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January 8, 2015

Why they give: Ronald A. Brand

Through the Faculty and Staff Campaign, University faculty and staff can help Pitt thrive by contributing to any of more than 2,000 scholarship, fellowship and professorship funds. Payroll deductions are available, and donors of $1,000 or more are recognized through the Chancellor’s Circle program.

Annually, nearly 3,000 Pitt employees take part in the campaign, from every part of the University. Their backgrounds, and reasons for giving, are as diverse as the Pitt community.

The University Times is profiling some of the Faculty and Staff Campaign donors.


whyGiveBrandRonald A. Brand has been at Pitt for 32 years, so he was surprised he has only — only — given to Pitt for three decades.

“I missed the first two years, then!” he says.

Brand is now faculty director of the School of Law’s Center for International Legal Education (CILE), which he founded along with the school’s Master of Laws program for foreign law graduates. He is also the Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg University Professor, a distinguished faculty scholar — and a basketball and football season ticket holder.

Giving to Pitt’s Faculty and Staff Campaign is second nature to Brand now because, he says, “the goal here is to help impact opportunities for students.”

His giving focuses on law school programs such as the CILE, and those funds that provide school-year and summer stipends for students to study abroad, as well as for scholarships and conference attendance everywhere from Sarajevo to Jordan. Each year, for instance, a law school team attends the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna.

“It has a huge effect,” Brand says. “Our students who have done this moot event have gone on to train other [students] to do it.

“Those kinds of experiences are crucial for students … in conveying the development of the law in other cultures as well as their appreciation of other cultures.”

His support of athletics, he adds, stems from his confidence in their unique contribution to college life: “I have always thought that one of the nice things about American universities that you don’t see in the rest of the world is the connection between universities and athletics that creates a sense of community.”

Will he contribute for another 30 years? “I guess if you do it for 30 years straight you don’t stop all of a sudden. I like the trajectory of the University of Pittsburgh. It’s worth supporting.”

– Marty Levine

Filed under: Feature,Volume 47 Issue 9