Isabella Abbott | Features Editor
Sept. 8, 2022
On Aug. 30, Pittsburgh Magazine and the Pittsburgh Urban Magnet Project (PUMP) released their annual recognition of 40 individuals under the age of 40. To receive this award, recipients must have been nominated and have made a civic, passionate and professional impact on the Pittsburgh region.
Robert Healy III, professor and co-founder of Duquesne University’s sports information and media program, has done just that, making it onto the 40 Under 40 list, at age 39.
This was made possible thanks to a nomination from his colleague, Dr. Pamela Walck, who said that he is more than deserving of this honor for all the hard work he puts into the university’s media department.
“It seemed like a natural fit for larger recognition beyond the university,” Walck said. “He definitely deserved it.”
Healy, who prides himself on his volunteer efforts and involvement at Duquesne, said he’s honored to receive this award.
“It means that I’m still considered to have some potential,” Healy said. “The idea is that you’re highlighting young people who are making a difference, so it means that my career’s not at its peak yet.”
He even remembers exactly what he was doing when he found he’d be honored.
“I was in my dining room and I was feeding my youngest daughter macaroni and cheese … She was on her tablet and I was checking my email very casually,” Healy said. “I got the email from the event planner … The email was just ‘Congratulations you’ve been selected.’ I knew Dr. Walck had nominated me, but I did not expect it.”
Healy also recognized the prestigious award as a “championing of people who are community servants.”
“We’re not just highlighting the top-40 entrepreneurs under 40,” Healy said. “It’s 40 people making Pittsburgh a better place.”
Not only has he contributed immensely to Duquesne and its media program, but he’s also had the opportunity to save a life while donating his liver to his ex-father-in-law. He said he’d do that again in a heartbeat, if need be.
“Living donors are rare … I think everybody should do that,” Healy said. “To me, it’s a no-brainer, to give a piece of my body to somebody else to keep them alive.”
A quote from Roberto Clemente comes to his mind while discussing organ donation, which Healy lives by every day.
“Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth,” Clemente said.
His colleagues, like Walck, know Healy lives by this motto as he seeks to make a difference at Duquesne.
“Professor Healy has really played a pivotal role in establishing the sports information major in our department,” Walck said. “I think that the attitude and the skill set that he brings is a huge benefit to what we’re trying to do in the media department.”
By forming this unique major, Healy has seen many students gain success in sports careers over the past couple of years. He’s tremendously proud of their efforts.
“I’ve instituted a new informal policy that if you work for a team, after you leave my program, to send me back a hat,” Healy said. “So anyone who reads this, I’m waiting on the hats.”
He also strives to be an advocate of living donors and wants them to know they still have opportunities, like playing sports, that they may not think they have left in them after donating.
“My biggest volunteer effort is being a spokesperson for living donors and potential deceased donors as well,” Healy said.
And by competing in this year’s Donate Life Transplant Games, he’s proven just that.
“I wanted to act as an example that you can get your health back if you’re an active person,” Healy said. “Some people think if I give my liver or kidneys, it’s going to really hurt me for years and years. No surgery is easy, but you can come back.”
Outside of teaching and advocating, Healy spends his time helping his community by being a volunteer coach for a number of organizations. He’s also assisted Baldwin Borough in building a new public library.
“We got the place built. I was there for the ribbon cutting,” Healy said. “My daughters have a brick outside the building with their name on it.”
Healy is disappointed he can’t bring his two daughters to the ceremony for his recognition — which will be held at the Rivers Casino on Nov. 18 — but is excited that Walck will accompany him.
“I wish I could take my daughters, [but] you have to be 21 at the casino,” Healy said. “They would get dressed up … And it would be the greatest thing ever, but they can’t come.”
Walck spoke of Healy’s importance to the university.
“We’re really lucky to have him.”