Annual Honors Convocation Feb. 24 Launches Observance of the 225th Anniversary of the Founding of the University of Pittsburgh

Issue Date: 
February 13, 2012

Pitt alumni, faculty, staff, and students to be honored; Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg to address the convocation

The University of Pittsburgh will launch the celebration of the 225th anniversary of its founding on Feb. 28, 1787, with its 36th Annual Honors Convocation on Feb. 24. The convocation—which recognizes undergraduate, graduate, and professional student academic achievement; student leadership; and the accomplishments of faculty and staff—will be held at 3 p.m. Feb. 24 in Carnegie Music Hall, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. Mark A. Nordenberg, the University’s 17th chancellor, will deliver the keynote address.

“The University’s commemoration of the 225th anniversary of our founding is an ideal time to reflect on Pitt’s accomplishments in providing individuals with abundant opportunities ‘to build better lives,’ for themselves and their communities,” said Chancellor Nordenberg. “As we celebrate this special anniversary with the theme of ’225 Years of Building Better Lives,’ it also is a time to look forward to the University—as a leader in education, a pioneer in research, and a partner in regional development—continuing its upward momentum in the years ahead.”

As the University’s chief executive, Chancellor Nordenberg heads one of the nation’s leading public research universities and one of the oldest institutions of higher learning west of the Allegheny Mountains. He joined the faculty of Pitt’s School of Law in 1977 and later served as dean of the law school and interim provost of the University. In 1994, he was elevated to the special rank of Distinguished Service Professor. The University’s Board of Trustees elected him interim chancellor in 1995 and chancellor in 1996.

The months-long anniversary celebration will involve an initiative titled “225 Acts of Caring.” It will comprise faculty, staff, students, and alumni participating in community volunteerism and outreach activities.

“The University has had a longstanding commitment of outreach to Pittsburgh and the surrounding communities,” said John Wilds, Pitt’s assistant vice chancellor for Community Relations, who chairs the 225 Acts of Caring committee. “During this anniversary year celebration, our ‘225 Acts of Caring’ will help underscore Pitt’s commitment to ‘building better lives,’ not only for our students, but also for the communities in which we live.”

The University has an active Volunteer Pool, which is part of Pitt’s Office of Community and Governmental Relations, and this year’s anniversary volunteer projects vary in scope. They will include overarching institutional efforts, like Pitt’s United Day of Caring and the student-led Pitt Make a Difference Day, and those conducted by student organizations and clubs, such as the Pitt Sigma Chi Fraternity’s Feb. 4 Wrap Up Pittsburgh event, in which more than 300 students participated, resulting in the donation of nearly 2,000 blankets to the Salvation Army.

Also part of the anniversary commemoration will be the 225th anniversary Web site that includes some 225 of the most notable events and accomplishments in Pitt’s storied history.  The site, which will offer a steady stream of new stories and celebration highlights through the year, is meant to draw visitors back again and again into a showcase of Pitt’s tradition of ‘building better lives’ through knowledge, discovery, and service.

The Web site also will serve as a repository for upcoming anniversary activities as well as a link to “225 Acts of Caring.” The site,, has a 225-year timeline of the history of the University, downloadable photos, and a special feature that allows Pitt alumni and friends to share personal memories of their Pitt experiences.