University of Pittsburgh
November 2, 2005

Roderick Takes Charge of Pitt's Welsh Room Fund Raising

Under his leadership, $180,000 is raised toward the $450,000 goal
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The Welsh Nationality Room Committee at the University of Pittsburgh announced that David M. Roderick, former chair and CEO of U.S. Steel Corporation, has solicited gifts from three major Pittsburgh institutions toward the establishment of the Welsh Nationality Classroom at the University. U.S. Steel Corporation, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center each have contributed $50,000.

According to Jack Owen, cochair of the Welsh committee and attorney-shareholder at Polito & Smock, PC, the Welsh committee has raised approximately $400,000 toward its $450,000 goal.

"Thanks to Mr. Roderick, our dream of adding a Welsh Nationality Room to the 26 already there is now a reality," Owen said. "Mr. Roderick is chairman of our business endorsement council, and it is because of his leadership and efforts that we have been able to secure numerous other contributions."

Roderick recently gave a personal gift of $10,000, which is being matched by both Texas Instruments and Proctor & Gamble.

The Welsh room committee includes Dave Williams, president of The St. David's Society; Barbara Pietrala, vice president of The St. David's Society; and Dale Richards, cochair of the Welsh committee, who have worked on the fundraising for this project for the past four years.

The 26 Nationality Rooms at the University are all museum quality, designed by architects, and considered artistic masterpieces. The Nationality Rooms and attract dignitaries and royalty from around the world.

The drive to establish a Welsh Nationality Room at Pitt is being spearheaded by members of the Welsh Fellowship of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. In Pittsburgh, the fellowship is known as The St. David's Society. They have joined together with other Welsh societies in the United States to create a room that is a representation of an 18th-century Welsh chapel and attached longhouse.

Owen said that the exact age of the local St. David's Society is not known, but Roderick had shown him a gold pocket watch given to his grandfather on March 1, 1890, (St. David's Day) by the local St. David's Society.

"This proves," Owen said, "that the society existed before 1890, making us more than 115 years old. We are grateful to Mr. Roderick for helping us document the age of our society, for his personal generous pledge, and for helping us secure pledges from businesses."