Pitt-Johnstown to Hold Annual Alumni Gala

Natalie Bombatch

posted March 03, 2015

The Pitt-Johnstown Alumni Association will be hosting the University’s annual Alumni Gala on Saturday, March 28, 2015 in Heritage Hall of the Living-Learning Center. Pitt-Johnstown alumni, current and retired faculty and staff, and friends from the community are invited to attend the celebration honoring Pitt-Johnstown alumni. Proceeds from this event provide scholarships to deserving students.

This year’s event is scheduled to begin with a reception in the lobby of the LLC at 6:00 p.m., followed by dinner in Heritage Hall at 6:45 p.m. Guests will enjoy a performance by local musicians, while also having the chance to win a $2,000 cash door prize.

The evening will include the presentation of the 2014 Distinguished Alumna, Jeanne W. McKelvey 65, the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus, George D. Zamias ’53, and the inaugural 2015 Young Alumnus of the Year Award recipient, Matthew S. Mazonkey ’05, as well as recognition of Alumni Association scholarship recipients.

Pitt-Johnstown has named George D. Zamias ’53 to be the 2015 Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient. The award is the highest honor Pitt-Johnstown bestows, selecting from among its more than 20,500 alumni. It recognizes individual achievement, leadership in one’s field, community service, and loyalty to alma mater. Zamias attended the Cypress Avenue campus beginning in 1950 and received his Bachelor of Arts in business administration from the Katz Business School at the University of Pittsburgh. After earning his BA, Zamias completed a Master of Letters degree in real estate and insurance, also at the University of Pittsburgh in Oakland. He then went on to found a sole proprietorship, George D. Zamias Developer in 1957. A second company, Zamias Service Inc, was founded in 1996 to service the portfolio of assets held by George D. Zamias Developer.

“On behalf of the Zamias family, we deeply appreciate the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown being a treasure to our great city. Our family is humbled by this prestigious award to my father. It is truly unexpected,” said son Stephen Zamias. “My father’s favorite saying has always been ‘education is the key to success.’”

Jeanne Wolford McKelvey ‘65 was named Pitt-Johnstown’s 2014 Distinguished Alumna Award recipient last year but will be honored at this year’s Gala. Ms. McKelvey attended Pitt-Johnstown where she majored in microbiology and was accepted into Pitt-Oakland’s first class in its School of Medical Technology. She received a master’s degree in biochemistry from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She later went on to earn her juris doctorate degree at the Dickinson School of Law. 

For the first time, Pitt-Johnstown has named a recipient of the Young Alumnus of the Year Award, Matthew S. Mazonkey. The Young Alumnus of the Year Award recognizes the accomplishments of Pitt-Johnstown alumni who are under the age of 40 for their individual achievements, leadership in their professions, service to their community, and loyalty to their alma mater. Mazonkey serves as Senior Congressional Advisor for the British Embassy in Washington, DC. A member of the Embassy’s Political Team, he is responsible for coordinating Her Majesty’s Government priorities with the US Congress, and supporting Ambassador Peter Westmacott’s engagement with members of both the Senate and House of Representatives. Mazonkey is a 2005 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and holds a BA in Political Science and a Certificate in International Studies.

On learning of his selection, Mazonkey stated, “I’m delighted and honored to be receiving the 2015 Young Alumnus of the Year Award. Pitt-Johnstown was and still is - 10 years later - such an important part of my life. It was at Pitt-Johnstown where my parents first met and where I sharpened my love of politics and foreign relations. It’s where I learned leadership skills and the value of hard work and achievement. And it was at Pitt-Johnstown where I met two great U.S. Representatives who allowed me to experience parts of politics and the world that very few people ever get to see or do. I’m proud to call Pitt-Johnstown my alma mater and to help give back so that other students have the same experience that I had.”

Event tickets will be sold until Friday, March 20, 2015. Register online at upj.pitt.edu/2015alumnigala or call the Alumni Office at 814-269-2080.

Founded in 1927, Pitt-Johnstown is located in the Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. The University is the regional leader, educating for the RealWorld. The distinctive combination of our people, programs, and place results in exceptional performance in preparing students for career and professional success. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best in the Northeast” college, by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” by AC Online as one of the “Highest ROI Colleges in Pennsylvania,” and by Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization.” Additionally, Pitt-Johnstown has been named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, and has been presented with The Seven Seals Award by the US Department of Defense’s office of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.