Pitt's capital drive tops $2.1 billion; freshman class is university's biggest

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As the University of Pittsburgh Friday released the final tally of its transformative $2 billion-plus capital campaign, Pitt chancellor Mark Nordenberg offered school trustees evidence of continuing ascent by Pitt aided by that giving.

He said the university of nearly 35,000 students this fall enrolled the largest and best-qualified class in its history, culled from a total 27,634 undergraduate applications that is almost 2,800 more than received last year and more than three times the 7,825 garnered in 1995, when Mr. Nordenberg took office.

Despite fewer high school graduates and other demographics that helped erode numbers at other Pennsylvania schools, Pitt early in the application season for fall 2014 has seen increases over last year of 60 percent among in-state applicants and 125 percent among non-Pennsylvanians.

This year's 3,922-member freshman class is 62 percent larger than in 1995.

Punctuating those numbers was the capital campaign participated in by 188,000 donors, 293 of whom made gifts of $1 million or more.

The "Building our Future Together" campaign began quietly in 1998 with an initial $500 million goal. That target was doubled first to $1 billion, then later to $2 billion, a target reached last fall.

On Friday, Pitt officials said the campaign spanning most of Mr. Nordenberg's tenure had finished with $2.135 billion raised.

The chancellor said as impressive as the dollar sum is, it "is less important than what we do with that money."

Also Friday, Pitt's board approved a document outlining qualities Pitt will seek in the successor to Mr. Nordenberg, who in June announced he would resign his position in August 2014 after a nearly two-decade tenure. Among the success factors listed are leadership, fundraising, management, innovation and inclusiveness.

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Bill Schackner: bschackner@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1977 and on Twitter: @BschacknerPG. First Published October 18, 2013 8:00 PM


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