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Extraordinary Gifts


Building Our Future Together

Something remarkable has happened at the University of Pittsburgh during the past 10 years. Something extraordinary.

A decade ago, led by Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg, the University kicked off the initial phase of a capital campaign called Discover a World of Possibilities. After surpassing the initial campaign goal of $500 million, a year ahead of schedule, Pitt upped its own challenge to a new goal of $1 billion—and surpassed that lofty goal ahead of schedule, too, in the largest and most successful fundraising campaign in the history of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

In a trendsetting move, the Chancellor and Board of Trustees announced last June a revised financial target of $2 billion, making Pitt’s campaign one of the most ambitious ever undertaken in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Nationally, at the time, only 11 other American universities were pursuing publicly announced campaigns of $2 billion or more: Columbia University, Cornell University, Stanford University, Yale University, the University of Chicago, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Virginia, the University of Michigan, New York University, and the University of Washington.

So far, the more than $1 billion contributed to Pitt’s campaign has, indeed, moved Pitt into the company of the nation’s leading universities—but this achievement is far more powerful than any dollar figure.

Since 1997, more than 10 new buildings and facilities have appeared on Pitt’s five campuses, along with an array of other construction, renovation, and preservation projects. These upgrades directly support teaching, research, academics, community service, student life, and alumni development. New centers of activity include some major landmarks like Oakland’s John M. and Gertrude E. Petersen Events Center, the Biomedical Science Tower 3, and Alumni Hall.

More than 380 new endowed scholarships and fellowships exist today to support generations of students for years to come. So far, 90 new endowed faculty professorships and chairs are available to attract the world’s top scholar-researchers, whose reputations, in turn, attract additional talent and funds to the University; and more than 475 new, sustained endowments have been created to support other diverse research, academic, athletic, and student-life pursuits.

The campaign has enjoyed widespread support, attracting its current total of more than $1 billion from 121,236 donors. Of those donors, 69,537, or 57 percent, are alumni.

In academic medicine, investments in facilities, faculty and staff, and infrastructure are keeping Pitt at the forefront of research, patient care, and teaching nationwide. “The deep commitment and generosity of the University’s supporters have left an indelible mark on future generations of students and on the well-being of our region,” says Clyde B. Jones III, Pitt vice chancellor for health sciences development, and president of the Pitt-UPMC Medical and Health Sciences Foundation.

All of these accomplishments mean a monumental boost in the University of Pittsburgh’s ability to make good things happen in the world. What may be even more extraordinary is that this burst of progress isn’t over—it’s gaining momentum with each new story of success, each new tantalizing possibility.

The real power of the funds that have been raised and those that are still to come is that they’re integrated with the University’s key guiding principles as defined in 1996 by the Chancellor and the trustees:

  • aggressively pursuing excellence in undergraduate education;
  • maintaining excellence in research;
  • partnering in community development;
  • securing an adequate resource base; and
  • ensuring operational efficiency and effectiveness.

These five core principles remain as guideposts, with several additional priorities for the campaign’s progress:

  • increasing student scholarship support, particularly at the undergraduate level; and
  • preserving the University’s physical campus facilities for future generations in a plan called “Preserving our Architectural Treasures.”

These benchmarks will help the University in its quest to fulfill a resolution adopted by Pitt’s Board of Trustees in February 2000:

By aggressively supporting the advancement of Pitt’s academic mission, we will clearly and consistently demonstrate that this is one of the finest and most productive universities in the world.

The integration of the campaign’s significant financial investments with Pitt’s guiding strategy has produced outstanding tangible results, as suggested by just a few of the outcomes listed on this page.These kinds of investments, all extraordinary gifts, multiply the University’s opportunities to form partnerships with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the global community at large, enabling the institution to accomplish even greater things as a leader in education, a pioneer in research, and a partner in regional development.

The stories that appear on the following pages of the magazine give just a glimpse into the world of possibilities that have become realities thanks to the generosity of those who believe in producing long-lasting, positive outcomes in the world. Investments in Pitt leverage the University’s ability to attract and connect vast resources on a multitude of worthwhile fronts, with enduring benefits for many.

“We are grateful to all of those who have participated so far in our history-making campaign, and we look forward to accomplishing even more as we move forward. Each year, our list of Pitt supporters continues to grow—a testament to the progress of our University as a sound investment that produces exciting, sustained, and far-reaching results,” says Albert J. Novak Jr., Pitt’s vice chancellor for institutional advancement.

The accomplishments and possibilities roll on, with an expanded theme: Building our Future Together.

Building our Future Together

Just a few of the capital campaign’s outcomes, so far, that are shaping Pitt’s future:

  • Allen L. Cook Spring Creek Preserve of the University of Pittsburgh
    Giving students and faculty the opportunity to study and explore 4,700 acres of dinosaur-fossil-rich Wyoming ranchland
  • Baierl Student Recreation Center
    Creating one of the nation’s best fitness centers for students
  • Dick Thornburgh Room and Archive Collection
    Providing contemporary study space and a unique collection of materials at the University’s Hillman Library about high-level government decision-making
  • Thomas Cadman Endowed Scholarship
    Making it possible for outstanding students to attend Pitt’s medical school
  • Duratz Athletic Complex
    Providing the Pitt Panthers football team with one of the nation’s top training facilities
  • David A. Tepper Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship Fund
    Supporting outstanding undergraduate students in need
  • Gertrude E. and John M. Petersen Institute of Nanoscience and Engineering
    Advancing the visionary field of nanoscience technology
  • Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases
    Pursuing the study and treatment of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease with support from the DSF Charitable Foundation and the Scaife Family Foundation
  • Dr. Helen S. Faison Chair in Urban Education
    Attracting top scholars for research and academic pursuits to improve urban education
  • John A. Swanson Institute for Technical Excellence
    Giving students and faculty leading-edge technology for innovative product development
  • Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg University Chair
    Honoring the chancellor for a decade of superb leadership and supporting the highest levels of university research and scholarly attainment
  • Hillman Cancer Center, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute
    Pursuing the study of and treatments for cancer with support from Henry L. and Elsie Hillman and the Hillman Foundation in the largest single gift ever given to Pitt or UPMC

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