2013 Johnson Institute Exemplary Leader Award Is Presented to Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg

Issue Date: 
November 19, 2012

(Photo: From left, Kevin Kearns, director of the Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership, part of Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs; Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg; and Glen and LaVonne (A&S ’76, GSPIA ’80) Johnson, whose support made the Johnson Institute’s work possible. Photographer: Joe Kapelewski) 

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg received the 2013 Exemplary Leader Award from Pitt’s Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership for his outstanding leadership and stewardship at the University. Nordenberg delivered a lecture on leadership following the Nov. 16 ceremony, which was held in the Connolly Ballroom of Pitt’s Alumni Hall.   

The Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership, part of Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs (GSPIA), presents the Exemplary Leader Award in recognition of the accomplishments of highly effective leaders who demonstrate the values of accountability, ethics, and responsibility. In addition to sponsoring the annual lecture, the Johnson Institute is building a library of leadership case studies that can be used as teaching and research tools based on featured speakers from the annual lectures. Chancellor Nordenberg’s career at Pitt will be the subject of one such case study.

“We are especially delighted to present this annual award to Mark Nordenberg,” said Johnson Institute Director and Pitt Professor of Public and Nonprofit Management Kevin Kearns. “We have seen this great University grow in national and international stature during his tenure as Chancellor. Pitt is now among the nation’s top-ranked research universities. Much of our collective success can be traced to Chancellor Nordenberg’s vision and strategy. It is an honor to present him with this year’s award.”

“It has long been recognized that any honor that comes from within one’s home community is a special treasure,” said Chancellor Nordenberg. “This award is particularly meaningful for me because I believe so strongly in the mission of the Johnson Institute and have great respect for LaVonne (A&S ’76, GSPIA ’80) and Glen Johnson, whose vision helped shape the Institute and whose support has made its work possible. I fully recognize, though, that our University’s progress is the product of the work of countless individuals, and I will be accepting this award on behalf of the people of Pitt.”

Mark A. Nordenberg was elected Interim Chancellor by the University’s Board of Trustees in 1995. In 1996, following a national search, he was elected the 17th Chancellor of the University. During his tenure as Chancellor, the University has achieved new levels of quality and impact on virtually every front. Undergraduate applications have increased dramatically, and the academic credentials of enrolled students have soared. Pitt currently ranks fifth among all American universities in terms of total federal science and engineering research and development support. The University also recently passed the $2 billion mark in its current fundraising campaign, the largest and most successful in the history of Western Pennsylvania. Earlier in his career, Chancellor Nordenberg served as Dean of Pitt’s School of Law and as Interim Provost, the chief academic officer, of the University. In 1994, he was elevated to the special faculty rank of Distinguished Service Professor of Law. 

In recognition of the remarkable progress achieved during Mark Nordenberg’s first decade as Chancellor, the University’s Trustees, alumni, and special friends of the University contributed $2.5 million to endow a faculty chair in his name. At the time of the announcement, late Chief Justice of Pennsylvania Ralph J. Cappy (A&S ’65, LAW ’68), then the chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, stated: “This endowed chair indicates the extraordinary esteem in which we hold Mark Nordenberg, not only as an individual and a leader who has brought the University to an unprecedented level of success and achievement, but also as a true academic at heart.”  

Most recently, on Oct. 26, 2012, the University’s Board of Trustees recognized Chancellor Nordenberg for his leadership and commitment to Pitt’s students by raising $5.8 million to create the Mark A. Nordenberg Scholarship Fund. Endowment income from the fund will assist the University in its efforts to recruit, retain, and graduate highly motivated and academically superior undergraduate students, who will be known as Nordenberg Scholars. At the same time, the Board of Trustees passed a resolution naming the residence hall now being constructed at Fifth Avenue and University Place Mark A. Nordenberg Hall. In expressing his own support for that resolution, Board of Trustees Chair Stephen R. Tritch (ENGR ’71, BUS ’77G) stated, “Today’s actions will serve as a lasting tribute to this Chancellor, under whose leadership, Pitt has reached unprecedented heights of achievement, impact, and prestige.”

Over the course of his career, Chancellor Nordenberg has led a number of wide-ranging civic initiatives and has been recognized by a number of other groups for his accomplishments and contributions. He is an honors graduate of Thiel College and the University of Wisconsin Law School.