Pitt-Bradford launches public phase of $17.5 million campaign

Luke and Alexander
PBAA president Chris Luke draws scholarship winner

Pitt-Bradford launched the public phase of its 50 and Beyond fundraising campaign today to raise $17.5 million by the end of its 50th anniversary year in 2014.

            Dr. Livingston Alexander, president, announced that the campus has already raised 60 percent of the campaign target. Funds raised will benefit scholarships, academics, technology, capital projects and athletics.

            The kick-off of the public phase of the campaign included a brief program to recognize and thank the lead donors and introduce the campaign’s priorities, which include scholarships – at $6.5 million -- and the American Refining Group/Harry R. Halloran Jr. Energy Institute at $1.25 million.

            Dr. Alexander expressed gratitude to the lead donors who helped the institution reach 60 percent of its campaign target. Those lead donors include members of the Blaisdell Family -- Harriett B. Wick, George Duke and two anonymous donors. Other lead donors were the Agnes L. and Lewis Lyle Thomas Estate, Harry Halloran Jr., Halloran Philanthropies and William Mallinson.

            “There is a great deal at stake in this ambitious campaign effort,” Alexander said in his remarks to those gathered for the launch celebration in Blaisdell Hall. “What’s at stake is our ability to ensure that future generations of students in our region and beyond have access to superior academic programs and a campus environment that is second to none.”

            Other priorities of the campaign include capital projects at $6.5 million, including a Marilyn Horne Center and Exhibit at $250,000. Additional priorities include the arts endowment at $600,000; the technology endowment at $550,000; a hospitality management test kitchen at $500,000; high-definition equipment for the broadcast communications program at $250,000; and an athletics endowment at $25,000.

            Campaign co-chairman Greg Booth, president and chief executive officer of Zippo Manufacturing Co., said in an interview after his speech that he and the members of the Institutional Advancement Council, which had input in determining the campaign priorities, placed scholarships at the very top of the list.

            “We have a great education at an affordable price in an attractive environment,” he said, adding that investment in scholarships and academic and technology upgrades are needed to make sure that remains true.

            Campaign co-chairman Harvey Golubock, president of ARG Resources, emphasized the need to support public higher education, citing his own experiences and saying that without public higher education, he would not have succeeded to the extent that he has.

            He also emphasized the importance of scholarships as government support for public higher education and student financial aid programs continues to decline.

            Golubock also pointed to new programs Pitt-Bradford has started to help students find success in the world of work: criminal justice, hospitality management and petroleum technology.

            “My own priorities lie in the energy field,” said Golubock, who is the former president and CEO of American Refining Group. He touted the petroleum technology program, saying, “Virtually every graduate of that program has found employment.”

            The launch event also featured displays by faculty and staff of those areas targeted for campaign funds.

            The $1.25 million to be set aside for the Energy Institute will be used to create a laboratory space where Dr. Matt Kropf, director, can teach students about producing biodiesel fuel by converting waste fryer oil from the campus into fuel for campus trucks and equipment. The space and equipment will be a vital part of a new four-year energy science and technology degree that Kropf is developing.

            The technology endowment will support not only wireless infrastructure on campus, but also classrooms designed to simulate a business environment where students will work in groups monitored by a professor.

            Bernie Picklo, academic technology integrator at Pitt-Bradford, demonstrated the futuristic classroom, which he said would enhance collaboration and give students more individual attention from faculty members.

            Campaign priorities were chosen to dovetail with the goals of the campus’s five-year strategic plan, enhance the student experience and keep Pitt-Bradford competitive.

            For more information on the campaign, contact Jill Ballard at (814)362-5091 or jballard@pitt.edu