Pitt Names Next Chancellor
By Matt Singer and Zach Zuettgen, WPTS News Staff
When University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg steps down from his position on Aug. 1, he will leave behind big shoes to fill. The University’s Board of Trustees think that Dr. Patrick D. Gallagher is the man to fill them.
Gallagher, 50, currently serves as the acting under secretary of the United States Department of Commerce and as the director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
In 1991, he received his PhD in physics from Pitt, and received an honorary Doctorate of Public Service after he served as the University’s April 2013 commencement speaker.
Board of Trustees’ Chair Stephen R. Tritch introduced Gallagher — who was met w ith a standing ovation from a crowd of roughly 90 attendees — to the Board, which subsequently elected him chancellor and chief executive officer in a unanimous vote at a special Saturday meeting.
“A university has the greatest mission of all, and I will never lose focus that at the heart of this mission are the students,” Gallagher said in a statement after the Board’s vote.
After the meeting, a press conference was held and Gallagher, Tritch and Pitt Vice Chancellor for Communication Ken Service took questions.
“As I said in the meeting, we really feel like he’s got everything we’re looking for and that we need to to continue to move this University forward,” Tritch said of Gallagher prior to questions from the press.
Tritch went on to describe Gallagher as the “perfect candidate for the University of Pittsburgh.”
When asked about his plans to move the University forward, the Chancellor-elect made clear his intent to help Pitt continue its growth and improvement.
“I think what’s great about coming in following somebody like Chancellor Nordenberg is that the first order of business is to maintain momentum.”
Gallagher said that he plans to making connections with some of the University’s “critical partners,” such as UPMC, Carnegie Mellon University, the city of Pittsburgh and state government.
He referenced his time heading NIST to highlight his experience partnering with outside organizations to highlight what he believes will be his ability to build bridges between Pitt and other entities.
“The ‘secret sauce’ of NIST was that to be effective, we had to partner. We had to work with universities, we had to work with other agencies, we had to work with state governments, we had to work with other countries,” Gallagher said. “And what I hope I really bring is a capacity to collaborate and build those bridges, because a university doesn’t sit by itself: It’s intwined and embedded in the community, and I think one of the things I can do is try to really facilitate everyone else’s work by collaboration.”
As a self-described “tuition-paying parent,” Gallagher said that he understands the issue of rising tuition. He intends to work toward keeping tuition affordable through cost control and management, as well as through responsible distribution of revenue. He said that rising tuition is a “major issue” that he will face.
When asked if he will mirror Nordenberg’s choices to either refuse increases in his salary or make them proportional to the increases of his peers’ pay, Gallagher was unable to give a specific comment on such policies.
Gallagher will assume the chancellorship on Aug. 1, upon Nordenberg’s departure from the position.
Note: image source.