By SUSAN JONES
The committee looking for Pitt’s next chancellor held open forums and solicited comments from the University community last fall, but since then the process has moved behind closed doors.
When asked how the search process was going and if the candidates had been narrowed to a list of finalists, Geovette Washington, Pitt’s chief legal officer who is assisting the search committee, said there were no updates on the search at this time, but that election of a new chancellor was not currently on the Board of Trustees’ Feb. 24 meeting agenda.
Chancellor Patrick Gallagher announced in April 2022 that he would step down this year after his replacement was found. The full search committee was announced in mid-September and held meetings with faculty, staff, students and alumni throughout October.
There has been no indication of whether the search committee is close to wrapping up its work. Trustees Chair Doug Browning said in July 22 that he would use the past two chancellor searches — in 1995 and 2013 — as templates for the calendar the search committee follows.
In June 2013, Mark Nordenberg said that he would step down as chancellor on Aug. 1, 2014. That search committee was finalized in September 2013, and Gallagher was selected as the chancellor-elect at a special meeting of the Board of Trustees in early February 2014.
The 1995 search was a different situation because Nordenberg was already interim chancellor when the search committee started its work. Nordenberg began serving as interim chancellor on Aug. 1, 1995, when J. Dennis O’Connor stepped down from the post under fire from the Board of Trustees. Nordenberg was officially named chancellor in June 1996.
The current search committee is chaired by Eva Tansky Blum, who served from 2015-20 as Pitt’s first female Board of Trustees chair and who led the 2013 search that brough Gallagher to Pitt.
Gallagher said in an interview last week that “when the board elects a new chancellor, we’re likely looking at a period of overlap with the chancellor and the chancellor-elect. … Obviously, I would offer whatever the chancellor-elect would want in terms of support.”
His office has already started some transition planning. “The best thing I can do to help my successor is to make sure we’re ready,” Gallagher said. This includes operational units looking at what kind of information they will need to share.
The Board of Trustees is responsible for appointing a transition committee, but Gallagher said he’s “sure they will be very interested in appointing somebody at a senior level to sort of quarterback transition efforts.”
In Gallagher’s case, Nordenberg’s chief of staff Renny Clark filled that role. The chancellor said they’ve been planning under the expectation that Kevin Washo, Gallagher’s chief of staff and senior vice chancellor for university relations, “is likely to be tapped to play a similar role, but that’s subject to the board’s decision about how they want to handle that.”
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at email@example.com or 724-244-4042.
Have a story idea or news to share? Share it with the University Times.