University of Pittsburgh
October 24, 1999



PITTSBURGH, Oct. 21 -- The University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees today unanimously approved the renaming of two campus buildings in honor of a former chancellor and a former senior vice chancellor who made "substantial and sustained contributions" to the growth and development of the University. The Forbes Quadrangle Building has been renamed the Wesley W. Posvar Hall in honor of Dr. Wesley W. Posvar, Pitt's 15th chancellor, who retired in 1991. The Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic will now be called the Thomas P. Detre Hall of the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in honor of Dr. Thomas P. Detre, who retired as senior vice chancellor for the health sciences in 1998.

Pitt Board Chairman J.W. Connolly said it would be hard to identify two individuals who had had a greater positive impact on the University of Pittsburgh than Dr. Posvar and Dr. Detre. "They displayed a combination of talent and vision that enabled this University to move ahead in great strides," Connolly said, "and it is fitting that they receive this recognition for all that they have done to advance the University on so many fronts."

Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg noted that Posvar and Detre provided the leadership during perhaps the most expansive period of growth in Pitt's history. "Under Wesley Posvar's leadership, Pitt grew in size, in educational excellence, in cutting-edge research, in service to the community, and in international stature," he said. "And Tom Detre oversaw a biomedical revolution that helped transform Pitt's schools of the health sciences into recognized national programs and build the University's health center into one of the nation's premier academic health centers." Nordenberg added that the entire University community was cognizant of the legacy of both men. "The work of both Dr. Posvar and Dr. Detre created an institution not only of great accomplishment, but also of great potential. I believe that all of us at the University are committed to building on their many contributions as we strive to achieve even greater excellence in the years ahead."

Wesley W. Posvar became the 15th chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh in June of 1967. During his term in office, the University's operating funds increased seven-fold, from $90 million in FY68 to $630 million in FY90; the University's endowment increased three-fold, from $81 million to $257 million, and Pitt was elected to the Association of American Universities, a select group of the top research universities in the nation. A number of new academic units were created during his tenure, including the Honors College, the School of Health Related Professions, the University Center for International Studies, the Center for Philosophy of Science, and the University Center for Social and Urban Research. At the time of his retirement in 1991, he was the longest continuously serving president among the member institutions of the Association of American Universities.

Thomas Detre, M.D., joined the University of Pittsburgh in 1973 as director of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) and chair of the psychiatry department of the School of Medicine. WPIC now houses eight federally funded Mental Health Clinical Research Centers emphasizing research on the causes of mental and addictive disorders and clinical trials of new psychiatric treatments. In 1984, he was appointed senior vice chancellor for health sciences, overseeing the Schools of Medicine, Public Health, Nursing, Dental Medicine, Pharmacy, and Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. He helped launch and secure funding for the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and dozens of other multidisciplinary programs that have helped Pitt establish its reputation in the health sciences. Between 1985 and 1995, Pitt's market share of NIH funding increased from 1.3 percent to 2.31 percent, the largest increase of any institution in the nation.

The newly named Wesley Posvar Hall is one of the University's primary academic buildings. Among the units housed in it are the University Center for International Studies, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, the School of Education, and the departments of Africana Studies, Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science, and Sociology.

The Thomas Detre Hall of the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic houses inpatient psychiatric facilities, along with research laboratories and support functions.

University buildings are not generally named for living persons, but the Board of Trustees may make exceptions to recognize individuals who have "made substantial and sustained contributions to the University and who have retired from an active career."