Photos: Advocates Travel to Capitol to Share Pitt Story

Dozens of University faculty, staff, alumni and students traveled to the state Capitol for the annual Pitt Day in Harrisburg event organized by the Office of Community and Governmental Relations and the Pitt Alumni Association

Pitt Day, held on May 23 this year, provides a chance for the University’s advocates to lobby for predictable and adequate state funding. This year’s event came at a crucial time, as state legislators begin working to pass an annual state budget by June 30. 

“Nothing is as powerful as all of you coming here, sharing your work, your time, visiting their office, making connections and sharing your Pitt story,” Chancellor Patrick Gallagher told the crowd of Pitt advocates gathered in the state Capitol. 

Chris Bonneau, incoming president of the University Senate and professor of political science in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, echoed Gallagher’s remarks.

“It is vitally important for the University community to remind our government leaders how important Pitt is to both the region and the state,” said Bonneau.

Governor Tom Wolf has proposed flat-funding for Pitt and other state-related universities in Pennsylvania. The state funding helps Pitt, a major economic driver in Pennsylvania, provide greater access and reduced tuition to in-state students. 

“I have a lot of appreciation for Pitt,” said Camille Burgess, a long-time employee at the College of Business Administration and the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business. “We need to encourage more participation in the process.”


Kevin Zwick,, 412-624-0148
  • Bus ride to Harrisburg
    Pitt advocates settle in for the three-hour ride through the Allegheny Mountains and Southwest Pennsylvania to the state Capitol in Harrisburg. Two busloads of Pitt students, faculty, staff and alumni departed Oakland around 7 a.m. for a full day of meeting with state legislators and their staff on behalf of the University. (Mike Drazdzinski/University of Pittsburgh)
  • Tom Armstrong, Roc the panther, Janet Gerster
    Tom Armstrong and Janet Gerster, both first-time Pitt Day attendees, pose with Roc in the Capitol rotunda on Pitt Day in Harrisburg. Armstrong is a recruiter for the Veterans and Individuals with disABILITIES programs in the Office of Human Resources and leads the initiative at the University that promotes inclusivity by hiring veterans and individuals with disabilities and providing significant outreach services to the University community. “We truly wanted to share with lawmakers and their staff what we are doing with our diverse hiring,” said Armstrong. Gerster, herself recruited to Pitt by Armstrong and now a recruiter herself, said that she focused her efforts that day share with legislators and their staff “our proactive outreach to diverse candidates — especially those in the disabled community and those military veterans returning to civilian life.” (Mike Drazdzinski/University of Pittsburgh)
  • Group of graduate researchers with Roc at Capitol
    Activities at Pitt Day in Harrisburg include research showcases, which allow graduate students the opportunity to exhibit their research at the state Capitol. Graduate students (from left) Mara Hollander (from the Graduate School of Public Health), Marja Copeland (Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences), Jenna Gustafson (Swanson School of Engineering) and Jillian Weeks (Dietrich School Arts and Sciences), posing with Pitt panther mascot Roc, were among those graduate students participating in the showcase. (Mike Drazdzinski/University of Pittsburgh)
  • Chris Bonneau, Frank Wilson, Robin Kear
    Chris Bonneau, left, a political science professor and incoming Senate Faculty President, with Frank Wilson, outgoing Senate Faculty President, and Robin Kear of the University Library System at Pitt Day in Harrisburg. “Our state Capitol building is absolutely beautiful and legislators are accessible people,” said Kear. “Everyone at Pitt should make this advocacy trip a priority.” (Mike Drazdzinski/University of Pittsburgh)
  • Camille Burgess, Victoria Ivock on steps to capitol
    Camille Burgess, left, and Victoria Ivock, both staff members at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, review materials during their lunch break at Pitt Day in Harrisburg. Both participated as a way to be more involved in University matters. Burgess, who’s worked at Pitt for 30 years, said Pitt Day is her chance to give back to Pitt. “I have a lot of appreciation for Pitt,” she said, “and we need to encourage more participation in the process.” Ivock, a Pitt–Johnstown grad, said that she had never been able to take advantage of the opportunity to participate before this year. (Mike Drazdzinski/University of Pittsburgh)