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The Big Picture at Today's Pitt

Staff Serve Above & Beyond


Pitt staff members don’t just serve the University. Through their volunteer work, they serve the greater Pittsburgh community, too.

On Pitt’s United Way Day of Caring, held each September, some 400 Pitt staff and faculty members spend a workday volunteering with community-service organizations in neighborhoods adjacent to the University. April is Pitt Partnership for Food Month, when staff and other members of the University community donate food and household products to people in need through a collaboration with the United Way and the Boy Scouts of America supporting the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

Exemplifying Pitt staff members’ volunteer efforts are winners of the annual Chancellor’s Award for Staff for Excellence in Service to the Community.

Peter L. DeNardis received the award in 2012 for his contributions to the International Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia Foundation (IWMF), a support organization for a rare type of blood cancer DeNardis himself is battling. In a letter notifying DeNardis of the award, Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg wrote that he was “struck by the fact that you not only are there to provide counsel and comfort to your fellow patients, but also work to improve the IWMF itself through your service on its Board of Trustees, and as a discussion list manager, webmaster, and patient database coordinator.” DeNardis is senior information analyst in Pitt’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer.

The other 2012 awardee, Penny Samaia, was recognized for his “above and beyond” service to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; The Polite Way, which assists single mothers; Big Brothers and Sisters; and Get Involved, for which he serves as president. Writing in support of Semaia’s nomination, Get Involved founder Tom Baker praised Semaia’s leadership skills and called his positive message “second to none in Western Pa.” Semaia is the assistant athletic director for student life in Pitt’s Department of Athletics.