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July 6, 1995

Detre to remain in Health Science position; Herndon named associate sr. vice chancellor

In the first major decision of his administration — which doesn't officially begin until Aug. 1 — Interim Chancellor-Elect Mark Nordenberg has named Thomas P. Detre and James H. Herndon as academic leaders of the Health Sciences for the 1995-96 academic year.

Detre, who had planned to retire this summer, will instead continue for another year as senior vice chancellor for the Health Sciences, a job he has held since 1984.

Herndon, chairperson of orthopaedic surgery since coming to Pitt from Brown University in 1988, will serve as associate senior vice chancellor for the Health Sciences and vice president for medical services of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC).

In a July 5 news release announcing the appointments, Nordenberg called the level of achievement in the Health Sciences at Pitt "nothing short of phenomenal," especially during the last 10 years. "In moving forward then, it is essential that we build upon the enormous progress of the recent past," Nordenberg said. "Because he has been the principal architect of that progress, no one is better equipped than Dr. Detre to guide us in the year ahead. At the same time, we must begin building a strong foundation for the leadership changes that will inevitably come. The appointment of Dr. Herndon to these senior leadership positions is an important step in that direction and I know he will bring a high level of energy and fresh perspectives to his new positions." In an interview, Detre said: "Given my tender age (71), I think it is marvelous that I will be working closely with Dr. Herndon, who is an imaginative and highly energetic gentleman whom I happened to recruit to the University." Detre said he would have insisted, had Nordenberg not readily agreed, that an associate senior vice chancellor be named to assist him next year. Detre noted that the appointed position has remained unfilled since he himself served as associate senior vice chancellor for Health Sciences from 1982-84.

Detre said he will consider it an honor to work with Nordenberg and that he has cancelled plans to serve as acting chairperson of psychiatry in 1995-96.

In the news release, UPMC President Jeffrey Romoff called Herndon's appointment "an important step in strengthening the role and responsibility of physician leadership" for UPMC clinical services.

"The joint appointment in the Health Sciences highlights the vital link between academic excellence and innovative patient care," Romoff said.

During the past year, Nordenberg chaired the search committee seeking a successor to Detre. That search ended in May, when the Board of Trustees decided that naming a permanent successor should wait until the appointment of a new permanent chancellor, which is expected to take at least a year. Newly elected University Senate President Keith McDuffie said of the Health Sciences appointments: "This means we'll have another year of business as usual with the same regime running things up on the hill. I'm sure a lot of faculty are not going to be very happy about that." McDuffie said he learned of the appointments last night when reporters called him. "That's absurd," he said. "Sometimes we don't communicate very well with each other at this University."

— Bruce Steele

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