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November 9, 2000

PNC funds chair at Katz

A $1.5 million gift from The PNC Foundation to Pitt's Katz Graduate School of Business will be used to establish the Thomas H. O'Brien Chair in Business Administration. The faculty member selected to hold the chair is expected to be a nationally recognized expert in the fields of strategic management and organizational behavior.

The O'Brien professorship honors O'Brien for his 15 years as PNC's chief executive officer. During his tenure, the PNC Financial Services Group evolved from a regional bank into a national financial services firm, increasing assets from $15 billion to $76 billion and earnings growth from $143 million to $1.26 billion. O'Brien retired as CEO effective May 1, 2000, and remains chairman until May 1, 2001.

"The University of Pittsburgh is very proud to be the home to the O'Brien chair," Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg said. "Tom O'Brien is one of southwestern Pennsylvania's favorite sons, a person who has generously invested his time and talent in a broad range of community initiatives. He also has consistently applied his vision and his own strategic thinking, both in guiding PNC's growth and in helping shape the region's transition from its proud industrial past to a position of strength in the knowledge-based econ-omy of the new millennium.

"It is particularly fitting, then, that the chair bearing his name will be here in Pittsburgh and will emphasize strategic management."

"To have a professorship in my name and be affiliated with a nationally respected institution like the University of Pittsburgh is truly an honor," O'Brien said. "It makes me proud to know this professor will be contributing to the development of future business leaders in Pittsburgh and beyond."

Frederick Winter, dean of the Katz school, said, "The career success of Mr. O'Brien was based on building a highly effective, innovative and diverse management team at PNC, and, in a similar vein, the O'Brien professor will be responsible for energizing and contributing to the productivity of faculty colleagues, while continuing to build the school's reputation," Winter said.

"This is a senior chair within the Katz school, and the individual who holds it must be a pre-eminent scholar with an international reputation."

The O'Brien professorship is the latest development in an ongoing relationship between PNC and the Katz school. O'Brien and other PNC executives have been active in the school, supporting efforts related to development and curriculum.

In 1999, the PNC Foundation also provided $1.5 million to support the PNC Team Technology Center at the Katz school. The center will enhance the school's team-oriented educational approach with the latest in technology and other learning resources, Winter said. The center, which will be housed in Mervis Hall, is expected to be completed by May 2001.

Both PNC gifts to Katz are part of Pitt's capital campaign. The University hopes to raise $500 million by July 2003 to support its research and academic programs and facilities needs.n

Filed under: Feature,Volume 33 Issue 6

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