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Posted on March 24, 2011

Cal U will honor alumna Michele M. Mandell ’69 with its 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award during the fifth annual Cal Pride Weekend festivities.

The celebration on Friday and Saturday will feature events designed to connect alumni with current and prospective students.

On Friday, a group of accomplished alumni will discuss their careers with classes related to their particular disciplines.

Among the nearly 20 guest speakers returning to campus are David Amati ’70, ’72; Julie Berger ’01; Adam Bujanowski ’01; Nancy ’66 and Tom ’64 Crumrine; Bob Lippencott ’66; Jim Lopez ’81; Carol Mitchell ’72, ’75; Michele Papakie ’96; Matt Pitzarella '02; Tom Rutledge ’77; and Linda ’64 and Harry ’65 Serene.

At deans’ receptions from 2:30-5 p.m., awards will be presented to distinguished alumni from Cal U’s four colleges. Award winners are:

  • William Polachek ’71, owner of The Grand Residence of Upper St. Clair senior living community, honored by the College of Education and Human Services.
  • Dr. William Dinello ’81, dean for the Executive Office/President’s Office at York College CUNY, honored by the School of Graduate Studies and Research.
  • Thomas L. Bakaitus ’83, certified public accountant and operating officer/partner at Herbein + Company Inc., honored by the College of Liberal Arts.
  • Clement P. Gigliotti Sr. ’96, CEO of Merit Contracting Inc., honored by the Eberly College of Science and Technology.

President Angelo Armenti, Jr. will host a dinner for invited guests and present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Mandell, who will speak at 7 p.m. in the Performance Center of the Natali Student Center.

Her talk is free and open to the public.

Mandell retired in 2009 after 26 years with Talbots, a leading specialty retailer and direct marketer of women’s classic clothing, shoes and accessories.

Starting as a store manager in Shadyside, Pa., she assumed steadily increasing positions of responsibility and ultimately was named executive vice president, the first woman to hold that position at Talbots.

As executive vice president, Mandell was responsible for Talbots’ entire retail stores operation, including sales volume in excess of $1 billion. Under her leadership, Talbots’ U.S. retail operation more than quadrupled in size.

At California University, Mandell has received the Professional Excellence Award presented by the Cal U Alumni Association, as well as the 2006 Distinguished Alumna Award. She addressed Cal U’s graduating seniors at Commencement ceremonies in 2009.

Secretary of the board of directors for the Foundation for California University, she also is a member of the Board of Presidential Advisors.

Mandell is the fifth recipient of the University’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Previous winners are longtime Cal U faculty member George Novak ’55, honored last year; U.S. Rep. Frank R. Mascara ’72, the 2009 honoree; former Nationwide Insurance executive Thomas Crumrine, who was honored in 2008; and Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper, honored in 2007.

On Saturday, Cal Pride will feature an alumni panel discussion from 9:15-10 a.m. in Steele Hall Mainstage Theatre. President Armenti will serve as moderator.

From 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m., the “Cal U For Life – Meet Our Alumni” event will be held in the Kara Alumni House’s Booker Great Room.

For more information about Cal Pride Weekend and specific classroom presentation times, contact Amy Lombard, executive director of Alumni Relations and Annual Fund, at 724-938-4418 or e-mail