Winter 2021
School Updates

Staff Retirements

September 30, 2020, marked the last day for some of the longest-serving members of the our staff.

September 30, 2020, marked the last day for some of the longest-serving members of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work staff. Mary Pat Elhattab, academic administrator for the Bachelor of Arts in Social Work (BASW) program; Marcia Piel, recorder and academic administrator; and Rosie Rinella, executive assistant to the dean, all retired after a combined 133 years of professional service. 

Elhattab joined Pitt Social Work in 1982. When asked what she will miss most about her role, Elhattab said, “I have had the privilege of watching each new group of BASW students grow from nervous kids into mature professionals, and it always made me proud to be a part of it.” Once the COVID-19 pandemic ends, she is eager to return to volunteering at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in the cuddler program for babies who are going through withdrawal and at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. 

Piel worked at the school for 43 years. Like Elhattab, she will miss “communicating with staff, faculty, and students in a variety of ways.” In retirement, she will be taking time to relax after a busy, stressful career, focusing on spending more time with family and completing projects she didn’t have time for while working. She’s also excited to resume traveling after the pandemic is over. 

Rinella’s entire career was spent at Pitt Social Work, starting with her first day on the job in May 1968. She saw many changes in the school in that time, serving four deans and supporting countless faculty, staff, and students. Rinella says that she will miss “the interaction with faculty, staff, and students and contact with other administrative offices in the University as well as meeting new people from outside agencies and organizations.” In retirement, she looks forward to spending more time with her family and taking a long-awaited vacation postpandemic. 

“It is difficult to imagine the school without Rosie, Marcia, and Mary Pat. Everyone who has interacted with the dean’s office in the past 50 years has experienced Rosie’s delightful institutional knowledge, warmth, and caring. Marcia has been a keystone holding so many aspects of the school together. And Mary Pat’s entourage of devoted students know that her generosity and kindness helped to solidify the school as a hub for so many. We are so grateful that our lives have been enriched by having known and worked with them,” says Betsy Farmer, dean of the School of Social Work.