The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Editorials

September 21, 2011

Connecting with community | UPJ homecoming showcases university

— This is a big week for alumni of Pitt-Johnstown.

And it’s a big week for our entire community, as the university rolls out events related to its “Homecoming & Family Weekend.”

That begins today, with the popular Pitt-nic in the Park. The gathering runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today in Central Park downtown, and will feature food, entertainment and prizes.

“It’s one of the ways we try to connect with the community,” said Robert Knipple, the school’s chief communications officer.

UPJ has made great strides under President Jem Spectar at reaching out to both its graduates and the Johnstown region.

That focus has helped make UPJ a bigger player in regional issues, and has helped showcase the school to the broader community.

“There’s a lot going on here,” Knipple said. “People who come to tour the campus are going to see that.”

UPJ recently renovated its Engineering and Science Building, Sports Center and Student Union Building, and formed a parklet in the center of campus.

That was in addition to the new $10 million Wellness Center opened early this year.

Work is planned to upgrade Biddle Hall and Krebs Hall, while UPJ officials plan to break ground this fall on a $10 million, 20,000-square-foot Nursing and Health Sciences Building – to support the school’s first-ever four-year degree in nursing.

All of these developments should make both the local community and UPJ graduates proud of the school.

This weekend, Homecoming festivities will include a 10-ride carnival, a “zoo” (complete with a crocodile and a spotted leopard) and parade, and a 5K race – along with the crowning of the homecoming queen.

An alumni reception will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday, followed by a golf outing and fireworks on Saturday.

We urge area residents to join the UPJ family today at Central Park to help celebrate this big week for the school.

“The big thing for us is making homecoming a community celebration,” Knipple told reporter Dave Hurst. “UPJ was founded by the community, so the entire community should be a part of the celebration.”

If you go ...

What: UPJ Homecoming and Family Weekend.

When: Through Saturday.

Highlights: Public events include Homecoming parade, queen coronation, 5k run on Saturday. Carnival outside Biddle Hall Friday and Saturday.

Information: Pitt-johnstown.pitt.edu/homecoming.

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