The McKenna Foundation and The Eberly Foundation recognized for their support of Pitt-Greensburg science programs

The University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg is celebrating the generous support of two regional foundations by naming areas within its science community in their honor.

Ongoing support by the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation and The Eberly Foundation has provided funding to establish and grow key programs at the Hempfield Township campus.

In particular, a grant from the Katherin Mabis McKenna Foundation contributed to the construction of the Life Sciences Building, the new home of the Pitt-Greensburg accredited bachelor’s of science degree in nursing program. The area housing the nursing program will be named the Sharon P. Smith Nursing & Health Sciences Wing. The Eberly Foundation’s grant awards helped to establish and expand a state-of-the-art Microscopy Digital Imaging Lab (MDIL) in Smith Hall.

The Sharon P. Smith Nursing & Health Sciences Wing

Sharon P. Smith, PhDWith the completion of the Life Sciences Building (LSB), Pitt-Greensburg’s bachelor’s of science degree in nursing (BSN) program found a new home with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities—predominantly located on the building’s first floor. A grant awarded to the nursing program by the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation in 2018 contributed to making this space a reality.

In recognition of the effort put forth by Sharon P. Smith, PhD, president of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg (2007-2019), the McKenna Foundation graciously recommended that this nursing area be named the Sharon P. Smith Nursing & Health Sciences Wing. In a letter to Robert Gregerson, PhD, president of the campus, Linda McKenna Boxx, chairman and CEO of the McKenna Foundation wrote, “It would be our great pleasure to suggest that the name of the wing honor Dr. Sharon P. Smith. During her tenure, she did so much to advance [Pitt-Greensburg], and, in particular, to work to create the nursing program.”

A special naming ceremony will be held Tuesday, Oct. 17, to mark the occasion and officially dedicate the area as the Sharon P. Smith Nursing and Health Sciences Wing. In addition to faculty offices, student study spaces, and conference spaces, the wing includes the Nursing Skills Lab, Bud and Ellen Smail Simulation Suite (made up of two simulation rooms and a control room), the Lawrence and Jacqualine Helkowski Tele-Health room, and the anatomy and physiology lab.

“The phenomenal technology that will be available to students is amazing, and your students will no doubt be excited and inspired to learn,” wrote Boxx in her letter to Gregerson. “Healthcare professionals are so needed, especially in our aging county.”

The Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation has a long relationship of support to Pitt-Greensburg that started in 1975. Over the intervening years, the McKenna Foundation has helped to fund the expansion of the campus by contributing to building funds and the President’s Discretionary Fund. Their generosity assisted in building the Student Center (now Chambers Hall), McKenna Hall, Frank A. Cassell Hall, and the Life Sciences Building.

MDIL named in recognition of The Eberly Foundation

PHoto 1: MDIL demonstration;  Photo 2: Dr. Gregerson, Robert E. Eberly Jr., Robert E. Eberly III, and Dr. Long pose with signIn a small ceremony held Friday, Oct. 13, the newly relocated and expanded Microscopy Digital Imaging Lab (MDIL) was named in recognition of The Eberly Foundation and its support of Pitt-Greensburg’s programs. In 2015, the foundation funded a grant that established the MDIL in Smith Hall with six workstations. In 2022, the foundation’s second grant enabled Pitt-Greensburg to expand the lab into a larger, newly renovated space, also in Smith Hall, and increase the workstations to 12.

“Incorporating digital imaging technology into microscopy modernizes the learning process and equips students with skills and experiences that are highly relevant in today's scientific and technological landscape,” explained Olivia Long, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry and biology. “It prepares them for future careers where digital literacy and proficiency with advanced tools are increasingly essential.”

Long further explained that a digital microscopy lab provides a dynamic, flexible, and comprehensive learning environment that allows for more collaborative learning. “Students can discuss findings in real-time, promoting peer-to-peer learning and interaction. Several students can simultaneously view the same sample image, which fosters teamwork and discussion.

“It is essential for allowing students to capture their images and analysis. Our students can now capture high-quality images and videos of their observations,” she noted. “These can be used for presentations, reports, and further analysis. Digital images can be analyzed using software tools, allowing students to quantify data and develop analytical skills. Familiarity with digital microscopy prepares students for research environments where digital imaging and analysis are commonplace.”

Since 1963, The Eberly Foundation’s support of higher education has been widely recognized in western Pennsylvania. For more than a decade, its ongoing support of Pitt-Greensburg’s Summer Science and Math Experience (SSME) has enabled Pitt-Greensburg to bring rising ninth graders from Fayette County to campus for a weeklong science, technology, engineering, and math camp where they interact with other students from the region. During the height of the pandemic, The Eberly Foundation’s generosity also supported the Pitt-Greensburg Alumni Association Student Emergency Fund, which allowed the campus to assist students experiencing a temporary, yet immediate, financial emergency.

Regional students also continue to benefit from The Eberly Family Trust Endowed Scholarship.

About Pitt-Greensburg:

Founded in 1963, the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg is a publicly assisted, four-year, liberal arts college in southwestern Pennsylvania. Pitt-Greensburg offers 31 baccalaureate degree programs, including new majors in data analytics, nursing, and healthcare management, as well as 31 minors and four certificate programs. With nearly 1,400 students, more than 10,000 alumni, and faculty and staff numbering 260, Pitt-Greensburg provides a vibrant, diverse community that is a dynamic model of a 21st-century liberal arts education. As part of the University of Pittsburgh system, Pitt-Greensburg offers the resources of a world-renowned university combined with the individualized and immersive experiences of a small liberal arts college. Creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit permeate the campus and extend into its many collaborative projects with the Westmoreland County community. Nestled in Pennsylvania’s beautiful Laurel Highlands, the campus is surrounded by the region’s outdoor recreation venues and rich history. It is a five-minute drive from uptown Greensburg and less than an hour’s drive from Pittsburgh.





Publication Date

Monday, October 16, 2023 - 09:45