Haller Foundation Gives $5 Million to Endow Chair for Katz Dean

Issue Date: 
January 26, 2015

The University of Pittsburgh is receiving a $5 million gift from the foundation of the late industrialist Henry E. Haller Jr. to endow a chair for the dean of the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration. The fund created with this gift will support the school’s greatest needs. 

“The Haller Foundation’s gift will advance business education at the University for years to come,” said Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “It creates a lasting connection between the University and Henry Haller, who used his undergraduate business degree from Pitt to launch a very successful career in industrial pipe manufacturing. His achievements, brought about by his sharp business acumen, allowed him to become a generous philanthropist who remembered his alma mater. For that, we are most grateful.”

The inaugural Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean will be John T. Delaney, current dean of the Katz School and College of Business Administration. “I am incredibly honored to be the school’s first dean to hold this position,” he said. “It’s a vital, lasting legacy that will help us to enhance our ability to provide a world-class, innovative, and globally oriented business education grounded in experience-based learning. This truly is a reflection of Mr. Haller’s desire to make a positive difference in the quality of education the business school provides.” 

Haller, who passed away in March 2012, earned his undergraduate business degree at Pitt in 1936 and a degree in mechanical engineering from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1940. He joined his father’s company, the former National Valve and Manufacturing Company, as a plant trainee in 1936 and worked his way through the ranks to executive vice president in fewer than 20 years. The firm, which built piping systems for utility companies, power-generating stations, the space industry, and even nuclear submarines, employed 3,500 people at its peak and generated millions of dollars in annual sales.

Haller also earned widespread respect for his community involvement. He served on the boards of directors at the Boys Club of Pittsburgh, Goodwill Industries, the Animal Rescue League, and the American Wind Symphony, among others. In 2000, the Henry E. Haller, Jr. Foundation was established by Haller, along with his wife, Linda B. Haller, who is currently its executive director. Through the Haller gift, all future business school deans will hold the title Henry E. Haller Jr. Dean. 

“Henry Haller was well-known for his success, his generosity, and his commitment to advancing business education in Western Pennsylvania,” said Pitt Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Patricia E. Beeson. “This gift from the Haller Foundation is a fitting tribute to Henry’s life and career and will ensure that the University will continue to educate and inspire students for years to come.” 

The Haller family and foundation have been strong supporters of higher education in Western Pennsylvania for decades. The Henry E. Haller, Jr. Scholarship, created at Pitt in 2003 for College of Business Administration students, has benefited 10 students to date. In 1996, Haller provided Thiel College with the funding to create the Haller Enterprise Institute, which provides guidance and support to student entrepreneurs. He also supported Carnegie Mellon University, Grove City College, and Hillsdale College. Pitt awarded Haller its Distinguished Alumni Award in 1974, and Thiel awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1997.

“My husband was a remarkable man,” said his wife, Linda Haller. “He had extraordinary energy, unbounded optimism, and a wonderful constructive ability. Henry was filled with conviction. He cared deeply about right and wrong, and his ethics, values, and sense of integrity guided him in everything he did. I am tremendously grateful and honored to be able to carry on my husband’s legacy, and I know that Henry would be most proud of this new endowed chair.”

John Delaney has served as dean of the Katz School and College of Business Administration since 2006. Under his leadership, Pitt’s business school has developed innovative experience-based learning programs and incentives that encourage students to combine theory and practice. Along with enhancing offerings of consulting projects, client fellowships, and case competitions, Dean Delaney was instrumental in opening the financial analysis lab in 2008, which provides real-time stock-market data, a financial-trading simulator, and other tools to help students understand worldwide financial markets. This focus on experience-based learning has become a distinguishing feature of the University’s business programs and has contributed to the elevation of the MBA program in national rankings.