Industry News

PIMS Holds 148th Commencement Exercise

The Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science (PIMS) held its 148th commencement exercise on Friday, Jan. 17, at the Calvary Episcopal Church, according to a news release.

The graduating class, their families and friends were welcomed to the formal cap and gown ceremony by PIMS president Eugene C. Ogrodnik. The commencement address was delivered by Anthony J. Quahliero who delivered an inspirational address entitled “Involvement is Your Future.” Quahliero is a currently president of Ohio Funeral Directors Association. Prior to his address, Quahliero was presented the PIMS Lifetime Achievement Award by President Eugene Ogrodnik.

The Funeral Service Oath was administered by Dr. Barry T. Lease, and the graduating class was presented by Dr. Joseph A. Marsaglia, Dean of Faculty and Students. Dean Marsaglia also recognized Mrs. Carolyn Thompson for her guidance as Class Faculty Advisor.

Candidates to receive the Diploma in Embalming and Funeral Directing are:

Edward Carter of Durham, NC; Elonda Clemons of Detroit, MI; Jacob Garn of Brigham, UT; Joshua Hicks of Pittsburgh, PA; Allesha Hook of Punxsutawney, PA; Chevy Huffaker of Evanston, WY; Adam Hyde of Kissimmee, FL; Todd Jones of Conway, SC; Erin Murray of Pittsburgh, PA; Ashley Popek of Pittsburgh, PA; Jonathan Pugh ‘Cum Laude’ of Canfield, OH; Kathryn Pyzik of Avon Lake, OH; Matthew Randall of Jamestown, PA; Shane Roberto of Blue Bell, PA; Robert Rusin of Pittsburgh, PA; Robert Salzgeber of Parma, OH; Elizabeth Shafer ‘Summa Cum Laude’ of Everett, PA; Michael Shuman of Johnstown, PA; Walter Smolarek of Pittsburgh, PA; Susan Vasilion of Dewitt, MI; Thomas Verdi ‘Cum Laude’ & President of the Student Senate, of New Castle, PA; Brianne Vescovi of Tyrone, PA; Lillyanna Walker of New Kensington, PA and Katharina Weber of Gibsonia, PA.

Candidates to receive the Associate in Specialized Technology Degree, Funeral Service Arts and Sciences are: Kayla Beatty of Follansbee, WV; Shawm Brammer of Ashlank, KY; Marshall Buch of Valparaiso, NE; Melissa Cameron ‘Summa Cum Laude’ of North Huntington, PA; Albert DeMoss of Willards, MD; James Forney of Uniontown, OH; Christie Frachioni ‘Summa Cum Laude’ & Student Senator of Pittsburgh, PA; Sherri Fredlock of Piedmont, WV; Lisa Gabauer of Beaver Falls, PA; Charissa Hamilton, Student Senator, of Pittsburgh, PA; Samantha Hundley of Imler, PA; Michael Jameson of Lovell, WY; Amy Keefer of Carlisle, PA; John Kenderdine ‘Cum Laude’ of Lancaster, PA; James Kidwell of Romney, WV; Ashley Nye of Greensburg, PA; Shannon Proverbs of Canfield, OH; Jessica Quinn of Latrobe, PA; Christopher Ross ‘Summa Cum Laude’ & Vice-president of the Student Senate of Pittsburgh, PA; Marie Sipler of Mohntan, PA; Cullen swank of Central City, PA; Patrick Thompson of Clarksville, MD; Erin Varner of Verona, PA; Julian Womack of Pittsburgh, PA and Benjamin Zonker ‘Rayland, OH.

Graduates receiving the Associate in Specialized Business Degree, Funeral Service Management are: Heather Dirjan, student senator, of North Huntingdon, PA; Andrea Egbert, student senator, of Rittman, OH; Claire Hawkins of Pepper Pike, OH; Melody Koeper of Sewickley, PA; Sean McCoy of Bunker Hill, WV; Brian Murphy of Rochester, PA; Brandon Pauley of Shippensburg, PA; Lindsey Piatek of Vandergrift, PA; William Pope of Cleveland, OH; Shannon Shearer of Avonmore, PA; Coy Thornton of Mineral Point, PA and Dakota Wells of Trafford, PA.

Special Awards were also presented at the commencement. The MEMORIAL AWARD was presented to Thomas Verdi who was chosen by his classmates as the student who, through qualities of leadership, professional conduct and good citizenship, best typifies the ideals of the student body. The JOHN REBOL AWARD was presented to Melissa Cameron who had maintained the highest scholastic average for the school year 2013. The WILLIAM J. MUSMANNO MEMORIAL AWARD was presented to Joshua Hicks in recognition of his outstanding ability, attitude, commitment and achievement in the clinical setting. The PIERCE CHEMICAL/ROYAL BOND AWARD was presented to Jessica Quinn in recognition of her outstanding ability, commitment, attitude and achievement in the areas of restorative art and cosmetology. Mr. Michael Kuruc, representative from the Pierce Chemical/Royal Bond company made this award available.

Ten percent of the graduates received the MU SIGMA ALPHA AWARD which is the honorary society established by the National Association of Colleges of Mortuary Science and gives recognition to those students who have displayed outstanding merit in scholarship and who have conducted themselves as good citizens of the schools they attended. The recipients of the Mu Sigma Alpha Award are: Charissa Hamilton, John Kenderdine, Walter Smolarek, Thomas Verdi and Benjamin Zonker.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Student Senate President Thomas Verdi gave his closing farewell remarks and classmate Erin Murray lead the congregation in the traditional singing of America the Beautiful.

Best of wishes to all the graduates as they begin their funeral service careers.

Posted Feb. 5, 2014


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