Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor James V. Maher Is Pitt’s Honors Convocation Speaker Feb. 26

Issue Date: 
February 1, 2010
James V. MaherJames V. Maher

James V. Maher, Pitt provost and senior vice chancellor, will be the keynote speaker at the University of Pittsburgh’s 34th annual Honors Convocation, to be held at 3 p.m. Feb. 26 in Carnegie Music Hall, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland.

The convocation recognizes undergraduate, graduate, and professional student academic achievement; student leadership; and faculty accomplishments.

Maher, who  announced in November that he would leave his current position and return to the Pitt faculty at the beginning of the next academic year or as soon after that as his successor can be in place, is widely credited with helping to lead the University through a period of unparalleled progress. He has been Pitt’s chief academic officer since 1994.

“The work of Pitt faculty, staff, and students has been touched in a broad range of ways by the efforts of Provost Maher to help build a culture of achievement and impact.  In a very real sense, then, he has contributed to many of the accomplishments we will recognize at our Honors Convocation, making him the ideal speaker for this special academic celebration,” Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg said.

During Maher’s years as provost, the University has made significant strides on wide-ranging fronts, including dramatically increasing applications for admission; elevating the academic credentials of admitted students and boosting enrollments; promoting instructional innovation and supporting the creative use of new teaching technologies; adding substantially to on-campus housing capacity and enriching the quality of student life; enhancing overall research strength while moving into critical new areas of inquiry and creating programs for the commercialization of technology; designing and implementing plans for the development of facilities and infrastructure that would support academic ambitions while maintaining fiscal discipline; and reaching out to alumni, donors, and other friends in markedly more effective ways.

Maher has served as chair of the University Planning and Budgeting Committee; the Information Technology Steering Committee, which coordinates information technology activities for the University; the International Coordinating Council, which coordinates Pitt’s international programs; and the Council of Deans. He also served as cochair of the University’s Facilities Planning Committee and principal liaison to the Academic Affairs and Libraries Committee of the Board of Trustees.

Prior to becoming provost, Maher was chair of Pitt’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, and, for 24 years, a member of the Pitt faculty. He came to Pitt in 1970 as an assistant professor of physics, after serving as a postdoctoral research associate in the Physics Division of the Argonne National Laboratory in Argonne, Ill.

Maher served as director of Pitt’s Scaife Nuclear Physics Laboratory and has been a longstanding resident fellow of the University’s Center for Philosophy of Science. He has published numerous papers in the fields of nuclear physics and statistical condensed matter physics, presented at professional conferences, and served as a visiting scientist at a number of other universities. He is an elected fellow of both the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Among Maher’s positions of leadership in both national and regional organizations are recent service as chair of the Council of Academic Affairs of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and service on the boards of BioOne, the Carnegie Science Center, the Pittsburgh Technology Council, the Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative, the St. Vincent Seminary, and WQED Multimedia.  He was a commissioner of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and served on the Association of American Universities (AAU)/National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) Task Force on Accreditation, which developed a set of principles that were largely adopted by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. He was a member of the AAU’s Intellectual Property Task Force that authored its formative report “Intellectual Property and New Media Technologies: A Framework for Development at AAU Institutions.” He also was invited by the AAU and the Association of Research Libraries to participate in writing the influential Tempe Principles for Emerging Systems of Scholarly Publishing, a set of principles designed to guide the transformation of the scholarly publishing system.

Maher earned his bachelor’s degree in physics at the University of Notre Dame in 1964 and his master’s and doctoral degrees in physics at Yale University in 1965 and 1969, respectively.