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Sharing Pitt Memories

Sometimes Things Just Happen


Douglas M. Browning (A&S '72):

Funny how sometimes things just happen. For me…a kid from the Southside of Chicago…i was always going to attend the University of Illinois. That is, until the day that letter from Pitt arrived, telling me, ”We are pleased to inform you”…and I made the not-so-informed or measured decision to venture a bit further away from home than Champlain/Urbana.

I remember flying into Pittsburgh at night to the sight of flames and smoke billowing from the stacks of the steels mills and wondering where the “devil” I was flying into. And getting to the Towers [dorms] to find they were totally deserted…not a student in sight anywhere, except the desk attendant whose head was buried in a book. (I found out the next day my classmates were all off partying at the student union.)

While, for a brief moment that evening I contemplated going back home and to the University of Illinois, I am glad I decided to stay. Because it is a decision which over the next 3 and 1/2 years provided me with experiences, opportunities, insights, and friendships that have lasted me a lifetime. A decision that provided me with the educational foundation that fostered a distinguished 28-year career in the federal government and has now landed me at General Motors [as global customs counsel].

When I attended Pitt more than 40 years ago, it was a “good” University. Somewhere in that ensuing period it became a “great’ University on the cusp of becoming an “OUTSTANDING” University. But more importantly it is continuing to educate and provide students with the experiences, opportunities, insights, and friendships that will no doubt last them a lifetime as well. I know this to be the case because I see it every time I am with two of my favorite people: my nephew Justin (A&S ’10) and my daughter Rachel (SOC WK ’13). Both of whom, with no pressure from me, elected to travel the same path I chose some 40 years ago. HAIL TO PITT!