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October 27, 1994

Connolly named chairperson-designate of Pitt trustees

J.W. Connolly, retired senior vice president of H.J. Heinz Co. and a Pitt law alumnus, was elected chairperson-designate of the Board of Trustees at the board's Oct. 21 meeting.

He will succeed board chairperson Farrell Rubenstein when Rubenstein's current one-year term expires in June.

Connolly originally was elected to the Board of Trustees in May 1985 as one of the board's first special trustees. After two terms as a special trustee, he was elected a term trustee in June 1991. He has served on several board committees, including the public affairs, audit, and budget committees.

In 1980, Connolly began his service to the University by joining the board of visitors of the Katz Graduate School of Business. He also chaired that school's associates program and has been a member of the board of visitors of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

Connolly currently is a director of Presbyterian University Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center System.

In 1988, he was awarded Pitt's Bicentennial Medal of Distinction for his service to the University.

In other activity at last week's trustees meeting:

* The board approved Pitt's "Toward the 21st Century" five-year plan and heard a report on the University's Master Space Plan (see stories beginning on page 1). The trustees also approved a Pitt capital budget for fiscal year 1995 (see story on page 9).

* Chancellor J. Dennis O'Connor and Provost James V. Maher said Pitt will not "abandon" Pennsylvanians in its effort to recruit more out-of-state students. Fourteen percent of Pitt's current freshmen are from out-of-state; the University's goal, as stated in the "21st Century" plan, is to increase that proportion to 15 or 16 percent over the next several years. "What that will do," O'Connor said, "is enrich our students' opportunity to know people from other geographic regions, and it also subsequently enriches the reputation of the University of Pittsburgh nationally."

* Thomas Detre, senior vice chancellor for Health Sciences, denied rumors that Pitt's administration plans to close the School of Dental Medicine.

Research activity among dental faculty and the school's national reputation have both increased steadily in recent years, Detre said. He added that the school's new clinical practice plan has been "largely very successful" and that dental students have been "most appreciative of the very positive changes" that have occurred during the administration of dental Dean Jon B. Suzuki.

The senior vice chancellor made the comments in response to a question from Ron Cowell, a Commonwealth trustee and state representative from Wilkins, who said his office has received calls recently from people concerned that Pitt plans to close its dental school.

* Senior Vice Chancellor Detre gave a report on non-Asian minority faculty in Pitt's six Health Sciences schools. The 68 African-American, Hispanic, Native American and disabled faculty members include four full professors, 13 associate professors, 43 assistant professors, six instructors, one research associate and one assistant dean, Detre reported.

By school, the breakdown is as follows: medicine (54), public health (four), health and rehabilitation sciences (three), nursing (three), pharmacy (two) and dental (two). Detre made the report in response to a request at a previous board meeting from Commonwealth trustee Bill Robinson, a state senator from Philadelphia.

* Gifts and grants to Pitt (excluding sponsored research) totaled $32.02 million for the year ending June 30, 1994, down 3.4 percent from the previous year, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement Lawrence Weber reported. Weber attributed the decline to the non-renewal of a foundation grant that exceeded $3 million the previous year.

Although corporate gifts were up 19 percent, Pitt continues to receive just 15 percent of its total contributions from corporations; most comparable universities get about 30 percent of their gifts from corporations, Weber said.

* Concurrent Technologies Corp. (CTC) of Johnstown has severed its ties to the University of Pittsburgh Trust, board chairperson Rubenstein reported. However, he said, Pitt faculty and students, especially at the Johnstown campus, will continue to participate in CTC research.

According to Rubenstein, the boards of CTC and the University Trust agreed to the separation mainly in response to new federal government regulations that severely restricted federal funding to institutions such as CTC that are perceived to be supervised or operated by universities.

Rubenstein added that Pitt's reputation has suffered from the "erroneous perception that the University of Pittsburgh was directly receiving CTC's funding" from the U.S. Department of Defense.

"As a result of this misconception, a widely circulated bulletin stated that Pitt was the big winner in the pork barrel competition this year, receiving $70 million in so-called earmarked federal funding. The University does not need this type of publicity, especially as it is unwarranted," Rubenstein said.

* The trustees voted to name the new library building at the Greensburg campus the Millstein Library. In 1990, the Millstein Charitable Foundation of Westmoreland County donated $1 million toward construction costs of the library.

* The board officially elected Leon Haley as vice chancellor for Student and Public Affairs.

* Rubenstein announced that the next Board of Trustees meeting will be on Feb. 16, 1995.

— Bruce Steele

Filed under: Feature,Volume 27 Issue 5

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