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Seton Hill University recognizes husband, wife with honorary degrees

| Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, 12:02 a.m.
Diana R. Jannetta and her husband Peter J. Jannnetta, M.D., share a moment after they both were awarded honorary degrees from Seton Hill University in Greensburg on Monday, December 10, 2012. To their left is Seton Hill President JoAnne Boyle. Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review

Seton Hill University has honored a husband and wife with degrees for their contributions to science and the arts.

Dr. Peter Jannetta, a noted neurosurgeon, and his wife, Diana, an art critic and designer, received honorary degrees from the university on Monday as 140 students got undergraduate or graduate degrees during commencement ceremonies in The Katherine Mabis McKenna Center.

Susan Yochum, a member of the university chemistry faculty for more than 25 years, served as commencement speaker.

“I'm really excited about it,” Peter Jannetta said before the ceremony. “It's a big deal. And the his-and-her thing is really exciting, an unexpected blessing.”

In discussing her pleasure with receiving the degree, Diana Jannetta touted Seton Hill's reputation.

The university has a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio and a 90 percent job placement rate of students after graduation, she said.

During the ceremony, Diana Jannetta told students to value life as a gift of God; to value kindness, because “everyone you meet is carrying a burden;” to value solitude by taking “time for creative thought away from your cell and computer,” and to value family and friends.

“The magic watch word of medicine: work,” Peter Jannetta said.

Giving and helping others is important, he added.

“The Jannettas are wonderful role models for our students,” said JoAnne Boyle, university president.

Peter Jannetta is vice chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Allegheny General Hospital. He has contributed to scientific literature and has lectured and served as a visiting professor at institutions throughout the world.

His contributions in understanding and treatment of vascular compression syndromes of the brain stem and cranial nerves have saved lives and changed lives, university officials said.

He was recognized with the Horatio Alger Award for Distinguished Americans and the Distinguished Citizen of the Commonwealth Award from the Pennsylvania Society.

Diana Jannetta has an extensive background in art, architecture and design. She was a longtime voice for the arts on WQED-FM.

She is a member of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art board, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Carnegie Mellon Art Gallery, Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Pittsburgh Public Theatre.

She managed a project to build a new center for the Manchester Craftmen's Guild so that children, regardless of experience or circumstances, could discover themselves through the arts.

She was named a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scout Council of Westmoreland County and recognized with the Distinguished Gold Medal of the Westmoreland Society by the Westmoreland Museum of American Art.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

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