Nordenberg Given 2009 Presidential Leadership Award By The Gordie Foundation, Outside the Classroom

Issue Date: 
November 2, 2009
Mark A. NordenbergMark A. Nordenberg

The Gordie Foundation (TGF) and Outside the Classroom (OTC) named Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg the 2009 recipient of the Presidential Leadership Award during a Nov. 2 ceremony in Pitt’s University Club. The $50,000 award recognizes the chancellor’s “success in promoting a vibrant intellectual and social campus climate that de-emphasizes the role of alcohol,” noted TGF and OTC’s official announcement of the honor.

“Through the strong suppport of school administrators and spreading awareness campus to campus, we can significantly reduce the amount of alcohol-related deaths,” said Leslie Lanahan, founder of the Gordie Foundation. “The highly effective campus programs that Chancellor Nordenberg has set in place provide a great foundation for other schools to create their own plans of educating students about the dangers of alcohol.”

“Under the leadership of Chancellor Nordenberg, the University of Pittsburgh has experienced significant progress addressing student alcohol misuse in recent years,” according to the TGF-OTC announcement, which pointed out Pitt’s most recent outreach programs, including the PantherWELL peer health education program, featuring student-to-student programming; Alcohol Task Force, leading to a new student recreation area, serving as an alternative location to night clubs and bars; and the launch of two successful public awareness campaigns when the campus men’s basketball team advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament, encouraging students to celebrate responsibly. “These efforts led to a 61 percent increase in students who reported receiving information from the university on alcohol,” the announcement added.

“We are glad to see the visibility of high-risk drinking raised through the recent conversation among college presidents,” said Brandon Busteed, founder and CEO of OTC. “On behalf of all of the participating organizations, I want to congratulate Chancellor Nordenberg for his vision and implementation of programs and policies that have helped create a campus community less defined by alcohol.”

The Presidential Leadership Award was developed by six major higher education organizations, including TGF, OTC, the American College Personnel Association, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, NASPA—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and United Educators. The award, funded by TGF and OTC, carries a $50,000 donation made to the university or college in the name of the recipient.

For nearly a decade, OTC has been committed to strengthening the field of alcohol prevention by providing institutional leaders and their students with the information needed to develop well-informed, cost-effective strategies for reducing alcohol-related risk and preventing harm. Today, the organization’s flagship educational program, AlcoholEdu® for College, is used on hundreds of campuses and by 36 percent of all first-year students at America’s higher education institutions. In 2008, OTC launched The Alcohol Prevention Coalition to take on the larger scope of the work— providing institutionwide solutions to the key challenges threatening effective alcohol prevention. All of OTC’s programs are developed under the leadership of national prevention expert William DeJong. For more information, visit

The Gordie Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing today’s young people with the skills to navigate the dangers of alcohol, binge drinking, peer pressure, and hazing. TGF was founded by parents Leslie and Michael Lanahan after the loss of their son Gordie Bailey because of an alcohol overdose following a fraternity hazing incident. Since its inception, the foundation has established nearly 150 Circle of Trust Chapters on college and university campuses across the country. Other outreach initiatives of the foundation include National GORDIEday, GORDIEgolf Classic, speaking engagements, partnerships with like-minded organizations, and screenings of “HAZE” the movie ( The film, which includes an introduction by the foundation’s honorary chair and national spokesperson, Robin Wright Penn, was screened at the 2009 BendFilm Festival, the 2009 Indie Spirit Film Festival (where it received the Director’s Choice Award), the 2009 Newport International Film Festival, the AFI DALLAS International Film Festival, and the 2008 Hamptons Film Festival. For more information, visit