University of Pittsburgh
October 13, 1999



PITTSBURGH, Oct. 14 -- The University of Pittsburgh has received $250,000 from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to support the K. Leroy Irvis Archives at the University. Brent Glass, director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, presented the funds to Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg in a ceremony in the Chancellor's office today.

The archives will be the official repository of the Irvis papers, which Nordenberg said will be a "research treasure" for students and scholars.

"Mr. Irvis has achieved an honored place in the history of the Commonwealth. His distinguished political career spanned a period of dramatic change in American social, economic, and political life. The University is extremely fortunate to be the recipient of the Irvis papers, which will serve to enlighten and inform scholars and students for generations to come," Nordenberg said.

Nordenberg gave special credit to House Speaker Matthew Ryan and House Majority Leader John Perzel who, he said, had taken the lead to provide the support to ensure that this important piece of Pennsylvania history would be preserved for future generations of Pennsylvanians.

The goals of the Irvis Archives are to collect, categorize and preserve the public and private works of the speaker; to provide a site at Pitt for the study and scholarly interpretation of the collection, and to establish academic programs that encourage the analysis and discussion of issues related to the collection. Plans also call for connecting the archives with a library collection that will include information about the lives and history of African Americans in Western Pennsylvania.

K. Leroy Irvis is the former Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh Law School, and an emeritus trustee of the University. He was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1958, and was elected to his first term as speaker in 1977, becoming the first African American to hold this position in state government. He was elected to his second term as speaker in 1983 and served in that position until 1988. In 1966, he sponsored the bill that created the "state-related" system of universities in which Pitt is included.