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The collegiate loyalties of Gayle and William “Bill” Pamerleau will be split Dec. 30 when the Pitt Panthers take on the Michigan State University (MSU) Spartans.
Both have strong Pitt ties: The couple have worked at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg for 19 years and 27 years, respectively. Gayle is the director of the campus Counseling Center and Bill is a professor of philosophy. He also happens to be the recipient of the 2015 Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Teaching and the 2012 Pitt-Greensburg Distinguished Teaching Award. Plus, their son, Ian, is a Pitt alumnus and their daughter, Claire, is a junior at the Pittsburgh campus.
But when you dig a little deeper, you find out that Gayle and Bill have a strong connection to MSU, too.
Bill grew up 10 minutes from the East Lansing campus and remembers his father being an active MSU alumnus. “I grew up in a family that had green and white in its blood,” said Bill. “My dad was a huge Spartan fanatic and booster for the athletic teams. My dad also edited the student newspaper, the State News, for a while.”
Bill’s high school patterned itself after MSU, too, mirroring the green and white team colors. “The whole culture in the area was steeped in MSU.”
When it came time to choose a college, Bill chose MSU, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering arts and a master’s degree in philosophy. He went on to earn a PhD in philosophy and ethics from Purdue University (where his son is now in graduate school).
It was while Bill was a graduate student at MSU that he met Gayle, then a senior majoring in psychology. Gayle grew up two hours away from campus but was familiar with MSU because her brother had been a student there.
“I also remember high school field trips to the campus — especially the orchestra trips to the music department,” she said. Gayle graduated from the MSU Honors College with a BS in psychology, and then went on for her master’s at Indiana University.
When asked which team they will cheer for during the Peach Bowl, the couple were in agreement. “We’re lucky in that we’re happy with whichever team wins,” said Bill. “This is a bigger deal for Pitt than for MSU, who goes to bowls more regularly. We’re excited for Pitt because they are doing so well this year — but MSU is our alma mater.”
“If the kids are home, they may be wearing their Pitt gear, so we may have to wear MSU colors to even it out,” added Gayle. “But I am torn between the two teams.”
Over the past 20-plus years, the couple have made significant contributions to Pitt-Greensburg and the community.
In addition to managing the Counseling Center, Gayle advises the campus chapter of Active Minds and encourages the students to find ways to expand campus and community awareness of mental health issues. She team-teaches a wellness and resilience course with four other staff members, and she serves on the steering committee for Ray of Hope – Westmoreland County Suicide Awareness and Prevention Task Force. She also serves as a field instructor and supervisor of graduate students in Pitt School of Social Work, a position she has held for the past 15 years.
Bill is active in interdisciplinary teaching and has team-taught courses with faculty from a variety of disciplines. He also serves on the Pitt-Greensburg Honors Program Committee that developed and is sustaining this new campus program.
A past chair of the Educational Policy and Planning Committee, Bill is active in service on both the Pittsburgh and Greensburg campuses. At Pitt, Bill serves on the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award Selection Committee and served on the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Undergraduate Programs. Author of “Existentialist Cinema,” he moderates a monthly community discussion group at the local library.
— Susan Isola