This weekend, 10 alumni return to campus to be honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award. Each award recipient will spend time Friday with IUP students, meeting with student organizations, and speaking in classrooms.
Receiving the award this year are Sandra Koeppl Barsotti ’87, Barbara Haas Bridges ’74, L. Edwin Brown M’77, Peter Calaboyias M’69, Phillip Carrai ’83, Ian Gallanar ’87, Thomas O’Dell ’83, Andrew Peters ’88, Jonathan Sinclair ’90, and Theodore Young ’89.
Sandra Koeppl Barsotti graduated from IUP in 1987 with a journalism major and history minor. She currently serves as the director for Demand Generation.
Koeppl credits many of her IUP professors, in particular journalism faculty members Randy Jesick, Pat Heilman, Jim DeGeorge, Craig Swauger, David Truby, and Bob Russell, with having a profound role in her career.
Native Pittsburgher Barbara Haas Bridges graduated with an elementary education degree in 1974. She was raised by a single mother who taught Latin.
“I grew up believing that teachers have perhaps the most important job there is,” she said.
Today, Bridges finds herself in the complex world of philanthropy as the founder of Women+Film. She has devoted much of her time to improving the lives of women and girls around the world and has received several awards for her activities.
L. Edwin Brown graduated from IUP with a master’s degree in education in 1977 after finishing his undergraduate studies at Penn State in 1958, which was delayed due to being drafted and deployed to Germany in 1956.
Brown and a couple of his coworkers at the Community College of Allegheny County were asked to develop a three-year, 6,000-hour apprenticeship program for aspiring chefs, which created a set of national guidelines for apprenticeship standards registered with the United States Department of Labor in 1979. They are continually updated to remain pertinent today.
Peter Calaboyias received his master’s degree in art education from IUP in 1969 and is a world-renowned sculptor. During his studies at IUP, Calaboyias and a few of his fellow students took an interest in bronze casting, which was not in IUP’s curriculum at the time. After deciding to pursue making his own melt furnace by simply pouring dry sand over his melted bronze, the rest became history.
Calboyias’s sculptures and works of art can be seen all over the world. Tribute, created in 1996 for the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, is a massive sculpture that depicts three figures in fan-shaped arch representing the first Olympics in 776 BC, the start of the modern games in 1896 and the integration of women into the games.
Phllip Carrai is a 1983 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in information systems and accounting. Carrai currently serves as the president of Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, Inc., Technology and Training Solutions Division since 2009. Carrai said he had great professors at IUP.
“From my IT professors, to accounting, to a great economics professor, and even my liberal arts classes in logic and English, where I really was forced to reason and think,” he said. “To this day, I still use things my Intermediate Accounting professor taught me to poke our auditors and accountants.”
Ian Gallanar, a 1987 theater graduate, is now the founding artistic director of the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company in Baltimore. In his time as artistic director, he has taken CSC’s annual budget from $5,000 in 2002 to $1.2 million in 2014. What was the inspiration for Gallanar’s hard work?
“IUP’s summer stock, then branded as Summer Theater by the Grove, had an enormous influence on me,” he said. “What it did was give me the experience working with extraordinary professionals so early in my career.”
Thomas O’Dell graduated from IUP with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1983 and now currently serves a professor in the Department of Physiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
O’Dell also investigates the biological basis of learning and memory, which includes studying the biochemistry and psychology of neurons in the region of the brain known as the hippocampus.
O’Dell said the variety of majors and programs at IUP gave him a great opportunity to explore several topics before committing to psychology as his area of focus.
A native of Indiana, U.S. Army Colonel Andrew Peter’s family was rooted with IUP where his father Joseph was a math professor. Peters, a 1988 distinguished military graduate, was convinced by friends to join ROTC his freshman year and now has received two Bronze Stars, a Purple Heart and the 2013 Legion of Merit Award.
Peters believes that without IUP he might not be where he is today.
“It might not have turned out so well if I had taken a different route,” he said.
Jonathan Sinclair is a 1990 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in communications media. He is now vice president and executive producer for Harpo Studios, Inc. Sinclair has produced several television shows featuring plenty of well-known people from Morgan Freeman to Diane Sawyer.
It was his experiences in the Department of Communications Media that got Sinclair to where he is today.
“In the IUP program, students actually do some stuff and create things,” he said. “Plus, it’s a safe place to make mistakes and learn.”
Theodore Young received a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1989, perhaps inspired by his parents Theodore and Diane Kramer Young who received their degrees in music education from Indiana State College.
“I was interested in a career in business and believed that a degree in accounting would provide an excellent foundation of learning and skills that I could leverage as I pursued a career after graduation,” he said.
Young now serves as the deputy tax leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers Tax, responsible for overseeing all of the U.S. regions and markets for tax as well as all financial and human capital aspects of the U.S. Tax practice.