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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bestselling Author Coming to Pitt-Bradford

Sarah Dessen, the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen novels for teens, will speak April 11 at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

Dessen will share stories about writing and her books, read, and sign books at 7 p.m. in the Harriett B. Wick Chapel. The program is free and open to the public. The Pitt-Bradford hospitality management program will provide refreshments.

A community forum will be held at 5 p.m. in the chapel to discuss how young adult novels can spark conversations about adolescent development and common concerns faced by teenagers.

The interactive discussion, “Talking about the World of Teenagers Using Novels They Read,” will be led by Dr. Rebecca McHugh, assistant professor of psychology. Teens, parents, teachers and anyone else interested may attend.

McHugh will be joined by Mary Anne Polucci-Sherman, a psychologist at Bradford Regional Medical Center, and Suzy Meyer-Page, a counselor at Deerfield Behavioral Health.

Earlier this year, Dessen received the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association for her significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens.

That writing includes “Dreamland,” “Keeping the Moon,” “Just Listen,” “The Truth About Forever,” “Along for the Ride,” “What Happened to Goodbye?” and “This Lullaby.”

Edwards Award committee chairperson, Joy Milliam, said “The teen years are often filled with anxiety, conflict and a sense of helplessness, but Sarah Dessen’s voice brings comfort, acceptance and love. Her stories lead to answers without condescension. Readers are empowered and learn that they have the ability to overcome their challenges.

In writing a review for her novel “What Happened to Goodbye” in 2011, Susan Carpenter of the Los Angeles Times wrote, “Sarah Dessen is something of a rock star in young adult fiction. Her bestselling coming-of-age novels are warmly written explorations of teens in transition that are, by turns, questioning, humorous and hopeful.”

Dessen’s newest novel, “Once and for All,” set in the world of wedding planning, will be released in June. She lives in Chapel Hill, N.C., where she grew up as the child of two professors at the University of North Carolina.

Dessen’s visit is co-sponsored by the Bradford Area Public Library, Bradford Area School District, Friends of Hanley Library, the Pitt-Bradford Division of Management and Education, Port Allegany School District, the Blaisdell Foundation, and the University of Pittsburgh’s Humanities Center.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Seneca Building Renamed Marilyn Horne Hall

As a tribute to the renowned opera star and Bradford native, Marilyn Horne, the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford changed the name of its six-story downtown property from the Seneca Building to Marilyn Horne Hall.

The University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees approved the name change Friday in Pittsburgh.

In May Pitt-Bradford will open a 3,400 square-foot museum in the hall dedicated to Horne, who donated her archives to the University of Pittsburgh.

“Ms. Horne is beside herself with joy and excitement that a building in the place of her birth is being named in her honor,” said Dr. Livingston Alexander, president of Pitt-Bradford.

“She is truly humbled by the honor and looks forward to joining us on May 6 for the dedication and opening of the Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center in Marilyn Horne Hall.”

Horne, who is Bradford’s most famous native daughter, was born in 1934. Her father, Bentz Horne, encouraged her to pursue her musical dreams. She moved with her family to Long Beach, California, when she was 11 and made her debut when she was 20 at the Los Angeles Opera Guild. Following her father’s death in 1956 in Bradford, she traveled Europe, performing in many productions and receiving rave reviews.

Horne was considered one of the world’s premiere mezzo sopranos for more than 40 years, becoming not only a star of the opera world, but also an ambassador to pop culture through appearances on “The Odd Couple,” “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” “Carol Burnett and Friends” and “Sesame Street.”

The ground-floor Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center will feature replica costumes, displays that capture the highlights of Horne’s life and career, and interactive features that teach visitors about music and opera.

Marilyn Horne Hall is located on Marilyn Horne Way, which borders Veterans Square on the west end of Main Street in Bradford.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows built the building as its meeting hall in 1932. In 1985, Dr. Paul Keverline, co-owner of Seneca Eye Surgeons, purchased the building. After Keverline died in a plane crash in 2002, his business partner, Dr. Robert Weiss of Warren, and his wife, Mary, donated the building to Pitt-Bradford.

In addition to the new museum, the ground floor will house a gift shop, café, meeting space and new offices for the Bradford Creative and Performing Arts Center. Upper floors are occupied by the Division of Continuing Education and Regional Development, the Center for Rural Health, and private tenants.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Author to Sign Books Saturday in RC

Brian Toolan, Class of 1972, will be on campus Saturday to sign copies of his book “Snubbed,” the season-long chronicle of St. Bonaventure’s omission from the 2016 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Toolan will be signing copies of his book from 1 to 4 p.m. outside the SBU Bookstore. The Bonnies host Duquesne at 4 p.m. in the Reilly Center Arena that day.

Friday morning, Toolan will speak to the students who staff TAPinto Greater Olean as part of Anne and Richard Lee’s Journalists’ Workshop class. Friday. He also will be doing a podcast about his book with one of the Journalists’ Workshop students after the class.

Toolan had a 43-year career as a newspaper reporter and editor, including as senior vice president and editor of the Hartford Courant when it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1999.

“Snubbed: A Basketball Season of Triumph, Crisis and Despair at St. Bonaventure University,” looks back at an Atlantic 10 championship year for the third-smallest college in NCAA Division I. His reporting began months ahead of the season’s tipoff, not long after the university had reaffirmed its commitment to remain a Division I program.

Amid this tumult, Coach Mark Schmidt prepared his team for the school’s 96th season of men’s basketball. It began with injuries depleting the roster and resulted in adjustments to the style of play. The Bonnies were predicted to finish eighth in the A-10 by league coaches.

Granting Toolan generous access, Schmidt, frank and strikingly unvarnished, is the book’s key figure. The soaring performances that resulted in a share of the conference championship and the crushing process that denied the Bonnies an NCAA Tournament bid are recounted in a manner difficult to achieve in daily coverage of any season.

“Snubbed” is published by NFBPublishing in Buffalo and is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s Books,, Dog Ears bookstore, Talking Leaves bookstore and other outlets.