Alberta Sbragia Message Wall

Charles Gochman

University of Pittsburgh
Department of Political Science
There are few people about whom one can truly say "Without her this institution would not be what it is." Alberta is one of these rare individuals--a great teacher, scholar, mentor, and institution-builder, but, beyond that, a terrific human being. I know a lot of people who are very competent, but few, if any, who are as kind and loved. Alberta, thank you for all you have done and all you have given. Most importantly, thank you for being you--that special person. For me, you will always be the gold standard.

Best wishes for your well-earned retirement.

Gabriella Paar-Jakli

Kent State University, Department of Political science
Associate Professor
Dear Alberta,
I wish you all the best in this new chapter of your life. I am immensely grateful to you for all your help during my dissertation writing; you have not only been a committee member, but a true mentor. You have inspired me professionally and personally throughout the years.

Gabriella Paar-Jakli

Reinhard Heinisch

University of Salzburg
EU Center affiliate
You were an inspiration to me as a young faculty member who felt a bit like a fish out of water when I started out at Pitt. Participating in the events and projects at the Center was as important as were the funding opportunities and was just watching you lead, teach, and mentor us. When I once presented a research paper early on, I remember that Alberta’s summary of it was far more prescient than my own attempts at expressing what I had been trying to do. I am grateful to Alberta for taking me as junior faculty member on a research trip to post-Communist Berlin in the mid-1990s, and I’ll never forget a jet lagged and seasick Alberta indulge the overwhelming attention along with copious amounts of drinks and food of our Portuguese hosts during Semester at Sea in 2000. I wish you all the best; you are and remain my role model.


PS: I am so sorry that won't be able to attend

Mark Nordenberg

University of Pittsburgh
Chancellor Emeritus and Chair of the Institute of Politics
I am sorry that I will miss this program in your honor. I hope that because I will be traveling internationally, you will forgive me.

As I look back on our years as colleagues, my only real regret is that we were studying at the University of Wisconsin at the same time but did not know each other. It would have been nice to start our working relationship and friendship even earlier. Being your partner has been one of the great experiences of my years at Pitt. I think, of course, of our adventures in both Brussels and Luxembourg. As I said at the time, I knew that domestic fundraising would be one of my responsibilities. However, I did not anticipate that you would have me walking the halls of the European Parliament so quickly.

I smile when I think about how flustered you could get when major international figures accepted invitations to visit campus, claiming that you did not know how to organize such events. My main contribution seemed to be calming you down, because the arrangements you made, particularly the preparation of your students, always was perfect.

Being abroad with you gave me the chance to see that you are as well-respected at a distance as you are here at home. Even given its long and illustrious history, I doubt that the University has had many faculty members who were as accomplished, hard-working and selfless as you have been. When the Board created the Nordenberg Chair and gave me the authority to name its occupant, you were an obvious choice to assume the Chair and to use its resources for institution-building.

It was an honor to have my name linked with yours in that special way, and I hope that we remain linked in friendship for many years to come.

Francesca Savoia

University of Pittsburgh
Department of French and Italian
Dear Alberta,
I am presently on sabbatical leave and, regretfully, I cannot attend the symposium in your honor. However, I want you to know that your support for Italian Studies at Pitt and the Italian faculty has been highly appreciated. It has been a personal privilege and a pleasure to work with you, in your many capacities, for so many years.

Thank you!

Anthony Zito

Newcastle University
Alberta has always been, and continues to be, an exemplar for me of what a scholar should be, uniquely combining penetrating analytical insight, professional shrewdness, entrepreneurial energy and toughness with warmth, humanity and generosity of spirit. I can see her influence on EU studies and environmental studies all around me when I look at my generation of colleagues and the one coming after us. Alberta, thanks for everything.

Carolyn Ban

University of Pittsburgh
Faculty Emeritus
How to thank a friend who changed my life? Alberta, you already know, because I have said thank you, but it always bears repeating. For others, I will briefly explain. When I served as dean of GSPIA, I worked closely with Alberta and all of the center directors at UCIS (the University Center for International Studies). But for over 30 years, before becoming dean, I had studied the management of the US Federal government. My plan had always been to step aside after 10 years and to return to teaching and research, but as that time neared, I really didn’t want to spend my time studying the George W. Bush administration. (Who knew that I would look back on that era with nostalgia?) And so I was looking around for a new direction.

The initial spark that steered me towards the EU, and specifically the European Commission, was in 1999, when the Prodi Commission was forced to resign. I invited Alberta to come down and explain informally to the faculty what this meant and why it had happened. And that was the first time I thought seriously about the challenge of managing an organization with staff members who came from 28 countries, with the obvious (and some non-obvious) language and cultural differences. That idea stayed with me, and five years later, in my last year as dean, I started reading about the EU and the Commission in earnest and planning a research project on the impact of enlargement on the Commission.

Alberta was behind me during the whole process. Not only was she personally supportive, but the resources and contacts of what was then called the EU Study Center were a tremendous help, including providing the contact and conduit that allowed me to get funding from the Commission for my research. And of course, because of her, when I introduced myself and said I was from the University of Pittsburgh, doors opened.

Of course, I was completely naïve, and so I thought that, since the largest wave of enlargement took place in May, 2004, I could take my one-year sabbatical in Brussels in 2006-7, conduct my interviews and return to Pittsburgh to write the book. I had no idea of the length and complexity of the recruitment process. So in fact, I arrived just when the first wave of new staff entered, and I was able to follow some people over the next several years and to continue to add new arrivals, including those from the 2007 enlargement. Eventually I did write that book, and I have continued to return to Brussels at least once a year and, although officially retired, or what I describe as “semi-retired, am continuing to do some writing about the EC.

Then there was the time Alberta called me while I was on a Fulbright in Leuven and asked if I could cover for her for a year as center director while she took a well-deserved sabbatical. That didn’t quite work out as planned, as part-way through the year she announced that she was moving on to be vice-provost. Fortunately, the center has remained in good hands (i.e., not mine).

I very much value my friendship with Alberta and her husband, Martin, and look forward to staying in touch as we all move into retirement. It has been an honor and a pleasure to know her.

Carolyn Ban

Jae-Jae Spoon

University of Pittsburgh
Department of Political Science and European Studies Center
Dear Alberta,
Thank you for leaving your legacy to me. While I will never be ‘the new you’, I will do my very best to keep what you started going strong and keep Pitt at the heart of European studies in the US.

All the very best in your retirement,

Scott Morgenstern

Dear Alberta,
As I have shared with many people, you have always been the person I looked to for mentoring and advice. You were the one that convinced me to take the position as head of the Center for Latin American Studies, explaining that it was the best administrative job on campus. I did take pause, however, when I realized you gave me that advice after leaving your parallel post for something else. Even in Latin American Studies your presence and leadership has always been felt, as it has in the political science department. That leadership, plus your compassion and willingness to listen and provide a thoughtful comment will be sorely missed. I wish you, however, the very best in your retirement.

A big hug,
Scott Morgenstern

Yolanda Covington-Ward

University of Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh, PA
Associate Professor, Department of Africana Studies
When I think about Alberta's impact on me as an individual faculty member at the university, I am astounded by her generosity, foresight, and willingness to mentor faculty across disciplines and specializations. Alberta has played a big role in welcoming me to the university and in giving me opportunities to demonstrate my leadership potential. Alberta invited me to lunch, asked about my work, and connected me with other professors at Pitt. We connected around our international research interests and other factors. She also advocated for me to be on a key university level search committee for the new head of UCIS where I was able to interact with many influential senior faculty members at Pitt. I will always appreciate Alberta's advocacy for my inclusion; it is opportunities like these that put faculty members on a track to becoming valuable leaders at the university. I am now tenured, and continue to become more engaged in governance and leadership. I cannot thank you enough Alberta; you have enabled me to see new possibilities for myself at the University of Pittsburgh, possibilities that I had never even considered before!

Ron Brand

University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Alberta's combination of intelligence, humility, and obvious caring attitude toward students and colleagues has made her the consummate academic. I attribute much of this to her rural upbringing, where getting along with others is a necessary element of everyday life. Working with Alberta is always a process of engagement and cooperation. Traveling with her allows one to meet some of the most interesting people in the world -- her friends and intellectual colleagues. She is connected at the highest levels, but able to find common ground with everyone. I cherish the singular honor of following her in the Chancellor Mark A Nordenberg University Professorship. Her model as the first holder of that position set a standard that both challenges me and allows me to bask in the glow of her success. She has made my life -- and the lives of many others -- much better simply because we have been able to inhabit the University of Pittsburgh with her.

Steven Finkel

University of Pittsburgh
Department of Political Science
Dear Alberta,
It has been a true privilege and pleasure to call you our colleague and dear friend. You may not realize (or want to take credit after seeing what you wrote!) that we would not be at Pittsburgh at all were it not for all the time you took, all those years ago, to make us aware of what a special, European-flavored city it is, and how perfect a place it would be to raise a family and contribute to a wonderful community and University. We are forever grateful for that, and for everything you’ve done and meant to both of us as a role model, mentor, and friend.

With deep appreciation and much affection,
Steve & Müge Finkel

Margit Tavits

Washington University in St. Louis
Department of Political Science
Dear Alberta,
You have always been such a perfect role model in every respect! I've learned a lot from you, not just about political science, but about how to be a mentor and have a meaningful impact on my students. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to work with you!

Thank you!

Gemma Marolda

University of Pittsburgh
Department of Political Science
Dear Alberta,
It has been a real honor knowing you since my graduate student days. You have been an inspiration for many of us who believe in the European integration project. Your work, passion and dedication to studying and teaching Europe have been, and always will be, a great example for us all!

Con stima e affetto,

Liesbet Hooghe

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Dear Alberta,
Our paths crossed for the first time at APSA in 1993. You were chairing a panel on European integration. Alberta, you may not remember, but that is also the first time I met Gary. You treated us to lunch. (Did we ever reciprocate?) So unwittingly you "brought us together" – or perhaps you were just your classy self in pretending not to notice the firecrackers?

Alberta, you have been the soul and engine of EU studies. You were pivotal in bringing EU studies into mainstream political science in the 1990s and in modernizing its chief association, EUSA (then called ECSA). Perhaps most critically, by hosting EUSA at Pittsburgh, you have been its guardian angel and fierce institutional defender. Alberta, you are first class!

Warm wishes,

Gary Marks

Burton Craige Distinguished Professor, Department of Political Science
Dear Alberta,
You were instrumental in reinvigorating the study of the European Union when you asked comparative researchers to contribute to a Brookings book in 1990. I remember well that when you called me at the Center for Advanced Study at Stanford to invite me to join, I replied that I knew nothing about the European Community, to which you responded, "Gary, that's the point. I am asking comparativists to bring comparative perspectives the European Community." For that volume I wrote a paper on what was then called structural policy, my very first paper on what became the EU.

You were at the forefront of the EU's policy of creating EU Centers of Excellence, and in leading the European Community Studies Association, as it was then called.

So, Alberta, we go back a long way, and I will always be immensely grateful for your leadership in the study of Europe. You are the original and sparkling gem of European Studies.


Andy Jordan

University of East Anglia
Professor of Environmental Policy
Dear Alberta,
Many thanks for your contributions to our collective understanding of national and EU level environmental policy. They have enriched us individually and collectively, raising the profile and stature of what used to be a relatively small sub area of political analysis. I have benefited enormously from working with you on papers and journal special issues. And you supported me in those very early, critical stages of my career by writing references and endorsements. Alberta - your are a star and an institutional capacity builder par excellence! Enjoy your symposium. And of course enjoy whatever comes next in your life.

All good wishes,

Kostas Kourtikakis

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Department of Political Science
I am grateful to Professor Sbragia for being a mentor to me in every sense of the word. She inspired my interest in European Union governance, educated me about the academic debates that have defined my professional career, and helped me navigate the challenges of graduate school. And, as the years of graduate school fade into the past, it is becoming increasingly clear that, in fact, the most important lesson she offered me was that strong relationships with co-workers and students is the foundation of being a successful scholar, educator and leader. Anyone who has had the good fortune to work with Professor Sbragia will attest that respect and compassion, being a good listener and helping others just enough so they can make it on their own, defined how she built relationships with the people around her, especially the graduate students. It is for this reason, I believe, that all her former students, regardless of whether we followed academic or non-academic careers, we think of her as an influential person in our lives. What unites us is that at some point in time we had the experience of being apprentices in her distinctive ethos. It is no exaggeration to say that she has built, one relationship at a time, a community of former students that share not only her academic outlook but also a strong appreciation for her generosity to others. I am very thankful for being a member of this community.

Neringa Klumbyte

Miami University
Department of Anthropology
I was privileged to be Alberta Sbragia's student. She was a very open and thoughtful teacher and an erudite scholar, whose example has inspired me. I remember a long classroom table at a graduate seminar and our unending discussions of the European Union policy. The spark for knowledge she set in my heart and mind, I always carry with me.

Wade Jacoby

Brigham Young University
Mary Lou Fulton Professor of Political Science
In both substantive and administrative matters, Alberta was an ideal senior colleague. Though we only did one joint project - a special issue of JEPP - my co-editor and I immediately came to value her judgement and perspective. Alberta's grace and humor also enlivened many otherwise-boring Title VI meetings! I wish her all the best for her retirement years.

Yasemin Irepoglu Carreras

University of California, Riverside
Political Science
I first met Prof. Alberta Sbragia when I took her European Union graduate class in the fall of 2009 at the University of Pittsburgh. But even before then, her warm e-mail messages before my arrival made me feel so welcome at Pitt. I am so grateful to have taken a class with her. She not only played an instrumental role for us to understand how the EU really works and the literature, but she also opened our eyes to what academia and what this field are all about. We always felt that she would be there, looking out for our best interests in every way. I will never forget the conversations we shared - about the European Union, about my home country Turkey and about life in general, the support she gave us through the EU Center of Excellence and all the interesting events that she invited us to. How excited we all were to be invited by her to attend the luncheon given by the university in honor of the European Commission President Barroso in the fall of 2009!

I have not seen Prof. Sbragia in the recent years much unfortunately, but I do hope I can be in touch with her in the future as well. I will always cherish her genuine encouragement and support. Having her as a mentor especially in the early years of my graduate training has been invaluable for shaping me as an academic.

I would like extend my sincere gratitude to Prof. Sbragia for everything, and I wish her the very best in all her future endeavors.

With respect,
Yasemin Irepoglu Carreras

Susan Hansen

U of Pittsburgh
Fomer colleague
Alberta has been a wonderful colleague and friend since I came to Pitt in 1980. For many years we were the only two women in the Political Science department, and then for many more years the only senior women - ratios we both tried hard to change. We also supported each other as mothers trying to balance work and family in the long years before the federal government and the University of Pittsburgh finally began to implement more family-friendly policies.

We had shared interests in federalism and public finance. Alberta's excellent book, Debt Wish (1996) transformed our understanding of state and municipal finance, and was very helpful to my own studies of taxation. Alberta subsequently applied her expertise on American federalism to the political and financial challenges facing the European Union.

All good wishes for a fulfilling retirement to my former neighbor in Point Breeze, and to my future neighbor at Longwood.

Jonathan Arac

University of Pittsburgh
Mellon Professor of English
As a colleague from another discipline, who shares a fascination with Europe, and as Director of the Humanities Center, I have found it a pleasure and felt it an honor to work with you.

Sergio Fabbrini

LUISS Guido Carli Rome
Dean, Political Science Department
I do not remember when I met exactly Alberta for the first time. Probably it was in Berkeley during the mid-1990s when we were participating to a collective research on the transformation of Europe from an American perspective. In fact, it seems to me that Alberta has been always part of my academic and personal life. Alberta is one of the best scholars I have ever met, but she is also a wonderful friend to love and to admire. In Alberta, the combination of intellectual excellence and individual sensitivity has generated a rare personality. Alberta epitomizes decency at the highest level. She is a professor, a mentor, a tutor, but also a caring friend. She is an unusual scholar. She prefers to ask rather than to lecture colleagues and friends, even if she might do that. She is a 'public good' for any collectivity. She is an added value to an academic community as well as to a group of friends. She makes possible collective action, with her capacity to listen, with her patience but also with her determination, To honor Alberta is to honor a person and a scholar with rare humanistic and scientific features and values. Thanks, Alberta, for your scientific and personal friendship.

Pascaline Winand

College of Europe, Natolin
Director of Studies and Professor, College of Europe, Natolin
Dearest Alberta,
I have fond memories of the first time we met in Pittsburgh back in 1991, almost thirty years ago. As I remember it, we met through Susan Strange, whom I knew from the time when I was a Jean Monnet Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. She had told you that there was a young Belgian assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University with an interest in the European Union and transatlantic relations, who would benefit from the friendship of a kindred spirit. This was all you needed to seek me out and so, a couple of days later, we bonded over delicious food in a Lebanese café in Pittsburgh. There followed many other meetings in different parts of the world, sometimes combined with good food and even art. You once told me in jest: “Pascaline, when I think of you, I think of food.” For a Belgian, this is definitely a compliment and I was honored to be asked for advice on finding a good restaurant in Brussels when your Dean organized an important meeting there.

You came to Brussels frequently during my years at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research and we collaborated on publications. At your invitation, I was honored to come back to Pittsburgh in 2001 and 2002 to teach US-EU Relations at Pittsburgh University. I particularly remember how warmly you welcomed your guests, always seeking to make them feel at home and encouraging them to meet other professors, while also liaising with the wider Pittsburgh community. I loved the fruitful and friendly atmosphere you created in the European Studies Center which you so ably directed.

When I moved to Australia to direct the Monash European and EU Centre, you came to stay with my family in 2008 and taught Comparative Regionalism as Distinguished Visiting Professor. The students loved the course and your insightful teaching sparked my own interest in finding out more about this stimulating topic. You also gave an excellent conference entitled 'An Asia Pacific Union? Geopolitics, Geoeconomics and the Model of the European Union' which was very well attended and received. Once again, you shared our food and visited the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. Since then, we have kept in touch as I have now returned to Europe and you have continued working in Pittsburgh.

This is, of course, not the end of the story as I believe you will not really retire. But I think you can already look back with great pride on all the students and professors you have inspired over the years. One of your students whose PhD thesis you supervised spoke for us all when she wrote: “A very special thank you to Professor Sbragia for sharing her energy, passion, intellect, and endless support. Professor Sbragia, you are so much more than an academic advisor: you are a real ‘mentor’ and a role-model for all of us.” You have indeed been a mentor and role-model for many students and professors over the years. For me, in addition to all this, you have also been a trusted friend and this remains as true today as when we first met.

Professor Pascaline WINAND
Director of Studies
College of Europe I Natolin Campus

Louise Comfort

University of Pittsburgh
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
Dearest Alberta,
Warmest congratulations on your retirement after a very distinguished career at the University of Pittsburgh! It is an extraordinary career, and you leave a unique legacy to the University, with students you have mentored, research you have conducted, and administrative roles that you have carried out with grace, thoughtful design, and measured discretion. It is with great pride that I have watched the trajectory of your career develop from Oakland to Oakland ... from the shy political science major at Holy Names College, Oakland, California interested in comparative politics to the young Ph.D. scholar from the University of Wisconsin to the professor of political science, Jean Monnet Scholar, Director of the European Union Center of Excellence and Vice Provost for Graduate Studies at the Oakland campus of the University of Pittsburgh. The distance traveled is striking, from the quiet campus nestled in the Oakland Hills overlooking San Francisco Bay to the capitals of Europe and the board rooms of University administrative offices. You have set a remarkable example of teaching, scholarship, and administration, demonstrating excellence in multiple roles, simultaneously. Most importantly, it is the compassion you have shown for students, understanding and patience for complex problems, and unwavering standard of excellence in each undertaking that marks your career. With great pleasure, I join your many friends and colleagues in sending very best wishes as you begin this next interesting, happy chapter of your life.

With much love and all good wishes,

Heather McKibben

University of California, Davis
University of Pittsburgh alumni
I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for me! You were so supportive throughout my graduate career (and beyond!), and taught me so much. And it was not just in academics. You helped me grow as a person.

I don’t know if you know, but I had never been outside the country before my first trip to Brussels to interview the EU permanent representatives. I was so nervous – and it was not just nerves about my first trip to Europe. I was terrified of interviewing these diplomats. How could I talk to such important and high-ranking people?! What should I say? How would they react? Would they even talk to me? But you never doubted me and my research. You believed in me, and believed that my efforts would be successful. That helped give me the courage to go out and do it. I honestly don’t think I could have built up the nerve without your support. You helped me learn to believe in myself, and that has been so important for me, both in graduate school and especially after. You have had an incredible influence on my life!

The moment when you hugged me after hooding me at graduation is one I will remember forever. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor!

Heather (McKibben)

John Hoornbeek

Kent State University
Center for Public Policy and Health, College of Public Health
Dear Alberta,
As you move into a new and more relaxing stage of life, please know that your hard work, enthusiasm, concern for students, colleagues, and others has sent out ripples of insight and good which are positively influencing both individual lives and our collective understandings in these challenging times.

Personally, I want to thank you for all of your help over these past decades, and for being who you are.

With thanks and best wishes,
John Hoornbeek

Gunes Ertan

Koc University, Istanbul
Assistant Professor
Dear Dr. Sbragia,
Thank you for being one of the most inspiring mentors I ever had! Wish you a joyful retirement!

Hugs from Turkey,

Carolyn Dudek

Hofstra University
dissertation advisee
I want to thank you for always encouraging me in my academic endeavors. As a twenty one year old arriving to Pitt, graduate school seemed overwhelming. I remember the first time I had a meeting with you, and you were so enthusiastic about someone studying Spain and the great possibilities that could emerge for me focusing on both Latin America and Europe, which others found to be a strange combination. As I worked through my dissertation, you always made time to meet with me, read the roughest of drafts and always found some merit in anything I gave you. As a consummate mentor, you would think of ideas for my research, make connections for me with other academics and always put your students first. Your intellectual brilliance, caring nature and kindness is what helped me to get through graduate school, and I owe my Fulbrights in Spain and Argentina to you, because without your encouragement I never would have decided to specialize in both regions.

A fond memory of graduate school was when I was a teaching assistant for you as I was finishing my dissertation. It was a difficult time for you, as you had injured your leg and you had to teach at your house. Each week I would travel with the students from your EU graduate seminar in a small van to your home. When we would enter, the smell of fresh brewed coffee would welcome us and you would have donuts and refreshments waiting. Your dining room table would be covered with a fresh white table cloth and we would all sit around the table and discuss the articles we read for the week. It was one of the most enjoyable classes I attended at Pitt. Even though you were enduring a difficult recovery, you opened your home to us and it created an atmosphere of warmth, and intellectual openness that allowed all of us in the class to just enjoy the experience and learn that much more because of the caring environment you created for us despite your own challenges at the time. We all appreciated that so much.

You have always been an amazing role model and I thank you for believing in me. I could not be where I am without you.

Raffaella Patimo

Università di Bari "A. Moro"
Assistant Professor of Economics in Bari - Fulbright Chair at University of Pittsburgh 2015-2016
I met prof. Alberta Sbragia the very first days of my amazing experience as a Fulbright Scholar at Pitt, at the welcome reception at Schenley Park. Of course I knew her: her fame had preceded our acquaintance and I already admired for her academic achievements and the passion she seemed to transmit, although I hadn't met her yet.

Then, I met her. And one of my first thought was that in front of me I had a true "Magistra": I wished one day I could have become like her. She was (and she is) extremely friendly, welcoming and willing to share academic and human experience. Then I thought, immodestly, that I have many things in common with Alberta: I'm a woman, I'm an academic, I'm Italian and I ... am hopelessly in love with the true and original idea of European Union.

Thank you, Alberta for the time you found to have lunches with me and discuss our mutual scientific interests, and even more our lives as human being, to have nice words for me and my family. Thank you for the passionate suggestions and example you have given me and thousands of other people. Thank you for having shared with me a very special moment at 60th Anniversary of EU Celebrations in Rome, a moment I will surely never forget. I wish I had met you well before we did, but I'm happy I met you.

Have a good life!
Raffaella, Carmine and the kids

Jorge Gordin

Universidad Diego Portales, Chile
Associate Professor
Professor Sbragia has without a doubt been the most influential instructor, mentor and maestra in my entire academic life. Since I arrived in Pittsburgh for my doctoral studies, I noticed her intellectual cosmopolitanism and eagerness to motivate students to such an extent that it distinguished Professor Sbragia from most of her faculty peers. In this vein, her unconditional support for my academic undertakings and development amounted to a rain check afforded to me by a scholar who is not only a world top authority in her fields of specialization but also a compassionate and humanly engaged maestra. Her academic generosity also transpired in her openness to accept and guide students who have scholar interests not necessarily overlapping her owns; in my case by accepting my Latin Americanist credential, Professor Sbragia taught me that the end product may at times be more than the sum of its parts, shaping me as perhaps one the most European-minded Latin Americanist of my Pitt cohort. As a result, my research and academic output has enormously benefited from this regional integrationist approach and surely still does.

My personal accolades for the legacy of Professor Sbragia concern not only her academic guidance but also her approach to form future generations of scholars. Every time I write a recommendation letter for my own students and peers, I am positively biased by my memories of always counting with her unconditional and encouraging support. She "empirically" showed me the academic therapeutic value of kindling others scholar self-esteem. Likewise, in my roles as Principal Investigator and director of research projects, I remember the significance of Professor Sbragia's legacy in tutoring and supporting able students financially, so they can partake in international and development opportunities. Last, but not least, I learned from Professor Sbragia the value and importance of forging constructive relations and dynamics with my academic and faculty peers, let alone the significance of engendering virtuous circles of academic interaction instead of isolationist and dogmatic interactions in exclusionary epistemic communities.

Pitt will certainly miss you, Professor Sbragia. I would like to deeply thank you for your immense intellectual and human generosity and wish you happiness and health on your retirement.

Grazie Infinite, Alberta.

Edward Stricker

University of Pittsburgh
Department of Neuroscience
Dear Alberta.
I am writing this note to wish you well now and during all the upcoming years that will follow your retirement from the University. I am especially grateful for your assistance while I was adjusting to my new role as Dean of the Honors College. The advice you gave me always was excellent and patiently delivered, and it helped to clarify matters that had seemed opaque. Evidently, I was not prepared for how much I had to learn about the University and its procedures and policies, despite having spent 40 years here including 16 years as department chair, and the mentoring you provided certainly facilitated the transition. It was very welcome and much appreciated then, and, in retrospect, I consider it remarkable but characteristic of your good sense and good will.

All best wishes,
Edward M. Stricker, Ph.D.

Alasdair Young

Georgia Institute of Technology
Sam Nunn School of International Affairs
I am profoundly grateful to Alberta for her early influence on my career. Euro-Politics informed my thinking early in my PhD. She was my extremely gracious external examiner and helped me secure my first faculty position. Moreover, many of my friends in EU Studies are Alberta's students, so I owe her a debt for guiding and advancing their careers as well. In addition, she gave EU Studies the term "tabloid version," which I feel I rarely get beyond, but which she always does, despite her warnings to the contrary.

Michael Rizzi

University of Pittsburgh
Alberta Sbragia was extremely supportive of me as a student and I will always be grateful to her for her help. She and her family have crossed paths with me for decades and I am fortunate to have known all of them.

Simona Piattoni

University of Trento
Department of Sociology and Social Research
Dear Alberta,
It is my distinct pleasure to wish you all the best for your retirement after a distinguished career of teaching, researching, writing, supervising, mentoring and, not least, administering! You have touched many persons in your long career, and you have certainly inspired me! You have encouraged me when, as a young graduate student, I was at the beginning of my dissertation on clientelism and economic development and I was attending for the first time APSA and CONGRIPS. You have then visited with the University of Trento and taught in one of the first courses ever offered at the School of International Studies showing to all of us how that should be done. You have further encouraged me on various occasions, but particularly when I was mulling over my theory of multilevel governance and even invited me to Pittsburgh to share with you my initial thoughts. Some of your works have been milestones for my own work. Throughout you have set an example of how to be an academic who successfully combines scientific rigor and personal warmth and I am particularly grateful to you for showing me how to be a successful female academic and a loving mom, two tasks that are sometimes most difficult to combine.

For all of this and much more I am grateful to you!

Sidney Tarrow

Cornell University
Emeritus Maxwell Upson Professor of Government and Adjunct Professor, Cornell Law School
I have known Alberta since she was a graduate student carrying out her dissertation research in Italy. I think we met for coffee at a bar in Piazza San Marco in Florence and I knew immediately that here was not common-or-garden grad student. The next time we met was (wait for it!) in the restaurant of a casino in Carson City, Nevada, where she had taken her mom for dinner and we had taken our kids during a trip to show them the mines in Nevada. When we met again she was “all grown up,” a faculty member at Pitt, where she effortlessly rose to dean status and gained the affection and respect of her colleagues – as well as of the profession at large. I wish her a satisfactory retirement, though – knowing her – the only change in her activity level will be that she gets paid less for doing more of what she loves to do.

Bert Rockman

Purdue University
Professor Emeritus
Alberta arrived in the political science at Pitt a few years after I had begun my career in the same department. Although she gave me a lot of her Nevada guff for awhile, we hit it off as good friends and as colleagues who interacted with each other intellectually quite a bit. When Alberta arrived in the department, she was the only full time tenure track female colleague. I'm certain that this could not have been easy for her but she acted otherwise. When we considered the hiring of future colleagues, Alberta considered only one factor: the candidate's quality and potential contributions to the department and the profession.

The idea to establish a West European Studies Center came from the late Doug Ashford, then the Mellon Professor of Political Science. Doug was convinced that Alberta was the right person to head this. Alberta was always the last person to think so, but, of course, she proved Doug to be correct. Her leadership of what was then West European Studies was incredible. She built a major program from scratch, one that is recognized across Europe and in North America.

Her commitment to her students, to her research, and to her ability to be an effective administrator has been remarkable. It is hard to believe that Alberta has come to the formal end of an incredible career. She is a model for all of us, and, above all, she remains one of my dearest friends. The excellent program in European Studies at Pitt owes to Alberta's extraordinary talents and commitment. She has been a Most Valuable Player (MVP).

My warmest wishes for the future.

Sophie Meunier

Princeton University
Co-Director, European Union Program at Princeton
Dear Alberta,
All my very best wishes for this new chapter of your life! You may not remember, but our professional friendship started when I introduced that proud Italian-American to the inimitable gourmet specialty of St Louis, Missouri -- the Toasted Ravioli! I was a PhD student at MIT but had recently moved to Chicago to follow my husband, who had just started a job there. A newcomer to the Midwest, I attended an EU conference in St Louis, where I did not know anyone. You took interest/pity in me and we started talking –first outside the conference room, and then over lunch. From that first conversation to many subsequent ones, you modeled for me what a professional scholar, and a female scholar, ought to be, with kindness and a down-to-Earth attitude that resonated particularly well with me. You showed me what Comparative Politics had to say about European integration. I admired your leadership, direction, and generosity in providing public goods in professional organizations. And you opened your heart in sharing your hard-earned wisdom and self-reflecting challenges on how to combine parenting with academic scholarship.

Your mentorship over the years has meant a lot to me and I am so grateful to have crossed paths with you so early in my career.


Kalypso Nicolaidis

University of Oxford
Department of Politics and International Relations
You were one of the very first American scholars who inspired me to draw normative lessons from comparing regions or federations to the EU. Brilliant, kind and attentive to women, you have been a shining light to our community.


Jon Hurwitz

University of Pittsburgh (retired)
Political Science (Emeritus)
In my three decades in the Political Science department at Pitt, I had the privilege to work with many great and good colleagues, most of whom became friends. I never had a colleague whose relationship I cherished more than Alberta. Almost immediately upon my arrival, she greeted me warmly and, over the years, was extraordinarily generous with her time and her help. My only frustration with Alberta was that, as her responsibilities increasingly took her away from my department, I was unable to see her as often as I would have liked.

Alberta has been, to me and countless others, the model of true professionalism. As a scholar, an educator, and an administrator, she has had few peers. As a friend, she has had even fewer peers. And her sheer decency puts her in a category rarely seen.

I wish her all the best in her retirement.

Pamela Camerra-Rowe

Kenyon College
Department of Political Science, Kenyon College, Gambier, OH
Dear Alberta,
Congratulations on your retirement and on your splendid career as a teacher, scholar, mentor, and administrator. You deepened our understanding of European politics and nurtured new generations of European scholars. I am so grateful for your wisdom, kindness and generosity. Your book, "Euro-politics: Institutions and Policymaking in the "New" European Community," contributed to my interest in studying European integration. Your willingness to mentor me as a junior faculty member and your sage advice helped me achieve much as a teacher and scholar. Your founding of the European Studies Center at the University of Pittsburgh and your outreach efforts helped foster a community of European scholars and made those of us teaching EU and European politics in the OH-PA region feel less isolated. The workshops you organized and speakers you brought to the Center helped me remain current with issues in European politics and provided opportunities for my students to travel to Pittsburgh to engage with important scholars and practitioners. Thank you for your many contributions to the field, and, above all else, for your friendship.

With heartfelt thanks and deep appreciation,
Pam Camerra-Rowe
Professor of Political Science
Kenyon College

Chad Damro

University of Edinburgh
Europa Institute
Thank you, Alberta, so much for everything. You are an outstanding scholar and person, who has played the single most important role in shaping and supporting my professional career. It is a distinct honor and genuine pleasure to know you and to consider you my mentor, model and friend.

Galina Zapryanova

Professor Sbragia,
Seven years after graduation, I still recollect very vividly your lectures, stories, and abundance of positive energy, which is something graduate students always need! Regardless of topic, I would always leave a meeting or seminar with you motivated and energized myself! Thank you for being a wonderful teacher and mentor, and spreading so much of that positive energy towards your students and colleagues! Wishing you a happy retirement!


Edoardo Ongaro

Open University, UK
Professor of Public Management,Open University, UK and Visiting Professor Bocconi University, Italy
Dear Alberta (Cara Alberta, if I may)
These very days approaching the Pittsburgh seminar in your honor, I am cherishing the memories of the period spent as a visiting fellow at Pitt in January 2007, hosted upon invitation by you and Guy. It has been an amazing moment of intellectual development for me. Even more significant, I had the chance of appreciating intellectual guidance by you and Guy. I since benefited so much, and for that I am so grateful.

During my period at Pitt, I fully discovered your total dedication to students and colleagues alike. Your kindness of spirit, commitment to "real life" people and their deepest needs in everyday encounters, and to those institutions (be them the University of Pittsburgh or the Institutions that make the European Union) are positive forces for the lives of real people, which allowed them to grow, thrive, and hold up the values of democracy and liberty.

A year later, the 4th "Transatlantic Dialogue" conference was organized as part of a series promoted by American Society for Public Administration and the European Group for Public Administration, which is now in its 15th edition. The conference held at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy, led to (amongst other publications) two co-edited volumes on the topic of interconnecting the "European" stream of research on Multi-Level Governance and the "American" strand on intergovernmental relations. It is then that I had another major opportunity of discovering how profoundly you really give all your intellectual energies in any sentence of every work you have written. You never allowed for banal, inattentive, copy-pasted sentences or passages to intrude into your writings.

Thank you, dear Alberta, for all you have given to the multiple communities of political scientists, public administrators, those enamoured of the great European experiment of peace that was born out of WWII, and of course the students and academics alike at University of Pittsburgh and elsewhere all over the world that have had the welcome chance of knowing you. It has been truly an honor to have goten to know you, and I wish you and all your dears all the very best.


Nils Ringe

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Department of Political Science
Dear Alberta,
There are many, many reasons why I am grateful to you (including the obvious fact that I would not be where I am without you). But what I am realizing more and more as I become more senior — in our profession as well as in life — is that the most important way you mentor is by example. You show us that a calm, almost understated assertiveness is more effective than overly excited activism. And you show us that being a big deal need not get in the way of being considerate, respectful, attentive, and kind. Those are great and important lessons to learn for graduate students (and junior faculty, and senior faculty … really, everybody).

Thank you, Alberta!

With my warmest appreciation and best possible wishes,

Kristin Kanthak

University of Pittsburgh
Department of Political Science
I have been so fortunate to have Alberta as a colleague. I remember once attending a meeting where most of the people in the meeting were sitting around a table, but others were sitting in chairs around the edges of the room. Not knowing where I should sit, I came in and sat in one of the chairs, thinking it was the safest bet. Alberta looked at me sternly and asked "What are you DOING? You're supposed to be sitting at the TABLE!" I moved to the table as fast as I could, and I think about it every time I walk into a room like that. Now I take a seat at the table, for fear Alberta might find out if I don't.

Burcu Savun

University of Pittsburgh
Political Science
Dear Alberta,
Thank you very much for everything you did for the Political Science Department and University. You have been a role model for so many of us. Enjoy your well-deserved retirement!

Best wishes,

Wolfgang Wessels

Jean Monnet Professor and EU researcher
Dear Alberta
My congratulations and deep respect for the work on our common topic - the EU. You re-created a network which was and is of major importance for many researchers also across the Atlantic Ocean.


Donald Burke

University of Pittsburgh
Dean, Graduate School of Public Health
What a delight to have you as a colleague! I especially enjoyed our spirited back and forth over the proper role for Pitt in today's global community. As I recall it, we almost settled on the slogan "The University of Pittsburgh - We're Changing the Bleeping World," but your good sense took over again.

Thank you for your friendship.

Warm regards, Don

Abraham Newman

Georgetown University
Alberta is a European Studies powerhouse. EUSA is so grateful for her deep belief in and commitment to growing regional studies in the US and beyond.

Andrew Moravcsik

Princeton University
Professor and EU Program Director
Alberta was one of the few scholars truly committed to studying the EU back in the 1980s - the era of Europessimism and Eurosclerosis. Even though we sometimes disagreed on substantive issues, she welcomed me into the field warmly and generously - dispensing smart and tough, but friendly advice, both professional and personal. Over the years, she has remained an enduring exemplar of scholarly collegiality at its best.

Georg Menz

Old Dominion University
Department of Political Science
Alberta Sbragia has been an inspirational teacher and mentor for many years. I thank her for all of her support and encouragement and wish her all the best for her impending retirement.

Angelica Ocampo

World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh
President & CEO
Dear Alberta,
It was such a pleasure working with you at the World Affairs Council for the last three years. You were one of the first friendly people I met when I moved in 2015. Two memories stick out in my mind: The first meeting we had, which was my first visit to the Cathedral of Learning, and how you spoke about the Nationality Rooms. And your recommendation to check Il Piccolo Forno for good Italian food, which I followed a lot!

Enjoy this new stage in your life and I do hope we stay in touch.

With best wishes,

Helen Wallace

University of Sussex
Honorary Professor
It is too long since we were in close touch, though our sons have been in touch with each other - a fine example of inter-generational friendship transfer. What a lot you have achieved since those early days of the Brookings study prompted by the 1992 programme. And - goodness - you have more than earned a period of less intense professional engagement. These days we Europeans are going through very testing times - not least in my country and that other European country that you know best. I have taken to introducing myself as a specialist in European disintegration. Choose something more cheerful for your retirement project! Tanti abbracci!

Helen Wallace

Thomas Allen

University of Pittsburgh
University of Pittsburgh
Dear Alberta,
Thank you with all sincerity for the various ways you assisted my academic and work careers as well as our development of a productive working friendship. Our association began with my serving as your Graduate Student Assistant at the European Studies Center; continued with your serving on my PhD dissertation committee; extended further with my working for you at the European Studies Center as an Assistant Director, then Associate Director; and concluded through our continuing association while I served as Associate Director for the Global Studies Center. It has been a friendship that includes both you and your family: Martin, Paul and Laura, which will last with me forever.

With all good wishes,
Thomas Allen

Martin Holland

University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Thank you for your kindness, generosity as well as intellectual guidance over more than two decades (as well as sharing your passion for Italian food and wine!). Hopefully retirement will allow you to finally visit New Zealand.

Every best wish.

Simon Hix

Dear Alberta,
Your "Euro-Politics" transformed the way I thought about the EU. I had an inkling that I could use my background in comparative politics to study this new institution, but your ideas inspired me to think seriously about what that actually meant in practice. Without that inspiration, which included you generously offering to act as examiner of my PhD thesis at the EUI, I would not have written The Political System of the European Union, embarked on my project on legislative politics in the European Parliament, or launched the journal European Union Politics. And, through me and my teaching, 20+ years worth of undergrads and postgrads at LSE have now been trained in your approach to the EU and all its complexities and processes. We all thank and salute you!

Much love,
Simon Hix

Zeki Sarigil

Bilkent University
Assoc. Prof. Dr.
Dear Prof. Sbragia,
I am sorry that I will not be able to attend the symposium organized for your retirement. I feel lucky that I was one of your students. You have been a great teacher, scholar and colleague. When I think of graduate school days, great memories run through my mind. If I may share one of them, you might remember that I had received summer research funding from the European Studies Center to conduct research in Turkey in summer 2006. We were talking about our research plans and I told you that I would spend the money on my field work in southeastern part of Turkey, a conflict-ridden zone. And you responded "Zeki, be careful there!" And I responded by saying "Prof. Sbragia, do not worry about me, I will be fine." And you replied back by saying "Zeki, I am not worried about you. I am worried about the money. I do not want to spend money on a dead person!" I am still curious whether you were joking or not!

I wish you the happiest of retirements!
Kind regards,

Dr. Zeki Sarigil
Bilkent University
Ankara, Turkey

Peiran Wang

Vrije Universiteit Brussel
The Faculty of Law and Criminology
I had enjoyable meetings twice, in Pittsburgh and Miami.

Lars Niklasson

Linköping University
Visitor Fall 2005
Dear Alberta,
Thank you very much for hosting me in the Fall of 2005. Your kind generosity is much appreciated and I am much indebted to your encouragement, which led me back to academia (Linköping University) and now to SIEPS, The Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies. I hope to see you again in the near future.

All the best,

Michael Mosser

The University of Texas at Austin
Assistant Director, Center for European Studies
I had the pleasure of interacting with Alberta in two different contexts: first as a Pitt undergraduate, and later as a member of UT's fledgling European Studies Center. As an undergraduate, I took Alberta's Politics of the European Community in Spring 1992, a propitious time to be studying the EU. I vividly remember her personal anecdotes of arriving back in Pittsburgh from various trips to Brussels, giving us details of the effect the 1992 program negotiations had on EU institutions and actors. It made the EU come alive in our minds, and put me on the path I have followed since, first in graduate school and then afterwards.

Although we attended many of the same conferences while I was in graduate school and later in my career, I didn't get a chance to see Alberta in person until the spring of 2009, when I flew to Pittsburgh to visit the EU Center of Excellence and to get her advice on how to build UT's center into one that was even a hint of what she'd accomplished at Pitt. We had a wonderful time re-connecting and reminiscing about the optimism of the early 1990s in EU studies, and I consider myself fortunate that I was able to solicit her advice in person and receive just a bit of the wisdom she'd accumulated in her years of scholarship and administration.

Alberta Sbragia is a force of nature in EU scholarship, but she is also one of the most humble, dedicated, and downright fantastic people on the planet. She deserves every accolade given to her, and I'm a better person for knowing her, even slightly.

Karen Alter

Northwestern University
Northwestern University
You and I have had a number of conversations over the years. You probably don't remember these conversations, as they were few and far between. But they always left a mark on me. I have always appreciated the insights you have shared, from the fact that in academia real jerks do not get their due (you told me that I was sweetly naive), to insights on learning disabilities in kids (you prepared me for a train wreck that might come, and regrets I might have), to the deep well of knowledge you have from your many years studying regionalism and Europe.

By being a class act, always kind, and trenchantly smart, you have been one of my role models in a world with few female role models. Thanks for being you - and for sharing a little of yourself with me. You have had an impactful career in ways which you may not even know.

Karen J. Alter

Richard Lewis

Institute for European Studies Vrije Universiteit Brussel
During my time at the European Commission, I had several occasions when I had the pleasure of meeting Alberta. I went a couple of times to meetings in Pittsburgh and it was always instructive and pleasant. We also met once in Brussels, I think at a meeting organized by VUB.

Alberta's contribution to European Studies has been outstanding and typical of the best of American scholarship and interest in European integration. We are not living in the easiest of political environments either in Europe or the United States. We need more inspirational academics like Alberta in times like this.

Best of luck and all good wishes,

June Park

Korea Institute of Public Administration
Division of Social Cohesion Research
It was a great honor for me to attend Alberta's class and to have her as my dissertation adviser during my study at Pitt. She was a wonderful teacher and mentor. Although I am back in my home country after graduation and only exchange emails with her at times, she is a truly unforgettable person in my life. I cannot thank her too much for her professional and warmhearted teaching and mentoring. I wish her all the very best after she enters retirement.

Phil Wilkin

University of Pittsburgh
University Library System
As the Area Studies Library Liaison in the University Library System, I was in frequent contact with Alberta from the early 1990s until she left the European Studies Center. There is no reason to recount Alberta's well-known professional accomplishments. She was special in her humility, as well as her respect for and kindness to those she worked with. I have met few people with her combination of level of accomplishment and personal qualities.

Jonathan Hurwitz

University of Pittsburgh - Political Science Department
Alberta Sbragia was a mentor and is a friend.
When I arrived at Pitt in 1986, Alberta was one of the first members of the Political Science Department to introduce herself. She was one of the first to extend an invitation, and she was one of the first to lend support. When there was an illness in my family, she was always among the first to call. When I or a member of my family experienced an accomplishment, she was always among the first to offer congratulations. Though we worked in very different areas of the discipline using very different approaches, I quickly learned that it was impossible to have a conversation with her without learning something. I came to rely on her as a mentor, as a support system, and most importantly as a trusted friend. I didn't see Alberta often, but when I did she was unfailingly warm and gracious. She was among my very most cherished colleagues, and I wish her and Martin all the happiness in the world in their retirement.

Karen Lautanen

The Andy Warhol Museum
I worked with Alberta when she was the Director of the EUCE/ESC at The University of Pittsburgh
Alberta! You are an amazing scholar, professor, administrator, and mentor. Thank you for bringing me into your fold at PITT and encouraging me along my path as I explored a new career. It is a rare and wonderful thing to have worked with someone like you. I wish you all the best, and lots of relaxation to make up for the years of travel, presentations, conversations, and research. Thank you for all that you have contributed to your students, to PITT, and to the field. Much love, Karen