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June 26, 1997

UPG names new president

Frank A. Cassell, vice provost and dean of the Albert A. Robin Campus of Roosevelt University near Chicago, will become president of Pitt's Greensburg campus (UPG) Aug. 11.

Cassell, 56, will succeed Norman W. Scanlon, who has been interim president of UPG since George Chambers retired on Dec. 31. Chambers was president of the campus for 16 years. Scanlon will remain at UPG in his former position of vice president for academic affairs.

In announcing Cassell's selection as UPG president, Provost James Maher praised his accomplishments at Roosevelt University, including "significant fund raising activities, developing a facilities plan, establishing a resident faculty and expanding academic programs to fulfill the needs of a suburban community." Maher said that Cassell's achievements "exemplify the strengths he brings" to the UPG position and that he believes "Dr. Cassell will provide the leadership that will enable the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg to enlarge on its past success and meet the challenges of the years ahead." During his tenure at Roosevelt University's Robin campus, Cassell increased enrollment by 25 percent, organized a $15.4 million fundraising campaign, launched a public relations and marketing campaign, increased the number of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and developed partnerships with local community colleges that made it easier to transfer from those schools to Roosevelt.

In addition, Cassell led the search to identify the Robin campus site, purchase the property and plan the campus. He also created a community advisory board of business and civic leaders, and an alumni council to improve community support for the campus.

Cassell said he sought the UPG job because he had reached a point in his career where he was interested in heading an institution. The Greensburg campus seemed a good match for his talents and his experience, he said.

UPG is slightly smaller in terms of head count than Roosevelt's Robin campus, according to Cassell, but has about the same number of full-time-equivalent students.

"This [Robin] is a campus where the students tend to be older and working, and more part-time and evening, whereas the Greensburg campus tends to be a more traditional liberal arts school with more traditionally aged students – although not exclusively," Cassell noted.

While pointing out that any thoughts he has about changes at UPG are very preliminary and will depend on getting to know the campus, faculty, staff and surrounding community, Cassell said some of the things he has done at Roosevelt could serve as a model for what he will do at UPG.

"I think the first challenge I will face is to become more educated about the University of Pittsburgh and about the Greensburg campus," he said. "I think the wisest thing for me to do for a while is to meet with people, to ask questions, to listen carefully and to understand more fully what it is that people think ought to be happening at the Greensburg campus." One thing Cassell said he learned while being interviewed was that many people associated with UPG believe that the campus is not properly appreciated. He said they feel that UPG has not received recognition for its physical growth, excellent faculty and solid academic programs.

According to Cassell, UPG faculty, staff and administrators want the next president to increase UPG's visibility and bring more recognition to the campus. Cassell's experiences with marketing and public relations at Roosevelt University make him a natural for that role.

"As the Greensburg campus matures, it's going to need to have effective public relations, effective fundraising," he explained. "It is going to have to have those assets if it is going to continue its development. It's not that it isn't being done, clearly it is being done, but I think part of my task will be to evaluate where they are at in some of those various functions and see how I can help move things along." Also as at Roosevelt, Cassell would like to improve UPG's relations with the community and build alliances with businesses, other educational institutions and governments in Westmoreland County.

In addition, he wants to look at the curriculum, and how and where courses are offered. "I detected in talking with the faculty a feeling that there should be some effort to evaluate the curriculum and degree programs, see where they're at and where they ought to go," Cassell said. "That, too, is something that I have been involved with here [at Robin]." Another area that needs to be examined, according to Cassell, is the relationship between Pitt's Greensburg and Pittsburgh campuses.

"There is an enormous storehouse of expertise," he said. "Pitt is one of the great universities of the world, and we need to think of the University of Pittsburgh as a whole as distinct from talking about the Greensburg campus. We ought to take a look at how the Greensburg campus can be an effective vehicle to help bring the tremendous resources available at the Oakland campus to the people in the area served by the Greensburg campus." Cassell earned a Bachelor of Arts in history from Wabash College in 1963 and his Master of Arts and Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University in 1966 and 1968 respectively.

Prior to becoming vice provost and dean of Roosevelt University's Albert A. Robin campus in 1991, Cassell worked for 24 years at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, where he served as assistant chancellor for university relations, interim dean of the School of Social Welfare, director of the urban studies program and chair of the history department.

As a scholar, Cassell has written, co-authored or edited several books or book chapters and numerous articles in journals including Illinois Historical Journal, Missouri Historical Review, Milwaukee History, Maryland Historical Review and the Journal of Negro History.

His awards include a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, a Fulbright Visiting Lectureship to Japan, the William H. Kiekhofer Award for Teaching Excellence, and the Roosevelt University President's Medal for Distinguished Service.

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