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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

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The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

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Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
Opinion | Believe victims even if you don’t like them
By Delaney Rauscher Adams, Staff Columnist • July 12, 2024
Opinion | Women pop stars and the pressure to evolve
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • July 10, 2024

Joan Gabel formally inaugurated as Pitt’s 19th Chancellor

Joan+Gabel+formally+inaugurated+as+Pitt%E2%80%99s+19th+Chancellor
Ethan Shulman | Visual Editor

After almost a year, Pitt officially has a new chancellor.

The University of Pittsburgh’s board of trustees formally inaugurated Joan Gabel as the University’s 19th chancellor at Carnegie Music Hall on Friday afternoon. The University conducted the ceremony alongside the annual Honors Convocation, which recognizes graduate and professional students’ achievements.

“Joan Gabel is a distinguished addition to a list of only 19 that have served as chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh in our 237-year history,” John Verbanac, chairman-elect of the board of trustees, said.

Gabel succeeded former Chancellor Patrick Gallagher in July 2023 after his nine-year tenure. She most recently served as the president of the University of Minnesota system from 2019 to 2023.

“We are at a moment in history when visionary ideas and strong leadership are essential for the future of institutions like ours,” Louis Costello, chairman of the board of trustees, said. “Joan Gabel provides both.”

Gabel earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Haverford College in 1988 and a Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia in 1993. She began her professional career as a professor of legal studies at Georgia State University in 1996. She became a professor of business and a department chair at Florida State University in 2007. She moved to the University of Missouri in 2010, serving as dean of its college of business. Gabel served as the provost of the University of South Carolina from 2015 to 2019 before assuming her position at Minnesota.

“Joan Gabel’s academic and professional resumé is a testament to the respect she’s earned in academia,” Costello said. “The University of Pittsburgh has a long history of appointing accomplished and visionary leaders — that tradition continues today.”

Gabel is the first female chancellor in Pitt’s history of almost 2 1/2 centuries, which, according to Castello, “embodies the transformational change that the world needs now.”

In her inaugural address, Chancellor Gabel emphasized the importance of remembering our history while also looking toward the future of higher education.

“We’re anchored by a legacy but also fueled by a momentum,” Gabel said, “And that gives me optimism and a certainty of our strength in the face of any headwinds that we might face today and that we will face in the future.”

She also noted that the University’s continued success is dependent on the hard work of its faculty and students.

“We can have a sampling of distinctions… [but] none of this is a given, it’s not guaranteed, we don’t inherit it, it’s not a birthright,” she said, “but it’s achieved because we work hard here. We channel and we create because we have the best in human potential here.”

Gabel also promised to promote Pitt’s achievements on an international stage.

“The reputation here is very strong,” Gabel said, “but the reality is even better and we want to close that gap. We want the world to know about the amazing things that we’re doing.”

In her time at the University of Minnesota, Gabel led the state-run system through the COVID-19 pandemic while increasing graduation rates and surpassing $1 billion in research funding. 

She left Minnesota last year amid questions surrounding possible conflicts of interest. She faced accusations of corruption over the hiring of David McMillan, who chaired the board of regents when she was hired, as interim chancellor of the Duluth campus, though she said she was not involved in the hiring process. She also faced questions over her position on the board of Securian Financial, which did business with the university, and eventually stepped down from that role. She said that she began discussions with Pitt before Securian made their offer, according to Pioneer Press.

Gabel has “hit the ground running” in her short time at Pitt, according to Costello. 

“From launching the Finish Line Grants on her 100th day to afford greater access and affordability to our students, to most recently delivering on the University’s next strategic plan: the Plan for Pitt 2028,” Costello said.

The speakers outlined a challenging path forward for Chancellor Gabel and Pitt but expressed optimism that the University could meet those challenges.

“Joan Gabel joins an institution with a distinguished and impactful history of achievement at a time when the field of higher education is rapidly changing,” Costello said, “Indeed, when the whole world is rapidly changing.”

Chancellor Gabel placed that responsibility not only on herself but on all the people that make up Pitt.

“We must make sure that we remain true to ourselves and to our values and to the light of learning,” Gabel said.