[[CMP::TITLE]]: Robert Morris University

My favorite RMU stories

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I believe in the power of great stories, and I bet that you do, too.

Remember as a child how you were transfixed by the stories your parents read to you out loud. Think of the joy that you experience doing the same for the children in your lives. Even as children we recognize in ourselves and others the virtues and the flaws we share with the characters in our favorite stories, and as adults, the stories the resonate the most are the ones that mirror own experiences.

Robert Morris University is a great story, the story of women and men who live great lives and built great things thanks to what they learn and experience at RMU. This year’s Heritage Award winner, Morgan O’Brien ’82 M’85 is one of those great RMU stories. In fact, he’s practically the archetype. The son of Irish immigrants, Morgan worked while commuting to our former downtown campus, where he met his wife, Kathy, a 1983 Robert Morris graduate.

Morgan first became a CEO at the age of 41, and grateful for what he has achieved, he works tirelessly to make his hometown a better place, as president and CEO of People’s Natural Gas and as former chair of the Allegheny Conference onCommunity Development. He and Kathy now live in downtown Pittsburgh, and while they never strayed from their hometown, their story has taken them a long way from where they started.

Morgan is part of the Pittsburgh story, another great story, and one of the reasons I wanted to become the president of Robert Morris University. Pittsburgh’s story provides many lessons for the rest of the nation, not the least of which is this: The most difficult issues of our time will not be solved by one sector alone. Government, private enterprise, and nonprofit institutions, large and small, all have an important role to play. Which means that every one of us has an important role to play in changing the lives of our neighbors and our communities for the better.

That’s Morgan’s story. That’s the Pittsburgh story. I think you’ll find that it is my story, and it is certainly the RMU story. I can’t wait for us to write the next chapter together.

This text was adapted from the President’s Letter in the most recent Foundations magazine.