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September 12, 1996

Greensburg president announces retirement

George F. Chambers, president of Pitt's Greensburg campus (UPG), has announced his retirement effective Jan. 1. He has served as UPG's president since 1980.

Following his retirement, Chambers will become president emeritus of UPG and chair of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg Foundation, the campus's fundraising arm.

Chambers said a search committee will be formed to find a new president and that UPG faculty will vote on representatives for the committee. But "none of that has happened yet because I just announced," he added.

In a prepared statement, Provost James Maher praised Chamber's leadership of UPG and both the academic and physical growth that has occurred under him.

"During his 16 years as president," Maher noted, "the stature and reputation of Pitt Greensburg have grown significantly, and we're all pleased that even in his retirement, Dr. Chambers will be continuing his involvement with the campus." As president, Chambers oversaw the development of UPG into a four-year degree-granting campus and a building boom that included new dormitories, a library, classrooms, a student center, faculty offices and playing fields.

In addition, he doubled enrollment to 1,150 students, expanded the curriculum to meet a broader spectrum of community needs and ran a successful capital campaign that raised $22 million.

Of Chambers's numerous accomplishments, UPG Vice President for Administration Guy Rossetti said his most important was the physical development of the campus from a small handful of buildings in 1980 to the point where UPG now resembles a liberal arts college equal to any in western Pennsylvania.

"I think that was absolutely necessary and it was the logical next step in the development of this campus, and it was achieved," said Rossetti.

On the academic front, Rossetti pointed out that UPG's faculty more than doubled in size to about 60 during Chambers's administration. "One of the high points also was that we got four-year degree-granting authority in 1989," he continued. "That was an important achievement because now not only physically do we look like a public liberal arts college, but we actually grant our own degrees." Patricia Duck, director of UPG's Millstein Library, and Linda King, the programmer analysis in UPG's computer center, agreed that Chamber's greatest accomplishment is the physical growth of the campus, which Duck called phenomenal.

"I am sitting in a brand new library," Duck pointed out. "And now he's started the children's literature collection in memory of his wife who passed away about two years ago.

"If you build it, they will come," she added. "That's how it has been going. We can't build the dorms fast enough. It's a very nice problem to have." For his part, Chambers said he is proud of everything he has been able to accomplish at UPG including, "building the entire campus, creating a four-year degree-granting program, expanding the curriculum and putting a real taproot down into the community." Chambers has sought to make UPG an important part of the local community because, "if no one thinks you're very important, you're not likely to be able to raise money or do anything else." To gain support for UPG in Greensburg and Westmoreland County, Chambers took on the long-term cultivation of the community by offering programs that the public views as important.

"We now have 14 or 15 curriculums that are highly desired and a campus that is growing all of the time," he said.

Concerning his retirement, Chambers said he simply decided to retire because "it's about time." He had originally planned to leave his post last year, but decided to put his retirement off for another year after the sudden death of his wife, Joan.

Prior to becoming president of UPG, Chambers served as president of Nassau Community College in Garden City, N. Y., from 1965 through 1979. Before that, from 1959 to 1965, he was director of development programs and University development at Pitt. He also served as director of corporate liaison at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo, from 1958 to 1959.

Chambers earned a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry in 1947, a master's of business administration in 1956 and a Ph.D. in business administration and economics in 1958. All of his degrees are from SUNY-Buffalo.

–Mike Sajna

Filed under: Feature,Volume 29 Issue 2

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