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Profiles

Just Askin’… Carey Harris

Q: What’s the most interesting thing about your job? A: The most interesting and rewarding part of my job is bearing witness to the tremendous resilience of our students, who I like to call “never give uppers.” These adults have faced enormous barriers to education, well-being and wholeness, yet they keep pushing forward. They are …

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Just Askin’… Steven Knapp

Q: What’s the most interesting thing about your job? A: Sadly, I was only on the job for six weeks before the pandemic forced us to close our four museums to the public! But I was in the buildings long enough to begin to appreciate the striking differences between the formal kind of education to …

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When Mother Came to Pittsburgh

In late 2001, I visited mother in Texas. She was 98 and living alone in the same condominium overlooking Corpus Christi Bay where she had been for 45 years. My stepfather and almost all her friends were gone, and I was there to persuade her to come to Pittsburgh. She had lost most of her …

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Ken Gormley: Lawyer, Teacher and Author

I was the first person in my family to be born in Pittsburgh. My brothers and sisters have always said that this accounts for my “irrational” loyalty to the city. My dad grew up on a farm in Kentucky and was the odd person in his family—the one who left home to get a Ph.D. …

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Vision and Action: A Remembrance of Paul O’Neill

I first met Paul O’Neill 23 years ago. I was running a project at the Post-Gazette called PG Benchmarks, which compared Pittsburgh to regions across the country with the goal of elevating Pittsburgh’s moribund trajectory. Aside from publishing statistics and stories, we held periodic roundtable discussions, the first of which was on the economy. I …

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Just Askin’… Sabrina Saunders Mosby

Q: What’s the most interesting thing about your job? A: My work involves a personal commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the region’s workforce. It means working with companies beyond just checking boxes and making statements about diversity. One of the most interesting aspects of my job is being able to move from …

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Jim Roddey, Business Executive and Community Leader

I was born in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1933, when the city was still pretty small, and lived with my parents in a little house at the foot of a mountain. My father was the comptroller for the city but, more importantly, he was a passionate ham radio operator, and a lover of electronics—and flying. …

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Tim Smith, Pastor and Founder of Center of Life

My mother’s name was Emma Liaura Muskelly and my father’s name was Virlie—Virlie Joseph Smith. Mom was from Pittsburgh, one of nine children, and worked in many of the schools that my siblings and I attended, tutoring, doing teacher’s-aide stuff, and lunchroom work. Dad was from Virginia, a little place about 45 minutes from Roanoke …

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Randy Gilson, Genius of the Human Spirit

Life began for me on January 27, 1957, in Titusville, Pennsylvania. My dad was from there and my mom came from a dairy farm in Mercer. She was a little country girl who loved to play the accordion, and she’d always go down to the tent revival meetings because she also loved Jesus. That’s where …

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To Bail or Not to Bail

The president of the Pennsylvania Bail Bond Association is not straight out of central casting. His wife and young daughters write children’s books, and he’s sipped a lot of tea at imaginary princess parties. Matter of fact, he looks more like an underwear model than a tough guy who meets criminals in the dead of …

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Farnam Jahanian, President of Carnegie Mellon University

I am an immigrant. I left my family’s home in Iran, as so many immigrants have, to pursue an education. My family hails from Tehran, and all of my siblings—five in total, all older—went to college in either Europe or the U.S. But I decided to begin my journey at age 16, and traveled from …

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Compassion, Mindfulness and Resilience

A native of California, Dr. Barry Kerzin is a Buddhist monk and the physician to the Dalai Lama. He sat down with Pittsburgh Quarterly to discuss his recent visit to Pittsburgh. Q. You’re here to work with many of UPMC’s 16,000 nurses for training in compassion, mindfulness and resilience. How do you do this? A. …

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Chin Music

In late August 2018, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill peduto looked at his calendar and was pleased to notice a rarity—a nine-day break without a scheduled public appearance. He celebrated his unusually long vacation in an unusual way. “I didn’t shave during those nine days,” he recalls.“ I made a conscious decision that I wouldn’t go anywhere …

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Consensus Builder

Mark Nordenberg’s cell phone lights up. He smiles to see a call from Herb Douglas, the oldest living African-American Olympic medalist and a University of Pittsburgh alum. Douglas hails from Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood neighborhood, where some community advocates raise questions about how residents will fare amidst the mammoth Hazelwood Green development project currently under construction. “Are …

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John Kasich, Government Leader

I was born and raised in Mckees Rocks, Pennsylvania, not far from Pittsburgh. It was a working-class, blue-collar town, but it was a positive place. I loved it there. As a kid, I played a lot of sports, and learned a great deal from that, about working together and trying hard. I was also blessed …

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Pittsburgh’s Leading Newswoman

It is a hot, unbearably humid day in late August. There are two LED lights, a heavy, Sony XD camera mounted on a tripod and one monitor propped up on the Baughman Trail in Ohiopyle, just beyond the old train station. Mosquitos relentless, sun managing to beat down through a thick canopy of trees, crickets …

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Ageless Wisdom: Abraham Twerski, 87

Try and find happiness in everything. And that’s not easy. There are a lot of things that cause you misery. Right now I’m disabled in a wheelchair. I’m dependent on other people for so many things. I don’t like being dependent on people. But I still try and find some happiness in that. I once …

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Ageless Wisdom: Thaddeus Mosley, 92

Thaddeus Mosley, 92, talks about his work as a sculptor and living a life of contentment. The secret to longevity? Good luck and good genes. I’m lucky that I’ve had good health for most of my life… The biggest thrill, or the most excitement comes from when you conceive of an idea and you work …

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Ageless Wisdom: Cyril Wecht, 87

In part five of this video series, Cyril Wecht, age 87, shares his path to forensic pathology and discusses what is important in life. The secret to longevity? It’s probably genetics, over which I have no control. My father and mother, who were immigrants, lived beyond their life expectancy, despite the very hard work they …

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Ageless Wisdom: Patricia Wilde, 90

In part four of this video series, Patricia Wilde, age 90, talks about how she entered the world of ballet and her experiences with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. I was born in the countryside outside of Ottawa, Canada and there were five of us in the family. The first part of the family were all …

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Ageless Wisdom: Carol Brown, 85

In part three of this video series, Carol Brown, age 85, shares thoughts on choosing a profession, living a satisfying life and building the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. The advice that I give my four grandchildren is spend your life on a profession that you really love, something that you genuinely enjoy. And if it’s something …

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John Robinson Block, Newsman

My twin brother, Allan Block, and I are the third generation in a family business that’s more than 100 years old. My grandfather, Paul Block, was an immigrant from East Prussia, and grew up, through his teens, in Elmira, New York. From age 10, he worked for a newspaper and learned how to sell advertising. …

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