University of Pittsburgh
June 13, 2012

Pitt Board Nominating Committee Advances Three as New Trustee Candidates, Two as New Vice Chairs

Contact:  412-624-4147


PITTSBURGH—The Nominating Committee of the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees today advanced three alumni as new candidates for membership on the board: David C. Chavern (A&S ’83), executive vice president and COO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.; Brenton (“Brent”) L. Saunders (A&S ’92), president and CEO of Bausch + Lomb in Rochester, N.Y.; and Jack D. Smith (A&S ’69, MED ’73), director of Excela Health Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Greensburg, Pa. 

The Nominating Committee also advanced two individuals as candidates to serve as new vice chairs of the Pitt Board—trustees Eva Tansky Blum (A&S ’70, LAW ’73) and Morgan K. O’Brien—to succeed outgoing vice chairs Suzanne W. Broadhurst, director of corporate giving for Eat ’n Park Hospitality Group, who has served as vice chair since October 2003, and Robert M. Hernandez (A&S ’66), chair of RTI International Metals Inc., who has been vice chair since June 2006. Blum is senior vice president and director of community affairs for PNC Bank and chair and president of The PNC Foundation, and O’Brien is president and CEO of Peoples Natural Gas Company LLC, both in Pittsburgh.

Nominated for re-election to the board as trustees were Eva Tansky Blum; Catherine D. DeAngelis (MED ’69), professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Bloomberg School of Public Health, and editor-in-chief emerita, Journal of the American Medical Association; Brian Generalovich (A&S ’66, DEN ’68), a dentist in private practice, Hermitage, Pa.; Marlee S. Myers (A&S ’74, LAW ’77), managing partner, Pittsburgh office, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP; Robert A. Paul, chair and CEO of AMPCO-Pittsburgh Corporation; Robert P. Randall (A&S ’65), president of RAND Group, Inc., Pittsburgh; and Tracey Thomas Travis (ENGR ’83), senior vice president of finance and CFO, Polo Ralph Lauren, New York City.


“We are extremely fortunate that these distinguished professionals—who possess wide-ranging talents, experience, and expertise—are willing to serve the University of Pittsburgh in such a meaningful way,” said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “Clearly, we have benefited from their contributions in the past, will benefit from their wisdom and insights during these especially challenging times, and look forward to working closely with them as we extend Pitt’s remarkable record of progress, achievement, and impact.”

The full board of trustees will act on the nominations at its June 22 annual meeting.

Biographical information on the new candidates advanced by the Nominating Committee follows.

In his role as executive vice president and chief operating officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., David C. Chavern serves as chair of the Chamber’s Management Committee. He is responsible for day-to-day operations as well as long-term planning, including responsibility for a range of policy, financial, administrative, and legal operations. He also oversees several revenue operations, including corporate partnerships and small business outreach and membership. Furthermore, he is deeply involved in the Chamber’s innovative push into social and new media. Chavern is also founder and president of the Chamber’s Center for Women in Business, whose objective is to increase opportunities for women at all levels of business.

Previously, Chavern served as the Chamber’s chief of staff and vice president of its Capital Markets initiative, where he quickly became one of the nation’s leading voices on corporate governance and on the regulation of U.S. capital markets. Earlier, he served in several senior positions at the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank, where he earned the 2001 Chairman’s Award, the highest honor offered by the Ex-Im Bank. Before coming to Washington, Chavern was in private legal practice in Philadelphia.

Chavern is a member of the board of directors of AEGON U.S. Holdings Corporation, the U.S. arm of the international life insurance, pension, and investment group. He is also on the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy & Negotiations and on the board of the Falls Church Education Foundation.

Chavern earned his Pitt Bachelor of Arts degree as a University Scholar. He holds the Master of Business Administration degree from Georgetown University, where he served as valedictorian, and is a graduate of the Villanova University School of Law (Order of the Coif).

Chavern has hosted several University events at the Chamber of Commerce, including the Provost Energy Dinner and Spotlight on Pitt. He and his wife, Sarita Gopal (A&S ’83), have established The Chavern-Gopal Endowed Student Fund in Pitt’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.      

Brenton (“Brent”) L. Saunders was appointed to his current position as president and chief executive officer of leading global eye health company Bausch + Lomb in March 2010.

Saunders is widely known for his significant healthcare industry expertise and proven track record leading business transformations and integrations. Most recently, he held the position of president of Schering-Plough’s Global Consumer Health Care and was named head of integration for that company’s merger with Merck & Co. and for Schering-Plough’s acquisition of Organon BioSciences. Before joining Schering-Plough, Saunders was a partner and head of Compliance Business Advisory at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Prior to that, he was chief risk officer at Coventry Health Care and senior vice president, Compliance, Legal and Regulatory, at Home Care Corporation of America. Saunders began his career as chief compliance officer for the Thomas Jefferson University Health System.

Saunders serves on the boards of directors of Forest Laboratories and the Overlook Foundation. He is also a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Upstate Regional Advisory Board.

After earning his Bachelor of Arts degree from Pitt, Saunders graduated from Temple University, where he earned Master of Business Administration and Juris Doctor degrees.

As a Pitt undergraduate, Saunders was president of the Student Government Board and vice president of the Interfraternity Council. In 1992, he was named Omicron Delta Kappa Senior of the Year, and his name is engraved in the stone walkway between Heinz Chapel and the Cathedral of Learning on the Pitt campus. He is a Life Member of the Pitt Alumni Association and has been involved with the Association’s Emerging Leader Program and as a Pitt Alumni Recruitment Team (PART) volunteer. He and his wife, Amy, have established The Saunders Family Scholarship in Pitt’s Department of Athletics.

After earning his Pitt undergraduate and MD degrees and completing his orthopaedic surgery residency here, orthopaedic surgeon Jack D. Smith was in private practice until 2007, when he joined Excela Health System, whose Orthopedics and Sports Medicine division he now serves as director. In addition, he served as the team physician for Greensburg Salem High School athletics for nearly 32 years.

An active alumnus, Smith is a Life Member and the immediate past president of the Pitt Alumni Association. Before becoming the Alumni Association’s president in 2010, Smith served as its vice president for two years and, prior to that, as director-at large for two years. He is currently a member of the Executive, Finance, and Governance committees of the Alumni Association. Smith chaired the Pitt Orthopaedic Alumni Association for more than a decade, and he has been a campaign committee member for the School of Medicine and for the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg. He is a Pitt Career Network volunteer and was a member of the host committee for the University’s 2011 Winter Academy.

Smith currently serves as a Community Representative to the Pitt Board’s Institutional Advancement Committee and as a member of the Pitt-Greensburg Advisory Board. He and his wife, Georgia, a 1970 graduate of Pitt’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, have given the Petersen Sports Complex’s visiting team bullpen a new name—The Tom and Joan Bigley Baseball Visiting Team Bullpen, in honor of their friends, Emeritus Trustee Thomas G. Bigley and his wife, Joan—among many other gifts to Pitt, including the Jack D. and Georgia M. Smith Endowed Athletic Scholarship.

Smith is also actively involved in Westmoreland County community affairs. He is a member and past president of the Greensburg YMCA board; served for the past 10 years as president of the Westmoreland Museum of American Art Board of Directors; and has served as a member of the Boy Scouts of America Council.

As senior vice president and director of community affairs at PNC Bank and chair of the PNC Foundation, Eva Tansky Blum directs the company’s philanthropic programs, including PNC Grow Up Great, a $350 million multiyear, bilingual initiative that began in 2004 to support quality early-childhood education.

After earning her undergraduate and law degrees from Pitt, Blum began her career as an attorney in the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce and then, in 1977, joined PNC Bank’s legal division. She became PNC’s vice president in 1986 and was elected senior vice president and chief compliance counsel in 1990. She served as senior vice president and deputy general counsel/ director of Regulatory Affairs for PNC, and she recently served as senior vice president and director, Comprehensive Risk Management and Compliance. She was named to her current position in July 2002.

Blum is a member of both the Pennsylvania and Allegheny County bar associations and serves on the board of directors of the Business Civic Leadership Center. 

Actively involved in her alma mater, Blum, who received the Pitt Volunteer of the Year award in 1990, is a member of the Pitt Board of Trustees’ Executive and Institutional Advancement committees, chairs the Board’s Student Affairs Committee, and—with her brother and fellow Pitt trustee Burton M. Tanksy (A&S ’61), chair and CEO of The Neiman Marcus Group, Inc.—cochairs Pitt’s $2 billion Building Our Future Together capital campaign, the most successful fundraising campaign in the history of both Pitt and Western Pennsylvania. She also chairs the Graduate School of Public Health Board of Visitors, serves on the Pitt School of Law Board of Visitors, and is past president and a life member of the Pitt Alumni Association. Blum is a member of the honor board of WQED Multimedia, serves on the advisory board of the Carnegie Science Center, and is a board trustee for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation.

Blum was one of 12 “Phenomenal (Pitt) Women” featured by Pitt Magazine and was named Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania in 2009; was given the Distinguished Alumni Award by the Pitt School of Law Alumni Association in 2008; received the Distinguished Alumna Award from the Pitt Alumni Association’s Alumnae Council in 2007; was the 2001 recipient of the Carlow College Women of Spirit Award; was named in 1999 one of Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business; and was honored with the YWCA Tribute to Women Award in 1998. 

As president and CEO of Peoples Natural Gas Company LLC—a utility serving approximately 359,000 customers in 16 counties in Southwestern Pennsylvania—Morgan K. O’Brien is responsible for the company’s strategic, operational, and financial performance.

Prior to joining Peoples Natural Gas in 2010, O’Brien served for more than nine years as president and CEO of Duquesne Light Holdings, refocusing that company as a solidly performing electricity utility and community partner. Under his leadership, the utility invested $500 million in the region’s electrical infrastructure. He also launched a series of economic development and community outreach programs.

O’Brien joined Duquesne Light in 1991, holding several senior executive positions before becoming CEO. Prior to his tenure at Duquesne, he served in various management positions at PNC Bank and major accounting firms.

Since joining Peoples Natural Gas, O’Brien has reestablished the 125-year-old company in Western Pennsylvania. He has brought more than 250 new jobs back to the region and created a Customer Service Center in Pittsburgh. In addition, he has orchestrated the largest infrastructure improvement and modernization project in the company’s history. More than $100 million has been invested to ensure the continued safe and reliable delivery of natural gas to customers. O’Brien has also positioned Peoples Natural Gas as a true community partner. The company sponsors many organizations and events that drive economic development and improve the region. 

A Pittsburgh native, O’Brien earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and master’s degree in taxation from Robert Morris University (RMU). On the Pitt Board, he chairs the Audit Committee and is a member of the Executive, Athletics, Compensation, and Conflict of Interest committees. He serves on many boards in addition to that of Pitt, among them those of RMU, the Pennsylvania Energy Association, the United Way of Allegheny County, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Pittsburgh Opera, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society—Western Pennsylvania & West Virginia Chapter.