Chatham University latest to benefit from Dietrich


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Chatham University is the latest recipient to announce a gift arranged by the late steel industry executive William S. Dietrich, this one for $5 million.

University officials announced the gift Thursday to the board and faculty and issued a news release Friday.

The university is creating the William S. Dietrich Endowment for Faculty Excellence, which will help pay for items such as a startup lab for new faculty and summer stipends for faculty research.

It will grow to result in a faculty chair bearing the name of Mr. Dietrich, who had served on the Chatham board since the late 1980s.

Chatham President Esther Barazzone said, "It helps us recruit and retain outstanding faculty. It helps us help them do their research, scholarship, improvements in teaching. It helps in general the morale of faculty who know they're appreciated by gifts like this."

She said, "They, along with students, are the heart of the university."

Gifts already announced include $265 million for Carnegie Mellon University, $125 million to the University of Pittsburgh, $12.5 million to Duquesne University and $5 million to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Mr. Dietrich died Oct. 6 at the age of 73 after the CMU and Pitt gifts had been announced. His daughter, Anne Dietrich Diemer, and her husband, Michael, were at Chatham's campus announcement.

Mr. Dietrich graduated from high school at Conneaut Lake in 1955 and from Princeton University in 1960. He went to work for a firm his father founded in 1959, which eventually became Dietrich Industries, a steel distribution and products company. It was sold to Worthington Industries Inc. in 1996.

For the past dozen years, Mr. Dietrich focused his work on building the Dietrich Charitable Trusts, which grew to $500 million.

Upon his death, the remaining trusts were to fund the Dietrich Foundation.

The assets principally are the result of the sale of Dietrich Industries to Worthington Industries.

Ms. Barazzone said that the faculty chair will be interdisciplinary as a reflection of the far-reaching interests and abilities of Mr. Dietritch.

Ms. Barazzone praised Mr. Dietrich's commitment to the region.

"I think Bill was very deliberate about trying to support this region and its institutions," she said. "I think it will be good for the region."

The Chatham board Thursday also established two other faculty chairs, the Sigo Falk Chair in Social Justice and Sustainability, and the Karen Lake Buttrey Chair in Religion and Society.

Each was the result of a $1.25 million gift, one from the Falk Foundation and the other from the Buttrey family.


Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955.


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