I'm not an IUP alumna, but I truly consider myself a part of the IUP family. IUP pride is absolutely contagious.
Of course, I'm completely in the thick of how IUP makes a difference in the lives of current students. And because so much of my work is focused on faculty research and student achievements, I don't always think about the bigger picture--that there are also hundreds of stories about how IUP made a difference in the lives of past students, our 100,000 living alumni.
Then, IUP gets a $1-million gift from 1961 graduate Terry Serafini, and it just reinforces how deeply IUP alumni care about their university.
Mr. Serafini, a successful Pittsburgh entrepreneur, graduated with a degree in education but has been a longtime friend of the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology (in fact, he was honored in 1996 as the Eberly Entrepreneur of the Year).
He's earmarked his gift to Eberly for renovation of the building's atrium, which will be renamed the Serafini Atrium, and to establish the Serafini Outstanding Scholars Program to provide scholarship support to students in the Eberly College of Business and Information Technology and in math education in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
Construction just started on the atrium renovation in August.
This 1,200-square-foot new space will complement the adjacent Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, allowing access to the university through this expanded area. The renovation is expected to take about four months to complete.
No question, the size of this generous gift is news. But I was also impressed with Mr. Serafini's personal story. He began his business career in 1964 as a computer systems marketing representative for the IBM Corporation. In 1970, he cofounded Computerpeople, Inc., working there for twenty-seven years. During his leadership, the company grew to employ more than 1,300 computer professionals. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, the company also maintained offices in Columbus, Ohio; Cincinnati; Sacramento, Calif.; and Portland, Ore., providing systems expertise in all disciplines to major corporations throughout the United States.
Mr. Serafini also cofounded Compucom, Inc., a digital-imaging and microfilm-solutions company in Pittsburgh, and formerly served on its board of directors. Before starting his business career, he served as an officer in the United States Army.
There's a saying that a person is judged by the company he or she keeps. If we extend that maxim to how to judge a university, I think IUP is in pretty outstanding company with alumni like Terry Serafini.