Director named for Hill District Community Engagement Center

Kirk Holbrook with students at Pittburgh's Miller schoolThe University of Pittsburgh has appointed a new director to its Hill District Community Engagement Center (CEC).

Kirk Holbrook, the former district office chief of staff for state Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Hill District, will join Pitt’s Neighborhood Commitments program in his new position on July 30. 

“I am excited to join the University of Pittsburgh in this new role. I hope to develop the CEC as a space for University and community collaboration to take place in an effort to improve the quality of life of current and future residents,” Holbrook said in a news release. “I am looking forward to working directly with community members and stakeholders to build positive relationships and support the change, growth and development happening locally in the Hill District.”

There is currently not a set date to open the physical space in the Hill District. However, Holbrook will be located in the Hill District and connecting with residents and community leaders to continue building collaborative relationships on behalf of the University and the CEC, according to the Office of Community and Governmental Relations

Holbrook, a Hill District resident, is no stranger to community work in Pittsburgh where he’s been at the forefront of workforce programs in Hazelwood and other community initiatives since 2001.

He’s the chair of the Greater Hazelwood Community Collaborative Community Plan Steering Committee. The superintendent of Pittsburgh Public Schools also appointed Holbrook to the Equity Advisory Panel. Holbrook was also a member of Leadership Pittsburgh’s Leadership Development Institute in 2013 and was a New Leaders Council Fellow in 2015.

Before his time with Wheatley, Holbrook was the community organizer for A+ Schools and program director for the Hill House Association.

“We are deeply grateful to the community and University members who were a part of Kirk’s interview process. Their wisdom and insight has helped us to choose an effective and highly relational leader for this important position. Kirk’s deep connections to the Hill District and record of community engagement will ensure the Hill District CEC fulfills its mission,” Lina Dostilio, assistant vice chancellor for community engagement, said in a press release. “His strength as an organizer and leader will allow him to be a trusted bridge between campus and community.”

Neighborhood Commitments aims to foster relationships with specific Pittsburgh communities through financial investments, improving infrastructure and more to enhance the quality of life for residents. Pitt’s first two communities selected for a minimum 15-year commitment are in Homewood and the Hill District.

The Homewood center is slated to open on Sept. 17.