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July 9, 2015

Why they give: John Wilds

Through the Faculty and Staff Campaign, University employees 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.Their backgrounds, and reasons for giving, are as diverse as the Pitt community.

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


wilds“If there are small things the University is working on, I try to funnel resources to that issue,” says John Wilds, a University alumnus and assistant vice chancellor for community relations. “For example, the University needs more diversity.”

That’s why Wilds has been giving to Pitt for 32 consecutive years. He has contributed to the African American Heritage Classroom, the Equipoise Student Resource Fund, the African American Alumni Council Scholars, the Black Action Society, the School of Education and its Centennial Student Resource Fund, the College of General Studies, the Pitt Alumni Association Circle of Excellence Fund, the Cathedral Preservation Fund, and the Donald M. Henderson Scholarship Fund, among others.

“First-time givers have to recognize the importance of sustaining this academy,” he urges. “It’s important to bring in people who are aspiring, who may not have the means … That’s why it’s important to give to people who may not be as fortunate.

“You want to perpetuate something that has given you so much and you want [others] to have a chance for that,” he adds. As a former student-athlete — although not on scholarship — Wilds recognizes that student athletes have extra pressures when it comes to balancing their studies and sports practices, and financial assistance will alleviate some of the responsibilities of going through college.

He also is pleased to meet some of the students to whom he gives, seeing the effects of his efforts among the African American Alumni Council Scholars, for instance: “How can you not be happy about it?”

—Marty Levine

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