Pitt’s first vice chancellor for diversity leaving in January

Kathleen Blee and Pam Connelly at table


Pam Connelly, vice chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion, will leave her position in January 2020, according to @Pitt.

From 2002 to 2015. Connelly has provided various legal services to Pitt as an associate general counsel, litigation counsel and legal consultant. She officially took on her role with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion when it was created in 2015.

According to @Pitt, she’s announced plans to return to practicing law as a shareholder in the Pittsburgh law firm Strassburger, McKenna, Gutnick & Gefsky. She’ll focus on higher education law and litigation and employment law in the firm’s nonprofit and education branch.

In October, ODI announced that its three-unit structure — the Office of Institutional Equity, the Title IX Office and the digital accessibility initiative — will be reorganized into two units: Inclusion and Access, and Civil Rights and Title IX.

Connelly, according to @Pitt, grew ODI from four to 18 employees. And the reorganization has created more positions — all to better serve Pitt’s evolving needs.

While heading ODI, Connelly has worked to make Pitt a more inclusive environment through a variety of trainings, workshops and Pitt community initiatives and more. Also, her office has worked to recognize members of the Pitt community for their efforts in making Pitt more inclusive.

“It has been an honor to serve Pitt in this capacity,” Connelly said in a statement to @Pitt. “I am humbled by all that I have learned, and I’m proud of the dedicated and talented ODI team.”

Recently, her office has focused on improving digital accessibility and, through the Title IX office, reducing incidents of sexual misconduct on campus.

Her office has coordinated four annual diversity retreats aimed to get the Pitt community to engage with uncomfortable subjects surrounding mental health, community engagement, racial and social justice, LGBTQ+ community issues and more.

ODI also champions affinity groups, now called Pitt Communities, to give faculty and staff, especially from underrepresented groups, a chance to network, train and provide community outreach.

For three years in a row, Pitt has earned the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from Insight into Diversity Magazine.

Senior Vice Chancellor for Engagement Kathy Humphrey praised Connelly’s work over the years. “Pam has made profound contributions across the entire University in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion,” Humphrey said in a statement to @Pitt. “Her commitment and dedication to creating and sustaining a culture that embodies these values has been unwavering. I am grateful for her leadership and the impact she has made.”

A national search for Connelly’s replacement will begin “soon,” according to @Pitt.

Donovan Harrell is a writer for the University Times. Reach him at dharrell@pitt.edu or 412-383-9905. 


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