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September 28, 2007


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Pitt-Johnstown welcomes new president
Daily American Correspondent
Saturday, September 29, 2007 12:57 AM EDT

JOHNSTOWN — A ceremony was held Friday afternoon at the Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center for the inauguration of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s fifth president.

Jem Spectar, who began his presidential duties July 1, was welcomed to the UPJ family by representatives of the community, students, faculty and staff during the ceremony.
Special congratulations were offered by video message or letter from world leaders Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu of South Africa, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of the Republic of Liberia, and former President Bill Clinton.

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg and Provost James V. Maher also welcomed this “man of the world” to the school and spoke of his qualifications for the position.

“This new president is committed to making sure this campus realizes its even greater potential,” Nordenberg said. “I have no doubt he will meet any challenges and fulfill a special trust with the acceptance of this important position.”

In the acceptance of this position, Spectar said he envisions that future UPJ students will graduate with more global awareness, which will in turn make them better prepared for a society and economy that is becoming increasingly interdependent on other nations. To achieve this “global literacy,” greater emphasis will be put on bringing more international students to UPJ and allowing greater access to study abroad programs. Additionally, international faculty exchanges will be arranged to allow students and teachers alike an alternative learning perspective, he said.

Other aspects of education he hopes to address during his tenure include the use of technology both in and out of the classroom, effective advising, better job placement for graduates, and maintaining quality and affordability in education, he said.

“This is a broad vision, but we are strong people. We are resilient people,” he said. “It is indeed an honor to accept your invitation. I look forward to working with you and realizing your goals.”

A Cameroon, West Africa native, Spectar holds a B.A. in international studies from the University of La Verne, an MBA from Frostburg State University, an M.A. from The George Washington University, a J.D. from the University of Maryland Law School, and an M.A. in politics and Ph.D. in political science from Claremont Graduate University.

He has been admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania since 1993 and has taught law and political science courses at the University of La Verne, Chase College of Law, Princeton University and the University of Scranton.

He has also served as provost at Western Oregon University, associate provost of academic affairs at the University of Scranton, director of studies at Princeton University, and assistant dean of students at the University of La Verne.


UPJ president to emphasize global vision
The Tribune-Democrat

— A university must prepare its students for the job market and for leadership in the international community.
That was Jem Spectar’s pledge Friday as he officially accepted the title of president at Pitt-Johnstown.
“Today, the confluence of changes in the global economy, technology and certain social, cultural and demographic indicators is leading to re-assessment of strategic priorities going forward,” Spectar said during his inaugural address in Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center.
“We are duty-bound to guide our students as they prepare for the advent of global society.”
A native of Cameroon, West Africa, Spectar succeeds former UPJ President Albert Etheridge. His installation by University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg and Provost James V. Maher capped a week-long celebration of UPJ’s 80th anniversary.
Nordenberg lauded Spectar’s energy and optimism for the Johnstown campus, adding that his world vision has included work fighting poverty and health issues such as AIDS.
“This man of the world has a leadership style that is locally focused,” Nordenberg said, predicting a strong future for the university.
“It is an honor to travel alongside you,” Nordenberg said. “With your support, I have no doubt of our efforts meeting the challenges.”
The ceremony featured personal greetings for Spectar in a video from a Nobel Peace Prize winner, Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Congratulatory letters from former President Bill Clinton and Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf were read.
Spectar pledged a “new dimension of excellence,” expanding Pitt-Johnstown’s worldwide presence by encouraging professors to join international faculty-exchange programs and by recruiting more international students.
He will press for improved infrastructure, continuing technology upgrades and more social and cultural activities. At the same time, the campus will intensify its focus on local job needs, he added.
“We will refocus our energies on job placement to ensure that more of our graduates transition into well-paying jobs,” he said.
In order to expand the campus’s market, Spectar said he will work with students, faculty, alumni, staff and community groups to strengthen Pitt-Johnstown’s unique “brand.”
Staff and curriculum development can create more course offerings and new majors, he said, but strong financial planning is needed to build an endowment for more scholarships and new programs.
“Succeed we must,” Spectar said. “Education is the most powerful way to bring light, to bring hope to the isolated corners of the human heart.”
Although he expects some setbacks, Spectar stressed that the Johnstown campus will continue to flourish in partnership with the city and surrounding areas.
“Johnstown could be called a resilient community,” Spectar said. “We are a resilient people. We will succeed because we believe in the future. We will succeed because we are proud of UPJ.”

George Ngwane

Dear Dr Jem Spectar
On behalf of ex-students of Sacred Heart College Mankon,accept my heartiest compliments
National President,SHESA.

ditah didacus fru

greatness cannot be bought
one can only work hard to become great
i thank the allmighty for making it possible that the results of your hard work be recognised
ditah fru (27 batch shesan)

Nga Adolph

Cudo's to Dr Jem Spectar.Proud that SHESANS all over the world are living the dream.

Nga Adolph,

Nga Adolph

Cudo's to Dr Jem Spectar.Proud that SHESANS all over the world are living the dream.

Nga Adolph,

Michael Boyo

Dear Dr Jem Spectar,

Congratulations for the biggest achievement in the life of a Cameroonian!! You have a great dream that we at The Institute of Applied Medical Sciences (IAMS) Buea Cameroon would love to share.

On behalf of the staff and students of our small futuristic institute we wish all your dreams come true.

Michael A G Boyo
Executive President IAMS Buea Cameroon

Galabe Elvis

This is just toO great an achievement worthy to be trumpetted. Come to think of it that it is thrust upon an anglophone, on the basis of merit and far from homw. Keep the dream alive and let all well-meaning sons and daughters from where you hail emulate. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Aaron Bierly

Dr. Jem Spectar's envisions to improve the school has resorted NOT to the next level of greatness.

He has refused to replace positions of retiring faculty, which has been devasting to several majors. Of which I'm concern is the geology department who has had one professor retiring and another moving to another university due to unrelated issues. His ability to procrastinate on the issue of replacing these leaving faculty has left this great department critically wounded! He has driven the last geology professor to resign.

Spectar has stated, “We want our campus ready for the 21st century, and we need to ask as a university: ‘Are we there – and, if not, how can we get there?’ ”


The answer to this was yes until he started making changes. several UPJ graduates are working in consulting, environmental, and petroleum industries. In which some are making more money in a few years than our professors are making now after 20 years of dedicated service.

This is all going to end very soon unless Jem gets his act together.

He may have done good elsewhere but here at UPJ he is creating nothing but chaos, unhappy faculty, and concerned students!

~A University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Junior


Hi Aaron,

Why can't u Americans learn to give black people a chance?Every time a black man especially an African is about to do something great in America,u guys always find a pretext to prevent him/her from achievng his/her ambitions.I lived in the US and I know what am talking about.Jem has barely been in his post for a year and nobody thinks it is necessary to give him a chance to put things in order.Had it been a white American nobody would've complained.But since he's an African and not even a nigger,everybody seems to be seeing a problem with every thing he does.

America should be ashamed that at the dawn of the 21st century the issue of race still dominates people's choices.For example, it is evident that all this euphoria around Barack Obama is just a charade,a smokescreeen to blindfold the blackman of America and the world that the US is ready for a black president.When we know that many people from samples of opinion polls aren't prepared to vote for a blackman to the White House.We are witnesses to the discrimination which the the US media has exhibited by giving more attention to Hillary and always focusing on Obama's weaknesses.All of this is part of America's fear of the blackman.

Aaron Bierly

Ok first of all as stated before I'm not denying that Jem has done great things at other places. But the fact still remains we had two profs leaving the geology department well before we had a new president. We knew this since last year. but when Jem took the position we officially need his ok before we can began searching for job candidates. He would not give us the ok till late in the spring semester and will not give us a tenure position?

I'm not upset that we have a black president, I'm upset he destroying my major and has not given the student body a reason for such an action.

Bernie Poole

Dr. Spectar, stay the course. You are already making a difference for the better at UPJ. Listen to the naysayers, but do not follow their advice without careful consideration. You have my complete support.

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