Community activist to head Promise scholarship program
June 6, 2008 3:45 AM
Saleem Ghubril has been named the first executive director of the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program.
A longtime community activist yesterday was named the first executive director of the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program.
Saleem Ghubril, 47, who founded the Pittsburgh Project on the North Side in 1985, will begin the new job Sept. 1.
Mr. Ghubril, an ordained Presbyterian minister and Lebanese emigre, will oversee day-to-day management and fund raising.
The position pays $130,000 a year, with the money to be taken from Promise funds, said Grant Oliphant, president and chief executive officer of the Pittsburgh Foundation, Downtown.
The scholarship program, administered by the foundation, was announced in December 2006 by Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. The first scholarships will be awarded to 2008 graduates of city schools and city charter schools.
"The fact that somebody of the caliber of Saleem is willing to take this on speaks to the possibility of it. He is passionately committed to this town and to its kids, which makes him just the perfect choice," Mr. Oliphant said.
The foundation said Mr. Ghubril was the unanimous choice of the board overseeing the Promise. In a statement, board Chairman Franco Harris called Mr. Ghubril "an extraordinary and talented individual who has achieved great things in his work with children and the disadvantaged."
Mr. Ghubril said he'll give up his role as executive director of the Pittsburgh Project, which has raised $35 million for community development efforts. He said the group, which already had been working on a plan for succeeding him, believes that his work with the Promise will further the Pittsburgh Project's goal for "systemic change" in the city.