University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

Pitt-Johnstown 90th Anniversary

90th anniversary


The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown marks its 90th anniversary this year and invites alumni, current students, and the community to join in the celebration.

This year also marks the 50th year of Pitt-Johnstown’s the Richland Township campus and is the 10th anniversary of Dr. Jem Spectar's distinctive leadership as university president.

A lineup of campus and community events are planned that will embody the theme of:

Honoring our Past,

Celebrating the Present,

and Preparing for our Future.

During the course of the celebration, we will provide many opportunities to share and commemorate our campus history, celebrate the hard work and distinctive excellence of our campus family, and welcome the centennial decade with a lineup of campus experiences, community outreach initiatives and ...

On September 25, Pitt-Johnstown kicks off the anniversary celebration at the former location of the school’s founding, Johnstown High School. 

Johnstown Junior College of the University of Pittsburgh was housed in the Johnstown Senior High School building on Somerset Street. The college was inaugurated on May 12, 1927, and was the first junior college with university affiliation in the Eastern United States. It was designed to be a two-year college to prepare students to transfer to the University of Pittsburgh to complete their degrees. The first class was on September 24, 1927.


Pitt-Johnstown Turns 90

From 1946 through 1967, the Johnstown College of the University of Pittsburgh’s “Asphalt Campus” was located in the Cypress Avenue Elementary School building in Johnstown’s Moxham neighborhood.

The Richland campus opened in fall 1967 with two buildings (Biddle and Krebs halls, then called South and North halls, respectively), three dormitories (Laurel, Maple, and Oak halls), and the Student Union, which housed a gymnasium and dining facility. Former United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower was the honored guest at the opening ceremony.

In 1973, Pitt-Johnstown became a four-year college.

President Spectar was installed as the university’s fifth president in 2007. During his 10 years, Pitt-Johnstown has added numerous new majors, three new schools (Nursing and Health Science, Business and Enterprise, and Engineering), the addition of significant buildings and campus enhancement, and a theory of Real World readiness in which students are encouraged to get ready, get involved, make a difference, change your world.

Dr. Spectar’s commitment to Real World action provides students with a solid foundation for career and professional success.

His visionary, energetic, and creative leadership has elevated the stature of the institution and will have an impact on the future with the CODE for the COMMONWEALTH program, which makes available the learning of computer coding to the region’s K-12 students.