Pitt Chancellor Nordenberg to chair university’s Institute of Politics

When Mark Nordenberg concludes a 19-year run as University of Pittsburgh chancellor on Aug. 1, he will transition into a newly created campus post allowing him to advance community initiatives that characterized his time in office.

Pitt on Monday announced that Mr. Nordenberg will become the chair of Pitt’s Institute of Politics. The appointment is effective in January.

The free-standing institute offers “a unique and neutral forum for public and private decision-makers to study and discuss important policy issues,” Pitt said in a statement announcing Mr. Nordenberg’s new role.

The institute also provides information on those issues to elected officials and community leaders and the public.

“As has been widely recognized, during his service as Pitt’s chancellor, Mark Nordenberg set a new standard for the active engagement of a sitting university leader in meeting the shared and never-ending challenge of building an even stronger region,” said Pitt trustees Chairman Stephen R. Tritch. “From this new position ... he will be able to invest even more of his time in this important work, which will be good for Pitt, for our home communities and for the Commonwealth.”

The university pointed to a variety of initiatives with which Mr. Nordenberg was involved, including co-chair of a special legislative commission tasked with examining problems facing the state’s urban schools, chair of a group that created an action plan for workforce development around the region and chair of a committee that explored matters of leadership and governance of the Pittsburgh Public Schools, among others.

He also co-chaired Gov. Tom Corbett’s education transition team and served on the governor’s commission on post-secondary higher education.

Mr. Nordenberg said he was honored by Monday’s appointment.

“When I announced my decision to step down as chancellor, I stated that my heart would remain in Western Pennsylvania and that my future would be at Pitt.’’ Mr. Nordenberg said. “Those feelings, particularly when combined with the the exceptional quality and impact of the Institute of Politics, made this opportunity uniquely appealing.”

Pitt also announced Monday the institute’s creation of a new initiative, the Elsie H. Hillman Civic Forum. Pitt said the forum, created by a grant from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, will focus on programming to help prepare “the next generation of civic leaders.”

Pitt said Institute Director Terry Miller will lead the forum’s activities. “We continue to be extremely grateful to the Hillmans for both their generous financial support, as well as for their ongoing commitment to the mission and goals of the Institute of Politics,” she said.

Pitt said the forum will be named for Mrs. Hillman, and its mission will fit with her commitment to civic involvement.

The forum’s aim will be to “involve students at all levels to help prepare them for civic engagement” and also strive to “bring community leaders and young people together” to spur interest in civic progress in the Pittsburgh region.

Bill Schackner: bschackner@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1977 or on Twitter @BschacknerPG. First Published June 16, 2014 1:17 PM

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