RMU honors Allegheny Conference’s dedication to Pittsburgh with documentary


Leah Fleischel, Editor-in-Chief

Pittsburgh has long shed its image as a polluted industrial city and blossomed into one of the most livable cities in the country, as well as a hub for technology, health care, and education. It has even been called a model city for others looking to improve from their current state.

A total transformation such as this is rare, and one of the large reasons it was possible is because of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

As the conference celebrates its 70th anniversary, Robert Morris University decided to honor all it has done for the city by creating a documentary.

Michael DiLauro, director of the Academic Media Center at Robert Morris, directed and edited the film, while Provost of the university David Jamison wrote the script. The two were co-producers, and were joined by part-time faculty member Beth Dolinar as an associate producer and research director.

“This film was a labor of love, but also a lot of late nights,” said DiLauro during his opening remarks.

The documentary was screened at Massey Theatre on campus on Jan. 21, with a reception preceding the show and a question and answer session following.

To tell the story of the conference and the impact it has had, the documentary features interviews with elected officials, journalists, civic leaders and officers of the Allegheny Conference – both past and present. Interviewees range from current Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and former Pennsylvania Gov. Richard Thornburgh.

The documentary was also an opportunity for seven Media Arts students at the university to be able to help in the research and production of the 56 minute film.

The film was divided into the three renaissance periods that have happened since the Allegheny Conference first began, and ended with commentary on where the city is headed in the future.

The documentary itself has a future long beyond the campus screening. DiLauro said he hopes that parts of the videos can be on display at the Heinz History Center to teach about the renaissance periods, and also is looking into using some of the shots to welcome travelers at the Pittsburgh Airport.

DVD and Blu-ray copies of the film can be requested through the Academic Media Center, and a website on the documentary should be available soon, according to DiLauro. Jamison said he was working on a study guide to go along with the film so it could be used in schools for educational purposes.