Lives of Impact: Alumni

  • Professor and Best-Selling Author

    Jeanne Marie Laskas (A&S ’85G), a Pitt English professor and director of the University's writing program, penned the GQ magazine article, “Game Brain,” and subsequent best seller Concussion, which put a national spotlight on brain disease among NFL players.

  • Breakout Talent and Change Agent

    Christopher Murawski (A&S’ 12) was selected by Forbes as a “30 under 30” star globally in the health care sector, recognizing him as “one of the world’s breakout talents and change agents.”

  • Board of Trustees Chair

    Eva Tansky Blum (A&S ’70, LAW ’73) was elected chair of Pitt’s Board of Trustees. Serving as a trustee since 2004, Blum has been one of the board’s most active and committed members. She and her brother, Burt Tansky (A&S ’61), helped lead the University’s record-setting $2-billion capital campaign.

  • Legacy Laureate

    John A. Swanson (ENGR ‘66G) was named a Legacy Laureate of the University in recognition of his outstanding professional and personal accomplishments and service to the Pitt community by an alumnus. Swanson, who received a Pitt PhD in engineering, is an innovator in finite-element methods, a mathematical technique that predicts how structures and materials will respond to environmental factors.

Shelly CulbertsonShelly Culbertson (A&S ’99), a policy analyst for the RAND Corporation in Pittsburgh, authored The Fires of Spring: A Post-Arab-Spring Journey Through the Turbulent New Middle East (St. Martin’s Press), based on her own research and experiences living and traveling in the region.

John A. SwansonJohn A. Swanson (ENGR '66G) was named a Legacy Laureate of the University in recognition of his outstanding professional and personal accomplishments and service to the Pitt community by an alumnus. Swanson, who received a Pitt PhD in engineering, is an innovator in finite-element methods, a mathematical technique that predicts how structures and materials will respond to environmental factors.

Bennet OmaluJeanne Marie LaskasBennet Omalu (GSPH ’04) is a physician, forensic pathologist, professor, and medical examiner. The Nigerian-born Pitt graduate is also a crusader. His research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease, in NFL players sparked national awareness of how concussions can harm brain function over time. His work on CTE was chronicled by Pitt’s Jeanne Marie Laskas, author of the book Concussion, which led to the 2015 Hollywood film of the same name, in which Omalu is portrayed by Oscar-nominated actor Will Smith.