University of Pittsburgh
October 17, 2000


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 17 -- E. Maxine Bruhns, director of the University

of Pittsburgh Nationality Rooms Program, will present 20th Century Service

Awards to four volunteers who have demonstrated outstanding dedication to the

Program, on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 6 p.m., in Pitt's Cathedral of Learning, room 1228.

The awardees are James W. Knox, chair of the Irish Room Committee; Charles Klanian, chair of the Armenian Room Committee; Marcella Finegold, past chair of the Israel Heritage Room Committee and president of the Women's International Club; and Michael Komichak, chair of the Ukrainian Room Committee.

Knox, an Emsworth resident, is past chair of the Nationality Council and chair of the Intercultural Educational Endowment Fund. As a Pitt student in 1942, Knox became involved in the Program at the urging of the program director at that time, Ruth Crawford Mitchell. In his 58 years of service, Knox has helped to obtain an organ for the Commons Room, furniture and a wrought-iron case for the Irish Room's Book of Kells gospels, the Nationality Rooms Book, a glass door for the Early American Room, and $1 million in endowments for summer study abroad scholarships. He also has chaired numerous anniversary celebrations, exhibits, and special events.

Klanian, a Florida resident, oversaw the concept development, funding, design, construction, and dedication of the Armenian Nationality Room. A nuclear engineer, Klanian traveled to Armenia to examine the 10-12th century monastery of Sanahin, which served as the prototype for the all-stone room. He attended every site meeting and lent his engineering expertise to the complex problems of the structure.

Finegold, an Oakland resident, began her 38-year involvement with the Nationality Rooms as executive secretary of the Cultural and Educational Exchange Program. She was a founding member of the Israel Heritage Classroom Committee and, in 1988, first chair of the post-dedication committee. A long-time consultant and advisor to the Program, Finegold, her family and friends funded the video, "Seeking Ancient Roots," the story of the Israel Heritage Classroom.

Komichak, a McKees Rocks resident, was vice chairman of the Ukrainian Room Committee at its inception and participated in all aspects of the room's creation. As host of WPIT's Ukrainian Radio Hour since 1950, he rallied his tri-state listeners to the cause, raising a significant portion of the room's $250,000 building fund. As chair, Komichak organizes concerts and events, greets Ukrainian visitors to the room, and serves as the source of Ukrainian news, music, and culture for WPIT radio.

Candidates were nominated by the Nationality Room committees and are recognized for distinguished and extraordinary service to the University's Nationality Rooms Program. Founded in 1926, the Nationality Rooms Program has helped to create and maintain 26 Nationality Rooms.