Chancellor Gallagher to Receive Honorary Doctorate from Newcastle University

Today, Newcastle University (UK) awards Chancellor Gallagher an honorary Doctor of Science degree, marking the first time in recent record that a University of Pittsburgh Chancellor receives an honorary degree from a distinguished international institution. 

The honor recognizes Chancellor Gallagher’s “significant contribution to higher education policy and leadership…and his work for the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity and directing the National Institute of Standards and Technology.” The Chancellor joins a distinguished family of honorary graduates who have been recognized by Newcastle for their contributions in the fields of physics and computer science, among them Stephen Hawking, Vicki Hanson, and Anthony Hey. 

live stream of the ceremony is available on July 17 between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. EST.

Vice Provost for Global Affairs to Speak at Newcastle Summit

Ariel C. Armony, vice provost for global affairs, will be a keynote speaker at the North East Local Industrial Strategy Summit in Newcastle, England this month. The conference is being presented by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, a public-private partnership developing economic growth in the North East region of England. The group is one of 38 key partnerships working throughout the country.

Armony is presenting lessons from the Pittsburgh region’s economic transformation and current challenges being addressed by public-private partnerships that include the University of Pittsburgh.

Pitt Hosts STARTALK Program

The Center for International Studies and the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies have been happy to host STARTALK, an intensive four-week-long Russian summer school for high school students. The program began June 17 and concludes tomorrow, July 12. Thanks to the students for all their hard work! Learn more about the program at

Emily Rook-Koepsel Profiled by the Association for Asian Studies

Asian Studies Center Assistant Director of Academic Affairs Emily Rook-Koepsel was recently profiled by the Association for Asian Studies. Read her interview at the Association for Asian Studies.

In Memory of Dr. Joseph Adjaye

Statement from Ariel Armony, Vice Provost for Global Affairs:

It is with sorrow that I share with our UCIS family news of the death of Professor Emeritus Joseph Adjaye, a beloved former director of the African Studies Program and faculty member in the Department of Africana Studies. 

Dr. Adjaye was instrumental in creating the African Studies Program and served with distinction as its inaugural director from 2001 until his retirement in 2010.

His wide-ranging areas of research included African spirituality, the Akan language, popular culture, and the Pan-Africanism movement throughout the Caribbean and around the world. His edited and authored books included Language, Rhythm, and Sound: Black Popular Cultures into the 21st Century (1997); Diplomacy and Diplomats in 19th Century Asante (1996); and Time in the Black Experience (1984). His essays and reviews were published in numerous journals and publications, including the International Journal of African History Studies, Journal of Ethnic Studies, American History Review, Journal of Black Studies, and African Historical Review.

Dr. Adjaye’s distinguished educational background included a PhD and MA from Northwestern University, an MA from SUNY-Binghamton, and a BA from the University of Ghana.

The viewing for Dr. Adjaye will be held this Friday, July 5, 2019, 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm, at Freyvogel Funeral Home (4900 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh, 15213). A service is scheduled for Saturday, July 6, 10:30 am, at East Liberty Presbyterian Church (116 South Highland Ave, Pittsburgh, 15206), with repast to follow.

I know you join me in offering our condolences to Dr. Adjaye’s family.

Pitt Dedicates the Philippine Nationality Room

This article originally appeared in Pittwire, June 11, 2019.

The cheerful, melodious sounds of traditional Filipino gong music echoed in the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning — a soundtrack to the celebration of a new Nationality Room.

On June 9, the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh community came together as Pitt dedicated the Philippine Nationality Room. It was a celebration nearly 20 years in the making, and the first new room since the Korean Room was opened in 2015.


The Philippine Room now makes room number 31 of Pitt’s Nationality Rooms — a collection of rooms inside the Cathedral of Learning that represent cultures and heritages from around the world. About 25,000 visitors partake in guided room tours each year, and most of the rooms also serve as classrooms.

And with the new room, guests are now able to step inside the Philippines when they visit the Cathedral.

The dedication

Pagdiriwang, the annual celebration of Philippine independence, was a festive fit to align with the dedication of the new room.

“Words cannot express the feelings I have now that we have finally dedicated the room,” said Tina Purpura, fundraising chair of the Philippine Nationality Room Task Force, who immigrated to the United States from Manila in 1981. “We are doing this for our children, to keep the legacy of the Filipino community alive.” 

The task force, composed of seven members of the local Filipino community, led the planning and fundraising efforts to create the room. This involved more than 20 years of organizing — including trips to the Philippines for design inspiration.

In the Heinz Memorial Chapel ceremony, task force chair Manny Gelido, chaplain in Hispanic Ministries at two West Virginia Roman Catholic parishes, presented a key to Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, symbolizing the gifting of the room to the University.

Along with Chancellor Gallagher, Provost Ann E. Cudd and Ariel Armony, vice provost for global affairs and director of the University Center for International Studies, took part in the dedication festivities.

“The University of Pittsburgh’s newest room is a stunning tribute to the Filipino people and culture — one that community members and visitors will be able to explore, admire and learn from for generations to come,” said Gallagher. “To the members of the Philippine Nationality Room Task Force, (Nationality Rooms Director) Maxine Bruhns and her team, and all the individuals who worked for years to bring this vision to life: Thank you.”

Cudd called the new room a “truly meaningful addition.”

“Within its sturdy and elegant walls, our faculty and students will share knowledge, energized by the room’s finely executed details,” she told those in attendance.

“This is a historic moment,” added Armony. He thanked the task force for a “true labor of love.” He also called for applause for Bruhns, who has been director of the Nationality Rooms since 1965.

Following the ceremony, a parade of young Filipino women walking under floral arches led the attendees over to the Cathedral of Learning for a cultural festival.

In the Cathedral of Learning’s large Commons Room, guests gathered to hear instrumental music by New York City-based ensemble Kinding Sindaw. The musicians, originally from the southern Philippines, played kulintang, an ensemble of gongs of various sizes that are struck with soft mallets. Male and female dancers in colorful native dress performed a celebration of their country’s dance heritage, much to the delight of an enthusiastic crowd. Filipino women distributed specially prepared food like biko, sweet rice cakes cooked in coconut milk; and lumpia, meat filled dumplings, as attendees admired artwork and artifacts lining the Commons Room walls. Guests also enjoyed free tours of all 31 Nationality Rooms.

Step into the Philippines

The new room is reflective of the typical homes of Philippine ancestors, said Purpura.

“We want visitors to feel the Filipino hospitality immediately when they enter this room, which reminds me of my grandparents’ home,” said Purpura. “The room really does tell a story of our Filipino culture.”

According to the task force, it was important to represent the influence of cultures that make up the Philippines, which is an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands. To formulate the design concept, members of the task force made trips to the Philippines and consulted with scholars and architects from Manila.

Architect of record Warren Bulseco and Manila-based room designer Melinda “Popi” Laudico modeled the room after the Quema house in Vigan, Philippines. The room reflects the Bahay na Bato style, which translates to “house of stone,” to make a sturdy home that can outlast the typhoons, earthquakes and floods that regularly impact the islands.

Prominently featured in the room are paneled bay windows, which are covered in capiz —the inner lining of oyster shells. Capiz are widely used in the Philippines for window shutters. The shells are made to block the sun and admit cool breezes when the windows are left open. The room also features colorful murals on the walls and ceiling that contain symbolism of Filipino culture and mythology, hand-painted by Philippine-born artist Eliseo Art Silva.

A top destination

Established in 1926 by then-Chancellor John Bowman, Pitt’s 31 Nationality Rooms are representative of — and pay tribute to — many of the cultural groups that settled Allegheny County.

In 2019, the Nationality Rooms were named on “The Cool List 2019,” by National Geographic Traveller UK — featuring the rooms as one of its must-see sites.

The Philippine Room is the 12th room to be dedicated since Bruhns, who is also director of Intercultural Exchange Programs in the University Center for International Studies, began leadership of the rooms.

Pitt’s Nationality Rooms are maintained and supported through a partnership between the local populations of these cultural groups and the University of Pittsburgh.

More information is available on the Nationality Rooms website, including details about hours, location, admission prices and group tours.


UCIS Welcomes Director of Global Partnerships and Partner Engagement

Garrett Margliotti (A&S ’07, EDUC ’12G) joins Pitt’s University Center for International Studies this week as the director of global partnerships and partner engagement. In the newly created role, Margliotti will work with Ariel C. Armony, vice provost for global affairs, and Belkys Torres, executive director of global engagement, to create and implement a strategic plan for the University’s transformative partnerships around the world.

The University currently has 235 international research and exchange agreements with institutions in 73 countries. Margliotti will help drive thought-leadership in evaluating existing relationships and building new partnerships. He will play a key role in managing international agreement requests, approvals, and assessment and will work to develop an international partnerships incubator for the University.

The Pittsburgh-area native comes to the University of Pittsburgh from Northeastern University in Boston, where he served the Global Experience Office for more than four years. Leading most recently as the senior associate director of advising and programming, Margliotti created and managed university-wide exchange programs and study abroad at Northeastern. In addition, he created and implemented an evaluation tool to review the university’s existing and potential partnerships. Prior to joining Northeastern, Margliotti served for six years as the director of the Center of Global Learning at Carlow University in Pittsburgh. 

He holds an MEd in higher education administration and a BA in French and history from the University of Pittsburgh.  He enjoys spending his free time exploring the city of Pittsburgh with his fiance and labradoodle.

Former European Studies Center Director and Longtime Professor Alberta Sbragia Retiring

This originally appeared in an article titled "Retirements represent hundreds of years of service to the University," in University Times, May 30, 2019.

Alberta Sbragia, since 1974
Professor of political science, Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences
Director, Center for West European Studies and European Union Center
Research Professor, University Center for International Studies
Vice provost for graduate studies, 2010-17

Alberta Sbragia received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1974 and came to Pitt’s Department of Political Science that same year.

She said she’s seen the quality of students and the reputation of Pitt improve dramatically in her time here.

“My department at Wisconsin was not thrilled I was coming to the University of Pittsburgh,” Sbragia said. “Now one of my Ph.D. students was hired as a faculty member at Wisconsin.”

She chose to come to Pitt because she wanted to be in a city, but not a big city, “and Pittsburgh seemed like the perfect size.”

One her biggest accomplishments was starting a Center for West European Studies at Pitt. In 1984, the then-head of the University Center for International Studies asked her to organize the center and head it, which she did until 2010, when she became vice provost for graduate studies — a post she held until 2017.

As vice provost, “I learned a lot about the University and about what the resources of Pitt are and how good this University is,” she said. It’s easy to become entrenched in your own research and teaching and “you don’t have an idea of how good the other schools are,” Sbragia continued, particularly citing the stellar reputations of the School of Social Work and the Learning Research and Development Center.

In the 1990s, she began urging her contacts in Brussels to consider funding programs at U.S. universities to build centers of excellence in EU Studies.  The EU Centers of Excellence program began in 1998, and the EU Center at Pitt, which she headed, was born that year. Pitt is one of only three universities in the world to have its EU Center of Excellence status continuously renewed and funded during the entire time of the program, largely due to Sbragia’s leadership.

In 2005, Sbragia was given the lifetime designation of Jean Monnet Chair ad personam by the European Union. The title “is reserved for professors showing evidence of a high level European commitment that is recognized by the academic world, at both national and international levels," the commission said.

She also was the inaugural Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg University Chair from 2006 to ‘10. The European Studies Center’s symposium on EU studies in the fall of 2018 was named in Sbragia’s honor.

The Alberta Sbragia Fund was set up in her honor to support dissertation research or publication for current Pitt graduate students interested in Europe.

Sbragia will move to emeritus status but doesn’t really know what she’ll be doing after she leaves her Posvar Hall office at the end of August. She hopes to “take advantage of the marvelous people who come in for lectures” — something she never had time for while working in the Provost’s Office. She’d also like to read more fiction and spend more time with her two grandsons, who live in Chicago.

She and husband, Martin Staniland, who retired last year as a professor from the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, may also spend some time in Europe.

— Susan Jones

Global Studies Center Certificate Holder Jamie Ducar Earns Community Partnership Micro-credential

This article originally appeared in Pittwire, May 13, 2019.

Jamie Ducar, director of community engagement in the Office of Community and Governmental Relations, is among the first individuals in the higher-education civic and community engagement field to earn a micro-credential in Community Partnerships through Campus Compact’s new Community Engagement Professional Credentialing Program.

Campus Compact is a national coalition of more than 1,000 colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. 

Ducar earned this distinction by demonstrating competency in effectively cultivating, facilitating and maintaining high-quality partnerships with community organizations and representatives. 

The program provides formal recognition for the knowledge and skills practitioners develop throughout their careers and provides a framework for them to grow and achieve in the field in ways that encourage effective, inclusive and equity-based partnerships and practices. Practitioners who earn a requisite number of micro-credentials may apply for Campus Compact’s full certification as a Community Engagement Professional.

Among the content advisers to this new program is Pitt Assistant Vice Chancellor for Community Engagement Lina Dostilio.  

Study Abroad in the Himalayas

The University of Pittsburgh offers signature study abroad programs at the Hanifl Centre for Outdoor Education in the Himalayas to offer Pitt students opportunities to learn about and experience this important region of the world.

Thirty-two students are studying at the Hanifl Center in Mussoorie, India, this summer. Twenty-five are participating in the Himalayan Health and Wilderness First Responder program. Representing Dietrich School of Arts and Science, the School of Education, School of Nursing, College of General Studies, and Pitt Johnstown, the students are completing a five-week summer intensive that features two courses, one an expanded Wilderness First Responder course with a clinical, field-based component taught by paramedics from local provider Aerie Medicine and staff of the Hanifl Center, and an anthropology course focusing on public health and the environment in the Himalayas, taught by Pitt faculty and staff.

An additional seven students from the College of Business Administration, Swanson School of Engineering, and Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences are participating in the Leadership in the Himalayas program, which combines academic coursework and experiential learning to create a specialized program of personal leadership development.

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and toured the Hanifl Center and met with students participating in the 2019 programs this week during the University of Pittsburgh’s delegation visit to India.