Golden Colonials: Robert Morris University

Golden Colonials

We love hearing from our Golden Colonials, alumni who graduated at least 50 years ago. Here are some of their stories.

My husband and I met in high school and traveled together to college on the train from Trafford to Pittsburgh.  He would get off in Oakland to go to Pitt's pharmacy school and I would go on to Robert Morris at the William Penn Hotel.

We had to close our drugstore when my husband became ill, so I had to go back to work.  Robert Morris at that time let alumni go back for brush-up courses for free.  I will never forget their generosity in my time of need. 

I got a job as manager of Olsten Temporary Services and later got back into Westinghouse and stayed to retire.  After I retired I started as a volunteer at Forbes Regional Hospital and I am still there, 20 years and my husband still works as a pharmacist one day a week.  We have two children and four grandchildren, and we just celebrated our
60th anniversary. We are so blessed.

Thank you, Robert Morris!
Betty Radosh Buchin '49

I graduated from Robert Morris in 1962 and went to work as an accountant for Coca-Cola.  I lasted a year, realized that was the wrong field for me and moved to Hartford, Conn. I went to work for a private 40-bed psychiatric hospital and stayed there 19 years. When we left there I was the unit coordinator of a 22-bed unit and was in charge of that floor 24/7. 

We moved to Florida in 1982 to our present home, and I went to work for Community Mental Health Center in Pasco County as a crisis therapist.  During my first few years there, I developed the emergency services program, which operated 24/7 for emergency walk-in and committed patients. Also, during this time I received my B.S. and M.S. in counseling psychology.

In 1992 I started the batterer's intervention program for clients charged with domestic violence and substance abuse programs for clients receiving DUI's.  In 1997 our agency took over the Community Mental Health Services in the county where I lived (Hernando), and I was placed in charge of substance abuse and domestic violence programs for our entire agency in this county.  In 2001 I went to work as the clinical director for a domestic violence and sexual assault agency back in Pasco County, and retired in 2008. 

My wife retired in 2007 as a Head Start Teacher and my daughter is a federal law enforcement officer in Tampa.

George Rabone '62

I was raised by my grandparents, and when they retired from a small grocery store business they did not have the funds to send me to college.  Based on high school testing, I was referred to Robert Morris.  I had been a pure academic student and I had some real concerns in my first semester. In time and applying myself, I overcame this to graduate in 1955 summa cum laude. Robert Morris provided the absolute best in professors from the world of accounting and business, banking, law, psychology, and one fantastic lady English teacher.  I remember them all very well and give them much credit for my success in life.

My career began in the brick and tile industry as an accountant.  From there I went on to become an assistant controller for a chain of 21 automotive parts stores. Then a partner and I invested in a small retail store, which we developed into a five-store chain. Eventually my partner returned to banking while I moved on into the office supply business. I was able to retire in 1992 after 37 years of applying what I had learned from some very great and well-qualified instructors at Robert Morris.

Shortly after that, God called me into His service as a missionary in Russia and Belarus.  Once again I was entering where I had no experience, but I learned soon that my years of business experience were extremely valuable in working in a cross-cultural mission. The exciting story of my 18 years there can be seen at

My wife, Joyce, and I were married in 1956. We have been blessed by God in many ways.  We have two daughters and one son,  and eight grandchildren, all of them excellent students.

Yours for a much better tomorrow,
J. Perry Haupt '55

I knew from the time I reached senior high school that I would attend Robert Morris. The reason being my aunt Florence Saunders, who was my shorthand teacher along with other business courses. She convinced my mother, her sister, that Robert Morris was THE BUSINESS SCHOOL and the one I should attend.

Within a few days of graduation from Robert Morris, I landed a job as secretary with a company downtown. After acquiring work closer to home with Westinghouse Air Brake, I really got experience with many aspects of a manufacturing company and loved the group I worked with there.

I must tell you when I was in the process of discussing my education with the people who did the hiring in the various companies that I have worked for, just saying I graduated from Robert Morris always brought a lot more interest in what I had to offer, and I always got the job.

Jeanne James '49

At Westinghouse I was “nothing” until Robert Morris, but after college I was a buyer at Westinghouse. I thank you all, and my wife. And Uncle Sam for helping me financially.

Love to all,
John Cifone '56

I graduated in 1958. Robert Morris had an excellent reputation in business and accounting and several other fields. Our classes were nearly all male, and over half the class, like myself, were Korean War veterans received veteran's educational benefits. Like a lot of the veterans in the class, I married and we were expecting our second child shortly after my graduation. Robert Morris had an excellent placement program, and I walked across the street after class to work from 2 to 9 p.m. at Fidelity Trust Bank.

I did well at Robert Morris and was fortunate that the school's owner, Mr. J.R. McCartan, hired me for his CPA firm across from Kaufmann's. That was a wonderful family that did a lot for Pittsburgh and was very generous. They were instrumental in having Robert Morris evolve into the great college and then university that it is today.  Greedy people would not have done that.  They were both very community-minded.

We moved to Washington, D.C., in 1960 when I got a job with a CPA firm there. In 1962 I became an IRS agent. We moved to Florida and in 1970 I was offered a group manager position for agents in Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Gainesville, and Ocala. What was planned to be a short-term job at the IRS evolved into nearly 30 years.  Mr. Charles DeWitt, a Robert Morris graduate from Wilkinsburg and veteran of the Marine WWII campaigns in the Pacific, became our district director in Florida with nearly 1,000 employees.

After retiring in 1989, I finally opened my own CPA practice in St. Augustine. For the past 20 years I have been a hospice volunteer, making visits to terminal patients in their homes to give the caregiver a respite. I was president of our Ancient City Road Runners for five years and usually keep involved in community affairs, and at age 78 it keeps me out of the rocking chair. Carole and I have been married 55 years. We had five children who have all graduated from college and life is good.

Life has been great and I owe a lot to my years at Robert Morris and the McCartan family. I hope it turns out great for you too.

John C. "Jack" Knee '58

I graduated from Youngwood High School in 1956 and left several days later for Fort Jackson, South Carolina. After four months of training I was on my way to Korea. I was there for sixteen months and returned to the states in March 1958. From there I got a part-time job until I started school at Robert Morris later in 1958.

I started my study at Robert Morris when it was at the hotel on Grant Street, and graduated in 1960 from the newly built school. I commuted daily by train or bus line from Greensburg. Lunchtime was a favorite because several of my classmates and I would walk around town or stop at a restaurant called The White Horse for a hamburger.

The week before graduation, Koppers Company, also on Grant Street, had two openings and Robert Morris sent five or six of us to be interviewed. I was one of the two they hired.  There were a number of firms in the Pittsburgh region who only wanted Robert Morris graduates to apply. I alwo worked for West Penn Power, and Westinghouse Electric, and I retired from Kennametal in 1999 after 31 years of service.

On October 8, 1960, I married Judith Kistner. We have been married now more than 51 years, and we have four children and five grandchildren. In 1995 I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, and in 2007 I fell asleep coming home from a round of golf due to a number of medications I was on. That was the last day I drove. Nowadays I enjoy relaxing at home and occasionally going on bus trips to the casinos.

Joseph T. Pacek Jr. '60

I married after graduating from Robert Morris, and did secretarial work on and off because my husband was a musician and work was sparse in those days.  We moved to New York in 1954 with three small children, no job, and no place to live. I supported the family with my secretarial skills the first six months. This was a tremendous move because my husband became a very successful freelance musician and won many awards.

In my 40s, I got my B.A. and then a master's in social work from Columbia University. During my college years I used all of my secretarial skills -- I took class notes in shorthand and later transcribed them.  I worked as a clinical social worker and then started private practice in 1978.

I continued with post-graduate studies in Switzerland, California. and New York, and now, in addition to being a licensed clinical social worker, I am a registered play therapy supervisor for the Association for Play Therapy.  I have lectured and taught therapy using sand play throughout the United States, Canada, England, Switzerland, Ireland, and South Africa.  I have authored two books and co-edited and contributed chapters to three others, and am working on a new book.

I am now 84, married for 64 years, 3 children, 5 grandchildren and 2 great granddaughters!!

About 20 years ago, I got my first computer at which I am now somewhat adept. I give much credit to my secretarial training that certainly made my life and studies easier.

Thanks for asking,
Lois Doeblin Carey '46

After graduating from high school in 1944, I joined the Navy and participated in the invasion of Okinawa.  I was assigned to the USS Venango where we transported our soldiers to shore with kamikazes flying overhead and soldiers being killed before ever reaching shore.

After graduating from Robert Morris, I was offered a job with Koppers.  I worked there for a year and enjoyed it, but the commute by train was time-consuming so I decided take a job with Robertshaw Controls Co. in Youngwood, Pa.  I was assigned to the service training program for a two-year stint and traveled all over the U.S. training people to properly and safely adjust our controls. Then I went into sales, first as district sales manager at New Stanton, but I relocated five times to various sales territories until I was appointed product manager of the division in 1975. In 1977 I was named director of marketing for the appliance controls marketing group at the headquarters in Richmond, Va.

My career with Robertshaw covered 39 enjoyable years. Since retiring I spend my free time playing golf. My wife and I have been married for 56 years and we have one son, married with two children, who are now 6 and 8 and are the joy of our life.

Michael Harenchar '52

My 12 months at Robert Morris were probably 12 of the most worthwhile months of my life – they changed me from just a high school graduate into a person with marketable skills able to make a living in the business world of the time. I came to Robert Morris seeking some skills that would enable me to gain a job. I had taken college prep courses at Glassport High School, but when I graduated, there were not sufficient funds available for me to attend a four-year college.

Robert Morris taught me shorthand and how to type. In the days before everyone had a computer, these were very marketable skills. served me well in obtaining a job with Westinghouse at their Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory. However, I feel the grammar and punctuation skills I learned at Robert Morris were ones I appreciated most. I continue to use them today.

There was a particular excellent teacher, Mrs. Wilma Johnson. She taught shorthand, but imparted many grammar and punctuation skills as well when she corrected the transcripts we produced from our shorthand notes. My very first supervisor at Bettis once said, “Oh, you go ahead and write the letter, Pat. You do a better job than I do anyways.”

When Bettis had a layoff shortly after I was hired, I was sure I would be let go since I was the least senior person in our 10-person group. There was a little leeway given to supervisors – they were permitted to exempt 10% of their employees from the seniority rule that said, “last hired, first fired.” Imagine my amazement when I was called into the supervisor’s office and told, “Pat, you will be our 10%!”

I continued at Bettis for 6 years and then transferred to the Westinghouse Astronuclear Laboratory. There I eventually became the secretary to a manager who had several hundred employees in his department. When he was transferred to another Westinghouse plant considerably farther from my home, he wanted me to come along. I declined the offer, but was very proud to have received it. I continued to work at Astronuclear, married, and worked while my husband attended Carnegie Mellon. Bob then went to work for Westinghouse. He had a long, successful career and retired about 10 years ago.

We’ve had a good life build on the foundations and skills I received at Robert Morris! I’m sure you’re providing an excellent foundation to today’s students as well!

Sincerely yours,
Patricia D. Stokes '57

I attended Robert Morris shortly after my discharge from the U.S. Air Force after serving in the Pacific. The school placed me with Street City Electric Co. as a production scheduler for the fittings department. The books of the company were kept at that time by the president, Tom Gibb. I was soon made accountant for the company. We grew at a fast pace. Soon we were acquired by the Midland-Ross Corp. I was the head of a team charged with the acquiring of many companies. My team and I traveled the country doing this work.

I retired from Midland-Ross in January of 1988 when they were acquired by Thomas and Betts. The new owners were very, very, very good to me. Robert Morris made all this happen.

My wife Betty and I have been married for 67 years. We have two children. Jan and Mike. We have been to many homecomings and commencements.

Thomas E. Samuels '49