Pitt’s Bellet Teaching Awards To Be Endowed in Perpetuity

Issue Date: 
April 14, 2008

Bellets give Pitt $1.5 million for award program

University of Pittsburgh alumnus David Bellet (CAS ’67) and his wife, Tina, have given the University $1.5 million to endow in perpetuity the Tina and David Bellet Arts and Sciences Teaching Excellence Award. Established by the Bellets in 1998, the Bellet Award program, which heretofore had been funded on an annual basis, recognizes outstanding and innovative undergraduate teaching in Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences. Each award recipient receives a prize of $5,000.

“The commitment to provide our students with rich opportunities to learn and to grow is what drives our University,” said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “At the very heart of that enterprise are talented and dedicated teachers whose impact, though often not measurable, can be extraordinary. David and Tina Bellet, longtime and passionate advocates for teaching of the highest quality, know the difference a great teacher can make. We are immensely grateful to them for endowing their excellence-in-teaching award and for creating a perpetual link between themselves and Pitt.”

Since the inception of the award program, there have been 28 Pitt faculty members honored with the Bellet Award. The 2008 awardees are Melanie Dreyer-Lude, an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre Arts, and Jeff Oaks, a lecturer in the Department of English.

“The distinctive feature of the Bellet Award is the way the program builds a culture of teaching excellence through recognizing the contributions of individuals, building community through the celebration of teaching excellence, and promoting a dialogue about what constitutes teaching excellence,” said N. John Cooper, the Bettye J. and Ralph E. Bailey Dean of Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences.

David Bellet, the retired chair and founder of global investment firm Crown Advisors, earned his 1967 Pitt Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and his MBA at Columbia University. He is a member of the Pitt School of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors, was selected for inclusion in the inaugural class of Pitt’s Legacy Laureates in 2000, and was named a Pitt Distinguished Alumni Fellow in 2001. Tina Bellet, a former teacher, serves on the Lesley University Board of Trustees. She is a trustee emeritus of the Horace Mann School—an independent, coeducational, pre-K-12 school in Riverdale, N.Y.—where she continues to serve as a member of the board of trustees’ education committee.

The Bellets’ gift is part of the University of Pittsburgh’s Building Our Future Together capital campaign, the most successful fundraising campaign in the history both of the University and of Southwestern Pennsylvania. To date, the University of Pittsburgh’s $2 billion capital campaign has raised more than $1.228 billion in support of the University.