Faculty and Staff Campaign to Begin Nov. 7

Issue Date: 
November 4, 2013

The University of Pittsburgh will launch its annual Faculty and Staff Campaign on Nov. 7, and it aims to surpass last year’s contributions of $1.3 million from more than 2,900 donors.

Contributors open their wallets to this campaign for a variety of reasons, ranging from dedication to the University and gratitude for the opportunities it has provided—to love for a special program or the desire to help others by contributing to scholarships. A number of donors are regulars—and many of them are passionate about giving back.

Deborah WalkerDeborah Walker (CGS ’01, GSPIA ’03), student conduct officer within Pitt’s Division of Student Affairs, is one of them.

“When I first came to Pitt, I didn’t have a direction or career path,” Walker recalled. But she found her path shortly after beginning at Pitt—law enforcement. Walker’s 30-year career at the University has included serving as a Pitt campus security guard, a campus police officer, assistant director of community standards in the Office of Residence Life, and director of the RISE mentoring program. During this time, she earned a BA in administration of justice and legal studies and a Master of Public Policy and Management from Pitt. She also recently applied to begin a doctorate program within Pitt’s School of Education.

“I said in a recent speech that everything I am, everything I have achieved, and everything I have is due to God’s mercy and grace, my parents, and the University of Pittsburgh,” said Walker, who makes annual contributions to the University’s Equipoise Student Resource Fund, the Nordenberg Scholarship, the Staff Association Council Book Fund, and the Panther Club Athletic Scholarship Fund.

“I owe a debt of gratitude to the University. That may not be everyone’s reason [for contributing], but it is mine,” Walker added.

For Pat GibbonsPat Gibbons, who has been director of Heinz Chapel for 26 years, it is a love of the chapel and the desire to preserve it that drives her giving to the annual Faculty and Staff Campaign Fund.

“It’s more than a building to me. It’s something that you become very protective of, almost like a living entity—it is just an incredible building,” Gibbons said about the intimate, nondenominational chapel built for $1 million—and gifted to the University by the H.J. Heinz family. Later this month, the chapel will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its 1938 dedication.

While the Heinz Endowments and the family’s other philanthropies have generously provided ongoing financial support, the chapel is not endowed, meaning it counts on donations for much of its preservation and maintenance, Gibbons said.

“We have some of the best stained glass windows in the world,” Gibbons added, mentioning just one of the beautiful chapel’s exquisite and historically important features. “Donor support is extremely important to the chapel.”

Chris Bell, senior executive director of Pitt’s Annual Programs, said, “Pitt faculty and staff have been generous supporters, and their contributions provide scholarship support for our students, enhance programs in all of our schools, and help engage our alumni community.”

This year, faculty and staff can make their gifts with a new online payroll pledge feature on the My Pitt web portal, my.pitt.edu. Once users log in, they can pull down the “My Resources” tab and select “Faculty and Staff Campaign.” Donors can designate the dollar amount to be deducted from their paycheck for any number of months up to 12.

Faculty and staff can also make an online gift at www.giveto.pitt.edu, by calling 412-624-5800, or by mail with pledge cards, which will be sent to all faculty and staff shortly.

Many faculty and staff donors support the General Scholarship Fund, which helps to ensure that the University remains accessible and affordable to its students, and The Pitt Fund, which generates funding for areas of greatest need, including student scholarships and educational programs. Last year, nearly 1,000 donors chose to support specific programs and school-based funds in which they have a special interest. 

The Faculty and Staff Honor Roll of Donors—a complete list of all Pitt employees who made a gift during fiscal year 2013 (July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013) is available at www.giveto.pitt.edu/FSDonors

The names of donors who make a gift to Pitt before June 30, 2014, will be included in the fiscal year 2014 Faculty and Staff Honor Roll of Donors.