University of Pittsburgh
April 27, 2005

University of Pittsburgh to Hold Its 2005 Commencement May 1 at Petersen Events Center

Trailblazing educator Helen S. Faison to deliver commencement address

Robert Hill


Cell: 412-736-9532

PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg will welcome graduating members of the Class of 2005, faculty, trustees, alumni, staff, and invited guests, family, and friends attending Pitt's 2005 Commencement at 1 p.m. May 1 in the Petersen Events Center, 3719 Terrace St., Oakland.

Esteemed Pittsburgh educator and Pitt alumna and trustee Helen S. Faison will deliver the University's 2005 Commencement address and receive the honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg and Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor James V. Maher.

Chief University Marshal Nicholas G. Bircher will open the ceremony, leading a procession of faculty, staff, the Council of Deans, trustees, administrative officers, and graduating class members in full academic regalia; Bircher is a professor of anesthesiology in Pitt's School of Medicine and president of the University Senate. Music will be provided by the University Symphonic Band, under the direction of Pitt Director of Bands Jack R. Anderson.

After Faison receives her honorary degree, Pitt Alumnus Ralph J. Cappy (CAS '65, LAW '68), chief justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and chair of Pitt's Board of Trustees, will present the University Citation honoring her. Faison will then deliver the commencement address.

After the awarding of diplomas by Nordenberg, Maher, and the deans of the schools and colleges, Justin M. Eichenlaub will speak on behalf of the graduating class.

Eichenlaub, a student in the University Honors College and School of Arts and Sciences, will receive the Bachelor of Philosophy degree with majors in English literature and the history and philosophy of science and the Bachelor of Science degree with a major in neuroscience and a minor in chemistry during the commencement ceremony. His talk will be followed by an address from Keith E. Schaefer (CAS '71), president of the University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association, who will welcome the graduates as Pitt's newest alumni.

In all, Pitt is conferring approximately 6,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees this year to students on the Pittsburgh campus and approximately 1,000 undergraduate degrees to students on the Bradford, Greensburg, Johnstown, and Titusville regional campuses, which hold their own commencement ceremonies.

During her 55-year career, Faison (B.S. '46, M.S. '55, Ph.D., '75) has won renown as a remarkably accomplished and widely admired educator with a number of firsts to her credit, among them being named, in 1968, the Pittsburgh Public School District's first female high school principal as well as its first African American high school principal; becoming the district's then-highest-ranking woman in 1983, when she was named deputy superintendent; and becoming the first Black to lead Pittsburgh's public schools when she was interim superintendent from early 1999 to mid-2000. She is director of the Pittsburgh Teachers Institute, a partnership involving Chatham College, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Pittsburgh Public Schools, aimed at enhancing the training provided to city school teachers. She is currently cochairing the search for a Pittsburgh Public School District superintendent to succeed John Thompson. She continues to serve Pitt as an emerita trustee and as a member of the boards of visitors of the University's School of Education and College of General Studies.