Written by Paul Barto, Director of PantherVision Production:
If I had to choose one word to describe Jack Anderson, it would simply be, "smile." In the nine years I've known him I have never once been greeted by him with anything but a smile, and I can't recall watching anyone walk away from him without one.
It was announced during football season that Jack would be stepping down from his role this year. On Sunday, Jack will stand in front of the Pitt band as Band Director for the final time at the Petersen Events Center. It's something many may overlook as we say goodbye to our seniors and get ready for another basketball post-season.
Jack was one of the first people I truly got to know when I started at Pitt. He would breeze in to my office with a handshake and that ever present smile, and stay just long enough to ask how you were and make you laugh. He went out of his way to make me feel welcome and I simply don't recall ever seeing him in less than a great mood.
At Pitt football and basketball games, Jack was as much a constant as the fight song. If it rained, Jack was there. If it snowed, Jack was there. Freezing cold? Bundled up and smiling as he led the band, Jack was always there.
He is what Pitt is really all about. He loves what he does. He loves being a part of the lives of his students while they're in school, and he remains a part of their lives after they leave us. Most importantly, Jack loves this university. He's an educator, a role model, and that rare individual who gets to spend their life simply doing what they love and loving every minute of it.
Jack, we know you'll always be around, even as you leave your full-time role. I wish you the very best now that you're taking the next step in your life. But I know many of us will feel a bit empty for quite some time when we hear the fight song and realize you're not standing in front of the band, or climbing in to the student section tosing Sweet Caroline.
Thank you for the memories, for all you have given to those you worked with, those you taught, and for the countless smiles that you've caused in your time with us. We were lucky to have you here and it won't ever be quite the same without you.