University of Pittsburgh
October 22, 1998


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 22 -- The trustees of the Richard King Mellon Foundation have approved a grant of $11 million to the University of Pittsburgh. The grant -- one of the largest single foundation grants ever received by the University -- will support the University's Honors College, the Chancellor's discretionary fund, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI), and other University initiatives in the health sciences.

Michael Watson, vice president and director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation, noted that the Foundation's support was influenced by several factors. "This grant is a reflection of the confidence which the Mellon Foundation has in the leadership of the University, as well as a recognition of the quality and strength of the University's academic programs and the critical role which Pitt plays, and must continue to play, in the ongoing health and vitality of our region," he said.

Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg expressed the University's gratitude to the Foundation. "We deeply appreciate this generous level of support from one of the preeminent institutions in our community," Nordenberg said. "In addition to the very substantial financial assistance that this grant will provide, it is also tangible evidence that the goals which we have set for the University are ones that are viewed as important and achievable by some of the most knowledgeable investors in our community."

Of the total $11 million grant, $5 million will go toward support of the University's Honors College, which is nationally recognized for the quality of its academic programs. Honors college students have consistently earned Ivy League-caliber academic awards, including 16 Goldwater scholarships since 1990, six Truman scholarships since 1987, and six Rhodes and Marshall scholarships since 1983 -- more than any other university in Pennsylvania.

"The Honors College is characterized by academic rigor, but it is also known for its nurturing learning environment. This grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation will enable talented and committed students to have ongoing access to the most enriching intellectual experiences," Nordenberg said.

The University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, recognized as one of the world's leaders in cancer research and treatment, will receive $2 million from the Mellon foundation grant. The funds will be used to enhance UPCI's basic science research in lung and prostate cancers, and to complement its existing expertise in translational and therapeutic-related research by establishing a Center for Molecular Oncology.

Another $2 million has been set aside for the discretionary spending of Chancellor Nordenberg. "That portion of the grant is intended to give the University the flexibility, in a tight resource environment, to respond in a timely and effective manner to opportunities that cannot be specifically anticipated, but that will undoubtedly emerge," Nordenberg said. "These funds will enable the University to more effectively build on its strengths in a changing world."

An additional $2 million has been set aside specifically to fund discretionary initiatives in the health sciences. Mr. Watson praised the pioneering achievements in medicine that characterized the tenure of

Dr. Thomas Detre as senior vice chancellor and expressed high hopes for similar progress under the leadership of Dr. Arthur Levine, who assumes that position on November 1.

The funds from the Richard King Mellon Foundation grant will be payable over four years.