The Pitt News

Gallagher officially installed as Chancellor

By Alex Leighton / Staff Writer

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Patrick Gallagher’s long wait finally came to an end with his official installation as Pitt’s 18th chancellor by the Board of Trustees.

Although Gallagher assumed the role of chancellor in August, he was officially inaugurated almost seven months later, during the Honors Convocation in the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh Music Hall on Saturday at 10 a.m. The Hall, which seats 1,950, was full to capacity. After Gallagher delivered the keynote address, Kathy Humphrey, senior vice chancellor for engagement and chief of staff, presented the Omicron Delta Kappa Seniors of the Year, the Emma W. Locke Award and recognized the University Scholars.  

Gallagher said although he is “not sure why we waited seven months before inaugurating me,” he used the time to explore the campus and talk with students and faculty. He expressed that the date, Pitt’s 228th anniversary, was a fitting, “special day” for his installation. The process of installing Gallagher as Pitt’s chancellor was one of Stephen Tritch’s final acts as the Board of Trustees’ chairman. Gallagher said Tritch’s last full meeting in the position occurred the day before, and he will step down from his position during the following meeting in June.

“Steve presided over one of the largest changes the University has seen,” Gallagher said. “A change in leadership that followed a remarkable tenure of stability and success.”

The ceremony began “a new era of leadership,” as noted in an event program, yet did not belong to Gallagher alone, though, as students were honored for achieving high standards in academics and leadership. 

Humphrey announced that Mike Nites, who graduated last December with a degree in industrial engineering and applied mathematics and economics, and Dhanalakshmi Thiyagarajan, a senior majoring in bioengineering, were the Omicron Delta Kappa Seniors of the Year.

“Overall, it’s an honor to win the award. Every year, so many great student leaders win the award,” Nites, who served as Student Government Board president last term, said. “It’s an honor to be able to join them.” 

Thiyagarajan, founder and president of the Gluten-Free Awareness League, president of Society of Women Engineers and vice president of the Outside the Classroom Curriculum Honorary Society, said she has done a lot to help Pitt’s campus and the Pittsburgh community. 

“I believe that I have won this award as a way to recognize all of my efforts and encourage me to continue trying to better the overall community,” she said. 

The award is traditionally only given to one graduating senior for attaining a high standard of leadership in college activities, but, for the second year in a row, two students were honored.

“I love it when we have two winners,” Humphrey said.

Humphrey also announced Audrey-Marie Winn, a senior studying Chinese, nonfiction writing, philosophy and Asian studies, as the winner of the Emma W. Locke Award.

The award is given to a graduating senior in recognition of high scholarship, character and devotion to the University.

Winn studied Mandarin in China and aims to become a lawyer for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy. 

After the initial surprise of hearing her name called at the ceremony sank in and she figured out how to step up onto the stage, Winn said she was excited to represent the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

“It’s not something that you apply for, so it meant a lot. It showed a lot of institutional support at the end of my [college] career,” Winn said. 

This year’s University Scholars, which represents the top 2 percent of undergraduate juniors, seniors and the members of undergraduate graduation classes from the past year, totalled 331 members. 

During the ceremony, Humphrey asked the University Scholars and members of faculty to stand to be recognized for their achievements.

The now official chancellor ended the event by acknowledging that these feats of excellence would not have been possible without the support of the students’ peers.

Before the Heinz Chapel Choir sang the Alma Mater, Gallagher asked the entire audience to stand, as their honored peers had, in appreciation of their support.

“I’d like us to take a moment to recognize our fellow faculty of students, staff, family, friends and all those who assisted [us] in getting here tonight,” Gallagher said. “That means everybody.”

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper
Gallagher officially installed as Chancellor