University of Pittsburgh

400 Craig Hall

No matter whom you voted for during the recent national election, all of us as Americans know that the nation is facing incredibly difficult challenges. In fact, with the pervasive spread of globalization in recent years, it’s more clear than ever that, on a grand scale, we’re all connected. It’s in our shared hands to succeed or, together, to suffer the consequences.

At this moment, the problems seem overwhelming—an economic downturn of historic proportions; global terrorism and melting glaciers; disease epidemics and ongoing wars; life-destroying poverty coexisting with astonishing wealth. And those predicaments barely scratch the surface of the burdens that face our nation and our world. What next—an asteroid the size of Jupiter hurtling toward Earth?

Yet, oddly, I’m not disheartened. I believe we will find a way to make progress and to improve future prospects. We have what it takes. For a start, consider the stories in this issue. These are stories about ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things, whether it’s improving the U.S. educational system; using technology to grapple with global warming and disease epidemics; risking one’s life to help those in need in other countries; or, closer to home, revitalizing a neighborhood and the dreams of the youngsters who live there. Even here, in these few pages, the future looks far brighter than may be obvious during these waning days of 2008.

Simply multiply the work and deeds of the University of Pittsburgh people described here. There are vast numbers of others—within the Pitt family, but also far beyond—who are serving, working, and leading to bring about a better world. The outcome is bound to be inspiring, again and again.

I’m going to do my best to remember that during this season of giving as all of us, together, cross the threshold into a new year.

Cindy Gill

Editor in Chief