University of Pittsburgh
January 26, 2006

Pitt Vice Chancellor Robert Hill Named 2006 Renaissance Communicator of The Year by the Public Relations Society of America's Pittsburgh Chapter

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Robert Hill, vice chancellor for public affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, has been named the 2006 Renaissance Communicator of the Year by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). The award, which honors a practitioner for excellence in communications, was presented at the Renaissance Awards Dinner Jan. 26 at the Renaissance Hotel in Pittsburgh.

Since arriving at the University of Pittsburgh in October 1999, Hill has expanded and reorganized the division, establishing the University's first official weekly newspaper, the award-winning Pitt Chronicle, in October 2000; creating the executive communications and national media relations units; and overseeing a renovation of the University's Web presence.

Hill is responsible for supervising the Departments of Executive Communications, University Marketing Communications, National Media Relations, and University News and Magazines. He serves as publisher of the University's flagship publication, the award-winning Pitt Magazine, and the Pitt Chronicle and oversees the production of Pitt Med magazine and the University Times newspaper. During the past few years, Hill's communications endeavors have bolstered the University's fundraising, admissions, research, and community and governmental relations efforts.

Under Hill's direction, the Office of Public Affairs has received hundreds of awards-almost 200 in the last two years-among them the Telly award, which honors outstanding film, television, and video productions, and the MarCom Creative award, which recognizes excellence in marketing and communications. He also has received awards from PRSA, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), International Association of Business Communicators, and the Press Club of Western Pennsylvania.

While the University has clearly benefited from such widespread attention, the importance of Hill's contributions to the local community cannot be overstated. In 2001, for example, when the Pittsburgh school district was faced with having to suspend thousands of students who did not have measles vaccination certification, Hill spearheaded a multi-institutional Pitt-based communications task force whose mobilization of numerous media resources successfully motivated thousands of families to comply with the certification requirements, avoiding potential massive school suspensions. For this work, the University of Pittsburgh's Office of Public Affairs received national recognition: the PSRA 2002 Silver Anvil Award of Excellence in the community relations category and a CASE Gold Medal in community relations programs and projects category in the Circle of Excellence Awards competition.

Additionally, the community outreach work Hill has done with the Kuntu Repertory Theatre, Urban League of Pittsburgh, City Theater, Three Rivers Youth, Greater Pittsburgh Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), Pennsylvania Black Conference on Higher Education (PBCOHE), the Pittsburgh Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Pittsburgh Action Against Rape provided those organizations with the communications power that they needed to reach their target audiences.

This dedication to the University and Pittsburgh communities, as well as his commitment to diversity, has earned Hill three major awards in 2005: the Trailblazer Award from Renaissance Publications, the PBCOHE Presidential Award, and the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh Racial Justice Award.

Before coming to Pitt, Hill spent 21 years at Syracuse University, where he served as vice president and special assistant to the chancellor for affirmative action from 1977 to 1988, vice president for program development from 1982 to 1988, and vice president for public relations from 1988 to 1998. His communications efforts at Syracuse University resulted in that institution winning the CASE Gold Medal Award for Overall Institutional Relations Programs-its highest public relations award-in 1999. While there, he created Coming Back Together, a groundbreaking program for reaching out to, and strengthening scholarship support for, African American and Latino alumni. The resulting scholarship program has raised more than $4 million and distributed more than 85 scholarships.

Immediately before joining Pitt's administration, Hill served as vice president for university advancement at California University of Pennsylvania (CUP). In that role, he was responsible for alumni relations, development, public relations, the Foundation of California University of Pennsylvania, the Mon Valley Renaissance economic development program, and the University Art Gallery. He founded CUP's first faculty-staff newspaper, the California Journal, and established a Pittsburgh-based annual presidential fundraising gala for student scholarships.

Hill received the Associate in Applied Science in Business Technology degree with a concentration in marketing from the Borough of Manhattan Community College of the City University of New York; the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from New York University's Stern School of Business; the Master of Science in Management degree from Manhattan College; and the Certificate in Management from Harvard University. He has been published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, New Pittsburgh Courier, the Pan African Studies newsletter, the American Association for Affirmative Action newsletter, and the Syracuse Herald-Journal.