Chancellor’s Annual Report to Trustees Highlights Affordability Initiatives, Academic Feats

Patrick Gallagher and Jem Spectar

Pitt’s largest financial aid restructuring and the most diverse class on record were among the updates from Chancellor Patrick Gallagher during Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

At the meeting held at the Pitt–Johnstown campus, Gallagher presented the University’s 2018-19 annual report, including this past year’s accomplishments related to access and affordability, academic excellence, innovation and community impact.

“The University of Pittsburgh’s upward trajectory continues to be defined by evolution, innovation and a willingness to grapple with some of society’s most intractable issues,” Gallagher said. “The consequence of this work is clear: We are making a powerful and positive difference — on our campuses, in our communities and across the globe.”

Access and affordability

The University has expanded its total investment in students with financial need across all campuses to $130 million. More than 4,500 students are benefiting this year from the Pitt Success Pell Match, which matches the federal Pell Grant dollar for dollar for all qualified students. In addition, the new $4.5 million Pitt Success Grant program provided an average of $5,500 each to over 800 first-year undergraduates with significant unmet need to support their ability to complete their studies. In subsequent years, the University will add support to each first-year class until all eligible students are covered.

Other access and affordability initiatives include the American Talent InitiativePanthers ForwardPittsburgh Public Scholars, the Pittsburgh Admissions CollaborationPitt Fund$MeCoalition for College and RaiseMe.

Academic excellence

Gallagher highlighted the accomplishments of students and alumni, including the eighth Rhodes Scholar in Pitt’s history, Lia Petrose (A&S ’17), Goldwater, Schwarzman and Beinecke honorees, plus nine graduate fellowships awarded by the National Science Foundation. The University, meanwhile, is now ranked #57 out of 318 in the U.S. News & World Report National University Rankings, moving up 13 positions since the last ranking.

“These accomplishments tell the story of an innovative, top-quality public university that repeatedly delivers on its promise to propel students to success,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher also discussed the University’s improvements in attracting a more diverse student body. With a record number of first-year applications, the Class of 2023 appears to be Pitt’s most racially and ethnically diverse first-year class on record. Nearly one-third of the class identifies as African American, Asian or Latinx.

An engine of innovation

Pitt is “among elite company in its ability to attract federal research and development funding,” Gallagher said. The University ranks 10th nationally in federal research and development funding, attracting on average roughly $800 million annually and was among the top five in National Institutes of Health funding. The focus on discovery translating to economic activity is one aspect of Pitt’s economic impact, including over 70 new companies spun out over the last five years. 

Community impact

The University’s $4.2 billion annual economic impact extends beyond education and research into deep investments in community engagement, health and well-being, from the urban neighborhood of the Pittsburgh campus to the rural communities surrounding the regional campuses. 

Pitt’s focal point of collaboration with its neighbors are its Community Engagement Center (CEC) initiatives. At the CEC in Homewood, Pitt’s extensive programming includes health and wellness, career skills, job training, educational opportunities, arts and culture, and programs to support business owners, entrepreneurs and non-profits. Pitt also continues to work closely with community partners in the Hill District to develop new types of community-based programs.