Alumni association to honor Jensen, Tillman

Awards ceremony to take place during Alumni and Family Weekend

Max Jensen and Elizabeth Tillman

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Alumni Association will recognize Dr. Max Jensen, visiting professor of Spanish and comparative literature, and volunteer Dr. Elizabeth Tillman ’13 during Alumni and Family Weekend Sept. 22-25.   

Jensen will receive the Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association Teaching Excellence Award, and Tillman will receive the Denny Lowery Distinguished Volunteer Award at a dinner Sept. 24.

Both Jensen and Tillman will be recognized alongside Athletics Hall of Fame inductees at 5:30 p.m. in the Mukaiyama University Room of the Frame-Westerberg Commons. The cost is $25 for adults, $12 for children 6 to 12 and free for children 5 and under. 

Weekend events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. For reservations, visit or call 814-362-5091.

Taylor Samuelson ’22 nominated Jensen and will present his award.    

“I came to UPB the same year Max was welcomed to the faculty,” Samuelson said. “I attribute a large part of my academic success to him. Max demonstrates strong empathy for his students’ situations and is receptive to the needs of the group. Max’s passion for Spanish language and culture is reflected in his students’ success.”   

Tillman, an assistant professor of political science at nearby St. Bonaventure University, is a frequent volunteer and has given talks at Pitt-Bradford, serving on the PBAA board of directors, presenting at Backpack to Briefcase and mentoring current students.   

Dr. Katie Zapel ’12, another alumni volunteer who met Tillman while they were both students at Pitt-Bradford, nominated her for the honor.   

“Liz has always had a lot of Pitt-Bradford pride and done everything she could to look out for students,” Zapel said. “She teaches at St. Bonaventure now, and she still gives back to Pitt-Bradford and is an advocate for it. It’s wonderful to see people remain so active. She more than deserves this honor.”   

Other open-to-the-public events for Alumni and Family Weekend begin and end with the inauguration of Richard Esch as the university’s fifth president.    

As part of inauguration activities, on Sept. 22, faculty members will hold a panel discussion about the value of a college education from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Bromeley Family Theater of Blaisdell Hall. The public is welcome.

Esch will be the featured speaker at the university’s annual Career Networking Luncheon to be held at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 23 in the Mukaiyama University Room of the Frame-Westerberg Commons. The event is open to the public, but there is a $10 charge and reservations are required.     

That evening, the Bromeley Quadrangle will be lit in blue and gold from 7 to 10 p.m. As part of the “Light Up the Quad” event, the Panther Pantry will be collecting non-perishable snacks for students facing food insecurity. Representatives will be collecting items near the panther statue. Reservations for the event are requested.

Saturday, Sept. 24, begins with a retired faculty and staff brunch at 10 a.m. in the University Room. Reservations are required.   

An alumni swim meet will be held in the Paul C. Duke III Aquatic Center at 11 a.m., when Friends of Hanley Library will also begin its popular book sale in the lobby of Hanley Library. The sale goes until 3 p.m.   

From noon to 2 p.m. is an opening reception for artist Lynn Heckathorn in the KOA Art Gallery of Blaisdell Hall. Heckathorn started her art career at Pitt-Bradford under the instruction of Elga Dzirkalis in the 1980s, when she found an affinity for watercolors. Coming back to Pitt-Bradford is a full-circle experience with her first retrospective exhibition, “360: A Retrospective.”   

The action moves downtown from noon to 4 p.m., when Pitt-Bradford students host the Pitt-Bradford Kids Zone at the city’s annual Pumpkin Fest.
At the Kessel Athletic Complex, an alumni baseball game begins at 1 p.m., when a volleyball tri-match for Panthers volleyball begins in the KOA Arena in the Richard E. and Ruth McDowell Sport and Fitness Center.

Sunday will feature the inauguration of Esch as president of Pitt-Bradford and the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville at 2 p.m. in the KOA Arena. 
A reception will follow. Reservations are requested, but not required.   

The event will feature a procession of faculty and staff dressed in regalia and the bestowing of the presidential medallion.   

Speakers will be Dr. Livingston Alexander, president emeritus of Pitt-Bradford; Dr. K. James Evans, retired vice president and dean of student affairs; Dr. Patrick Gallagher, chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh; Dr. Ann Cudd, provost and senior vice chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh; and Jeannine Schoenecker, chair of the Pitt-Bradford Advisory Board.   

Both Alexander and Evans worked closely with Esch during their time at Pitt-Bradford in his former role as vice president of business affairs. Cudd appointed Esch president after he had served a year as an interim president in the role.