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Class Notes

1970s

D'Arcy Webb (COPA 1975), a professor of voice and speech at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, is the 2014 recipient of the university's President's Distinguished Teaching Award. According to the UArts website, Webb teaches cabaret performance in addition to voice and speech and is “known in some circles as the Speech Diva. … Over the years she has played a large number of roles, both in New York and regionally, more recently, soigné society dames, deranged housewives and toothless old crones – with passion, humanity and panache. She is grateful to her mother for a few good genes that have kept her body supple and resilient, so when a director stages a ten-minute scene in a dog crate the size of a FedEx box, she can fold herself into it quite handily and still speak articulately and with ardor. Webb specializes in speech production and accent reduction, and offers private coaching to actors and other professionals who wish to free their speech of regionalisms and speak clearly, vividly and with passion.”

Joseph L. Walker (COM 1973) writes, “I recently semi-retired after a career in the newspaper business and public relations spanning 40 years. Since 1999, I have owned and operated my own public relations consultancy, serving clients in the Washington, D.C. region. Prior to that, I spent more than six years working for a daily newspaper, and 20 years doing public relations work for industrial clients. I look back on my time at (then) Point Park College for giving me the foundation for a successful life and career. I still do a small amount of work for two Washington-based trade associations.” Walker now resides in central Florida.

Jill (Marsh) Keating (COPA 1978) appeared in the Bricolage Production Company’s “In The Raw Festival (R)evolution” in summer 2014. The production involved a four-week creative process, after which two new devised works were produced in revolving repertory fashion over the last two weekends in August. This fall, Keating performs with The REP as the infamous soprano Florence Foster Jenkins, in Stephen Temperley’s Souvenir, at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. Fellow alumnus and Broadway veteran Tomé Cousin (COPA 1982) directs the comedy. Keating began her theater career singing as a child with Igor Stravinsky in his Persephone. She later studied dance and became a professional ballerina with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. New York City credits include Roger Miller’s Tony award-winning Big River and productions in Jay Harnick’s Theatreworks USA . Since returning to Pittsburgh, she’s appeared in The Pittsburgh Public Theater’s production of Born Yesterday. Her play, Bored of Education, was produced in the 2013 Pittsburgh New Works Festival. According to Keating, a turning point in her life was meeting her future husband, John Keating (COM 1975), on the bridge at Point Park.

1980s

Rob Ashford (COPA 1983, HON ’10) acclaimed director and choreographer, collaborated (as co-director) with Kenneth Branagh on a production of Shakespeare's Macbeth, which starred the legendary British actor-director. The production opened in summer 2013 in Manchester, England and moved to New York's Park Avenue Armory in June 2014. According to TheaterMania, “The immersive production, which originated at the Manchester International Festival, serves as Branagh's New York stage debut and Ashford's first time working on a Shakespeare play. Ashford spoke with TheaterMania about collaborating with those titans of the stage – Branagh and Shakespeare – and shared his thoughts on why this experience is unlike any other.” Read the entire Q&A.

1990s

Jamie Frey (COM 1999) has accepted a position as studio operations director for 1080 WWNL Pittsburgh. The station is part of the Wilkins Radio Network.

Stacey Allen (A&S 1996, 2007) writes, “As a Point Park alumna, with both undergraduate and graduate degrees from the university, I am proud to share the ways in which my education and experience has allowed me to take my career to the next level. In June of 2013, New York City’s Department of Mental Health and Hygiene presented me with the opportunity to build and operate a pilot program that provides rapid response psychiatric services to children and adolescents in the Bronx. As a result of its success, and the efforts of our great team, this program has been funded and expanded into two new boroughs, which launched in July 2014. I always look back at my experience at Point Park as the time when I, an adult student with a full-time job and family responsibilities, was able to find the program, instructors and classroom settings that I needed to take my career and ambition to the next level. I am eternally grateful for Point Park and the University’s accelerated programs!” Allen earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.

Billy Hartung (COPA 1993) and his eldest child Elizabeth (age 14) performed together in the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera’s production of Footloose in June 2014. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “When Broadway producers were considering ways to turn the 1984 hit film Footloose into a musical, Hartung ... was cast as the villainous boyfriend, Chuck Cranston, in both the 1997 workshop and 1998 Broadway productions. … Coincidentally, Elizabeth was born during the Broadway run of Footloose, and her baby shower was actually held in the lobby of the Richard Rodgers Theater, where the show opened on Oct. 22, 1998, and ran for 709 performances. ‘I am really proud that Elizabeth is in the show and thought it would be a gift to share the stage with her in a professional production,’ he told the Post-Gazette. Now living in his hometown of Mt. Lebanon, Hartung has appeared on Broadway, off-Broadway, in films, television and regional theaters throughout the country. He can be seen singing and dancing in the movie musical Chicago and has performed in both the 75th Annual Academy Awards and The 25th Anniversary of the Kennedy Center Honors, where he danced in a tribute to Chita Rivera. He also has been featured in the original casts of two additional Broadway shows, Side Show and Minnelli on Minnelli. Read the entire Post-Gazette article.

Drew Ziccardi (A&S 1996), is an industrial sales consultant for hazardous waste and structural strengthening market segments, but says that his love for food, and the lack of inexpensive, fine dining food options, led him to open a new restaurant: Gabriella's-Gourmet on the Go. The restaurant, named after his daughter, “features interesting breakfast sandwich combinations, lunchtime favorites featuring only the finest ingredients, pastas that would rival the best fine dining restaurants around, and gourmet soups daily – all at affordable prices,” according to Ziccardi. Gabriella's delivers both breakfast and lunch and does catering for groups: from four to 50 people. Gabriella’s Gourmet on the Go is located at 301 E. Carson Street near Station Square. Call 412-481-GABS (4227).

2000s

Jackie Baker (COPA ’09) has accepted a position as the general manager at Bricolage Production Company in Downtown Pittsburgh. Baker was previously the development manager for Kelly Strayhorn Theater and continues to act, direct, and produce.

Don Kelly (BUS’06) was named the Detroit Tigers 2014 Heart and Hustle Award winner by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association on July 22, 2014. Every team in Major League Baseball has one recipient of the award, and it is the second year in a row that Kelly is the Tigers' award winner. According to a Detroit Tigers press release, the award "honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game. The Heart and Hustle Award is also the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by former players."

2010s

Faith Cotter (COM ’11) is the author of Clara, a short story, released in June 2014 via Smashwords and Amazon Kindle. Smashwords distributed the story to iBooks, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Oyster, Scribd, Overdrive, and other library apps. Cotter’s narrative essay Paper Dragons was likewise published later in June. Clara and Paper Dragons were featured on WestofMars.com, an author services company, on June 23 and 30 respectively. As a student, Cotter was active in Point Park’s creative writing community. For more information about the books, visit faithcotter.wordpress.com.

Angela Semple (COPA ’13) is producing a short film, All Raccoons Are Bandits, based on an original script that won second place in the Cinema Arts Department’s screenplay competition two years ago. Semple describes the film as “a screwball dramedy set in 1882; the tale of small-time scoundrel Rocky Snodgrass, who fell in love with the local policeman's daughter. Every crew member is either an alumnus or a current student; two cast members are COPA alumni and Randy Kovitz, an adjunct acting/directing professor, is playing the villain.” For more information, visit the film’s IndieGoGo fundraising project page.

Peter Frenchak (BUS ’14) has started graduate school at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is studying for a master’s degree in health services administration. He earned his undergraduate degree in public administration with a concentration in EMS administration at Point Park in 2014.

Autumn Shuty (A&S ’12) earned a graduate certificate in Genocide and Holocaust Studies from Seton Hill University in May 2014. She received her bachelor’s degree in education at Point Park.

Justin Morgan (A&S ’10) is an English teacher at Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh and executive vice president of the Federation of Pittsburgh Diocesan Teachers Local 2400. He earned his degree in secondary education English at Point Park. Morgan says he was attracted to Central Catholic’s “philosophy of Lasallian education and teaching in a community setting. I remember saying that teaching at Central Catholic felt more like a vocation than just a want or need of a job.” A Navy veteran, Morgan benefited from the G.I. Bill and says he chose Point Park in part because  of “ample scholarships and a convenient location centered around many part-time job opportunities.” In teaching, he says, I strive to follow Central Catholic’s mission to foster a life of faith and learning. We (my students and myself) use critical thinking and writing to explore the emotional and spiritual depths of literature. In turn, we use a variety of classic and modern literature as a catalyst to exploring the philosophy of humanity and what creates a man of faith, scholarship and service.”

In Memoriam

Anthony “Tony” Myers (BUS ’13) passed away on July 16, 2014. He was 30 years old. His obituary described him as the beloved son of Steve Myers and Linda Myers; loving brother of Stuart Myers; cherished grandson of Sheila Parfitt, and the late Geoff Parfitt, and John Myers, and the late Ruth Myers; Tony was a beloved cousin, uncle, nephew, godfather and a friend to many. He was a 2003 graduate of Fox Chapel High School and a graduate of Point Park University with an accounting degree. He served with the U.S. Navy. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully suggested memorial contributions to the Wounded Warrior Project, 301 Grant St., Pittsburgh, PA 15219.

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