Back in 1898, the United States was the world’s rising industrial power, and no city played a more vital role in that transformation than Pittsburgh, the nation’s forge. Many Penn State grads flocked to the city for jobs and careers, particularly our engineers. It comes as no surprise, then, that the first “branch” of the Penn State Alumni Association—the Allegheny County Chapter—was founded in the Steel City.
Fast forward 110 years to June 19. More than 200 pumped-up Penn Staters are at the top of the world in PNC Park, the sparkling new home of the Pirates, looking out over center field into the beautiful dense skyline of downtown Pittsburgh. We are celebrating the 110th birthday of the Allegheny County Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association—celebrating by retiring the chapter’s old banner and officially unveiling its new one, with its new name: the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter.
The name change is more than symbolic. It is, in fact, a reflection of the growth, success, and outreach of the chapter itself. Our alpha chapter has worked to achieve phenomenal success in the 2007-2008 year. Under the energetic leadership of President Daniel Byrd ’89 and an incredibly devoted Executive Board, the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter held 37 events this past year and increased its active paid membership from 242 to 715—a three-fold jump. As a gift to those alumni who showed up, the chapter renewed their dues for 2008-2009 free of charge!
And if the revelers weren’t excited enough that evening, the chapter brought out Nittany Lions Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley ’78, a Penn Stater with strong ties to western Pennsylvania, who hit it out of the ballpark with his inside stories of Penn State football. Appropriately, Byrd and Vice President Tim King ’81 presented Coach Bradley with a Louisville Slugger baseball bat inscribed with his name.
Nowhere was the spirit of Penn State ever more enthusiastically displayed than in PNC Park on June 19. Of course, it didn’t just happen. It took exquisite planning and excruciatingly hard work to pull off this awesome celebration. For that we are most grateful to Byrd, King, Treasurer Jim Adams ’78, Secretary/Newsletter Editor Kathy Moyer ’67, Social Chair Laura Kunig ’90, and the rest of a truly committed Executive Board: Lindsey Fox ’05, Jeff Kennedy ’01, Paul D’Andries ’69, Melissa Fanto ’02, John Herington ’02, Amanda Morel ’98 (immediate past president), Casey Muir ’05, Greg Scott ’92 (who serves on the Alumni Association’s Alumni Council), Holly Ranich ’03, and Ronnie Ranich.
Under this strong leadership, the newly named Greater Pittsburgh Chapter has flourished—all the more important given that Pittsburgh is one of the five key metro areas for the Penn State Alumni Association. Nearly 23,000 alumni live in Allegheny County alone—the No. 1 county in the nation in population of Penn Staters—and 22,000 more live in the metro area contiguous to Allegheny County. It’s vital that we have a large, growing, dynamic chapter at the epicenter of our 45,000 alumni in Metro Pittsburgh, and the Greater Pittsburgh Chapter is exactly that.
For the glory,
Roger Williams ’73, ’75g, ’88g