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July 11, 2002


To the editor:

I read with great interest your recent (June 13) interview with Dr. Richard E. McDowell, retiring president of the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.

As the widow of the founding president of UPB (Dr. Donald E. Swarts) and as an emeritas member of the UPB Board of Trustees, I am quite familiar with the early and recent history of the campus.

Therefore, I would like to add an important historical footnote to the interview to set the record straight on a comment of Dr. McDowell. He indicates that before he took the helm of UPB in 1973, UPB leaders apparently had given little thought to seeking four-year status for the campus. Quite the contrary. A number of community and University leaders discussed the campus's future with my husband on many formal and informal occasions. Many members of the founding Board of Trustees, such as Bertram Fisher, Robert Williams and Robert Bromeley, were industry and civic leaders in the region. They were the earliest advocates of a baccalaureate-degree-granting campus, which would enhance the quality of life for the whole region.

While my husband and his colleagues were visionaries, they also were realists. They knew they first had to create a viable two-year institution to serve as a strong foundation. Let the record show that indeed their foundation was solid.

I enthusiastically commend Dick McDowell for building on that foundation and shepherding the campus to its present position as a well-respected four-year institution that serves a town, a region and the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Mary G. Swarts

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