University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown

Office of the President

UPJ President Delivers Keynote Address to New American Citizens on Constitution Day

Dr. Jem Spectar is the President of the University of Pittsburgh Johnstown, a position he has held since 2007. Since then, the Campus launched new nursing, business, and engineering schools, expanded competitive degree programs, built several major facilities, ramped up community engagement, and quadrupled the endowment. These transformative developments have elevated the institution's stature, profile, and impact. 

Previously, Dr. Spectar was Provost and vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor at Western Oregon University, Associate Provost and Professor at the University of Scranton, Director of Studies and Lecturer at Princeton University, Associate Professor of Law and Assistant Dean at the University of La Verne. 

Dr. Spectar has emerged as a leading voice and thought leader on the issue of preserving American democracy. Under President Spectar's leadership, UPJ developed a unique American Democracy Scholar Certificate and is partnering with K-12 schools through the American Civic Education (ACE) Initiative. He has also written several op-ed pieces and given media interviews about the urgency of working together to sustain democracy for posterity, including articles such as "Could an American Democracy Corps Help Save the Republic?" and "Democracy Needs Civic Engagement" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Other op-eds include  The Washington Post: Want to close America's rural-urban divide?  : Jem Spectar | Pitt & Johnstown: Building our future, together | News | Dr. Spectar recently delivered the keynote address on Constitution Day at the National Constitution Center  (Constitution Day 2022 | Naturalization Ceremony - YouTube).  

Jem Spectar is the author of two recently published books: Movement + Music = Medicine: Fight Alzheimer's, Dementia, and Parkinson's and Open Secret Rx – Tune into Lifestyle MEDicine & Fight Heart Disease, Diabetes & Cancer.

A naturalized U.S. citizen born in Africa, he has received several notable commendations, including being listed among "influential Americans of recent African immigrant heritage…" in a Congressional Resolution, etc. 

Spectar holds a Ph.D. and M.A., Claremont Graduate University; J.D., University of Maryland; M.A., George Washington University; M.B.A., Frostburg State University; and B.A., University of La Verne, CA.

Read Dr. Jem Spectar's full welcome message »

Community Initiatives


Dr. Spectar’s article published in the Washington Post has led to several discussions with policymakers and media regarding rural access to broadband. He is the author of two books Movement + Music = Medicine: Fight Alzheimer's, Dementia & Parkinson's, and  Open Secret Rx – Tune into Lifestyle MEDicine & Fight Heart Disease, Diabetes & Cancer

Download the 2023 Strategic Plan

Preparing for a New UPJ Century by Investing in Our People, Our Programs, and Our Place to Better Serve Our Publics and Achieve Our Purposes

Photo Gallery


President Spectar welcomed the Honorable John Joyce, Congressman, 13th District of Pennsylvania

Dr. Spectar with Student Leaders Abigail Barry and Julian Faulk

Dr. Spectar with Student Leaders Thomas Deasy, Maura Shields, and Kourtnee Duval

Archived Photos