Editor’s Note: I called Duquesne University earlier today to verify that Matt Pitzarella had, in fact, earned a degree there. I received a response via email. Here is what I found out. -Amanda Gillooly
Range Resources Director of Corporate Communications Matt Pitzarella has long listed a master of science degree in leadership and business ethics from Duquesne University as one of his educational accomplishments – one he claimed to have earned in 2005.
That degree is listed under his educational experience on his Linkedin profile.
In a profile piece that appeared on the website for the Cal Times (the student publication of the California University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his undergraduate degree), contributing editor Casey Flores wrote:
Matt is a genuine success story. After graduating from Cal U with a major in public relations and minor in marketing, Matt went on to work his way up through the education and corporate world with a master’s degree in leadership and business ethics from Duquesne University. He attributes much of his success, however, to the internships he completed during his time at Cal U.
He also lists the degree on yatedo.com here.
However, an investigation into his education reveals that Pitzarella never earned a degree through Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
Marcellus Monitor received this email from the university’s Director of Communications, Tammy Ewin in response to our inquiry into Pitzarella’s degree:
Matt Pitzarella does not have a degree from Duquesne University. He attended from the spring of 2004 through fall 2004 in the master of science in leadership and business ethics program.
But that’s not the way he’s portrayed his educational accomplishments in recent publications.
Like this personal profile piece published in Southpointe Today:
Pitzarella is the controversial spokesman for Range, a leader in Marcellus Shale drilling, who has often made national headlines for statements made in high-profile litigation cases.
In January 2012, he claimed a Texas man who sued Range for water contamination lied about problems he was having at his home.
One website reports that Pitzarella said the man, Steven Lipsky, “deliberately falsified an internet video of his garden hose flaming.”
Pitzarella also made national headlines when, at the Media & Stakeholder Relations: Hydraulic Fracturing Initiative 2011 conference he revealed in a presentation that Range hires veterans with combat experience in psychological warfare to influence communities in which the company drills for gas.
Pitzarella also made national headlines regarding a lifetime gag order on the minor children of a Pennsylvania family that settled a lawsuit alleging that drilling activity by the company led to water contamination.
Documents in what is known as the Hallowich case were unsealed after two Pittsburgh area newspapers petitioned the court.
The settlement agreement called for the ban, and a Range attorney later confirmed to reporters:
I guess our position is it does apply to the whole family. We would certainly enforce it.
But in what was referred to as a “PR debacle” Pitzarella later back pedaled.
According to MSN:
‘It was never, ever intended to apply to the children. There’s no mention of the children in the settlement agreement. It was always intended to apply to the parents,’ Range Resources spokesman Matt Pitzarella told MSN News.
But the Hallowiches’ lawyer, Peter Villari, disagreed. ‘That may be their position now, based on the press they’re getting. That was not their position to the judge at the hearing, as clearly stated by their attorney.’
Pitzarella did not return a phone message Monday seeking comment on this story.
Emails sent to each of the members of Range Resources’ board of directors, as well as to senior members of management, seeking reaction were not immediately returned on Monday afternoon.
There are many published instances of high-profile executives being untruthful about the degrees they have earned.
In 2007, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette broke a story regarding Mylan executive Heather Bresch, who claimed she had a master’s degree from West Virginia University,when, in actuality, she did not.
Business Insider reported that Jack Grubman was Wall Street’s highest-paid analyst with a salary of $20 million per year until it was uncovered that he never attended MIT, as he had claimed.
To read more from Business Insider about executives who lied about their degrees, click here.