• Oct. 23, 2021

    Halls of Fame Inductees

    Halls of Fame honors nine inductees 

    Halls of Fame logoNine individuals were inducted into the Upper St. Clair High School Halls of Fame on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. As the 2020 event was canceled due to the pandemic, this year’s event honored the induction classes of 2020 and 2021.

    The 2020-2021 Halls of Fame inductees include: 

    Academic Hall of Fame:

    • Ben Burns, 2006
    • Roy Phitayakorn, 1994
    • Karl Zelik, 2002 

    Arts Hall of Fame:

    • Tom Griffith, 1975
    • David Moskowitz, 1987
    • Brian O’Hare, 1984 

    Athletic Hall of Fame:

    • Emily Mueller Ciobota, 2009
    • Dane M. Conwell, 2007
    • Ryan Dudzinski, 2015 

    The celebration included an outdoor reception, ceremony and dinner. Inductees were recognized in the high school stadium prior to the kick-off of the Upper St. Clair vs South Fayette High School football game.

    Founded in 2000, the Upper St. Clair Halls of Fame honors those who have distinguished themselves in academics, the arts, or athletics at the high school, collegiate or professional level and who, in so doing, have contributed to the pride and prestige of Upper St. Clair High School. 

    The annual event is co-chaired by Upper St. Clair High School alumni Dr. Timothy Wagner, Upper St. Clair High School principal, and Gordon Mathews, school counselor and coordinator of alumni relations.

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    Academic Hall of Fame Inductees

    Roy Phitayakorn, Class of 1994 

    • Completed his residency training in general surgery at Case Western Reserve University in 2009
    • Completed an endocrine surgery fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital in 2011
    • Director of Surgical Education Research
    • Associate professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital
    • Recipient of numerous awards during his prestigious career
    • Has written over 80 peer-reviewed publications and 10 book chapters and is co-author of the book, "Thyroid Disease (Biographies of Disease)”
    • Develops medical education content for the American College of Surgeons
    • Current interests include teaching the next generation of surgeons, traveling/exploring the world, antiques and food 

    Ben Burns, Class of 2006

    • Valedictorian, drumline captain, engineering team vice-president and philosophy club president
    • Recipient of numerous STEM awards and honors
    • Bachelor’s degree in physics with honors at Harvard College, first ever Harvard College astrophysics minor 
    • Ideation-to-launch product manager creating new speakers, features, and product strategies at Bose, including Bluetooth speakers, smart speakers, etc. 
    • Dean of the New York City chapter of the Awesome Foundation, a micro-philanthropic group giving away $1,000 each month to an awesome new community idea
    • Has visited 36 countries and 39 states. Enjoys skiing, hiking, astronomy, drumming for cover bands and looking out for mind-blowing science demos and fresh intuitive explanations for how things work

    Karl Zelik, Class of 2002 

    • Valedictorian and a varsity basketball and track & field athlete, including a PIAA State Championship qualifier in the triple jump
    • Earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biomedical engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. While there he was a 3-time UAA conference champion (triple jump and long jump), set a school record in the indoor triple jump, and was a 2006 Indoor NCAA Division III All-American in the triple jump (8th place). The technical nature of the triple jump helped spur his interest in the biomedical engineering sub-specialty of biomechanics.
    • Earned his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan as biomechanics is housed within the mechanical engineering department.
    • Was awarded a competitive Whitaker International Scholarship to do Post-Doctoral Research in Rome, Italy
    • Is an associate professor at Vanderbilt University with appointments in mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, and physical medicine and rehabilitation. There he co-founded and is co-director of the Center for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology (CREATE) Lab as well as the Biomechanics and Assistive Technology (BAT) Lab which focus on researching, designing, and developing interdisciplinary technologies (e.g., prosthetics and exoskeleton technologies) to help restore health, mobility, and independence to individuals with disabilities. There is a particular focus on prosthetics for below the knee amputees.
    • In 2017, received the Promising Scientist Award from the International Society of Biomechanics and the Young Scientist (Post-Doctoral) award from the American Society of Biomechanics
    • Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer for HeroWear which makes a practical, comfortable back-assist exosuit to help prevent back injuries
    • Inventor on more than 10 patent applications and has published more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific papers on biomechanics, prosthetics, and exoskeletons
    • Enjoys traveling and living abroad, and is married with two children


    Arts Hall of Fame

    Brain O’Hare, Class of 1984

    • Senior class president, captain of the 1983 football team, National Honor Society
    • Attended U.S. Naval Academy, served as a U.S. Marine Corps Officer
    • Award winning writer/producer including “The Devil’s Dosh” 
    • Former editor-at-large, MovieMaker Magazine
    • Producer of over 20 documentaries, commercials and print advertisements
    • Juror, Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival, Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 2020
    • Syracuse University Press’ 2021 Veterans Writing Award for the manuscript “Something Hidden,” which will be published in Fall 2022
    • Current interests: producing/directing two documentaries as well as writing a short-story collection to be published by the Syracuse University Press.

    Tom Griffith, Class of 1975

    • Elected president of the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils in 1974 and co-captained USC’s first AAA championship football team, earning All-Conference honors as an offensive center
    • Launched an extensive broadcast journalism career in radio and television between 1977 and 1988
    • Has been a fixture in the Boston television market for 33 years as the nightly news anchor at WMUR-TV
    • Has provided analysis of New Hampshire Primary on ABC, CNN, FOX, as well as many other networks. He has interviewed countless presidents and presidential candidates, and played himself in the movie “Primary Colors,” starring John Travolta
    • Tom and his wife, Janice, enjoy spending time with their three kids and their grandchildren at their home in New Hampshire

    David Moskowitz, Class of 1987

    • High school violinist who played district, regional, and all-state orchestra senior year, also played for the Duquesne University orchestra his junior and senior year
    • Earned his Doctorate of Musicology from the University of Kansas in 2001 and has been teaching music history at the University of South Dakota since that time
    • Published five books and two book chapters, including two biographies of Bob Marley and one of Jimi Hendrix
    • Won the Belbas-Larson Award for Excellence in Teaching as well as the School of Music Achievement in Music Award, Ohio University


    Athletics Hall of Fame

    Dane Conwell, Class of 2007

    • Three-year letter winner in football and a four-year letterman in basketball 
    • First Team Class AAAA Associated Press All-State honors as a senior
    • Selected to the Post-Gazette Fabulous 22, Trib Terrific 25 and named the WPIAL Class AAAA Player of the Year
    • Scored five touchdowns in the state championship game as Upper St. Clair wrapped up a perfect 16-0 season
    • Attended Indiana University and California University of Pennsylvania earning a degree in business management
    • Current sales executive at FedEx, married father and Steelers fan

    Ryan Dudzinski, Class of 2015

    • Four-time PIAA Champion swimmer
    • 2015 USCHS Athlete of the Year
    • 20-time NISCA All-American top 100 distinction
    • Attended Stanford University, graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree
    • Eight-time All-American and four time Academic All-American on Stanford’s swim team
    • Presently account manager at Owens & Minor, improving the American healthcare system
    • Enjoys golf, Pittsburgh sports, Japanese cuisine

    Emily Mueller Ciobota, Class of 2009

    • Tri-athlete who lettered at USCHS 15 times in basketball, track & field, and volleyball
    • Holds the USCHS record for women’s discus
    • USCHS Athlete of the Year, 2009
    • Played for Case Western Reserve University’s basketball program from 2009-13. Her team earned WBCA Division III Academic Top 25 Honor Roll recognition all four years
    • Majored in civil engineering; currently the lead engineer at Jensen Hughes, providing structural and piping analyses to Pacific Rim and Domestic Nuclear Power Plants
    • Continues to play basketball and volleyball, coaching seventh and eighth grade girls’ basketball