Josephine & John McCloskey Memorial Award - Graduate

This scholarship supports graduate students for global learning experiences abroad with a preference for experiences in Lithuania.

John and Josephine (whom family and friends fondly called Jay) McCloskey, met as young children in the coal mining town of Vestaburg, PA, in western Pennsylvania. Both John and Jay’s parents were Lithuanian immigrants and their fathers worked as coal miners. Both families moved about and were separated.  Years later during World War II, when they were both in their 20’s, they had a chance meeting in Washington, PA. John had enlisted in the Army and was preparing to be sent overseas.  While John was stationed overseas, they corresponded by mail for two years, fell in love, and following John’s honorable discharge, were married in 1944 in Oakmont, PA. John had served with the U.S. Army’s 34th Infantry Division in North Africa where he was seriously wounded in 1943 and was awarded the Purple Heart.
Prior to enlisting in the Army, John had graduated from California, PA, High School in 1934 and the Teacher’s College of California, PA, in 1939 with a B.S. in Education. He began his career in education as a teacher with the Allegheny Valley School District in 1947, and obtained an M.S. in Education from the University of Pittsburgh in 1948.= He subsequently became Junior High School Principal, Senior High School Principal, and the first Superintendent of the Allegheny Valley School District in 1970, retiring in 1977 after thirty years of service to the District. 
As a young married couple, John and Jay purchased a home and moved in 1951 to Springdale, PA, where they raised their son (John) and daughter (Janet), and lived most of their adult life. Both their son and daughter attended and graduated from Springdale Senior High School.
After attending Langley High School in Pittsburgh until her senior year, Jay’s family moved to Oakmont, PA, where she graduated from Oakmont High School in 1936. Following graduation, she worked as a secretary for several companies until her marriage in 1944. As a homemaker raising her children, caring for her family, and actively participating in school and community activities, she energetically welcomed opportunities to engage and contribute. In addition to her family and community commitments, Jay worked as executive assistant to the Head of the Computational Analysis Division of the Gulf Oil Corporation’s Research Center in Harmarville, PA for many years, retiring shortly after John’s retirement in 1977 and before Gulf’s acquisition by Chevron.  As a retired couple together, John and Jay relished the opportunities retirement gave them to stay active with family, friends and community.
During retirement years, John served as an Elder of Springdale United Presbyterian Church, Director of the Lithuanian Citizen’s Society of Pittsburgh, and Chairman of the Lithuanian Nationality Room Committee of the University of Pittsburgh. Jay served as Trustee of Springdale United Presbyterian Church, a Director of the Lithuanian Citizen’s Society of Pittsburgh, and Treasurer of the Lithuanian Nationality Room Committee at the University of Pittsburgh. They both sought opportunities to experience and learn about different cultures by traveling to Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, England, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Proud of their Lithuanian heritage and their ability to speak the Lithuanian language, they traveled to Lithuania four times: in 1977, 1979, 1984 and 1997. 
The Josephine and John McCloskey Memorial Award was established by their son and daughter as a memorial to their parents’ love and devotion to family and community, love of people, curiosity and enthusiasm, generous and caring hearts, and life-long compassion and generosity of spirit. For graduate students of all disciplines pursuing an internship or research abroad in fields such as healthcare, education, social service, business and economics, democratic government, international relations, language, and/or culture, broadly defined. The award honors the memory, generosity of spirit and compassionate interests of Josephine and John McCloskey.