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November 9, 2006

Pitt's campaign tops $1 billion

A beaming Chancellor Mark Nordenberg took the podium Oct. 27 at the Pitt Board of Trustees fall meeting to announce that the University had surpassed $1 billion in gifts and pledges to its capital campaign.

Dubbed “Discover a World of Possibilities” and launched in 1997, the campaign had its initial $500 million goal doubled by the Board of Trustees to $1 billion in 2002. It was doubled again last June to $2 billion. The $1 billion mark was reached some eight months ahead of schedule, demonstrating momentum that Pitt hopes to ride to raising $2 billion, Nordenberg said. The campaign’s goal also is the largest in Pennsylvania history.

The University marked the achievement with a campus-wide celebration Oct. 27.

“Reaching this momentous milestone, which we were told would be impossible, is a testament to the extraordinary generosity of the University’s supporters, who are committed to see Pitt continue its determined climb into the very highest ranks of American universities,” Nordenberg said. “These dedicated donors have tangibly demonstrated their devotion to Pitt’s ideals, its people, its programs and its mission, which is grounded in a belief in the power of education to make this a better world for us all.”

The $1 billion milestone officially was surpassed, Nordenberg told the trustees, with a $1 million commitment from Donald M. Goldstein, a professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, a best-selling author and an expert on World War II-era history. Goldstein’s gift came in the form of donated archival materials, independently appraised at $890,000, plus $110,000 in cash.

In addition to his historical papers, Goldstein donated 4,300 books, 12,000 photographs and 282 videos, including unique films of Adolf Hitler at his mountain retreat, the chancellor said.

“Don Goldstein is here because earlier this month he made some Pitt history of his own. On the morning of Oct. 12, our capital campaign stood at $999,756,183.35. That day, Donald Goldstein made a $1 million commitment to the capital campaign that allowed us to pass the billion-dollar mark.”

Goldstein himself had prompted a gift in June 2005 from a former student of his, Valerie Hopkins, who became Pitt’s 100,000th campaign donor. Hopkins’s gift went to the Donald Goldstein Endowment Fund.

“As most of you know, I’m a pretty sentimental guy,” Nordenberg said. “When I learned that Don had made this commitment, I really was moved. The fact that he inspired the gift from our 100,000th donor and now his own gift has taken us past the $1 billion mark has a quality that can only be described as ‘story book.’ Beyond that I’m touched by the fact that Don has given so much of his life to Pitt. Over the course of nearly three decades on our faculty, his work has elevated our quality and brought the University a great deal of positive attention.

“One of the ways to assess where you are is how you feel about your place. As I proudly present Pitt’s billion-dollar man to you, I must say that I’m feeling very good about him and about our University,” the chancellor added.

Nordenberg noted that in the two weeks prior to the board meeting Pitt had raised additional funding to bring the campaign’s total as of Oct. 27 to $1,011,568,458.45.

Since the campaign’s 1997 “quiet phase,” Pitt has established:

• 332 new endowed scholarship funds for a total of 749, an increase of 80 percent in the number of such funds;

• 29 new endowed fellowships for a total of 87, an increase of 50 percent;

• 16 new endowed professorships for a total of 50, an increase of 47 percent;

• 66 new endowed chairs for a total of 106, an increase of 165 percent, and

• 435 new named faculty and student resource endowments used to support such activities and programs as research projects, research travel, book purchases and student academic projects for a total of 775 of these endowments, an increase of 128 percent.

The campaign has attracted 116,146 donors. Of those donors, 67,980, or 59 percent, are alumni. Among donors, 198 have made gifts or pledges of at least $1 million, including 39 first-time contributors to the University.

In other Board of Trustees actions:

• The board voted to amend its bylaws to exempt the chairperson from established term limits.

Ralph J. Cappy, chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, is the current board chairperson and also a term trustee; term trustees under the bylaws are eligible to serve only two consecutive four-year terms. Cappy’s second four-year stint as a term trustee expires in June.

The bylaws now read: “The incumbent chairperson of the University Board of Trustees shall not be subject to the foregoing term-limit provision.”

The board chair serves one-year terms. Cappy first was elected board chairperson in June 2003 and has been re-elected each June since then.

• As was recommended by the board’s audit committee, the trustees accepted the audited financial statements from Pitt’s outside auditor and from the commonwealth’s auditor general for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

• The board elected six emeritus trustees: Thomas G. Bigley, retired managing partner, Ernst & Young LLP; Frank V. Cahouet, retired chair, president and chief executive officer of Mellon Financial Corp.; J.W. Connolly, retired senior vice president, H.J. Heinz Co.; E. Jeanne Gleason, retired executive director, Pennsylvania Rural Arts Alliance; Earl F. Hord, retired director, Allegheny County Department of Economic Development, and Alfred L. Moyé, retired senior university affairs consultant, Hewlett-Packard Co.

—Peter Hart

Filed under: Feature,Volume 39 Issue 6

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