Annual Event Honors Staff Members for Outstanding Community, Campus Service


posted December 21, 2017

Two members of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown staff were honored for outstanding service by Pitt-Johnstown President Dr. Jem Spectar during the annual staff recognition luncheon held Dec. 20, 2017, at the Living-Learning Center on campus.


Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar presents Excellence in Service awards to Pam Penazter (above) and John Ziats.


Pam Penatzer received the President’s Staff Award for Excellence in Service to the Community, and John Ziats received the President’s Staff Award for Excellence in Service to Pitt-Johnstown. They were among the 21 honored during Pitt-Johnstown’s annual event.

“At Pitt-Johnstown, we are truly blessed to have so many loyal and dedicated staff members,” said President Spectar. “There is a deep commitment to service, and I am proud and honored to continue the President’s Staff Awards for Excellence in Service: a rich legacy created years ago to celebrate the tremendous accomplishments of our valuable staff who continually exhibit an enthusiastic spirt of dedication in their work and in exceptional community volunteerism.”

Ms. Penatzer, of the Admissions team, is well-known on campus for helping families, students, faculty and staff, making them feel welcome, appreciated, and always with personalized service. Veteran students are a high priority for her, and supporting our military and their families is of great importance. She is always thinking of ways to help ease the burden of families who have lost loved ones.  

She is widely known for her kindness, generosity, compassion and “service with a smile” to campus, the community at large, and for that matter, to anyone with whom she comes in contact, continually going “above and beyond in every sense of the word.”

In the community, she is a trusted advisor, mentor and engaged member of the church community, serving on the youth ministry team, hosting youth events at her home, assisting with vacation bible schools, and donating time and resources to community block parties and outreach events. As one person stated, “she epitomizes much of what is good in Christians and in citizens and neighbors.” 

Mr. Ziats, of the Student Affairs staff, is a familiar and friendly face, and all who interact with him note his dedication, customer service, positive personality and willingness to “bend over backwards” for everyone.  In everyday job duties, his commitment to Pitt-Johnstown is unwavering. He has earned respect from colleagues, students and external constituents and is always willing to do what needs to be done, with sincerity and a smile. He goes out of his way to solve a problem, find other options or avenues to make things happen, and does not stop.

John’s service to students rises above and beyond his normal duties, tackling issues, supporting their organizations, and encouraging involvement. Of particular note is the service to the student groups in which many of the clubs have sent him thank-you cards for his commitment and support.

Also honored for years of service were:

  • 30 years: Roger Metzgar.
  • 10 years: Natalie Casti, Dan Dunn, Nancy George, Richard Kolonich, Bonnie Newfield, and Pam Penatzer.
  • 5 years: Diana Andreyo, Tammy Barbin, Courtney Biter, Andrea Christina, Barry Cigich, Kelly Devett, Therese Grimes, Emily Hoffman, Jackie Ivock, Kathleen Mishler, Brian Moore, Shelly Peruso, Tim Seitz, and Susie Shaffer.

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown is marking its 90th anniversary as well as the 50th year of the campus in its Richland Township location. Pitt-Johnstown was founded in 1927 and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best in the Northeast” college, by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” and by Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization.” The distinctive combination of Pitt-Johnstown’s people, programs, and place results in exceptional performance in preparing students for career and professional success. Pitt-Johnstown is the regional leader, educating for success in the Real World.