Meet Diane Unkovic

New PSA President

Communicate. In one word, that is Diane Unkovic’s agenda as president for Pittsburgh Symphony Association.

Communicate and find a way to do it, “it” being whatever the goal is. These are the takeaways from her times, first, as a volunteer for his 1976 senate campaign and then as an aide for 8 years on the late Sen. John Heinz’s U.S. Senate staff helping constituents solve problems, finding out one federal agency does not have the solution and trying another and then another until finding the one that does.

Communications between PSA Board members. Communications between the Board and PSA members. Communications between PSA members. Communications between PSA and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Communications with the Heinz Hall staff. Communications with other organizations, not just in Pittsburgh but also in outlying communities.

The Pandemic, she says, has taken away a lot of things from us, but it also offers opportunities that need to be explored, and we should be focused on finding those opportunities and working with them. While, for example, we miss having the physical presences of the in-person board meetings, Zoom offers different opportunities for involving all Board members.

At an annual picnic for Senator Heinz’s staff and former staff at the Heinzes’ home, Rosemont Farm, she met Dennis Unkovic, a former aide who became her husband. After marriage and two children she used her government experience on the board of North Allegheny Foundation, where she was president for six years, and then became a North Hills Art Center board member, grant writer and vice president.

Diane is a native of Pittsburgh, and Heinz Hall has played a part in her biography, she says, beginning when she was an usherette there while completing a post baccalaureate degree in education at the University of Pittsburgh. She has served previously as PSA vice president of membership and then, secretary.

“Dennis and I have always enjoyed the PSO and have wonderful memories of the tours we took accompanying the orchestra to Rome, London, and through Germany.” The virtual PSO concerts, she said, have provided intimate experiences with the PSO musicians who are performing, and are highly enjoyable, a gift the Pandemic has given us.

Diane minored in art at Pitt; she paints, and is a Duquesne Club Art Collection docent and a Phipps Conservatory Master Gardener during other (non-Pandemic) times. “My favorite activities are chasing golf balls and grandchildren (five: four boys and one 2-year-old girl who is a master of the iPad).” It has been difficult not hugging the grandchildren who live in Columbus but she still regularly sees the grandchildren who live here, and videoconferences with the others.  “We have been careful but we did manage our annual getaway to the beach this summer.”

And like the rest of us she hopes for widely available vaccines that will enable life as usual to resume.