Pitt-Johnstown Breaks Ground for John P. Murtha Center for Public Service

Natalie Bombatch

posted September 26, 2014

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown broke ground today for the new John P. Murtha Center for Public Service. Members of the community were in attendance for the ceremony along with Pitt-Johnstown students, faculty, and staff. The ceremony took place next to Krebs Hall, the future site of the new center.

Murtha Center Groundbreaking

Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar presided over the ceremony, and was joined by Joyce M. Murtha; Ed Sheehan, president and CEO of Concurrent Technologies and vice chair of the John P. Murtha Foundation; the Honorable John Wozniak ’78, representing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Kelly Austin, chancellor of Penn State Schuylkill; and other dignitaries.

In announcing the project, President Spectar commented, “This is a tremendous privilege and we are extremely grateful to Mrs. Murtha and the Foundation on being chosen to honor and sustain the legacy of our great Congressman. Congressman Murtha was an American hero and legislative giant whose work has had a transformational impact on the Johnstown community, the region, and the nation. Mr. Murtha is an alumnus of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and, along with his wife, never wavered in a commitment to the growth and vitality of the Johnstown area.”

The center, designed by IKM Architects, will highlight the vital role John P. Murtha, a Pitt-Johnstown alumnus, played in House leadership and in various legislative issues during his three-decade plus career; promote understanding and inquiry into key local, regional, and national issues; advance public discourse or debate on policy issues; and support related academic experiences at Pitt-Johnstown through collaboration with various academic divisions.

“I am delighted that we will have at Pitt-Johnstown the John P. Murtha Center for Public Service which will encourage young people to participate in their community, in the military and in politics," said Joyce M. Murtha, wife of the late Congressman John P. Murtha.

“I truly appreciate all the work that the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown has done to prepare for the Murtha Center.  I believe this will be an outstanding museum and facility to remember such a great leader,” said Ed Sheehan, president and CEO of Concurrent Technologies and vice chair of the John P. Murtha Foundation.

Mr. Murtha was not only an alumnus of the University, but was also the first-ever recipient of its Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes an alumnus/alumna each year for his or her individual achievements, leadership in his or her professions, service to community, and loyalty to the alma mater. Mr. Murtha’s relationship with Pitt-Johnstown continued long after graduation.


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. Pitt-Johnstown 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,” and by Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization.” Additionally, Pitt-Johnstown has been presented with The Seven Seals Award by the US Department of Defense’s office of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR).