University of Pittsburgh
November 1, 2009

The Gordie Foundation and Outside The Classroom Name Recipient of the 2009 Presidential Leadership Award

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The Gordie Foundation and Outside The Classroom have named Mark A. Nordenberg, Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, the 2009 recipient of the Presidential Leadership Award. The $50,000 award recognizes a college or university president who has given freely of time and energy to create an environment where learning and campus life are not undermined by the misuse of alcohol.

Chancellor Nordenberg was honored at 10 a.m., Nov. 2, at the University of Pittsburgh (The University Club, 123 University Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15260), recognizing his success in promoting a vibrant intellectual and social campus climate that de-emphasizes the role of alcohol.

"Through the strong support of school administrators and spreading awareness campus to campus, we can significantly reduce the amount of alcohol-related deaths," said Leslie Lanahan, founder of The Gordie Foundation. "The highly effective campus programs that Chancellor Nordenberg has set in place provide a great foundation for other schools to create their own plans of educating students about the dangers of alcohol."

Under the leadership of Chancellor Nordenberg, the University of Pittsburgh has experienced significant progress addressing student alcohol misuse in recent years. Its most recent outreach programs include Pitt's PantherWELL peer health education program, featuring student-to-student programming; Alcohol Task Force, leading to a new student recreation area, serving as an alternative location to night clubs and bars; and the launch of two successful public awareness campaigns when the campus men's basketball team advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament, encouraging students to celebrate responsibly. These efforts led to a 61 percent increase in students who reported receiving information from the university on alcohol.

"We are glad to see the visibility of high-risk drinking raised through the recent conversation among college presidents," said Brandon Busteed, founder and CEO of Outside The Classroom. "On behalf of all of the participating organizations, I want to congratulate Chancellor Nordenberg for his vision and implementation of programs and policies that have helped create a campus community less defined by alcohol."

The Presidential Leadership Award was developed by six major higher education organizations, including The Gordie Foundation, Outside the Classroom, American College Personnel Association, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, and United Educators. The award, funded by The Gordie Foundation and Outside The Classroom, carries a $50,000 donation made to the university or college in the name of the recipient.

Chancellor Nordenberg came to the University in 1977, when he joined the Pitt law faculty. He served as dean of the School of Law from 1985 until 1993 and as interim provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs from 1993 to 1994. In 1994, he was elevated to the special faculty rank of Distinguished Service Professor. The University's Board of Trustees elected him interim chancellor in 1995 and chancellor a year later.

Dr. Jonathan Gibralter of Frostburg State University was the winner of the 2008 award, and has since demonstrated active leadership on the issue of high-risk drinking since his presidency began in 2006. His willingness to speak out on the issue has catapulted him into the spotlight as a model for college administrators who are fighting the dangerous culture of binge drinking on campuses.


For nearly a decade, Outside The Classroom has been committed to strengthening the field of alcohol prevention by providing institutional leaders and their students with the information needed to develop well-informed, cost-effective strategies for reducing alcohol-related risk and preventing harm. Today, the organization's flagship educational program, AlcoholEdu® for College, is used on hundreds of campuses and by 36 percent of all first-year students at America's higher education institutions. In 2008, Outside The Classroom launched The Alcohol Prevention Coalition to take on the larger scope of the work - providing institution-wide solutions to the key challenges threatening effective alcohol prevention. All of Outside The Classroom's programs are developed under the leadership of national prevention expert William DeJong, PhD. For more information please visit


The Gordie Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization providing today's young people with the skills to navigate the dangers of alcohol, binge drinking, peer pressure, and hazing. The Gordie Foundation was founded by parents Leslie and Michael Lanahan after the loss of their son Gordie Bailey due to an alcohol overdose following a fraternity hazing incident. Since its inception, the Foundation has established nearly 150 Circle of Trust Chapters on college and university campuses across the country. Other outreach initiatives of the Foundation include National GORDIEday, GORDIEgolf Classic, speaking engagements, partnerships with like-minded organizations, and producing and distributing "HAZE" the movie ( The film, which includes an introduction by the foundation's honorary chairperson and national spokesperson, Robin Wright Penn, was screened at the 2009 BendFilm Festival, 2009 Indie Spirit Film Festival (where it received the Director's Choice Award), 2009 Newport International Film Festival, 2009 Newport Beach International Film Festival, 2009 AFI DALLAS International Film Festival, and the 2008 Hamptons Film Festival. For more information, please visit