Point Park University
|Point Park Junior College (1960–1966)
Point Park College (1966–2004)
|Motto||Latin: Pro Arte, Pro Communitate, Pro Professione|
Motto in English
|For Knowledge, For Community, For Career|
|Type||Private liberal arts university|
|President||Dr. Paul Hennigan|
|Location||Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
|Newspaper||The Point Park Globe|
|Colors||Green & Gold|
|Athletics||NAIA – KIAC|
|Sports||13 varsity teams|
|Mascot||Black Diamond the Bison|
Point Park University is a liberal arts university in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Formerly known as Point Park College, the school name was revised in 2004 to reflect the number of graduate programs being offered.
Point Park University is a comprehensive doctoral-level university with a liberal arts tradition, and is located in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh. Point Park enrolls more than 3,800 full-and part-time students in 82 undergraduate programs and 18 graduate programs offered through its School of Arts and Sciences, School of Business, School of Communication and the Conservatory of Performing Arts.
- 1 History
- 2 Academics
- 3 Overview
- 4 Campus
- 5 Statistics
- 6 WPPJ
- 7 Athletics
- 8 Urban legend
- 9 Notable alumni
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The University began in 1933 as a one-room business school called Business Training College with an initial enrollment of 50 students, under the direction of Dorothy Finkelhor, a New York native, and her husband, L. Herbert Finkelhor. At the time, it was notable for a woman to found such an institution. Finkelhor provided her students with business and secretarial skills. At the same time, she served in multiple roles as teacher, the dean of women, social chairman, janitor, telephone operator, admissions and finance director, and registrar.
Becoming a college
By 1960, the business school had grown to nearly 880 students and moved to the University’s current academic center, Academic Hall, on Wood Street in central Downtown Pittsburgh. The Finkelhors’ small secretarial school became Point Park Junior College, named for the City’s historic Point State Park. The junior college added two-year programs in engineering technology, education and journalism. It also acquired performing arts space at The Pittsburgh Playhouse in the Oakland neighborhood. Five years later, the college was granted four-year status, officially becoming Point Park College. Dance and theatre programs were introduced. These programs laid the groundwork for Point Park’s current Conservatory of Performing Arts.
Thirty-four years after forming the college, Dorothy Finkelhor retired in 1967. The school’s reins remained within the family as son-in-law Arthur M. Blum assumed the presidency. Blum purchased the Sherwyn Hotel, a 20-story building across from Academic Hall, which became David L. Lawrence Hall. The hall currently contains most of the school’s social and entertaining facilities as well as classrooms, offices and residential facilities.
Blum’s Lawrence Hall investment continues to benefit the school. Blum also established a campus in Lugano, Switzerland. A gift from Lester Hamburg brought the school a conference center in Portersville, Pennsylvania.
John V. Hopkins succeeded Blum.
With the budget climbing out of the red, the school began a slow healing process into the 1980s. Enrollment grew beyond 1,000 students. At the same time, the School introduced its first postgraduate degree, a master's degree in journalism and mass communication.
J. Matthew Simon served as the College’s next president from 1986 to 1995, providing nearly a decade of relative calm in the institution’s turbulent history. Simon oversaw the acquisition of a new library, program growth and the school’s largest endowment. Simon retired in 2007, having taught at Point Park as a professor in the department of Natural Sciences and Engineering Technology after his tenure as president.
Another crisis came with the election of James Hunter as president. Hunter, Point Park’s most controversial leader, served for a little over a year but managed to garner outcry for an admissions scandal and a breakdown of communication within the school.
At the same time, growth remained slow in the city, and Pittsburgh’s economy still had not recovered from the collapse of the steel industry. The college’s finances suffered, and Point Park again neared bankruptcy. Negotiations began with Duquesne University to sell what remained of Point Park College to the larger school.
Hunter resigned amidst the melee, and Katherine Henderson was appointed president by the board of trustees soon after.
Growth and change
Henderson implemented a strategic plan to revive the college. Plans to sell the school were abandoned as Henderson began another procedural overhaul.
Henderson’s tenure became the most successful for Point Park. During the late ‘90s, budget woes disintegrated as enrollment rose to over 3,000 students and the endowment grew by over 200 percent. Point Park finished major renovations of its existing buildings soon after the turn of the century.
By 2004, the school hit a new high-water mark and successfully applied for university status. It was officially renamed Point Park University that year and the administration began an aggressive $1 million branding campaign to attract more enrollment.
Henderson retired in 2006 while on a self-imposed sabbatical.
The board of trustees officially named Paul Hennigan as Henderson's permanent successor at the beginning of the 2006 fall term. Hennigan has continued the process of creating a new strategic plan. As part of the plan, the University has purchased several Downtown properties for development. Point Park is also poised to become a key player in the city's efforts for Downtown revitalization, owning properties along the coveted Fifth and Forbes corridor.
The University partnered with a private contractor to renovate two historic buildings into suite-style residence halls. One of these residence halls became home to a Starbucks in August 2007. The coffee shop is the first full-service retail entity incorporated into Point Park's campus.
A $16 million 44,000-square-foot (4,100 m2) state-of-the-art dance complex opened in 2007. The complex includes five rehearsal and performance studios, and recently received Gold LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Located in the heart of Downtown Pittsburgh, the complex is home to the George Rowland White Performance Studio, a 188-seat convertible performance space.
Point Park purchased the building occupied by the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh on the Boulevard of the Allies in the spring of 2008. In September 2010, the newly renovated former YMCA building reopened as the interim Student Center with exercise and fitness facilities and equipment, a gymnasium, meeting space and much more.
The University is currently creating a "New Academic Village" that will make the school, and downtown, a vibrant area for students. With the introduction of this initiative, Point Park has evolved into one of the largest investors in Downtown Pittsburgh real estate development.
In 2016, Point Park University added a new center for journalism at the former location of Nathan's Famous hot dogs. "Located at Wood Street and Third Avenue, the 4,000-square-foot center will have floor-to-ceiling glass walls, flat-screen televisions and a digital ticker that offers a New York City-style media hub where passersby can be entertained and informed as students learn their craft."
Point Park University offers more than 90 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and is divided into four schools: School of Arts & Sciences, School of Business, School of Communication and Conservatory of Performing Arts.
Undergraduate degree programs
|School of Arts & Sciences|
|Dept. of Education||
|Dept. of Humanities and
|Dept. of Natural Sciences and
|Dept. of Criminal Justice
& Intelligence Studies
|School of Business||
|School of Communication||
Performing Arts (COPA)
|Dept. of Cinema & Digital Arts||
|Dept. of Dance||
|Dept. of Theatre||
- Master of Business Administration (concentrations in Management; International Business; Management Information Systems; Sports, Arts & Entertainment Management; and Health Systems Management)
- Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership
- Master of Business Administration in Global Management and Administration (New in Fall 2013)
- Master of Arts in Clinical-Community Psychology (New in Fall 2013)
- Master of Arts in Journalism & Mass Communication (thesis and non-thesis options; coursework in public relations, print journalism, broadcast journalism, advertising, and other areas of mass communication)
- Master of Arts in Communication Technology (New in Fall 2013)
- Dual Master of Arts in Journalism & Mass Communication and Master of Business Administration (M.A./M.B.A.), three different curricula for: Public Relations & Advertising Management; Print & Digital Media Management; and Broadcast & Digital Media Management
- Master of Arts in Curriculum & Instruction
- Master of Arts in Educational Administration
- Master of Education in Teaching and Leadership
- Master of Education in Secondary Certification Leading to PA Certification in Grades 7–12
- Master of Education in Special Education Leading to PA Certification
- Master of Science in Engineering Management
- Master of Science in Environmental Studies
- Master of Science in Criminal Justice Administration
- Master of Arts in Intelligence and Global Security (New in Fall 2013)
- Master of Fine Arts in Acting
- Master of Science in Healthcare Administration and Management and Global Leadership
- Doctor of Education in Leadership and Administration
- Point Park was founded in 1960 and had 3,841 students in the 2013–14 academic year, including 666 graduate students. The two largest master's degree programs are the M.B.A. program in the School of Business, and the M.A. in journalism and mass communication in the School of Communication.
- The University is on the semester system and has four schools: Arts & Sciences, Business, Communication and Conservatory of Performing Arts.
- The University's Conservatory of Performing Arts is the school of dance and theatre for the university. Student and professional performances are held at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, the Performing Arts Center of Point Park University, which has three separate performance spaces and is located in the Oakland neighborhood.
- Point Park's School of Communication is home to the International Journal of Interactive Communication Systems and Technologies, a semi-annual, refereed, scholarly journal published by the Information Resources Management Association in cooperation with IGI-Global. Its editor is Dr. Tatyana Dumova, associate professor of digital media. For nearly 5 years, the School of Communication also hosted Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, a refereed, scholarly, quarterly published by the Association for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication (AEJMC).
- The School of Communication, in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review daily newspaper, runs the Point Park News Service. Undergraduate and graduate journalism students write articles that are offered to, and sometimes published in, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review or its afternoon paper, the TribPM.
- The University is one of only six in the United States with a joint M.A. (journalism/mass communication)/M.B.A. program. The others are Boston University, Columbia University, Southern Illinois University—Carbondale, University of Illinois at Champaign/Urbana, and University of Texas at Austin.
- The University's student-run weekly newspaper is The Point Park Globe.
- The University's student radio station is WPPJ.
- The University's journalism course-produced news magazine is The Pioneer.
- On February 1, 2007, the University launched "U-View", Point Park's closed circuit news and entertainment TV station.
Point Park is situated about half a mile from Point State Park, the university's name sake, in the city's Golden Triangle. The school is in the midst of the business district situated near PPG Place, one of the skyline's most recognizable buildings, and the brand new LEED Platinum Certified headquarters of PNC Bank. The physical campus is mostly vertical, with buildings scattered intermittently among non-school structures. Point Park also owns the Pittsburgh Playhouse in the Oakland neighborhood. Since the campus is not continuous, the school has used the phrase "Pittsburgh is our campus" in its literature.
Because of its Downtown locale, the school is within walking distance of the Cultural District and the city's sports facilities, PNC Park, PPG Paints Arena, and Heinz Field. It is also close to Pittsburgh's major nightlife areas on the Southside, in Station Square, and in the Strip District. Nearly 1,000 full-time undergraduate students live on campus. The majority of Point Park students commute to campus.
With 15 existing buildings and other properties that run from the Monongahela River to Forbes Avenue, the University has one of the largest footprints in Downtown Pittsburgh.
Point Park University is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Higher Education and approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
- 2,790 applied
- 2,177 admitted
- 1,491 enrolled
- Average high school GPA 3.22
|SAT verbal scores over 500||63%|
|SAT verbal scores over 600||19%|
|SAT verbal scores over 700||2%|
|SAT math scores over 500||54%|
|SAT math scores over 600||13%|
|SAT math scores over 700||1%|
|ACT scores over 18||89%|
|ACT scores over 24||31%|
|ACT scores over 30||1%|
WPPJ (670 AM) is Point Park University's campus radio station. This unlicensed carrier-current station was established in 1967 and is known as "The Voice of Point Park". It is a co-curricular activity for students with an interest in radio, news, sports, contemporary/popular music, media sales and promotions. WPPJ also serves as a training facility for students of any major who desire a career in professional broadcasting. The station is an open-format college radio station, playing primarily indie rock and hip-hop, with a fair number of sports and talk radio shows. The music department charts independent artists with CMJ. The 28th Annual WPPJ Rock-a-Thon was held from October 28–31, 2008 at the university, raising over $3,700 for the Early Learning Institute, a charity for families in Allegheny County, due to the efforts of sales director, Anthony Pignetti.
Point Park teams, nicknamed athletically as the Pioneers, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the River States Conference (RSC). The Pioneers formerly competed as a member of the American Mideast Conference until its dissolution during the 2011–12 academic year. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf and soccer. However, baseball is the dominant sport of the university, bringing home the most championships. Women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, softball and volleyball.
Point Park joined the RSC in the 2012–13 academic year. The RSC is an NAIA conference that was founded in 1916 as the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, and adopted its current name starting with the 2016–17 school year. With the addition of Point Park and Carlow University in 2012, the RSC grew to a membership of 11 institutions; it has since expanded to 13.
The Point Park Pioneers logo prominently displays the school name as well as the nickname for the sports teams – Pioneers. A central figure is the Bison, which has long been a mascot for the school. The Bison was first used as a school mascot in the 1967–68 school year, the first year of intercollegiate competition versus four-year institutions.
The Bison became a mascot for the school in 1967 when the Alpha Phi Omega fraternity teamed with the Varsity Club to acquire a live bison. The bison was named Black Diamond II in reference to the Black Diamond bison on the reverse side of the U.S. nickel at the time. It was kept at South Park and was a featured attraction at parades on the Boulevard of the Allies as well as at sporting events. Black Diamond II was widely popular at Point Park and was a source of pride for the entire school. Although Black Diamond II eventually died, it remains a fixture at the school at present day.
Also prominently displayed is the Downtown Pittsburgh environment of which Point Park is a part. In the back left are iconic pieces of the Pittsburgh skyline, and in the back right are two central pieces to the Point Park campus – Lawrence Hall and Academic Hall. Included is the pedestrian bridge above Wood Street that connects the two Point Park buildings. The shape at the bottom of the logo is representative of the bastions of Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt, which were once located in the area now known as Point State Park. Point Park University derives its name from Point State Park, which is located at the meeting place of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. Point State Park is just a few blocks from the University’s campus.
After a 1962 visit to Pittsburgh the producer and creator of the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon is rumored to have used Lawrence Hall as the inspiration for the cartoons opening where Rocky the flying squirrel takes off from the building's roof to Bullwinkle below.
- John Amplas – Film actor, known for Dawn of the Dead, Knightriders, Creepshow, and Day of the Dead
- Rob Ashford – Won the Tony Award in 2002 for his choreography for Broadway's Thoroughly Modern Millie, also choreographed Broadway's The Wedding Singer, Curtains, Cry-Baby, Promises, Promises, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Evita, as well as appearing in the 1987 Lincoln Center revival of Anything Goes with Patti LuPone
- Panther Bior – One of the Lost Boys of Sudan, featured in the award-winning documentary film God Grew Tired of Us
- Greg Brown- Pittsburgh Pirates broadcaster
- Gerald M. Feierstein – U.S. ambassador
- Billy Hartung – Broadway/TV actor & dancer, Chuck Cranston in Footloose, starred in 2002 film Chicago
- Neil Haskell – Broadway performer & Contemporary dancer, So You Think You Can Dance contestant
- Michael Holley – Sports journalist
- Melina Kanakaredes – TV actress & Daytime Emmy Award nominee
- Don Kelly – MLB Shortstop
- Alicia Kozakiewicz, Television Personality and child Internet safety advocate
- Bobby Madritsch – MLB Pitcher
- John Magaro – Film actor
- Jim Martin – Emmy Award-Winning director for Sesame Street
- Dennis Miller – Comedian
- Jimmy Miller – Film producer, credits include She's Out Of My League, Step Brothers, and The Other Guys
- Matthew Noszka – Model
- David Peart- Sports & Media Executive, General Manager at ROOT Sports Southwest
- Megan Sikora – Broadway performer & Dancer, appeared as Lorraine/Ensemble in 42nd Street, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Wonderful Town, understudied Glinda and Nessarose in Wicked, Promises, Promises, and Miss Krumholtz in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and Bambi Bernet in Curtains
- John Stuper – MLB Pitcher
- Tony Yazbeck – Broadway performer, Billy Flynn in Chicago, Al in A Chorus Line, Gypsy with Patti LuPone, and White Christmas
- Tom Kayser – President of Minor League Baseball's Texas League
- Paul Costa (Pennsylvania politician) - Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
International Summer Dance alumni
- Josefina Scaglione – Broadway actress & Dancer
- Stephen Hanna – Former principal dancer for NYC Ballet & Broadway dancer
- "Point Park University Factbook 2013–2014" (PDF). Point Park University. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- Belko, Mark (August 19, 2007). "Point Park University's enrollment growth spurs expansion". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Belko, Mark (April 10, 2008). "Growth spurt: Point Park University buying YMCA". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- "Academic Village Initiative". Point Park University. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
- "501(c)(3)Lookup: Point Park University". http://501c3lookup.org. Retrieved 6 May 2013. External link in
- "Point Park University Factbook 2013–2014" (PDF). Point Park University. Retrieved 22 June 2014.
- "Pittsburgh is our campus". Point Park University Web site. 2006.
- "Point Park University Pioneers Logo". Point Park University. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- "The Pittsburgh Press". Retrieved September 21, 2014.
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