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January 9, 1997


Nordenberg's choice for Institutional Advancement VC endorsed

To the editor:

I would like to publicly applaud Chancellor Mark Nordenberg's appointment of Carol Carter as the new Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement. Having worked with Carol Carter while she was the director of Development in the School of Law, I can honestly say that she is the perfect choice for this critical position.

As the first law school development director, Carol was faced with the monumental task of identifying, cultivating and soliciting over 6,000 alumni. Without the luxury of time, she was able to quickly mobilize alumni volunteers as well as law school faculty to launch her very ambitious institutional development plan. Carol's professionalism and knowledge of the development area brought her, and the School of Law, instant success. With a natural talent for working with people she was able to put strangers at ease from the moment an introduction was made. Before initiating a contact, she always "did her homework." Many of Carol's early alumni contacts continue to tout her praises. And, many insist that if not for her, they might not have become financial supporters of the School of Law–her personality and professionalism evoke trust.

Although I will no longer have the privilege of working directly with Carol Carter, I know the University will be a "richer" place with her at the helm of Institutional Advancement.

Fredi Miller

Office of Admissions and Financial Aid

School of Law


To the editor:

As a longtime colleague who witnessed many of the good things that Mark Nordenberg had accomplished in important positions, I enthusiastically applauded his election as chancellor last summer. Among other things, I was confident he could assemble the kind of leadership team that would move our University forward. From all indications, in a few short months, he has made real progress on this front.

All I know about our new athletic director and head football coach is what I have read in the newspapers. If those published reports are accurate, we have attracted two creative, committed, hardworking individuals whose efforts should benefit both our student athletes and the University as a whole. However, in assessing the appointment of Carol Carter as vice chancellor for Institutional Advancement, I need not rely upon the reports of others. Instead, my judgments are shaped by my first-hand observations of her performance for a period of several years in the mid-1980s when she served as director of development for our School of Law.

Carol was a consummate professional–extremely knowledgeable in her own area, committed to higher education, willing to work long hours, an effective organizer of volunteers and an extremely able advocate for the University's cause. During the period that I worked closely with Mark and Carol, we were able to boost dramatically fundraising successes within the school while also stimulating a broad range of other supportive alumni activities. Both her knowledge of Pitt and the respect she already enjoys within the greater Pittsburgh community should be real assets as Carol returns to our University to assume her new responsibilities.

I first came to Pitt to assume a faculty position nearly 50 years ago. In the decades that have followed, it has become increasingly clear that our institutional potential is closely tied to the support we can generate from beyond the campus. As one who has devoted his professional life to this institution and cares deeply about its future, I am heartened by these recent appointments and believe that they are among the very promising signs that have emerged in the early months of Chancellor Nordenberg's administration.

W. Edward Sell

Dean Emeritus and Distinguished Service Professor of Law Emeritus

School of Law


Broad range of disciplines necessary for good undergrad program

To the editor:

The article on higher education in the Post-Gazette Benchmarks report of Dec. 1 was fascinating for its balanced and objective view of the higher education scene in Pittsburgh. And many of the remarks by former Pitt president Wesley Posvar were particularly valuable reminders of how important universities are to the general well-being of a metropolitan area.

But when Posvar objected to Pitt being classed as a "second-tier" university for undergraduate education, he pointed out that Pitt is a member of the AAU. That is, of course, correct, and a real reason for pride at Pitt, but AAU membership is a mark of the strength of research and graduate education programs at a university. While research excellence and strong graduate programs can certainly contribute mightily to the undergraduate learning experience, excellence in one area does not guarantee excellence in the other. Indeed, if excellence in a few areas of research and graduate education are purchased at the expense of a solid base in the other disciplines, as Pitt seems all too often tempted to do, then the reputation that accrues to the University does so at the expense of the undergraduate learning experience.

Pitt is right to insist that it cannot do everything and should concentrate on certain areas of recognized strength, but it should not do this at the expense of the broad range of disciplines necessary to a good undergraduate program. For if it did so, it would become, not a solid and respectable second-tier university, but one that is merely second-class.

Daniel Russell

Professor French and Italian Languages and Literatures

University Times


Fault found with UW's explanation

To the editor:

In responding to a complaint about the refusal of the United Way to grant funds to the Persad Center, Oliver Byrd, the United Way vice chair, virtually convicts the organization of discriminating against an organization whose services are badly needed in this era (University Times letter, Dec. 5, 1996).

Byrd says that United Way cannot be "biased" against Persad because it gave Persad an award for "management and governing excellence." He then adds that Persad did not meet United Way standards for "efficiency and effectiveness." Inasmuch as "efficiency and effectiveness" are the very basis of "management," Byrd's statement makes no sense unless United Way has hidden criteria that it chooses not to divulge. Byrd's statement effectively reveals those criteria.

Mark Friedman's notion that contributions to United Way should be "reconsidered" (University Times letter, Nov. 7, 1996) is precisely on point.

Frederick C. Thayer

Professor Emeritus

Graduate School of Public and International Affairs


Good news for Mac users

To the editor:

Thank you for publishing Mike Sajna's article on the Year 2000 problem (Dec. 5, 1996); it addresses a matter of concern to many of us at Pitt. Mr. Sajna failed to mention an important fact in the otherwise excellent piece: users of Macintosh computers are unlikely to notice any problem at all.

Since its introduction, the clock on Macintosh computers has been able to correctly handle dates until the year 2040. Currently, shipping Macs correctly handle dates from 30081 B.C. to 29940 A.D. The system-supplied date and time handling routines share this capability, and most Macintosh software relies on these routines to handle dates.

While it is possible that some Macintosh software may use specially written routines that are subject to the Year 2000 problem, my searches have failed to find any example of such a case. For more information about the Macintosh and the Year 2000, readers may consult the following web site: Ethan Benatan,

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