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Athletics News

Feb. 24, 2012

PITTSBURGH—Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg has announced that Assistant Athletic Director of Student Life Penny Semaia is a recipient of the 2012 Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in Service to the Community. The announcement was made at the University of Pittsburgh’s Honors Convocation ceremonies on campus. Semaia was recognized for consistently going above and beyond in his involvement in the community.

“I am both honored and humbled to receive this great recognition,” Semaia said. “Giving back was instilled in me at a very young age and I appreciate being able to do it regularly within my position. I am fortunate to have both attended and now work at a great university like Pitt where it is a part of our culture.”

As Assistant Athletic Director of Student Life, Semaia oversees the Cathy and John Pelusi Family Life Skills Program, which prepares student-athletes for success for life after college by utilizing academic, athletic and community resources.

The Cathy & John Pelusi Family Life Skills Program offers opportunities in the areas of academic achievement, career development, graduate school preparation, community service, character and leadership development, personal development, financial education and health and wellness.

Outside of his responsibilities within the athletic department, Semaia serves as the president of Get Involved! Pittsburgh, which is a nonprofit organization that is focused on young professionals being active in their communities. He is also a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, a volunteer with the Asian and Pacific Islanders of America Scholarship Fund and a member of the NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

In 2011, Semaia was selected as one of Pittsburgh’s 50 Finest by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Additionally, this past fall he was one of two keynote speakers at the 2011 Student Empowerment Conference, hosted by Global Solutions Pittsburgh, along with Baker Leadership and Carlow University.

Semaia was a four-year letterwinner for the Pitt football team from 2000-03. He graduated from Pitt with a degree in anthropology with related areas in sociology and theater. Semaia joined Pitt’s athletic department in 2005 as the Career and Life Skills Coordinator.

The Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in Service to the Community was created to honor staff members whose work in the community exceeds the expectations of the organizations they serve and whose commitment and effort made a significant impact on the community.


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