University of Pittsburgh
May 11, 2006

Pitt Alumni Association Honors 2006 Alumni Volunteers

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH--The University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association recently recognized winners of the 2006 Volunteer Excellence Award, the Pitt Alumni Recruitment Team (PART) award, and Pitt Career Network (PCN) award for their volunteerism and commitment to the University at the 2006 Pitt Alumni Association Award luncheon held in Alumni Hall's Connolly Ballroom, Oakland.

The Volunteer Excellence Award recognizes volunteers who give their time over one year or provide multiple years of service to the University and Alumni Association. This year four alumni received the Volunteer Excellence Award.

The first Volunteer Excellence awardee is Scott Baker (CGS '94), who implemented or supported a number of initiatives during his term as president of the CGS Alumni Society. Baker was instrumental in developing the first Strategic Planning Workshop, the CGS Student/Alumni Partnership Program, and the program to encourage involvement in the Pitt Alumni Association homecoming event. He also helped to establish the first CGS Golf Outing and Dinner.

S. Jeffrey Kondis (ENGR '77, KGSB '82) also received the Volunteer Excellence Award. Kondis has served as treasurer and secretary of the Alumni Association, chair of the awards committee, president of the Katz School of Business Alumni Society, and president of the Varsity Letter Club. As a member of the Alumni Association's executive and strategic planning committees, he helped to provide policy advice and direct the priorities of the association.

The third Volunteer Excellence Award recipient is Thomas Meisner (CAS '68, EDUC '70, '78), who has been involved with the School of Education Alumni Society since 1998. He served as the society's secretary and was president from 2000 to 2004. During his tenure as president, Meisner helped the society to attain the Alumni Banner Award for four consecutive years. In addition, he volunteered to work on the Alumni Doctoral Award committee, the Student/Faculty Research Awards committee, and events to introduce the new dean to School of Education alumni.

Charles Russell Jr. (ENGR '59, '70) is the final Volunteer Excellence Award recipient. For more than three decades, Russell had supported the School of Engineering as a volunteer and a donor, as well as promoting the University within his company, the Michael Baker Corporation. A member of the visiting committee for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Russell has played a pivotal role in organizing and supporting the annual golf outing and monthly luncheon meetings of the civil and environmental engineering alumni.

Alumni are a valuable resource in the recruitment of incoming students through the PART program, a partnership between Pitt's Alumni Association and Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.

This year's PART Volunteer of the Year is James Smith (CAS '66, EDUC '67), who participates in nearly every event the University is invited to in the Rochester, N.Y., area. His volunteer efforts on behalf of the University's Office of Admissions and Financial Aid assist in recruiting the best and brightest students from New York. Smith is managing partner of Practice Partners, a human service-consulting firm in New York. He also sits on the board of directors for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Valerie M. Thomas, an executive sales representative for GlaxoSmith Kline Pharmaceuticals, is this year's PCN Volunteer of the Year. A model PCN volunteer, Thomas has received the highest number of PCN contacts this year. She has responded to every student and alumni inquiry and offered numerous referrals and suggestions. Alumni Relations and Career Services also directly refer students to Thomas.