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February 18, 2016

Obituary: Renee Frazier

obit.renee-frazierRenee Frazier, former director of Pitt’s Upward Bound program, died Jan. 20, 2016. She was 62.

Frazier earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology at Duquesne University and completed graduate studies at Pitt. She earned a master’s of education in counselor education in 1976 and a PhD in psychology in education in 1991.

She began her 28-year career at the University in 1977 as a student services specialist in the Academic Resource Center, then was named coordinator of its counseling component in 1986. In addition to working with the University Challenge for Excellence Program (UCEP), in 1988 she became director of Pitt’s Upward Bound program, which helps prepare eligible Pittsburgh Public Schools students for higher education.

After leaving the University in 2005, she continued to work professionally as a consultant and with youth at the Urban Academy of Greater Pittsburgh charter school.

Frazier was a dedicated educator, said Chenits Pettigrew, assistant dean for student affairs and director of diversity programs in the School of Medicine. Pettigrew, former UCEP director, remembered Frazier for her dedication to the program, its staff and participants.

“She was committed to what the program represented,” he said, noting that she continued following her Upward Bound students as they went on to college.

Her own educational attainment served as an example. “For the students and their families, she represented someone who could demonstrate that even if circumstances might not have afforded them opportunities, you certainly can get there if you work at it,” Pettigrew said.

She also provided counsel to colleagues within the University, advising those who were considering graduate school and those seeking student services careers.

“She was always open and available,” Pettigrew said.

In addition to her work, she enjoyed movies, dining out and bowling.

Frazier was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and a former graduate adviser for Pitt’s Iota chapter.

Her sorority sisters remembered her as a “dedicated leader, role model and tireless servant of God,” citing in a memorial Frazier’s service to others. “She will be remembered for her dedication to the youth.”

—Kimberly K. Barlow

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