Briefly Noted

Issue Date: 
October 26, 2009

Pitt to Sponsor Annual Slovak Heritage Festival Nov. 1

The 19th annual Slovak Heritage Festival—featuring professional song and dance performances by Slovakian artists, educational lectures and displays, and vendors selling Slovakian merchandise and ethnic food—will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Nov. 1 in the University of Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning’s Commons Room.

The free event will include performances by such local groups as the Pittsburgh Slovakians, Slavjane Folk Ensemble, and the Pittsburgh Area Slovaks. For the first time at the festival, the University of Pittsburgh Carpathian Ensemble will perform. Slovakian artists include the Singing Revil’ak Family and Jozef Ivaska.

The event is sponsored by Pitt’s Slovak Studies Program and the Pitt Students’ Slovak Club. For more information, call 412-624-5906 or e-mail

—Kristin Shearer

Workshop to Focus on Community Business Districts

Energizing a downtown or business district can be a key part of neighborhood revitalization. Pitt’s School of Social Work is holding a workshop from

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 29 titled “Making Community Business Districts Work.”

The workshop, to be held on the 20th floor of the Cathedral of Learning, will feature David Feehan  (SOC WK ’81G), president of Civitas Consultants, LLC, and former president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based International Downtown Association. Feehan will share his experience of leading downtown revitalization efforts in Des Moines, Detroit, and Kalamazoo.

Feehan is consulting with a number of local communities on their business districts through the Urban Redevelopment Authority. The workshop costs $115 and is open to anyone interested in the topic. A discount rate of $75 is available by calling the SSW continuing education office at 412-624-3711.

—Sharon S. Blake

Pitt Sets Lecture on Approach To Solving Gang Problem

Once considered an urban phenomenon, gang violence today has extended into the suburbs and is permeating many aspects of American life. This growing problem will be the focus of a lecture by Irving Spergel, George Herbert Jones Professor Emeritus in the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. It will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at Pitt’s Center on Race and Social Problems (CRSP), School of Social Work Conference Center, 20th floor, Cathedral of Learning. It is part of the Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC Fall 2009 Speaker Series.

Spergel’s talk, “The Youth Gang Problem: A Comprehensive Communitywide Approach,” is free and open to the public. Registration is not required, and lunch will be provided. For more information, call 412-624-7382.

Spergel’s approach to the gang problem, referred to as The Spergel Model, calls for a coordinated response from law enforcement, community groups, social services, and government organizations. Having won the endorsement of the U.S. Department of Justice, the plan is being tested in 20 American cities. Its use in Chicago resulted in a 40 percent decrease in violent crimes among young people.

Spergel’s book, The Youth Gang Problem: A Community Approach (Oxford University Press, 1995), is considered to be a leading work in the study of gangs. Overall, he has authored more than 100 books, articles, and other publications.

—Sharon S. Blake

Bruce Babbitt to Speak Nov. 3

As part of the American Experience Distinguished Lecture Series, the University of Pittsburgh Honors College will feature Bruce Babbitt, former U. S. Secretary of the Interior and chair of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 in a talk titled “Life Without Oil: A Vision for the 21st Century” in the Twentieth Century Club, Bigelow Boulevard and Parkman Street, Oakland. Barbara Baker, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, will moderate the question-and-answer session following the lecture.

Babbitt served as governor of Arizona from 1978 to 1987, was a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for president in 1988, and was appointed the nation’s 47th Secretary of the Interior by President Bill Clinton, serving from 1993 to 2001.

As Secretary of the Interior, Babbitt created the National Landscape Conservation System, brought about a forest plan in the Pacific Northwest, helped restore the Florida Everglades, and was instrumental in the passage of the California Desert Protection Act and legislation for the National Wildlife Refuge System. He also is responsible for implementing the rules allowing for the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park.

The late Robert G. Hazo created the American Experience program 39 years ago to offer Pittsburgh’s mid-to-high-level managers the opportunity to gain insight into political and economic thought, with the intent of enlightening the public’s political discourse. The program’s current director is Edward L. McCord, director of programming and special projects in Pitt’s Honors College.

The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Those interested in attending must RSVP with name, phone number, and name(s) of additional attendees to For more information on the American Experience Lecture Series, visit

—By Patricia Lomando White