Annual Alumni Gala Event Honors Five


posted April 09, 2018

Alumni Gala honorees (from left) Rob DeMichiei, Dr. Ernie Mantini, and Matt Sernell.

The Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Association hosted its annual Alumni Gala on Saturday, April 7, 2018, in Heritage Hall at the Living Learning Center on the Pitt-Johnstown campus.

At this year’s Gala, celebrated five of the University’s most distinguished alumni, whose attendance spans more than 50 years. Proceeds from the event benefit student scholarships. The Alumni Gala has developed a scholarship fund now boasting more than $175,000.

The awards honor Pitt-Johnstown graduates who have contributed to their communities, to the world and to the university. 

“That is the type of institution we have,” said Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar. “People who make a difference and make the world a better place.”

Each of the award presentations Saturday included a short video highlighting the alumnus’ accomplishments. They also included photos from the recipient’s college days. 

The 2018 honorees included:

Alumni Legacy Award

Given to alumni who demonstrate a lifelong commitment to Pitt-Johnstown

William Mallinson ’55, Business

MallinsonA Johnstown native, Mr. William Mallinson’ s generous and long-standing support of Pitt-Johnstown has provided education opportunity to over 200 students through three scholarships, including the Hubert H. Mallinson and Ruby G. Memorial Scholarship, established to honor his parents.  Mr. Mallinson created the scholarship to honor the contributions of his mother, Ruby, an elementary teacher in the Johnstown and Westmont schools and his father Hubert, a well-respected Johnstown banker who taught his son the value of hard work, saving money, devotion to family, and the importance of education. Mr. Mallinson also endowed a scholarship to honor his aunt, Mary E. Kocher, an elementary teacher who dedicated 42 years teaching elementary school in the Johnstown School District and his uncle, Stanley B. Kocher, a U.S. Army veteran who spent 43 years working on the editorial staff of the Tribune Democrat. Mallinson and his late wife Anne Putnam Mallinson have shared their generosity throughout University of Pittsburgh system. Together, their philanthropy has provided the opportunity for promising students to pursue their dream of a college education. 

Mr. Mallinson’ s love for travel has taken him to more than 80 countries, including the Antarctic, where he was photographed proudly holding an edition of a PITT magazine. 


Distinguished Alumni Award

Honors alumni with significant accomplishment in their careers and a commitment to Pitt-Johnstown

Rob DeMichiei ’87, Business Economics

DeMichiei Robert A. DeMichiei is a certified public accountant and serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of UPMC.  Before joining UPMC, a $17 billion health care provider and finance system with more than 30 academic, community and specialty hospitals, international and commercial operations, and an insurance division with over 3.2 million members,  Mr. DeMichiei held various executive and management roles with the General Electric Company (GE) and Price Waterhouse in Pittsburgh.  Rob currently serves as the Finance Committee Chairman of the United Way of Allegheny County.  He also serves on the Board of Directors of UPMC Hamot, UPMC Passavant and UPMC Susquehanna Hospitals, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry Board of Directors and the Seton Hill University Board of Trustees. Rob and his wife, Amy (a Pitt-Johnstown graduate), have four children and reside in Hampton Township, PA.


Outstanding Volunteer Service Award

Awarded to alumni who dedicate significant time and energy toward Pitt-Johnstown’s success

Dr. Ernie Mantini ’79 Biology

MantiniFor the past 35 years, Dr. Mantini’s hard work and commitment to Pitt-Johnstown and the Alumni Association has netted thousands of dollars for student scholarships. Since assuming leadership of the Mountain Cat tournament in 1985, one of the region’s premier basketball tournaments, he has raised over $150,000 for the Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Association and their scholarship programs.  In recognition of his outstanding service to Pitt-Johnstown, Dr. Mantini received the Pitt-Johnstown Alumni President’s Award and the 2007 Volunteer Excellence Award from Pitt-Oakland. He is an avid Pitt sports fan and member of the Panther Club. Dr. Mantini owns a successful dentistry business in the Johnstown area and resides in Richland Township with his wife, Linda ‘88.


Young Alumni Award

Awarded to accomplished alumni who are under 40 years of age and demonstrate a commitment to Pitt-Johnstown

Joseph Matthew (Matt) Sernell ’06, Geography

SernellMr. Sernell has been an active member of the Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Association Board of Directors and project committees since 2012. He has served as chairperson of the Homecoming committee and established the Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Golf Classic. He also organized the inaugural Mountain Cat 5K Fun Run to support local charities and helped raise thousands of dollars for student scholarships. President of the Geistown Borough Council, Mr. Sernell received the 2016 Distinguished Service Award from PA State Association of Boroughs as well as the 2017 Governor’s Award for Local Government Excellence in the field of Promoting Community and Economic Revitalization.


Alumni Memorial Award

Remembers alumni who are no longer with us but exemplified the Pitt-Johnstown qualities of leadership and excellence through their life

Samuel S. Hicks ’99, Biology

HicksSpecial Agent Samuel S. Hicks grew up in Scottdale, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. While a student at Pitt-Johnstown, Samuel was an active participant in the campus community as president of the Acacia Fraternity, women’s soccer coach, and ice hockey player. After graduating in 1999, Samuel pursued a career in law enforcement, first as a police officer in Maryland. Samuel joined the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2007. In August 2008, he was one of 11 agents chosen from across the country to attend a special training in Amman, Jordan. Tragically, on November 19, 2008, Special Agent Samuel S. Hicks was shot and killed in the line of duty while executing a federal search warrant at a home in Indiana Township near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was only 33 years old and left behind family, friends and colleagues. To honor Samuel, the FBI named their Baltimore field office “The Sam Hicks Building.”  In 2009, the Samuel S. Hicks Memorial Fund was established to support youth programs such as scouts and local soccer clinics, as well as families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty. The Fund also supports outstanding Pitt-Johnstown students majoring in the Justice Administration and Criminology program.

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, founded in 1927, 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.