University of Pittsburgh
February 27, 2000


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 24 -- Citing the "overarching goal to be among the best in all that we do," the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution at its meeting today formally adopting The University of Pittsburgh: 2000-2005, a statement of the University's "vision, ambition, and direction."

In taking this action, the Board reaffirmed the importance of the position statements it first adopted in February, 1996. These statements, which were intended to provide a broad framework for institutional progress, highlighted pursuing excellence in undergraduate education, maintaining excellence in research, ensuring operational efficiency and effectiveness, securing an adequate resource base, and partnering in community development.

The Board's resolution noted that these goals had been effectively advanced (see attached list) "through the tireless work of the University's leadership team, through the creative and committed efforts of its faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends, and through the continuing support of the Board itself."

Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg expressed his appreciation to the members of the Board for their support. "The University of Pittsburgh has benefited from the high ambitions and active support of its trustees. They are committed to the advancement of our academic mission, and much of the progress over the past four years would not have been possible without their participation," Nordenberg said.

The University of Pittsburgh: 2000-2005 commits the University to "aggressively supporting the advancement of its academic mission." To accomplish that, the document states that the University must:

• strengthen its position as one of America's most respected providers of high quality undergraduate education;

• enhance existing strengths in graduate and professional education;

• increase the scope, quality and visibility of its research programs.

In pursuit of these goals, the University plans to ensure that its undergraduate, graduate and professional academic offerings are ranked among the nation's best; to maximize students' opportunities to achieve success and make meaningful contributions to society; to continue to serve as one of the Commonwealth's principal developers of essential professional talent; and to foster new opportunities for pioneering research work in high impact fields.

The statement also emphasizes the commitment by the Board of Trustees to supporting these goals to further enhance "Pitt's position as a nationally and internationally recognized leader in public higher education."

"The direction laid out in The University of Pittsburgh: 2000-2005 will enable us to build on past progress and add to institutional quality and reputation through the accomplishments of our people, the strength of our programs, and the regional, national and international impact of our work," Nordenberg said.





In 1996, the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees identified five priority areas that would be the focus of efforts to build on the University's strengths and accomplishments in moving the university to even greater levels of excellence. Since then, significant progress has been made in all five areas.

Pursuing Excellence in Undergraduate Education

• 30 percent of the students in this year's freshman class are in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating classes, and 55 percent are in the top 20 percent. That's up from 19 percent and 43 percent respectively for the freshman class that entered in the fall of 1995.

• This year's entering students have an average combined SAT score of 1163, 24 points higher than four years ago.

• One of the most significant indicators has been the 82 percent increase over the last four years in the number of new freshmen eligible to enroll in the University's Honors College. This year, a full 20 percent of the freshman class are Honors-eligible, compared to 14 percent in 1995.

• Efforts to encourage students to study abroad have resulted in a doubling of the number of students taking advantage of a wide variety of opportunities to study in other countries.

• More than $2 million has been received from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the USX Foundation to support undergraduate research programs.

Maintaining Excellence in Research

• Faculty research support has increased by nearly 30 percent in the last four years, and it is expected that next year the University will surpass the $300 million mark in sponsored project support for the first time in its history.

• Pitt consistently ranks among the top 20 or 25 American universities in overall federal science and engineering research support; among the top 10 in funding from the National Institutes of Health, and first in the nation in funding from the National Institute for Mental Health.

• Pitt's Graduate School of Public Health ranks third nationally in NIH funding, behind only Johns Hopkins and Harvard.

Ensuring Operational Efficiency and Effectiveness

• The Oracle-based PRISM information system has been successfully implemented. The new system provides improved efficiency and information access for purchasing, accounts payable and the general ledger.

• Moody's and Standard & Poors have twice upgraded the University's bond rating, an external reflection of the confidence the rating agencies have in the University's financial operations.

• The partnership with UPMC Health System has been formalized and strengthened in ways that have permitted the University to pursue further achievements in the health sciences despite the challenging health care environment.

Securing an Adequate Resource Base

• Total revenues for the University surpassed the $1 billion mark for the first time in Pitt's history.

• This year's Commonwealth of Pennsylvania appropriation to the University increase of 5.9 percent -- almost double the previous year's increase – is a reflection of successful efforts to make our message heard in Harrisburg.

• Voluntary support to the University increased by 12.4 percent over the past year, and by 65 percent over the past four years.

• Pitt ranks 14th in the nation among all major research universities in higher education support from private foundations.

Partnering in Community Development

• Working with Carnegie Mellon University, community leaders, and Commonwealth officials, Pitt helped establish Innovation Works, which supports start-up companies in the region.

• Pitt teamed with the Commonwealth, the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, SONY, Oki, Carnegie Mellon and Penn State to create the Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse.

• Pitt is an organizing member of the Non-Leaded Free Machining Steel Consortium, which will market new environmentally friendly steel-making technology developed in the School of Engineering.

• A recent study by the American Association for the Advancement of Science determined that Pitt was responsible for 23 percent of all federal research and development funding for science and engineering coming into Pennsylvania.