“It’s not six degrees of separation in Pittsburgh; it’s two or three. You feel connected to the region and its people.”
Growing up east of Pittsburgh in Delmont, Westmoreland County, Nicole Carfang explored a lot of college options outside of the region, but in the end, Duquesne University felt like the perfect fit: “When you step onto this campus it just feels like home. It’s beautiful with great outdoor space, but you’re also steps from downtown Pittsburgh and all of the great food and culture the city has to offer.”
After graduating with a marketing degree, Nicole and her husband, Sean, relocated to San Diego while he was on Marine active duty at Camp Pendleton and she worked as an event planner and consultant. While they loved being near the beach and the consistently beautiful weather, the social aspect was challenging: “It’s a very transient military town, so it could be difficult to meet people. People were surprised when I would say my friend from grade school was visiting because they didn’t have relationships like that as adults. That’s part of what makes our region unique: Pittsburgh has a way of keeping you connected.”
After four years of living in San Diego and enjoying all the west coast had to offer, the couple decided that being close to friends and family was their priority. For Nicole, it was also a homecoming to Duquesne, where she earned an MBA, and last December, joined the staff. “It’s been so rewarding working for my alma mater and getting the opportunity to work with so many diverse people -- from new students to 50 years’ worth of alumni who are excited to visit and see the campus transformations and innovation."
As the assistant director for alumni engagement, Nicole engages often with Greek and athletic alumni, and coordinates all of the logistics and events for homecoming. The university ring, Nicole explains, is a special symbol for graduates, and a ring blessing ceremony is part of the homecoming festivities. “Duquesne has a long tradition as a Spiritan University and living out the mission of ‘serving God by serving others.’ You’re so embedded in that mission when you’re on campus and you keep it with you when you leave. I think that makes us unique, and seeing the ring on fellow alumni in everyday life underscores that value system.”