Pitt chooses U.S. Department of Commerce official, Pitt graduate as next chancellor

Pitt chooses U.S. Department of Commerce official, Pitt graduate as next chancellor

By Danielle Fox / Staff Writer

Pitt’s Board of Trustees named Patrick Gallagher the University’s 18th chancellor Saturday morning, a privilege Gallagher called one of the highlights of his life.

The Board met for a special meeting in the Assembly Room of the William Pitt Union to approve Gallagher, the director of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Institute of Standards and Technology, as Pitt’s next leader. The Board began the search for longtime Chancellor Mark Nordenberg‘s successor after he announced last June that he would be stepping down from the position. Eva Tansky Blum, chairperson of the chancellor search committee, presented the resolution to elect Gallagher. The Board approved the decision unanimously.

Gallagher is also the acting deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Gallagher has family and academic ties to Pittsburgh.

He completed his Ph.D in physics at the University in 1991, and met his wife, Karen, while studying at Pitt.

Gallagher’s mother grew up in Pittsburgh, and he lived with his grandparents in Carrick while he was in second grade.

Gallagher served as the April 2013 commencement speaker, where the University awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Public Service degree.

Nordenberg said Gallagher has “years of experience dealing with federal government, which is absolutely critical to the University in terms of research funding and student aid.”

Stephen Tritch, Board of Trustees chair, said the search committee presented “a number of great candidates to the Board.”

But, “It became very evident that there was a single candidate among them that was basically unanimously recommended by the group as we considered who to make our next chancellor,” Tritch said.

Gallagher will not take his place as Pitt’s chancellor and chief executive officer until August 1, but is already drafting his to-do list.

He said his first order of business is to maintain and strengthen connections with Pitt’s community and partners, such as UPMC, Carnegie Mellon University, the city and the state.

“What I hope I really bring is a capacity to collaborate and build those bridges. A University doesn’t sit by itself. It is entwined and embedded in the community,” Gallagher said.