Kim Lyttle and Carl Johnson met in 1969 as sophomores at IUP. They were two of nine students that semester pledging membership to Phi Sigma Kappa. They’ve been friends ever since.
Kim Lyttle ’72, M’74 , left, and Carl Johnson ’73 on Breezedale’s patio
Recently, a common goal brought them together—to restore the patio at Breezedale Alumni Center in memory of Lyttle’s wife, Mary Jo Banks Lyttle ’86, M’89. Family ties it all together.
Mary Jo had served the university as assistant director and then director of Alumni Relations from 1989 until her death in 2015. A little-known fact made her job particularly
special—Mary Jo’s father’s family rented and lived in Breezedale during World War II.
“As a young boy, Mary Jo’s dad, Ted, would go up in the cupola and look for German airplanes,” Lyttle said. “Breezedale was a special stop for the Banks family during family reunions.”
When Mary Jo died, Johnson called his old friend to ask how he could help. Lyttle pointed out that restoring Breezedale’s patio had been on Mary Jo’s wish list. Together, they have funded the restoration project, which will be completed within the next
“The patio restoration will enhance all of our alumni receptions and events, but I’ve noticed that many students use the patio for quiet time or socializing when it’s not in use,” said Mary Morgan ’91, director of the Office of Alumni and Friends. “Everyone
will have the chance to enjoy this refurbished space.”
Lyttle and Johnson have more than Phi Sig and the Breezedale patio in common. Both have established scholarships at IUP.
For Johnson, it’s about honoring his parents by enabling students who might not have the financial means to continue their studies.
“College made me who I am today,” he said, “both socially and in terms of character.”
Years before Mary Jo’s death, the Lyttles established a scholarship to reward student leaders who go the extra mile outside the classroom.
“Leadership experiences open doors for students,” Lyttle said. “They teach students to interact and get along with others. Those are important skills for the workplace and in life.”
If you, too, would like to transform lives through the Imagine Unlimited Campaign, please contact the University Advancement office at 724-357-5661 or visit the Imagine Unlimited website.