Gallagher gives final report as Chancellor at Board of Trustees meeting


TPN File Image

A view of the Cathedral of Learning.

By Adrienne Cahillane, Staff Writer

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher gave his final report at the Board of Trustees Meeting on Friday, touching on his time as chancellor and Pitt’s plan for the future.

Peter Varischetti, chair of the properties and facilities committee, announced that the final step in the Hillman Library renovation has been approved. This is one of four projects approved, and it is expected to create 707 jobs for the local economy, according to Varischetti.

“Phase Four will renovate the ground floor, construct a new glass entry atrium, and upgrade the building core, including all restrooms and elevators, ” Varischetti said. “This project was approved at the amount of $69 million.” 

Gallagher is ending his tenure at Pitt with another year of record applications. The University received 58,265 undergraduate applications so far for the class of 2027. The increase in demand for a Pitt education is ‘astonishing,’ according to Gallagher. 

“I projected a number which has now been exceeded,” Gallagher said. “Demand to attend this campus has never been higher. Based on deposit data, Pitt is drawing students from nationally and globally. We have received deposits from 46 states, Guam and 35 countries internationally.” 

Gallagher feels that the pandemic had no effect on undergraduate enrollment because the numbers increased each year.

“This graph shows the 10 year enrollment trend and the aggregate enrollment on our four regional campuses,” Gallagher said. “I want you to know that these trends are robust and the pandemic is essentially invisible on this chart. These trends existed before the pandemic and they continue today.” 

Gallagher also acknowledged the board members’ efforts during this time of transition. 

“These are big times and there is nothing larger for a board than navigating a university through a leadership transition,” Gallagher said. “I just want to acknowledge your service and sacrifice through this vital time.” 

It was also announced at the meeting that Pitt Bioforge, a research facility that will focus on cell and gene therapy, will move toward execution.

“It will be one of the most significant regional developments in years,” Gallagher said. “We are bringing a new economic sector to take advantage of the intellectual and healthcare riches we have in our region.”

Chairperson Douglas Browning announced that the new track and field facility will be named after Herbert P. Douglas Jr., an alumnus, trustee and Olympic medalist.

“Herb was an ultimate trailblazer and a proud African American Alumnus who understood the transformative power of a Pitt education,” Browning said. “As many of you on this board will recall, we have approved and endorsed the proposal to name the future track and field facility in honor of Herbert P. Douglas Jr.” 

Gallagher also complimented Provost Ann Cudd and said that Pitt is “better off” because of her hard work.

“I believe that Ann’s leadership has had a powerful and lasting impact on this University,” Gallagher said. “She oversaw the increase in quality and diversity of the classes that are being welcomed onto our campus.”

Gallagher also mentioned the leadership transition between himself and incoming Chancellor Joan Gabel, saying it’s one of the “best ones” he’s seen.

“We’ve been talking about this for weeks,” Gallagher said. “There is a big team working hard to ensure this transition is great for the University and give Joan every ability to be successful in this role. I couldn’t be more delighted to see what comes next.” 

About an hour into the meeting, University Police intervened and removed an individual from the room. This individual interrupted the meeting and demanded better support systems for LGBTQ+ people and better mental health resources on campus.

The Board of Trustees also acknowledged Ann Cudd’s and Chancellor Gallagher’s respective departures with personalized presentations.

“Being a Chancellor is an extraordinary privilege and honor, but if you look at it that way, I think you miss a key part,” Gallagher said. “The chancellor role is actually a touch point in a larger leadership team. Everything that has happened in the last nine years has happened because there is a group of people that are dedicated to stewarding and ensuring that this remarkable institution stays where it is, but adapts and improves.” 

Gallagher thanked the Board for entrusting him with the responsibilities of being Chancellor.

“I just want to thank you for entrusting me and our leadership team,” Gallagher said. “Every good thing that has happened has happened because we did it together.”