State-Related Universities Caucus Guards Interests of Pitt, 3 Other Pa. Schools

Issue Date: 
September 12, 2011
Senator John T. YudichakSenator John T. Yudichak
Senator John C. Rafferty Jr.Senator John C. Rafferty Jr.

Pennsylvania’s four state-related universities—including the University of Pittsburgh—have a pair of legislative champions looking after their interests in Harrisburg.

State Senators John C. Rafferty Jr. and John T. Yudichak have formed and are cochairing the State-Related Universities Caucus in Harrisburg to discuss budget issues and other topics affecting the four state-related universities: Pitt, Penn State, Temple, and Lincoln.

The move came in the midst of budget negotiations earlier this year after the governor announced a proposed budget containing massive cuts in state funding for public higher education. While some of those proposed cuts were eventually removed from the final state budget, Pitt’s state appropriation, for example, was slashed by more than $40 million, or 22 percent, for the current fiscal year.

“We formed the caucus to keep in front of the Senate the importance of the state-related universities as educational institutions and as the economic development engines that they are for the Commonwealth,” Rafferty said.

The caucus has 15 members, both Republicans and Democrats—and the majority of its members are alumni of one of the four state-related universities. Rafferty received his bachelor’s degree from Pitt-Johnstown and his law degree from Temple. Yudichak received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Penn State.

“Our state-related universities are the cornerstone of higher education in Pennsylvania,” Yudichak said. “It is imperative that we ensure that these universities maintain their status as premier research institutions, nationally renowned teaching hospitals, and distinguished institutions of higher learning.”