Nordenberg honored with place to sit back, relax


Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said it’s an ominous feeling seeing your name etched into stone with dates next to it — but, on this day, it was for a celebration for the end of an era.  

Pitt’s Staff Association Council and the University Senate honored Chancellor Emeritus Mark Nordenberg and his wife, Nikki Nordenberg, on Wednesday for their service and dedication to the University for the past 19 years with a “bench plaza” outside his former office on the Bellefield side of Cathedral of Learning. 

Gallagher continued the jokes, saying the two benches, which were inscribed with a short dedication message, will look great with students putting their feet on top of them. 

Richard Colwell, president of the Staff Association Council, spoke endearingly of the former chancellor and his wife, noting that Nordenberg is the first former chancellor to be honored with a bench.  

“We can never thank Mark and Nikki enough for all they’ve done for the University,” Colwell said, later prodding Nordenberg to take time to have lunch with him on the bench sometime soon.

According to Colwell, about 50 people worked on the project. 

“The idea was first kicked around by the Staff Association Council at a meeting,” Colwell said. “The [University Senate Council] decided to go with it and include Nikki, which I think was a fabulous idea.”

Gallagher said we are all fortunate that Nordenberg will continue to devote his time to the University. In June, the University Board of Trustees unanimously elected Nordenberg as chancellor emeritus and was also chosen to serve as chair of the University’s Institute of Politics.

“There are many uses for a bench: homework, studying, resting, talking or just enjoying the day. It’s a perfect way to give thanks to Mark for his service,” Gallagher said. 

Nordenberg said he appreciated the recognition for him and his wife of more than 40 years.

“I think the only things that make me special are the people surrounding me, and that starts with Nikki,” he said. “Nikki made independent contributions to the University, and she generated a sense of warmth among students, staff, faculty and alumni.”

Nordenberg especially liked the placement of the “bench plaza” outside of his former office, where he would look out and see students or faculty wandering or hurrying, and, on weekends, playing touch football, frisbee or cricket.

“It’s the crossroads of campus, I think,” he said.