President Spectar Discusses 'Great Possibilities' at Somerset Rotary Event

Pitt-Johnstown

posted May 09, 2017


Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar emphasized the “great possibilities” and the "great uncertainty" of our time as he addressed a meeting of the Rotary Club of Somerset, PA.

Spectar Rotary

Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar and Rotary Vice President Michael Kuhn

The meeting also recognized members of the National Honor Society from local high schools, according to the club’s May newsletter.

Dr. Spectar suggested the Honor Society stu­dents could live for another 100 years and that they must consider what lies ahead and how they can build on their inheritance of a republic with guarantees for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“This is a time of great possibilities, of great op­portunities,” he said, “but also of great uncertainty. The economy of the future favors college grad­uates. The world opens up to you. You were born at the right time.”

Among concerns, he said, is that technology is replacing many jobs and also threatens individual privacy and widespread disruption. Spectar challenged the students to look beyond their present beliefs and assumptions to see what actually is happening and how that will impact them. One basic concern is how to provide water for a popu­lation that is growing by the billions.

He noted the continuing migration of people from rural, often war-torn areas into cities and the potential disrup­tion. He also noted the possibility of pandemics like the outbreaks of cholera and the plague in past eras.

“It all will wash up on our shores,” he said.

He called on the students to get ready to take on their responsibility as “citizens of this great repub­lic (and) to advance your knowledge and seek creative ways to solve problems.”

He noted the contribution of the University of Pittsburgh’s Jonas Salk, whose work in research in the 1940s and ’50s led to the vaccine that alleviated the scourge of polio.

“Could you be the next Salk?” he asked. “Yes you could.”

 He noted that just decades ago he was growing up in a tiny village in Africa, adding: “But I am here now.”


The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown is marking its 90th anniversary 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.