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March 5, 1998

Board committees to advise on technology transfer, Pitt-UPMC academic affiliation agreement

The Board of Trustees will form two ad hoc committees to advise the trustees and the Pitt administration on technology transfer and an academic affiliation agreement between the University and UPMC Health System, trustees chairperson J. Wray Connolly announced at the Feb. 19 board meeting.

Connolly also said he plans to convene a day-long trustees retreat this fall ("If I'm still here as chairman," he said) to discuss institutional goals for the next three-to-five years.

The Pitt-UPMC committee will advise the board and Chancellor Mark Nordenberg as the University negotiates an academic affiliation agreement with UPMC Health System, Connolly said. Chairing the committee is Karen S. Fisher, general counsel for the Washington, D.C.-based Prospective Payment Assessment Commission. Fisher also chairs the trustees' health sciences committee. Other trustees on the new committee include Connolly; Jeffrey S. Blum, chairman of the tax law group of Klett Lieber Rooney & Schorling, P.C.; Ralph J. Cappy, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court associate justice; Richard L. Fischer, executive vice president – chairman's counsel, Alcoa; Frank E. Mosier, vice chairman, BP America Advisory Board; and James C. Roddey, managing general partner, Allegheny Media.

Connolly said the new committee on technology transfer will "help assure that we develop and put in place a process for evaluating and ranking technological opportunities emanating from research at Pitt, and identifying the optimum third-party relationships for advancing this technology to the commercial level." Frank E. Mosier will chair the committee. It also will include trustee William S. Dietrich, president of Dietrich Industries, Inc., and two paid members from outside the University. The latter members have not been selected yet, Connolly said.

Next fall's trustees retreat will be similar to several day-long meetings that board members held on Saturdays during fall 1995, Connolly said. During those closed-door sessions, trustees agreed on five goals that Pitt should pursue in the coming years: increasing administrative efficiency and effectiveness, maintaining excellence in research, "aggressively pursuing" excellence in undergraduate education, partnering in community development, and securing an adequate financial base.

Thanks largely to new University leadership, particularly from Chancellor Nordenberg and Provost James Maher, "we have made significant progress on all of those initiatives," Connolly said. "We are a vastly different university today. I submit we're made more progress than any of us could have imagined." Connolly added: "There's a lot of work to do on all of the goals on an ongoing basis, but we've made enough progress that it would be appropriate for us, perhaps this fall, to reassemble as a group and discuss where we want to take it from here."

— Bruce Steele

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