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July 6, 2000

Dietrich elected chairperson-designate by Board of Trustees

Dietrich to succeed Connolly next year

The Board of Trustees re-elected J. Wray Connolly to what will be his sixth and final one-year term as board chairperson. The retired H.J. Heinz Co. senior vice president has chaired Pitt's board since June 1995.

William S. Dietrich II was elected chairperson-designate. He will succeed Connolly effective July 1, 2001.

In presenting the resolution to re-elect Connolly, Robert G. Lovett of the board's nominating committee said Connolly's leadership has been outstanding. "Scratch that — it has been truly, exceptionally outstanding," Lovett added.

Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg commented: "As the one who probably has seen from the closest vantage point all that Chairperson Connolly has contributed to our institutional progress over the course of the last five years, I'd simply like to echo everything that you said in presenting this resolution, Bob, and to say that we're lucky to have enjoyed his leadership. I know we'll benefit from it more in the year ahead."

Dietrich, 62, has been a Pitt trustee since 1991. He has served on the board's academic affairs/libraries, audit, executive, investment and conflict of interest committees, and as an ex-officio member of the budget committee. Dietrich also served on a special trustees committee on technology transfer. He is a member of the board of visitors for the Katz Graduate School of Business.

Since 1992, Dietrich has chaired the audit committee. One of his assignments from Chairperson Connolly was making sure, on behalf of the board, that Pitt was preparing properly for the Y2K rollover on Jan. 1, 2000. For two years, Dietrich methodically and efficiently carried out that assignment, colleagues say. Pitt computer systems survived the potentially disruptive rollover with just a few minor glitches.

Dietrich plans to resign as a Carnegie Mellon University trustee in anticipation of his increased role on Pitt's board. In May, the Carnegie Mellon board voted to extend benefits to CMU employees' domestic partners, but Dietrich declined to discuss that issue or how he voted.

Pitt is defending itself in a lawsuit filed by seven current and former employees, who claim the University discriminates by denying health benefits to same-sex partners.

After last week's Pitt trustees meeting, Dietrich told reporters it was too early to discuss his goals or sit down for an interview. "Right now, my No. 1 task is preparing and getting up to date on things," he told the University Times.

How did he react when the Pitt board's nominating committee approached him about becoming chairperson-designate?

"Well, obviously, I agreed to do it," Dietrich replied, smiling. "They had another candidate in mind. That candidate didn't work out, so I was asked to do it, and I'm pleased to do it."

He declined to elaborate. Board secretary Robert E. Dunkelman said: "The nominating committee had two or three unranked candidates in mind, any one of whom would have been qualified to fill the position. It's not that one was necessarily better than another. But obviously, you have to start somewhere in determining whether candidates are willing to assume the job, and apparently the nominating committee happened to approach another candidate before they approached Mr. Dietrich."

Dietrich received his master's and Ph.D. degrees in political science from Pitt in 1980 and 1984, respectively, and his undergraduate degree from Princeton in 1960.

He is chairman of Dietrich Industries, Inc., a division of Worthington Industries, Inc., and president of the Mallard Fund, Inc., a registered investment company.

Dietrich serves on the boards of Carpenter Technology Corp., J & L Specialty Steel and Worthington Industries, Inc.

He also is a member of several civic boards, including the UPMC Presbyterian/UPMC Shadyside joint board.

He is the author of "In the Shadow of the Rising Sun: The Political Roots of American Economic Decline," published in 1991.

— Bruce Steele

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