Pitt set to honor another Mon Valley native
For the second straight season, a Monongahela Valley native will be honored by the University of Pittsburgh.
Charleroi's Dr. John Verkleeren is one of six recipients of the Pitt Varsity Letter Club's "Awardees of Distinction." The 51st annual banquet will take place on Friday on the campus.
In 2010, Dennis Stitch, a native of Lock View, Fallowfield Township, was one of the six recipients. The civic-minded Stitch was a four-year starter and three-time Academic All-American nominee at the University of Pittsburgh in the early 1980s. A highly successful regional field trainer, Stitch played professional baseball in the Seattle Mariners organization.
The Pitt Varsity Letter Club's awards honor varsity letter winners who have distinguished themselves in their professions and communities and who, by their accomplishments, have enhanced the value of Pitt's intercollegiate athletic programs. To be eligible, a nominee must have earned a varsity letter in intercollegiate athletics at the University of Pittsburgh 25 or more years ago.
The awardees are selected by a committee formed of prominent members of the Pittsburgh community not affiliated with the university.
A 1962 graduate of Charleroi High School, Verkleeren entered the University of Pittsburgh on a football scholarship.
Playing scholastic football and basketball for R. James "Rab" Currie and Henry Pennline, respectively, Verkleeren earned numerous post-season honors in football and basketball, including All-State in both sports. A multi-year team captain in both sports, he was president of his class three successive years. Verkleeren was a baseball standout and at the conclusion of his senior year received the Leslie Morgan Award as the school's outstanding scholar-athlete.
He was a two-year starting two-way end and co-captain of the 1961 football team, which went 8-2 with• losses to Uniontown (13-12) and eventual WPIAL champion Monessen (19-0). Verkleeren was a three-year basketball starter and served as one of Pennline's co-captains his last two seasons.
At Pitt, Verkleeren played football and basketball. As a tight end he helped the 1963 Panthers' football team go 9-1 and earn a national ranking of third. He became the Panthers' starting defensive end his junior year before suffering a knee injury. He played basketball for the Panthers during his freshman season.
He graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1966 with a Bachelor's degree in chemistry. Verkleeren remained in Oakland to study at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and received his medical degree in 1971. He then completed his internship at Mercy Hospital the following year before moving to the state of California.
Professionally Dr. Verkleeren's medical career lasted more than 40 years with more than 20 years with the Navy. He was chief of cardiology for Kaiser Permanente, an HMO that cares for more than 500,000 patients in San Diego County, and he practiced at Zion Hospital in San Diego and Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, Calif.
Verkleeren was inducted in the Mid-Mon Valley All Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. Coincidentally, Stitch is the Chairman of the MMVASHOF Board of Directors.
"Just as Dennis Stitch, Dr. Verkleeren epitomizes what this award is all about," said Sam Clancy, Varsity Letter Club coordinator and athletics gifts officer. "He has been loyal and active with his alma mater over the years. More importantly, John has excelled professionally while positively impacting his communities and so many people in them. He is a model representative for the University of Pittsburgh and the Mon Valley."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Killer Baumhammers wants public defender for death sentence appeal
- Steelers to retire Joe Greene’s jersey number
- Steelers offensive linemen looking to build on strong 2013 finish
- Penn State gets verbal commitment from Maryland defensive end
- 30 cited for trespassing at union rally
- Venezuela officials shut out from travel to U.S.
- Takei to host Pittsburgh Pops ‘Sci-Fi’ concerts
- Duquense teen to stand trial on charges he shot, killed unborn child
- Pirates’ Alvarez continues to sit, work on throwing woes
- Shooting in Northview Heights leaves one man dead, another injured
- Thursday’s scouting report: Pirates at Diamondbacks