10 Q with Gloria Peplow: Robert Morris University 10 Q with Gloria Peplow | Robert Morris University

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Written By Valentine J. Brkich

Worldly might be a good way to describe Gloria Peplow '93. The Carnegie resident, a retired senior operations engineer for U.S. Airways, has traveled all around the globe, from the Taj Mahal to Kenya’s savannah to the Galapagos Islands. Peplow was well into her career when she earned her B.S. in business administration as a non-traditional student. We caught up with her recently, during her first visit to campus in 20 years.

1: When did you first fall in love with travel? After high school, my good friend and I drove across the country in a Chevrolet Corvair Monza convertible. We spent three weeks on the road, drove on the original Route 66, and saw Native American reservations, the Painted Desert, and the Grand Canyon. We even went to Mexico for the bullfights.

2: How did you end up at Robert Morris? I got an associate’s degree in business administration from CCAC in 1983, but I always wanted to come back for my bachelor’s. A friend of mine suggested Robert Morris, since it had such a strong reputation for business. I learned a lot here and it really helped me in my job as a manager, where I was responsible for interviewing and hiring people.

3: Can you tell us about your travels as a volunteer with International Executive Service Corps? I call them the senior Peace Corps. My husband, Malcolm, is a retired management and HR consultant. He and I went to Egypt in 1998 after I retired, where he gave seminars and worked with companies while I assisted him and also read to students at the University of Alexandria School for the Blind and visited patients in the children’s ward at the National Cancer Institute in Cairo. We also spent time in Ukraine, Jordan, Thailand, and Bulgaria.

4: You went to Jordan just after 9/11. What was that like? We ended up working with Palestinians and Jordanians in Amman. It was a wonderful experience. They were just as shocked and appalled by the tragic event as we were, and they told us how sorry they were about it.

5: What's been the most rewarding thing about your travels? Meeting other people and learning their culture. I’ve found that most people just want the basic things in life. They’re concerned about providing for their families. Different beliefs, maybe, but family is still the most important thing.

  6: What’s been the most challenging thing? The living conditions weren’t always great. Our apartment in Bulgaria, for example, was cramped and extremely hot and humid. The bathroom was tiled and there was just a hand shower on the wall. You had to close the door when you showered, and the water went everywhere. I started calling my husband “the mop man.”
7: What was the strangest thing you saw during your years abroad? In Bulgaria I was waiting for the trolley, and I felt something brush up against me. I turned around and it was a huge brown bear! A gypsy was walking it on a leash!   8: Why do you think it’s important for students to travel and study abroad? You get to see how people live in other countries and meet them on an everyday level. When you come home, you really appreciate the United States. Travel broadens your horizons — you just need a good sense of humor.   9: Visiting campus after being away for a long time, what did you think? I was so impressed with RMU’s transformation over the past 20 years. The additions, new buildings, and advances in academic opportunities are truly amazing — the School of Business, especially. I recognized the library and Hale, but that’s about it.
 

10: Why did you decide to give back financially to RMU? The management courses I took here taught me to how to determine my short-term and long-term goals and how to work toward them. It really helped me in my life and career. I always knew I wanted to help other female students in the same way, so that they too could accomplish their goals.