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January 23, 2003

Nordenberg donated at least $100,000 to Pitt

Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg and Provost James V. Maher each recently committed $50,000 to Pitt’s capital campaign, raising their total campaign contributions to at least $100,000 each, the University’s Office of Institutional Advancement revealed this week.

Each man’s $50,000 contribution “will be used in ways that directly benefit Pitt students, principally through scholarships,” wrote Interim Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement Albert J. Novak, in a letter to The Pitt News that the student newspaper plans to publish tomorrow, Jan. 24.

Nordenberg’s recent $50,000 commitment “had been under discussion since before the end of the last calendar year” and “was formalized in writing by [the chancellor] early last week,” wrote Novak.

He added that Nordenberg’s $50,000 gift more than meets the amount specified by the “Chancellor Challenge” issued this month by The Pitt News.

Through the challenge, students and other members of the University community have been pledging money to the Pitt Program Council (PPC)’s Endowed Book Fund — on condition that Nordenberg donate at least 14 percent of his new $390,000 salary ($47,500) to that fund. See accompanying story.

Pitt News Editor-in-Chief Dave Hartman said he plans to publish a column in Friday’s edition, asking readers whether they think Nordenberg’s recent $50,000 campaign donation meets the conditions of the “Chancellor Challenge.”

“I don’t want to beat this issue into the ground,” Hartman told the University Times last night. He said that if a preponderance of people who respond to his column say that Nordenberg’s recent $50,000 commitment meets the “Chancellor Challenge” conditions, then The Pitt News will call off the challenge and Hartman will make good on his personal pledge of $1,120 (14 percent of his salary as editor-in-chief).

As for the 106 other individuals and groups that had pledged money through the challenge as of Jan. 22, Hartman said: “Those people will have to make their own, individual decisions” — although, depending on the response to his column this Friday, Hartman said he may try to influence those decisions.

Interim Vice Chancellor Novak, in his letter to The Pitt News, said his office staff “would be pleased to process both the pledges prompted by your challenge and the gifts of others who might answer the call to support that very worthy cause” of the PPC Endowed Book Fund.

Hartman said The Pitt News received Novak’s letter Tuesday night but delayed publishing it in order to clarify some of its content.

The University Times obtained a copy of the letter from Robert Hill, Pitt vice chancellor for Public Affairs, in response to the Times’s request for an administration response to the “Chancellor Challenge.”

— Bruce Steele

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