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The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to Point Park University alumni who exemplify the mission, vision, and values of Point Park University. They have positively contributed to their communities, personal and professional, upon graduation and are someone who Point Park University would be proud to recognize as a Distinguished Alumni. They are individuals who contribute to society through the promotion of excellence, foster a community of mutual respect and diversity, encourage innovation, ensure integrity and ethics in their actions, and facilitate civic engagement.


2023 Awardees


Degree/Program: Bachelor of Science in Public Administration
Now living in: Elizabeth Township, PA
Job title: Township Manager of North Huntingdon Township

Public Service runs deep in Harry Faulk’s veins. His father, Dr. Harry R. Faulk, who served as top administrator in higher education and is active in Rotary serving his community, to his late grandfather, Dr. Harry R. Faulk who was an innovative visionary that left a mark on Western Pennsylvania students and professionals and developed the Master of Public Management program at Carnegie Mellon.

Harry immediately began serving his community right out of high school by joining the local Volunteer Fire Department. He served several communities as a Paramedic and Volunteer Firefighter throughout the years. One night, he ran into a Chief for the City of Pittsburgh EMS and an instructor at Point Park University. They discussed how the Public Administration Program can be utilized to advance his EMS Career. Little did he know this conversation would forever change his life. During his time at Point Park, he quickly shifted gears into municipal government.

He served as a municipal manager for various municipalities, leaving each one better than when he started by improving transparency and restoring public trust. Harry later served as Chief of Staff for a Pennsylvania State Representative. Although he enjoyed working for the State, his passion is local government. “Local government has the biggest impact on your daily life, and that is where I feel I can better serve and help everyone,” Mr. Faulk states.

His wife and children sacrificed so much while he attended Point Park University. He was working three jobs while receiving a high-quality education. His degree opened a door that allowed him to retire from EMS and spend more quality time with his family. Point Park made Harry feel at home, not just a statistic. The faculty understood the difference between the traditional student and the adult learner. That ability is what defines a successful education. Harry credits his success to his family and his time at Point Park University.

Harry is also a Credentialed Manager through the International City/County Managers Association and is a volunteer budget reviewer for the Government Finance Officers Associations. He also volunteers his time announcing fireman’s festivals and parades in the Mon Valley during the summer months.

In addition to his Public Administration degree from Point Park University, Faulk received his Associates Degree in Emergency Medical Services from Fairmont State University, and his Masters of Public Policy and Management from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.


Degree/Program: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Video Production
Now living in: Los Angeles, CA
Job title: Executive Vice President, Studios 

Jeff Poffenbarger graduated from Point Park College in the summer of 1996 with a BFA in Film and Video Production. After graduation, he moved to Los Angeles, and shortly thereafter, took an entry level position in the video game industry at Activision. While his time at Point Park equipped him for a career in film, he quickly realized that the skills he learned there were also a great asset in game development. Within a little over year, Jeff was able to move into production and work on some amazing games like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. From LA, he transferred to Raven Studios in Madison, WI, where he produced fantastic games like Wolverine and Singularity. After almost four years at Raven, he transferred to Toys for Bob, another Activision Studio in Novato, CA, and helped launch the Skylanders franchise. After 18 years at Activision, Jeff took a new opportunity with Oculus in Seattle, leading an internal team in making content for virtual reality headsets. Two years later, in 2019, he was recruited to fill an executive role at a startup, Mythical Games, where he helped build the company from the ground up. Starting with just 10 employees and two offices to 350 employees and offices around the world! 

Jeff states that he would not be where he is today without the valuable, hands-on education that he received at Point Park. It was there that he learned about the importance of teamwork. Oftentimes he was partnered in groups on projects, and they had to rely on one another in order to create something magical. They each had roles and they learned the importance of embracing that role and trusting their partners to embrace theirs. It was at Point Park that he learned important lessons around collaboration and trust – things he still carries forward with him to this day.

Jeff has also been fortunate enough to be involved in a number of charities and services that not only have helped the community, but have helped him grow as a person. When he lived in Madison, he was very active with Meals on Wheels and Pets on Wheels, two services that not only benefited the community, but also made him realize the importance of those programs. While at Oculus, Jeff served as a reviewer and guide of their Oculus Launchpad – a program designed to support promising VR content creators from diverse backgrounds. He was able to guide content creators during their tenure with the program and help them realize their vision. He has a firm belief that diversity is important in my industry, and while steps have been taken in the right direction, there is still a lot of work to be done. Jeff hopes to focus on this area post-career, and make sure he can share his knowledge to those that need it. 


Degree/Program: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science
Now living in: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

It is with great humility and gratitude that Eric accepts this honor as a distinguished alumna of Point Park. He extends his heartfelt thanks to the university and all those involved in the selection process for recognizing his path through life forged once he reached this university. Eric was born in Palestine, and he moved at 13 years old to Paris where he graduated from high school before moving to Pittsburgh and enrolling in Point Park.

Reflecting on his time at this university, Eric is reminded of the transformative impact it had on his life. The world-class education he received here provided him with the foundation and skills to achieve professional success, pursue his passions, and make a positive impact in his field. The intellectual curiosity and academic rigor that define this institution have been instrumental in shaping Eric’s career and worldview. Point Park has forged his personality in many ways: as a team player and as a leader, as it taught him that discipline and respect to one another are cornerstones to growth, achievement and success.

Maintaining a high standard of academic performance was not Eric’s only ambition. The university allowed him to grow in diverse ways. He actively participated in student activities. He was the co-captain of the Pioneers Soccer team and he was elected as the President of both the Point Park International Student Club and the Point Park United Student Government. These leadership roles not only instilled self-confidence in Eric but also equipped him with the ability to navigate complex situations, cultivate active listening skills, and pursue equitable solutions by going the extra mile. They also made his time at Point Park so memorable. The different identities Eric carries today, as a banker, as a leader, as a sportsman, as a Palestinian, were all nurtured and have flourished at Point Park.

Eric graduated in 1995 from Point Park and went back to France where he was fortunate to be admitted to the ESCP Business School, one of the top 3 Business Schools in France and in the top 8 of business schools in Europe. 

After graduating from ESCP, he was extremely lucky to join one of the best global companies in the world: General Electric. Eric embarked on one of the best corporate leadership programs in the world: the GE Financial Management Program, and that’s where his professional career took off. He has spent 20 years working for GE in different finance and leadership roles and worked in different industries: Healthcare, Plastics, Power, Oil & Gas and Banking. Eric worked in 25 countries and lived in 11 different countries. France, UK, Norway, Germany, USA, New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, Australia, and the UAE.  In 2017 GE sold GE Money Bank which he was running as its CEO. Eric led the sale of this business to a New York Private Equity named Cerberus Capital Management which he ended up joining to pursue a new successful adventure with MyMoney Group.

Throughout his career, Eric was eager to reflect the values that he holds dear. Over the years, he has made significant strides in promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion, particularly in the areas of gender equality and female leadership. In La Reunion, Martinique, Guadeloupe and Thailand, Eric made a conscious effort to recruit and promote women into leadership positions, recognizing the immense value that diverse perspectives bring to our organization. But he knew that there is always more work to be done. He believes that we must continue to challenge ourselves to identify and remove systemic barriers that limit the success of women and other underrepresented groups. We must create a workplace culture that truly values diversity and provides equal opportunities for all employees to succeed.

On a personal note, in his country Palestine, that has been facing so much injustice and hardship, his efforts include ensuring that Palestinian children in his town have access to safe and engaging sports activities, as well as advocating for and providing assistance to programs that serve the needs of the elderly community. These experiences have strengthened Eric’s commitment to making a positive impact in my local community. As we all know, we can only grow humanly if we help those around us grow and thrive.

As a distinguished alumna, he is deeply grateful to the education and leadership skills that Point Park instilled in him. He recognizes that his success is the result of the investment made by the university and its faculty in his education. Eric thanks Professor N. Firestone and Professor E.Panzella  for their mentorship and has never forgotten them.

“To the students of Point Park, I encourage you to seize the opportunities and challenges that come your way. Your education here is a privilege and a gift, and it is up to you to make the most of it. Whether in the classroom, on the playing field, or in the community, strive for excellence, lead with integrity, and make a positive impact in the world.”

Once again, Eric is deeply honored to be recognized as a distinguished alumna of this university. He will continue to cherish the memories, values, friendships and connections that were forged here, and he looks forward to serving as an ambassador of this great university for years to come. Thank you.


Degree/Program: Bachelor of Arts in Dance
Now living in: New York, New York

As a professional ballet dancer, Morgan has performed with over 20 international companies spanning 6 countries. He grew up studying at Nan Klinger’s Excellence in Dance in Akron, Ohio then received his B.A. from Point Park University. He started his career with Texas Ballet Theater under world renowned director Ben Stevenson before relocating to NYC. He was a soloist with Connecticut Ballet for 8 seasons then joined East Coast Contemporary Ballet and Ballets With a Twist while simultaneously guesting as a principal dancer with Palmetto City Ballet and for multiple companies around the country. Morgan has also been fortunate to work with Lindy Mandradjieff and Deborah Wingert from the Balanchine Trust to perform over a dozen ballets by George Balanchine. Notable credits include a principal role choreographed by Broadway legend Ann Reinking, opening for Cyndi Lauper’s annual show “Home For the Holidays,” performing Bob Fosse’s “Dancin’ Man, Rich Man’s Fruge” and “Sing, Sing, Sing” staged by Charlotte D’Amboise. Others include a feature in National Geographic, posing for Jordan Matter’s “Dancers After Dark” and performing alongside the original Broadway cast of The Wiz for “Broadway Sings for Pride.” He’s performed in several web series and short films that have won numerous awards including being nominated at the 2020 Cannes Film Festival and the first promotional dance film for New York City’s Office of Emergency Management. Annually, he tours North America as the Master Ballet Instructor for View Dance Challenge in Canada and the U.S. based Elevation on Tour. He also teaches for Dance Masters of America, judges for StarQuest International Dance Competition and the Long Island Dance Challenge. 

As a dance educator, Morgan has been fortunate to be on the faculty of more than a dozen institutions across the country and share his love of dance through master classes in classical and contemporary ballet, partnering, pointe, variations and choreography. He has also been on faculty for the Wyoming State University’s Snowy Range Dance Festival. Morgan has been able to give back to the dance community by teaching classes for Baltimore’s Hippodrome Foundation summer program which offers free classes to underprivileged families and Dance Key Wests’ partnership with women's prisons to share their stories through dance. 

Currently, Morgan lives in New York City and is the Dance Program Manager at Success Academy Charter Schools where he runs a network of over 45 teachers across four boroughs bringing specialized in-school dance programs to thousands of students. In his first two years, he was the recipient of the corporate Excellence in Scholar Talent award for Dance and has twice received the company vision award. SA specializes in building world-class K-12 public schools in NYC free of charge that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion for all children. 

2022 Awardees


 Degree/Program: Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communication
Now living in: Indianapolis, IN
Job title: Executive Director of Marketing at Indiana Farm Bureau Incorporated

Born and raised in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Debra (Konieczka) DeCourcy, APR, had her sights set on the sunny coastline of Pepperdine University after receiving a catalog that showcased the breathtaking mountains and majestic beach. Unfortunately, that dream was cut short by the not-so-desirable price tag. After researching Pittsburgh schools that would let her write professionally, and after receiving a generous scholarship offer to Point Park College, she became a Pioneer.

From the day she stepped on campus, "it was a fit”; she had a great connection with her professors, always feeling like she could ask for help, and had a great circle of friends with whom she shared the challenges of being a young adult figuring it all out. During her time at Point Park, Debra could be found at WPPJ radio serving as the News Director, studying, and spending time with her now-husband, Michael, a Point Park alumnus.

After graduating summa cum laude, Debra chose between two job offers: radio and PR. She took the PR job with PennDOT and later to Port Authority in media relations. Debra then moved on to Mellon Bank (now BNY Mellon) while Michael was at The Pittsburgh Press until that paper folded. Upon the closure of the Press, the DeCourcys moved to Memphis and Debra's experience working in communications for Mellon landed her a new role at a PR agency with a bank as a new client. After four years in Memphis, family needs then moved her to Cincinnati and to another PR firm, the largest in the city. Her PennDOT experience came in handy when her team steered communications for the Fort Washington Way reconstruction project. She also managed communications for the demolition of Cinergy Field and the construction of Great American Ball Park.

During the Great Recession, Debra led the corporate communications department of Fifth Third Bank. She juggled managing rumors and employees who speculated if they’d had a job from one day to the next. Through a highly challenging time, her department received an award from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) for its internal communication efforts centered on honesty and transparency. In her words, "If you can manage a leading corporate communication team of a Fortune 500 company through that time and live to tell about it, you can handle anything."

A Vice President of Corporate Communications opportunity at Angie's List (now Angi) brought her to Indianapolis. The company had just gone from a private start-up to a public corporation, and she took the team from two people to six. Debra then moved to her current job as the Executive Director of Marketing for Indiana Farm Bureau, Inc., the largest general farm organization in Indiana.

Debra’s passion for helping others is evident. While in Cincinnati, she became very involved in the American Cancer Society, volunteering to manage the communication committee. She then became the President of the advisory board of the Hamilton County chapter, which was instrumental in helping Ohio pass the Smoke-Free Ohio Workplace Act. Also, in Cincinnati, she joined the board of Women Helping Women, a domestic violence support organization, where she managed communication and later was elected president of the board. 

In Indianapolis, she has been involved with the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women" campaign. In addition, she volunteers through PRSA to help younger professionals become accredited through the society and is a member of the FBI Citizen's Academy board of directors, where she works to bridge the communication gap between what people's view of the FBI is and what ambassadors like her know and can share.

Through her professional endeavors, she has worked to support diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives by considering people from all walks of life for employment opportunities. Point Park "changed her life" by providing opportunities to apply herself and by laying a solid foundation, which has helped her throughout her career.


Degree/Program: Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Advertising
Now living in: Pittsburgh, PA
Job title: Manager of Young Alumni and Student Programs at University of Pittsburgh

Olivia Lynch sought memories and opportunities in the great Steel City when she chose to come to Point Park University. The Easton, PA native and Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts alumna chose Point Park University because she wanted the flexibility of studying public relations and advertising while continuing her passion for baton twirling by joining University of Pittsburgh’s Golden Girls.

Olivia’s time at Point Park was enhanced by her academic and professional relationship with Professor Bob O'Gara, which has continued years after graduating. In addition to her campus experiences, Olivia threw herself into external challenges as well, participating in the Disney College Program. That experience with its networking connections and professional experience was genuinely invaluable and connected what she learned in the classroom to a professional setting. Olivia truly took advantage of all the opportunities Point Park offered and was on the Dean's List for three of her four years.

Currently, Olivia works for the University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association as their Manager of Young Alumni and Student Organizations. She oversees Pitt Alumni Student Network which is a student organization that focuses on school spirit, traditions, philanthropy, and networking.   Through her role at Pitt, she spearheaded the change of Homecoming King and Queen to "The Spirit of Pitt." This effort changed the recognition from what could be considered a popularity contest to the honorees being spokespeople for the University. Olivia is involved in numerous external university initiatives including Welcome Week, Pitt Day of Giving, and Campus-Wide Student Programming.

Olivia previously worked for the Crayola Experience, the Da Vinci Science Center, and Merlin Entertainments.

She is also a co-founder and current President of the Black Baton Twirlers Network (BBTN), a non-profit organization that provides a space to promote a spirit of community, inclusion, and the celebration of Black baton twirlers. Having been a baton twirler for 24 years and being a competitor at three World Championships, Olivia is undoubtedly someone to advocate for change in a historically predominately white sport and for rising baton twirlers to look up to. The BBTN is currently pursuing initiatives in the following areas: promoting and supporting current twirlers of color, showcasing resources, providing opportunities for former twirlers to engage with the sport of baton twirling, and providing opportunities through performances and professional development.


Degree/Program: Bachelor of Arts in Journalism
Now living in: Houston, TX
Job title: General Manager at AT&T SportsNet, Southwest Region

“Point Park is quintessentially Pittsburgh.” David Peart shared that although he has lived and worked across the United States and spent much of his career outside of his hometown, he is “a product of being from Pittsburgh.” It is part of his makeup and helped to form his work ethic: “My time growing up in Pittsburgh and attending Point Park University reinforced the importance and value of hard work.

Peart credits his success and experiences in the sports industry to his time at Point Park University. The school’s hands-on, practical approach to learning fit his personality and formed the foundation that prepared Peart for his career as a leader for numerous professional sports teams across the country.

Peart is a respected sports, entertainment, and media executive with over 30 years of experience as a leader and innovator. He joined AT&T SportsNet Southwest in March of 2015 after more than 25 years in sports management. A return to broadcasting is a return to his early experiences at Point Park University’s WPPJ Radio and his early job at KQV Radio.  As General Manager in Houston, TX, Peart oversees the day-to-day operations for the regional sports network that reaches fans in five southwestern states and is the broadcast home to the MLB Houston Astros and NBA Houston Rockets. Previously, Peart held senior executive positions with several professional teams, including the Dallas Stars, Texas Rangers, Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers, and two stints with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Under his leadership, organizations managed by Peart have been recognized for innovation, record-setting business results, and contributions to the community.

Peart has contributed to numerous publications and books and has served as a featured sports and media management lecturer at universities, most notably: Stanford University Graduate School of Business; University of California, Berkeley; and Princeton University. He has also served as a founding member of the Board of Advisors of Sports Sponsorship and Sales Program at Baylor University and Advisor at Texas Southern University School of Communications.

Community support has always been an important focus for Peart. He has served on the boards of the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation, JA of Western PA, the National Aviary, and as a past Trustee for Point Park University. In addition, Peart has served numerous community and non-profit organizations, and developed an annual charity broadcast in partnership with the Houston Astros and Rockets, which has raised nearly $2 million dollars for local Houston beneficiaries. Committed to diversity, inclusion, and equity initiatives, he has partnered with several organizations in Southeast Texas to raise awareness for the importance of DEI issues in sports and sports broadcasting.

In addition to his Journalism and Communications degree from Point Park University, Peart studied Public Management at Carnegie Mellon University as well as the Program for Managers at Rice University Jones Graduate School of Business. Peart and his wife Julie live in Houston, TX, and are the proud parents of James Tyler Peart (also a proud Point Park University Alumnus) and Kelsey Reed Peart.