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July 13, 2017

Trustees Appoint New Members at Annual Meeting

Four new members were elected to the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees at the board’s annual full meeting, held on June 30:

  • Louis R. Cestello is executive vice president, head of regional markets and regional president of Pittsburgh for PNC Bank. He became regional president earlier this year and has served as head of the banking organization’s regional markets since 2013. He led the PNC Bank’s Southeast region following the acquisition of RBC Bank and was the regional president for the Greater Maryland region following the Mercantile Bankshares Corporation acquisition. Cestello joined PNC in 1990 as a management trainee and has worked in several areas including corporate banking, corporate finance and credit. A Pittsburgh native, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington & Jefferson College and a master’s degree from Duquesne University.
  • Tamara M. Haddad is president and chief executive officer of Haddad Media, a broadcast production and consulting firm she founded in 2007. The organization’s clientele includes Amazon, Bloomberg News, Google, HBO and Uber. Haddad has served as an adviser and producer on such notable series as “Veep” and the “Larry King Live” show. A former vice president and political director for MSNBC, her work in journalism was recognized with two George Foster Peabody Awards and five CableAce Awards, among other honors. Washingtonian magazine named her one of “Washington’s Most Powerful Women” in 2015. Haddad earned dual degrees in communication science and English literature at Pitt.
  • Jeannine T. Schoenecker is the first woman to serve as president and chief operating officer of the American Refining Group (ARG). She also held the positions of chief financial officer and vice president of accounting. In her current role, she is responsible for planning and directing ARG’s operational initiatives, objectives and policies. She also directs the refinery’s development toward future growth and ensures progress toward short and long-term goals. She has been honored with the 2016 George G. Blaisdell YMCA Community Service Award and the 2014 Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce Directors’ Award. Schoenecker earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
  • Shawndya L. Simpson was elected a Supreme Court Justice of the State of New York, Kings County, in 2016. She has twice been elected to 10-year terms as a Civil Court Judge of the City of New York. She served as an assistant district attorney for the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office before becoming an assistant attorney general for the state of New York. As a bureau chief of a felony trial unit, Simpson oversaw more than 40 assistant district attorneys. A recipient of Pitt’s Distinguished Alumnae Award, she earned both her bachelor’s degree and her juris doctorate degree from Pitt.

Eva Tansky Blum was re-elected board chair, a position she has held since 2015. Blum was the first woman elected to hold the position in Pitt’s 228-year history. She was elected to the board as a trustee in 2004.

Additionally, the following board members were re-elected: Douglas M. Browning, Deborah J. Gillotti, Ira J. Gumberg, Dawne S. Hickton, Thomas M. Kurtz, Larry J. Merlo, Roberta A. Luxbacher and Thomas E. Richards.

Leadership Position Finalized

In other business from trustee meetings, board members passed measures to finalize the election of Rob A. Rutenbar as senior vice chancellor for research and an officer of the University.

In this newly created position, Rutenbar is responsible for establishing and implementing a long-term plan for the University’s research infrastructure and oversees the Office of Research, the Research Conduct and Compliance Office, the Office of Export Controls Services, the Center for Research Computing, the Innovation Institute and economic partnerships.

Rutenbar most recently was the Abel Bliss Professor of Engineering and head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Wayne State University and master’s and doctoral degrees in computer, information and control engineering at the University of Michigan.

In order to continue his computational research, Rutenbar has accepted a research position in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering.


Kimberly K. Barlow,, 412-624-1379
Anthony M. Moore,, 412-624-8252


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