Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon To Address Pitt’s Honors Convocation, Receive Honorary Degree

Issue Date: 
February 18, 2013

Jared L. Cohon,Jared L. Cohon the president of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), will be the keynote speaker at the University of Pittsburgh’s 37th annual Honors Convocation, to be held at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22, in Carnegie Music Hall, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland. 

Honors Convocation recognizes the accomplishments and contributions of Pitt alumni, faculty, staff, and students, and all members of the University community are invited to attend. University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg will preside and bestow an honorary doctoral degree on Cohon. The ceremony also will mark the formal end of Pitt’s celebration of the 225th anniversary of its founding, on Feb. 28, 1787.

Cohon was elected Carnegie Mellon’s eighth president in 1997 and has been serving with distinction in that position since then. More than a year ago, he announced that this would be his last year as president and that he planned to assume a position as a member of the engineering school faculty at CMU. 

In commenting on Cohon’s tenure as president, Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg said, “Jerry Cohon has been an outstanding leader for Carnegie Mellon, a committed citizen of Pittsburgh, a devoted partner of Pitt, and a wonderful friend to me. Among many other accomplishments, he helped create an institutional culture that fostered levels of collaboration between Pitt and CMU that are unique in the world of higher education. That spirit of cooperation has made both institutions stronger and has provided a distinctive form of strength to the region.”

Before assuming CMU’s presidency, Cohon had served as dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and as a professor of environmental systems analysis at Yale University. Earlier in his career, he was a member of the faculty and associate dean of the Whiting School of Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and also served as that university’s vice provost for research. He earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and his master’s and doctoral degrees, also in civil engineering, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Among many other contributions he made as CMU’s president, Cohon enhanced his university’s commitment to innovation and expanded its global reach. Today, CMU offers graduate degree programs in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Latin America and has an undergraduate campus in Doha, Qatar.

Cohon has served as chair of the Executive Committee of the Association of American Universities, as chair of the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, and as a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council. His many honors include the 2011 National Engineering Award from the American Association of Engineering Societies and the Academic Leadership Award from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. He also is an elected member of both the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Cohon and Nordenberg served as the founding board chairs of a number of key technology-based economic development initiatives, including the Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse, the Pittsburgh Robotics Foundry, the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, and the Technology Collaborative. They were jointly honored as “Pittsburghers of the Year” by Pittsburgh Magazine in 2002, as Persons of Vision by Pittsburgh Vision Services in 2003, with the Kesher Award from the Edward and Rose Berman Hillel Jewish University Center in 2006, and with the Community Impact Award from the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee in 2012.