President Spectar Speaks of Scholarship, Resilience at Johnstown Rotary Event

Pitt-Johnstown

posted February 01, 2018


Pitt-Johnstown President Jem Spectar spoke at the Johnstown Rotary Club luncheon on January 24, 2018, at the Sunnehanna Country Club.

Dr. SpectarAccording to the Rotary Club’s newsletter:

Dr. Spectar threaded his remarks as if we were on a life’s journey, using the analogy of being guided by a virtual GPS. Just like when using a real GPS we might encounter obstacles and crises along the way.

Dr. Spectar noted that in Mandarin Chinese the word "crisis" is composed of two characters, one representing danger and the other opportunity, and it is better for humanity if we face our crises as potential opportunities. Dr.  Spectar told the younger members of the audience that medical and scientific advances may allow them to live past 125 years.

The outlook is generally good for the future – unlike their parents or grandparents, there is no military draft to worry about.

But there will be challenges – automation is making our lives easier, but 30-40% of current workers will not be able to keep their jobs due to obsolescence of their job skills.

Referring back to the GPS analogy, Dr. Spectar noted that our path to the future is no longer a local route - it will always connect globally. And with a potential of 12 billion inhabitants, the future will probably bring water shortages, pandemics, mass migrations and other crises/ opportunities. But he reminded us that we can affect the route we follow – it is NOT set in stone.

The Rotary Club of Johnstown is marking its 100th year.


The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown was founded in 1927 and is the first and largest regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh. Pitt-Johnstown is recognized by the Princeton Review as a “Best in the Northeast” college, by G.I. Jobs as a “Military Friendly School,” and by Pennsylvania Business Central as a "Top 100 Organization.” The distinctive combination of Pitt-Johnstown’s people, programs, and place results in exceptional performance in preparing students for career and professional success. Pitt-Johnstown is the regional leader, educating for success in the Real World.