Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

June 20, 1996

Trustees pick Nordenberg as chancellor

Pitt's Board of Trustees today selected Mark Nordenberg as the University's 17th chancellor.

A faculty member in the School of Law since 1977, Nordenberg, 47, has been serving as interim chancellor since Aug. 1, 1995, when J. Dennis O'Connor stepped down from the post under fire from the Board of Trustees.

Nordenberg was one of three finalists for the chancellor's post. The other two were Sherry H. Penney, chancellor of the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and Charles S. Reed, chancellor of the State University System of Florida.

All three candidates were judge highly desirable and qualified for the position, according to search committee members contacted by the University Times.

Whether a chancellor would be selected at the board's annual meeting today was not known for certain as late as Tuesday. Search committee chair James Roddey told the University Times on Tuesday that the board might not finish reviewing the finalists by the time of the annual meeting and could delay selecting a chancellor.

Board chair J. Wray Connolly could not be reached for comment on Nordenberg's selection prior to today's meeting.

Neither could Nordenberg be reached for comment before today's meeting. A spokesperson for his office said that he would not talk about his appointment until after the meeting. Nordenberg has won wide praise from the University community for his efforts as interim chancellor and getting Pitt back on track after O'Connor's fall. (See accompany story page 1.) O'Connor resigned last August after increasing complaints by top Pitt trustees that the University's academic mission and fundraising were suffering under his administration.

His tenure as chancellor saw Pitt's enrollment flattened and the University began to experience difficulties in retaining students.

The 25-person committee searching for O'Connor's replacement was charged by Connolly on Sept. 8, 1995 under chairperson Roddey and vice chairperson Martha Munsch. The committee received more than 150 applications or nominations for the chancellor's post. That number eventually was trimmed to nine (eight presidents and one provost) in April, and then to three finalists earlier this month.

The search committee came under criticism for the secrecy surrounding the search.

Secrecy became an issue when a handful of candidates requested anonymity early in the search because of concerns that their candidacy might affect their present jobs.

According to several committee members, the search committee never planned to keep the names of the candidates secret, but was trapped when it agreed to the first request for anonymity.

Even the list of three finalists remained secret until early this week. The search committee and other members of the University committee who interviewed the finalists agreed to keep their names secret because of fears that one of the candidates would withdraw and the University would be left with a failed search.

Faculty members on the search committee included Herb Chesler, economics; James Cunningham, social work; Carrie Leana, Katz Graduate School of Business; Gordon MacLeod, Graduate School of Public Health; Christina Paulson, linguistics; Denis Robitaille, Johnstown campus, and Nina Schor, pediatrics.

Deans on the committee were David Epperson, social work; Randy Juhl, pharmacy, and Peter Koehler, Arts and Sciences.

Along with Roddey and Munsch, trustees on the committee included J. David Barnes, Eugene Barone, state Sen. D. Michael Fisher, Earl Hord, A. Alice Kindling, John Pelusi and Evans Rose Jr.

Also appointed to the committee were Richard Colwell, Staff Association Council, and George Taber, chair, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center System and Presbyterian University Hospital.

–Mike Sajna

Leave a Reply