The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


June 25, 2012

A giant among men | Blackington oversaw UPJ transformation

Pitt-Johnstown lost one its most enduring figures last week.

Frank H. Blackington III, who served as UPJ’s president from 1974 to 1993, died at the age of 84 in Duxbury, Mass.

The region and the thousands of students who passed through the Richland Township campus during his tenure – and the many more who have done so since – owe him a debt of gratitude.

Blackington oversaw a great transformation at UPJ. His vision helped guide the school from what was essentially a small commuter college into what it is today – a residential university that houses thousands of students. During his tenure, UPJ built nine residence facilities and the student population grew by nearly

30 percent.

He helped establish a number of degree programs and oversaw a wide range of construction projects, including some of UPJ’s best known buildings: the Zamias Aquatic Center, Sports Center, Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center, Whalley Chapel and Living-Learning Center.

“The University is grateful for the excellent service of Dr. Blackington and for the enormous contribution he made to enhancing the quality and impact of Pitt-Johnstown and strengthening links between our University and the greater Johnstown community,” said Jem Spectar, UPJ’s current president, in a letter posted on the school’s website.

“Our campus, our community, and our world are a better place because of the service of Dr. Blackington. Our hearts go out to his family.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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