of donors and scholarship recipients,” recalls Navoney. She said, ‘Without your generosity, people like me could not even imagine attending college. You give us the opportunity to receive something that is so worthwhile, valuable and everlasting ... and that is an education.’”