University of Pittsburgh
June 23, 2005

Pitt Capital Campaign Marches Past $800 Million Mark

University's decade of successes in academics, research, student life, fundraising, and other areas reported by chancellor at annual Board of Trustees meeting today
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PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh's Discover a World of Possibilities capital campaign has raised more than $800 million in gifts and pledges to date, keeping the campaign on track toward reaching its billion-dollar goal, Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg announced at the annual meeting of the University's Board of Trustees today, June 24. In passing the $800 million mark, the campaign set another record for the most successful fundraising campaign in the history of Pitt and of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Discover a World of Possibilities campaign has so far funded 285 new endowed scholarship funds, 25 new endowed fellowship funds, and 62 new endowed faculty positions, in addition to supporting educational and research programs, student-life initiatives, and facilities. "Securing those lasting forms of support is essential for the future of an institution with a life that already exceeds 218 years," Nordenberg pointed out.

The campaign's success has depended upon the generosity of large numbers of major donors, the chancellor said. "In fact, we now have received 157 gifts of $1 million or more, and what continues to astound me is that 32 of those million-dollar gifts came from donors who had never made a financial contribution to Pitt before this campaign," Nordenberg said. This evening, Pitt will induct 14 individuals—each of whom has given lifetime gifts to the University totaling $1 million or more—into the Cathedral of Learning Society.

Pitt's fundraising success also has been tied to broad-based support, the chancellor added. To date, 102,630 donors (including 62,609 Pitt alumni) have contributed to the campaign.

Boosting private fundraising was among five key institutional priorities that the University's Board of Trustees adopted at its annual meeting 10 years ago. At today's board meeting, in a report titled "Blue & Gold and Building Our Future Together," Nordenberg summarized a decade of Pitt achievements in fundraising and in the four other priority areas. Those areas included the following:

Strengthening Pitt's position as a leader in education. Undergraduate applications to Pitt have more than doubled in the last decade, and full-time-equivalent enrollments have increased by more than 12 percent. Academic credentials of enrolled undergraduates have soared: Using data from 2004's freshman class, the most recent entering class for which final numbers are available, Nordenberg noted that the average SAT score among Pitt freshmen climbed from 1110 to 1231 between fall 1995 and fall 2004; the percentage of freshmen who graduated in the top 10 percent of their high school classes rose from 19 percent to 46 percent; and the percentage of freshmen who graduated in the top 20 percent of their high school classes increased from 39 percent to 75 percent.

Pitt undergraduates have competed successfully in all three of the major U.S. commemorative scholarship competitions, winning 24 Goldwater Scholarships, three Truman Scholarships, and four Udall Scholarships since 1995. In that same period, Pitt undergraduates also won five British Marshall Scholarships, prompting Prince Andrew of Great Britain in fall 2003 to declare Pitt a Marshall Center of Excellence. In addition, three Pitt undergraduates won Andrew Mellon Fellowships in Humanistic Studies, one undergraduate here won a Fulbright Research Fellowship (the first Pitt undergraduate to do so), and nine others won Fulbright teaching assistantships.

Former students also continue to earn the highest forms of national and international recognition, Nordenberg observed: In just the last two years, Pitt alumni have won the Nobel Peace Prize and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine; the Shaw Prize in Life Sciences and Medicine, also known as the "Nobel Prize of the East"; the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research, this country's largest award in that discipline; and the Fritz Medal, widely regarded as the highest honor in engineering. Recognitions won earlier in the decade by Pitt alumni included the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the $1.2 million Templeton Prize, and a MacArthur Foundation "genius award."

Elevating Pitt's Stature as a Pioneer in Research. During the last five years, Pitt jumped from a ranking of 20th to a place in the top 10 among U.S. universities in terms of the total federal science and engineering research and development support attracted by faculty. The University's total external research funding increased from $230 million in fiscal year 1995 to $559 million in FY 2004, and is expected to exceed $600 million in FY 2005. Total Pitt research expenditures for the past 10 years—"almost all of this new money that we have imported into the region," Nordenberg said—is expected to top $3.85 billion. Applying a standard formula for translating research and development funding into jobs, at $600 million in R&D expenditures this year, Pitt is directly and indirectly supporting substantially more than 17,000 local jobs just through its research initiatives.

"The richness and range of both our federally funded research and other scholarly work done by our faculty almost defy description," said Nordenberg, noting that Pitt faculty members have received prestigious awards in a wide range of disciplines—from astronomy to psychology to rehabilitation science—and have been elected in the last decade to a number of prestigious groups, including, among others, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the World Academy of Art and Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.

Forging Partnerships of Impact. Nordenberg cited advances in cancer research and treatment to illustrate how the close partnership between Pitt and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is transforming the region and advancing the cause of human health. Launched in 1985 through this partnership, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute has grown to include some 500 faculty members and staff, covering 30 different disciplines; its researchers attracted close to $150 million in grant support last year. "On the clinical side, the UPMC Cancer Centers are now the busiest cancer treatment centers in the country," said Nordenberg. And, it was announced June 20 that a $20 million gift from Pitt Emeritus Trustee Henry Hillman, his family, and his foundations will go to UPCI and the UPMC Cancer Centers to create The Hillman Fellows Program for Innovative Cancer Research.

During the past decade, the partnership of Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University rescued the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center—the two universities' oldest joint venture—"from a near-death experience when federal funding priorities changed," Nordenberg said. Pitt and Carnegie Mellon also in the course of the decade nurtured their joint Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition "from infancy to a place among the very strongest centers of its type in the world," the chancellor said; the center studies the neural mechanisms that give rise to human cognitive abilities, investigating topics ranging from sensory processing to motor control of language. Pitt-Carnegie Mellon research programs also have provided the foundation of the Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse, the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Greenhouse, and the Pittsburgh Robotics Foundry, technology-driven economic development initiatives designed to strengthen the economy of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Building Financial Strength. Since 1995, Pitt's total institutional assets have grown from $1.5 billion to $3.5 billion (a 133 percent increase); net assets have grown from just under $1 billion to $2.4 billion (up by 140 percent); and the University's endowment has grown from $463 million to more than $1.5 billion (a 225 percent increase). Total employment at Pitt is up by nearly 25 percent, reflecting dramatic increases in research support. And, since 1995, Pitt's bond rating has been raised twice by each of the major rating agencies and now stands at "investment grade" for both Standard & Poor's and Moody's.

"There probably is no more visible sign of Pitt's renewed fiscal strength than the ambitious program of construction and renovation we have successfully pursued, building on our 10-year facilities plan," Nordenberg said. "Over the course of the decade, we have added nearly two million square feet of additional space throughout the University, and the total cost of projects already completed and now underway exceeds $1 billion."