Note: This story was originally published June 21, 1996.
Gift-wrapped champagne and piles of congratulatory phone messages were waiting yesterday when Mark Nordenberg arrived in what is now his permanent office on the Cathedral of Learning's first floor.
It was a warm greeting for the brand new CEO.
But Nordenberg, named yesterday as the University of Pittsburgh's chancellor, knows that honeymoons are short-lived -- especially on a university campus where everyone considers him the boss.
And, he said, he understands the risk of sitting atop a vast institution such as Pitt, with its five campuses, 34,000 students and more than 9,000 employees.
"I would not want to become a distant, isolated person who no longer listens to others, and I don't think that will happen," he said. "I have never been a person who felt he had all the answers."
Nordenberg's 11-month stint as interim chancellor amounted to a job tryout on a campus where he's spent most of his adult life. And yesterday, shortly after 9 a.m, he got the best kind of job evaluation when trustees unanimously voted to make his appointment permanent.
Nordenberg, 47, said he felt as if he was moving forward with plenty of company, thanks to colleagues who have helped him during the past 11 months. But he said the scope of the job was still a little unnerving.
"Even as interim law school dean or interim provost, you could walk across campus and see something you didn't like and you could shrug your shoulders and say `That's not my business,' " he said. "You really can't do that anymore."
Nordenberg said he would promote the school and its reputation as an international place of learning. He said Pitt would embrace its regional roots.
"The strength of our university is directly dependent upon the strength of the region," he told Pitt's trustees after their vote. "And it is also true, more than ever, that the strength of the region requires a strong, caring and contributing University of Pittsburgh."
It was clear that the man chosen after a nationwide search was no outsider.
His nomination yesterday was seconded by trustee Martha Hartle Munsch, who years ago occupied an office adjacent to Nordenberg's in the Pitt Law School, where she taught and where Nordenberg was dean.
Nordenberg didn't have to settle for congratulatory handshakes after the vote. He got a kiss from longtime university employee Eva Reid Brosius, who said she's known Nordenberg since he and his wife, Nikki, were in college.
"He always was an outstanding student," she said afterward. "I'm so very proud."
Nordenberg, a former law school dean at Pitt and distinguished service law professor, has held positions including interim provost in his 19 years on campus.
Trustees Chairman J. Wray Connolly has made it clear he is counting on Nordenberg to make the academic and administrative changes Pitt has said are necessary to stay competitive. Pitt has said it may cut more than 400 jobs as part of a reorganization.
To give the new chancellor a free hand in forming his management team, Connolly suggested yesterday that all administrators who report directly to the chancellor offer their resignations.
Nordenberg said in an interview afterward that a shakeup wasn't imminent, though he would be making assessments.
"I clearly will be talking to all of the people who do report to me both about past performance and future performance," he said.
Sometime this summer, Nordenberg and his family plan to move into the chancellor's residence.
He said he wouldn't know for some time what his salary would be.
"We have not talked seriously about compensation. I'm confident, though, that I will be treated fairly," he said.
Former Chancellor J. Dennis O'Connor, who came to Pitt in 1991, was making $221,500 a year when he resigned in April 1995.
At this point, there are no plans for an installation ceremony, spokesman Bob Reteshka said.
Nordenberg said one of his first priorities will be to start a search for a new lead fund-raiser. Nordenberg's appointment also will clear the way to resume a search to replace one of Pitt's most powerful executives, Dr. Thomas Detre, who plans to retire as senior vice chancellor for health sciences.
Nordenberg declined to say where efforts stand to raise additional state funding for the proposed $52 million sports and convocation center. But he said a comprehensive plan was being developed to advance it and other proposed building projects that have been stalled for lack of money.
As he took office, Pitt released some encouraging news on the enrollment and fund-raising fronts.
Contributions to the university have increased 24 percent since July 1995. The school is 22 percent ahead of last year in student applications for the fall and 14 percent ahead in the number of students who have have paid deposits for fall enrollment.