He helped turn a nearly broke Butler company into the largest specialty pipe and tube distributor in North America. But that doesn't make Norman Gottschalk Jr. '67 light up quite the way he does when he remembers the job that paid for his accounting degree at Robert Morris.
"I had an orange juice route. And I can still remember the numbers for that. Before I took over, the last guy in the truck was selling 62 bottles a week. When I left, I was selling 230 bottles a week," Norm says. "Even though my degree is in accounting, I've always been a salesman."
The president and general manager of Marmon Distribution Services, Norm is the recipient of RMU's 2012 Heritage Award, for distinguished achievement that brings honor upon the alumnus and his or her alma mater.
Despite his natural gift of salesmanship, Norm decided not to push too hard with his grandson, Brett Carb, when the young man was deciding where to go to college.
"Brett went to a college fair, and he came back and said, 'The only one that was nice to me was Robert Morris. I want to tour it,'" Norm recalls.
Norm attended classes downtown, so the campus tour took him by surprise.
"I couldn't believe this was Robert Morris. It's a real university. I've been lucky enough to spend some time with the teachers and Greg (Dell'Omo), and the caliber of the whole school and teachers has really just grown. I'm really proud that I'm even a little part of it."
Gottschalk shared the spotlight at the President's Council Dinner with Jasmine Tate, who won the 2012 Rising Star Award. The award is given to a graduating senior who demonstrates academic success, individuality, determination, passion, and potential in his/her field of study. It recognizes that, thanks to RMU's professional focus and emphasis on engaged learning, success at this university has always been a strong predictor of a successful career – one of the many ways in which we change our students' lives.
Jasmine is a musician: a guitarist, a singer, and a songwriter. She is also a Division-I athlete who plays point guard for the Colonials women's basketball team. Jasmine majors in corporate communications, and she volunteers at children's basketball camps, gives talks at schools, and hosts an online video series, "The OUTcry," in which young people are invited to celebrate their spirituality.