Briefly Noted

Issue Date: 
April 14, 2008

Fuller, Mossman Are Featured Horn Players at Pitt Jazz Ensemble Spring Concert

Internationally renowned horn players Curtis Fuller and Michael Mossman will be the featured guests at the annual Pitt Jazz Ensemble Spring Concert at 8 p.m. April 18.

The concert will be held in the William Pitt Union’s Assembly Room. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students and senior citizens and can be purchased at the WPU box office. More information is available by calling 412-624-4187. 

The 25 students who comprise the Pitt Jazz Ensemble have served as artists-in-residence in Jamaica for one week every year, performing for schoolchildren in rural villages, absorbing Caribbean culture, and building goodwill and friendships. Proceeds from this year’s concert will help fund the annual trip.

Fuller, of Millbury, Mass., is regarded as one of the most distinctive trombone stylists in jazz. He emerged from the thriving Detroit music scene of the late 1940s and early 50s, and after just eight months in New York City, the then-22-year-old had made six albums as a leader and appeared on 15 others. He has performed and recorded with John Coltrane, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and many others.

Philadelphia-born trumpeter Michael Mossman has been active on the international scene since the age of 17. His group, Metaphysical Mambos, features Ray Barretto, Paquito D’Rivera, Patato Valdez, and many others. He is much sought after for his expertise as a composer and arranger of Afro-Cuban and Brazilian jazz.

Local musicians—Greg Humphries on drums, Dwayne Dolphin on bass, James Johnson on piano, and Cecil “Valdez” Washington on Latin percussion—will accompany Fuller and Mossman. —By Sharon S. Blake

Pitt’s United Way Giving Surpasses 2006 Total by 8 Percent

University of Pittsburgh faculty, staff, and retirees have raised more than $600,000 for the 2007 United Way Campaign, surpassing last year’s total by 8 percent. Faculty and staff donated $565,112 and retirees $28,355; $8,058 was garnered from various special events. This year’s total is $601,525.

“Pitt’s United Way campaign has exceeded our expectations this year,” said Anne Franks, manager of Pitt’s campaign and manager of human resources administration in Pitt’s Office of Institutional Advancement. “The United Way campaign truly impacts Southwestern Pennsylvania, and these funds from Pitt faculty and staff will make a world of difference in changing people’s lives right here in Pittsburgh.”

This year’s campaign reflected an increase in the number of donors with more than 250 new donors participating in the campaign, including 11 new leadership gifts. The leadership gift dollar amount increased by 10 percent, bringing the total to $337,638. Pitt’s 1,629 donors gave a total of $259,860 to the United Way Impact Fund. —By Patricia Lomando White

Pitt Open Enrollment Period for Benefits to Start April 21

The University of Pittsburgh will hold its annual open enrollment season April 21 through May 14—and the good news is that the University’s overall increase in health plan costs for the 2008-09 year is significantly lower than the national average.

During Open Enrollment, Pitt staff and faculty will have the opportunity to make changes in their benefit selections. The period is the only time during the benefit year that IRS regulations allow such changes. Otherwise, benefit selection changes are permitted only if there is a qualified life event. The most common qualifying life events include marriage, divorce, birth/adoption of a child, and a significant change in or loss of a spouse’s/partner’s benefit coverage.

John Kozar, Pitt director of benefits, said the University’s overall increase in health plan costs for the 2008-09 fiscal year will be 1.5 percent—and will not include any benefit changes. It marks the third consecutive year that the University’s increase in health care costs has fallen significantly below the national average increases.

According to Mercer Consulting, the national increase in health care costs in 2008 is expected to be 7.9 percent before changes and 5.7 percent after a cutback on benefits.

Pitt’s Medical Advisory Committee, consisting of members from both faculty and staff, reviewed the Mercer survey data as well as information obtained through the Association of American Universities (AAU). The AAU information indicated that on key measures such as copayments for wellness visits as well as physician, specialist, and emergency room visits, the University, on all accounts, provides a more attractive benefits offering than most universities.

For an individual, Kozar said, the 1.5 percent increase for this benefit year translates into a monthly increase of $1 for single coverage and $3 for family coverage within the Panther Gold HMO program.

The University’s contract with United Concordia for dental coverage has been reviewed and extended for an additional three years. Based on claims experience, members will see an overall increase of 3.5 percent each year, which is consistent with dental-cost inflation. Members in the Concordia Plus dental program will experience the larger percentage of the overall increase, but those increases are based on its lower premiums.

As it has in the past, the University will absorb 80 percent of staff and faculty’s overall benefit costs.

The benefits department will conduct an Open Enrollment Fair on each campus during the open enrollment period. The schedule is listed below. The fairs provide an opportunity to meet directly with representatives from each of the insurance carriers.

  • Oakland: April 28 and 29, noon– 3 p.m., William Pitt Union Lower Lounge
  • Greensburg: May 1, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Rooms 101 and 118 Village Hall
  • Bradford: May 5, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Frame-Westerberg Commons, Mukaiyama University Room
  • Titusville: May 6, 10:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m., Haskell Memorial Library
  • Johnstown: May 8,10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Student Union, Cambria Room