Dear Pitt Community Members:
Earlier today, I met with our Board of Trustees and shared my intention to step down from my role as chancellor sometime in the summer of 2023, following a successful search for my successor. It is my hope that this early announcement provides plenty of time to ensure a smooth and effective transition period for the University.
Normally, this kind of news is prompted by something specific—a different employment opportunity, an external event or crisis, or perhaps a move into retirement. In this case, my decision is unprompted by any of these considerations. I am still a bit young to contemplate retirement; I am in good health; and I am not leaving Pitt to take another position. I have been privileged to serve with the steady and strong support from our Board of Trustees and—of vital importance to me—I hope to maintain your trust and confidence, as well.
I realize that a sudden and unexpected announcement like this can spark speculation. So, let me assure you that my decision is based on purely personal considerations. When I first assumed this role, following many years of senior leadership positions in government, I made a commitment to myself that I would remain in this role for only as long as I believed that I could carry it out to the fullest of my abilities.
Serving as chancellor at one of the greatest public research universities in the nation is deeply fulfilling and rewarding. The job is also very demanding, extraordinarily public-facing, and it can be all-consuming to do well, consistently, for a long period of time. It is important that I exit this post before my energy, commitment, and attention to the work at hand wanes—a move that would be detrimental both to me and to the broader University.
After much reflection over the past many months, I have concluded that next summer is the right time to make this change. I am very proud of where Pitt is today, and I think the University is well positioned for a new leader to take the helm and thrive. When next summer concludes, I will have served as your chancellor for nine amazing years. This is both long enough to have accomplished some great things together but not so long that I will have worn out either myself or my welcome.
My plan, come summer 2023, is to transition to the faculty as a professor in our Department of Physics and Astronomy. After all, teaching physics was the goal that originally brought me to Pitt in 1986 to get my doctorate, so for me this is a dream come true!
Meanwhile, 2023 is still a way off, and we have plenty of things to do together. Transitions like this can be times of uncertainty, but they are also moments of opportunity. Pitt is a remarkable university and thriving in so many important ways. While change can be uncomfortable, we are facing it together—from a position of amazing strength—and I am confident that Pitt’s best days still lie ahead of us.
It has been the honor of my life to have served the University in this role. Thank you for that privilege.