Pitt Trustees, in Surprise Announcement, Name Residence Hall, $5.8 Million Scholarship Fund in Honor of Chancellor Nordenberg

Issue Date: 
November 5, 2012

The University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees has passed a resolution to name a new residence hall the Mark A. Nordenberg Hall, in addition to announcing the establishment of the Mark A. Nordenberg Scholarship Fund for undergraduate students. The surprise proclamations recognized the Chancellor for his continued leadership of the University.

“Over the course of 17 years as chancellor, Mark A. Nordenberg—through a combination of exceptional skills, broad experience, good judgment, hard work, and the ability to bring together diverse groups of people—has led the University of Pittsburgh into the ranks of the country’s finest research universities as indicated by student achievement, growth in research, and strength of donor support,” Pitt Trustee Sam S. Zacharias (A&S ’64) said as he read the resolution to name the residence hall in the Chancellor’s name. 

“The Board of Trustees wished to honor Mark A. Nordenberg for his commitment to the students of the University throughout his distinguished career,” said board chair Stephen R. Tritch (ENGR ’71, BUS ’77G). “Today’s actions will serve as a lasting tribute to this Chancellor, under whose leadership Pitt has reached unprecedented heights of achievement, impact, and prestige.” 

This special fundraising effort was spearheaded by Zacharias on behalf of the Board and by Tritch, both of whom formally recommended the naming of Mark A. Nordenberg Hall. The 10-story building, which is under construction at the corner of Fifth Avenue and University Place, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2013. The building will have 559 beds, a wellness center, and retail space at street level. 

The Oct. 26 recognition was given on behalf of the members of the Board of Trustees and friends of the University who have, to date, raised $5.8 million to create the Mark A. Nordenberg Scholarship Fund, with an eventual goal of raising $10 million. The establishment of this endowment was also announced at the meeting. Endowment income from the fund will assist the University in its efforts to recruit, enroll, retain, and graduate highly motivated and academically superior undergraduate students. Recipients of merit-based scholarships from the fund will be known as Nordenberg Scholars. 

This is the second time that the Board of Trustees has honored Chancellor Nordenberg with surprise recognition. At the annual meeting of the University’s Board of Trustees in June 2005, then-Board Chair Ralph J. Cappy (who died May 1, 2009) announced the establishment of the endowed Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg University Chair to honor the Chancellor’s 10 years of leadership. The chair, the first of its kind at Pitt, is supported by a $2.5 million endowment made possible by the generous donations of Pitt trustees, board members of the Pitt Alumni Association, and other Pitt alumni and friends. The chair exists in perpetuity to advance faculty excellence at the University.

Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg joined the University of Pittsburgh in 1977 as a faculty member in the School of Law. He served as dean of the School of Law from 1985 until 1993, during which time he earned a reputation for his leadership skills and for his understanding of legal education and the profession. He was recognized for his talent both by the law students, who awarded him the School’s first Excellence-in-Teaching Award in 1984, and by the larger University community when he was presented with the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 1985. He was appointed interim provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs in 1993, was named a Distinguished Service Professor in 1994, and was elected interim chancellor by the Board of Trustees in 1995. In 1996, he became the University’s 17th chancellor. 

During Homecoming 2012, Chancellor Nordenberg announced a milestone in Pitt’s Building Our Future Together Campaign—the largest, most successful fundraising initiative in the History of Western Pennsylvania—which exceeded its record-setting campaign goal of $2 billion. The capital campaign was announced in 2000, during the sixth year of the Chancellor’s tenure, and he announced the achievement of the campaign’s goal during an Oct. 12 Homecoming presentation thanking the Board of Trustees, campaign chairs, and donors for their leadership and contributions. 

Earlier in the fall semester, a team from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education noted that Pitt’s reputation as a world-class research university has been advancing steadily and that its reputational advance reflects reality. The team released an accreditation report that praised the University of Pittsburgh’s institution-wide system of assessment and awarded the University reaccreditation for a 10-year period, without qualification—the maximum permissible time for an extension of accreditation. The report said Pitt has an “unwavering commitment to excellence” and an “extraordinarily talented and beloved leadership team.” 

Chancellor Nordenberg is involved in a wide range of civic activities, including service on a number of boards, among them: Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Association of American Universities, Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Universities, Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education,
 Pittsburgh LifeSciences Greenhouse, The Technology Collaborative,
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and the
 World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. He was selected to cochair a search committee for the commissioner of the Big East Conference. The chancellor chaired a Citizens Advisory Committee on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of City-County Government, which issued a report of its findings in 2008.

Chancellor Nordenberg has received accolades from numerous organizations in the Pittsburgh region. In 1997, he was honored as Person of the Year in Education by Vectors Pittsburgh. A year later, that same group selected him as Pittsburgh’s overall Person of the Year. In 1999, he was named as a Pittsburgh magazine Pittsburgher of the Year for his role as a policymaker and “champion of regionalism.

”Chancellor Nordenberg shared Pittsburgh magazine’s Pittsburgher of the Year award with Carnegie Mellon University President Jared Cohon in 2001. The award recognized the cooperative accomplishments of Nordenberg and Cohon in regional development initiatives.

In 2003, Chancellor Nordenberg and President Cohon shared honors again when they received the Person of Vision award, which is presented to outstanding community leaders by Pittsburgh Vision Services. Chancellor Nordenberg also has consistently been named one of the region’s top 10 business leaders by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Among Chancellor Nordenberg’s other awards are the Chief Executive Leadership Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, District II; the Nellie Leadership Award from Three Rivers Youth; the Kesher Award from the Edward and Rose Berman Hillel Jewish University Center, an award that he shared with Carnegie Mellon University President Cohon; the Bnai Zion Humanitarian Award from the Bnai Zion Foundation; the Homer S. Brown Law Association Spirit Award; the Senator John Heinz History Center’s History Makers Award (Education); the Presidential Leadership Award from the Gordie Foundation and Outside the Classroom; and, along with President Cohon, the Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee’s 2012 Community Impact Award.