Chancellor’s Update

October 6, 2023

Dear Pitt students, faculty and staff,

With the start of fall break, I’m writing today with some updates and an engagement opportunity.

Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month
As a University, we celebrate Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month and the history, culture and countless contributions of members of the Pitt family whose ancestry can be traced to Latin America. Fifty-five years ago, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson established this important recognition, especially calling out “the educational community” to observe what was then “National Hispanic Heritage Week” with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” We are proud to advance this important tradition and encourage you to participate in the events this month. And we welcome your feedback on ways we can improve at this moment and during every month.

Board of Trustees Meeting
At the University’s Board of Trustees’ public meeting last week, I shared Pitt’s annual report, which highlighted the fiscal year that ended on June 30. Given that I started in July, it was very educational for me to pull together our accomplishments over the past year and see our momentum and opportunities as we look ahead. From record applications and research, to national recognition as a best employer, we are in a good place.

I also shared with the Board a timeline and plan for the next chapter of our strategic plan, the Plan for Pitt. We highlighted how this work builds upon the robust shared governance that brought us to the current phase of the Plan for Pitt, as well as the University values that emerged during that process. You can view the full presentation here. Anchored in this work, we’ve continued to consult with University stakeholders and with external partners over these last weeks, including with Faculty Assembly and undergraduate and graduate and professional student leadership, as well as with elected officials and community members across the commonwealth and beyond.

This feedback helps us as we seek to elevate our values into action. What have emerged are the following tenets:

We will drive student success.
We will propel scholarship, creativity and innovation.
We will be welcoming and engaged.
We will promote accountability and trust.
It’s Possible at Pitt.

“It’s Possible at Pitt” is our space for moonshots, but the core of these tenets focuses on things that belong in our mission and that we can measure to help us understand if we are progressing. As we take these next steps together, I look forward to continuing scheduled in-person meetings with student, faculty, staff, alumni and senior administrative leadership. And because it is so important to us that everyone’s perspective is included, we are sharing a survey as another way to provide feedback at this phase with more engagement opportunities as the plan takes shape. Thank you for your time and attention as this work evolves.

As L.M. Montgomery noted in “Anne of Green Gables,” “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” I hope everyone can enjoy this time — and I look forward to seeing you around campus and at homecoming where we look forward to recognizing our alumni award recipients, enjoying Pitt traditions like “The Snake,” and cheering on the Panthers to a victory against Louisville.

Hail to Pitt!

With warm regards,

Joan Gabel