Process for replacing Nordenberg took several months in 2013-14

Gallagher at 2013 commencement


The University’s bylaws contain only one rule about the naming of a new chancellor for Pitt, but the procedure for picking Chancellor Patrick Gallagher to succeed Mark Nordenberg, which began in July 2013, took more than seven months.

According to the bylaws, all acts of the Board of Trustees can be passed by majority vote when at least a quorum is present — that is, when 15 of the board’s 36 members are present, a bare majority wins. But to appoint a chancellor, at least 19 yes votes are required.

No term of years is specified; chancellors leave only upon “death, resignation, or removal by the Board.”

If the procedure used in selecting Gallagher is followed in 2022, the new chancellor will be hired only after:

  • The Board of Trustees forms a search committee (made up of everyone from students to trustees), plus a transition group to “ensure that (the current chancellor’s) last year in office ‘is as productive as it possibly can be and that his successor has the support necessary to get off to a strong start,’” the University Times reported in 2013, quoting the board chair. Senate President Robin Kear said at April 14 Faculty Assembly meeting that faculty members who will serve on the committee will be elected.

  • A search firm is hired to aid in the search for chancellor candidates.

  • Public forums are set for the Pitt community to comment on their hopes for the new chancellor’s qualities and priorities; there were 14 such forums last time, including at least one on every campus.

  • An online forum is also created to receive public comment.

  • Finally, the search committee narrows the pool of applicants, conducts interviews and campus visits and makes its decision, followed by a board vote.

The current Board of Trustees has not announced yet how it will proceed. In addition to dealing with finding a new chancellor, the trustees also need to elect a new chair. Vice chairs Mary Ellen Callahan and Louis Cestello have been serving as interim co-chairs since the death of board chair Tom Richards last fall.

The next public meeting of the Board of Trustees will be in June.

Marty Levine is a staff writer for the University Times. Reach him at or 412-758-4859.


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