Pittsburgh Quarterly Contributors
Jeff Sewald

Jeff Sewald

Jeff is an award-​winning independent filmmaker and writer who specializes in defining the cultural significance of American people, places, things and events. Among other projects, he is currently producing a television documentary about the history of jazz in Pittsburgh, and is co-​authoring the memoirs of famed forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht.

Patrick D. Gallagher, University of Pittsburgh Chancellor

I don’t recollect ever wanting to manage a large organization. But I’ve always enjoyed managing things. In fact, my management experience started when I was very young.

Allan H. Meltzer, Economist, professor, author

As a kid, I moved a lot around Boston, where I was born. My mother died when I was 5, after which I lived with my grandmother. When I was 9, my father remarried and we became suburbanites, moving to Westwood, Mass. Practically no Jews lived there other than me, my dad and…

Ted Pappas, Impresario

How did I find myself in Pittsburgh? That’s a complicated question. I was born in Tampa to Greek immigrant parents, so my first few years were spent in Florida surrounded by a very Greek community. (There are more Greeks there than you might think.) Then we moved to Gary, Ind., where my father…

William E. Strickland Jr., Educator and Activist

I’m a North Side kid. I grew up in the Manchester section of Pittsburgh and graduated from Oliver High School, where I was lucky enough to meet a person named Frank Ross, who was my art teacher. In several important ways, Frank turned my life around dramatically.

Richard V. Piacentini, Botanist and Innovator

I was born in New York City and grew up on Long Island, practically across the street from a several-​thousand-​acre state park in which we played all the time. I loved being in the woods as a kid. I was always interested in plants and animals — mostly plants, to be honest — during my early years.

Elsie H. Hillman, Political and Civic Leader

Instrumental in the political campaigns of: Dwight Eisenhower, William Scranton, John Heinz, Gerald Ford, Richard Thornburgh, George H.W. Bush, Barbara Hafer, Tom Ridge and Arlen Specter Board member of many organizations through the decades, including: WQED Multimedia, the Hill House Association, the Urban League, Carlow University and the Hillman Family Foundations.

Mark A. Nordenberg, Professor of Law & University Administrator

Minnesota is the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes,’ and northern Minnesota, where I was born and raised, has more than its share. Because Duluth, my hometown, was built on a hill, we had a scenic view of Lake Superior from our home. To me, it was like an ocean. Duluth was a great place…

Sala Udin, Community Organizer

My mother and father came to Pittsburgh during the great black migration from the South in the 1920s. They met and married here and took up residence in the lower Hill District. I was raised on Fullerton Street, which was the main drag leading to Wiley Avenue, the cultural heart of the lower…

Jared L. Cohon, Academician

My grandfather’s name was Kogonovich. He arrived at Ellis Island from Poland in 1918 and didn’t speak a word of English. The immigration agent he encountered somehow believed he had called himself “Cohen,” and apparently didn’t know how to spell that, so he wrote “C-​O-​H-​O-​N,” a highly unusual spelling of a very Jewish…

David McCullough, Author, Narrator, Historian & Lecturer

When he was about 15 or so and was reading about writers and their lives, one of my sons turned to me one evening and said, “Dad, I don’t think you’re ever going to be a really great writer.” “Why is that?” I asked him. He said, “You had way too happy a…
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