Pittsburgh locals talk Panthers' David Tepper

Pittsburgh is home to a generous man, who came from humble beginnings: New Panthers owner David Tepper has risen to the top of the NFL and financial game.

“He is a self made man,” says Bob Dammon, Dean of the Tepper Business School at Carnegie Mellon University where Tepper went to school and is home to the new Tepper Quadrangle.  

He says the new building serves as a vibrant hub to students and faculty, “which is exactly what David had in mind when we built this facility, he wanted a place that would bring people together and work on important problems in an interdisciplinary way.” 

Dammon says Tepper’s favorite thing to do is meet new people, talk to them and to give back.  “his favorite saying is you learn it, you earn and you return it.” 

Albert Vento, who owner of Vento’s Pizza in the East Liberty neighborhood where Tepper grew up, was a childhood friend of his.

“Oh that’s the greatest thing in the world man, you tip your hat. He left, he’s a winner, but he doesn’t forget Pittsburgh,” Vento said. “We were just a close-knit community and that’s one thing about Pittsburgh, you might leave town, but you always come back because it’s where you started, it’s your roots, and that’s one thing about David he never forgets where he came from."

Vento says Tepper growing didn’t always look the way he does now.  

“He was taller than most of us because all the Italian guys were like munchkins. David was tall, had a nice head of hair a big afro we used to tease about that a lot. It was a lot of fun."

One thing about Tepper, Vento adds, is that he’s very loyal and you can never take the neighborhood out of the man.  

“I know he owns the Carolina Panthers and I know he’s going to be rooting for them, but a little bit inside of him I know he’s going to be saying 'ooh Steelers that was a nice play because we’re all Steelers fans. We bleed black and gold.'"