Advisory Board chairmen have seen years of growth




Forty years ago, Craig Hartburg started his freshman year at the Pitt-Bradford. This fall, Hartburg will mark his ninth year as chairman of the Advisory Board. The irony is not lost on Hartburg, who has taken this incredible responsibility to heart as well as his predecessors, Hon. John Cleland and Bill Higie.

“Having been born and raised in Bradford, it’s a special honor for me,” Hartburg said. “The board has been an integral part of the growth you see on campus today.”

“The board has taken ownership of campus,” Hartburg said, becoming more active in what happens at 300 Campus Drive than most advisory boards.

“It’s a great group of people,” he said of the board members. “We reached 100 percent giving. That’s pretty special.”

Hartburg followed Hon. John Cleland, former president judge in McKean County, to the role, which Cleland held from 1995 to 2005.

William Higie held that spot for 22 years, in which time he “worked with a lot of good people, especially Dick McDowell.” McDowell was president of Pitt-Bradford from 1973 to 2002.

The first Advisory Board was appointed by Pitt Chancellor Edward Litchfield even before there was a physical campus. J. Bertram Fisher, president of Kendall Refining Co. was its first leader.

Because Pitt-Bradford is part of the larger Pitt system, the Advisory Board does not have the authority of a Board of Trustees. But in addition to being advisors, members have been cheerleaders, fundraisers and friends to the university for 50 years.

Populated by industry leaders, educators, legislators and philanthropists, Advisory Board members have smoothed the paths of agreements for internships, cooperative agreements and gifts of land such as the gift of 72 acres from Kendall Refining for the current campus.

Cleland noted quite a bit was happening on campus during his tenure, and all in its own time.

“I remember at one time during a dedication, we said we wanted a successful campaign, five new buildings and 1,500 students,” he noted. All were accomplished, but the 1,500 students came a little later. And when that was accomplished, he was finally able to say, “We finally got to great.”

Slow and steady has been the course of action for Pitt-Bradford and it has been a formula that has worked. A lot of that success has to do with the community, Cleland said.

“Bradford – it’s critical. It was the impetus to getting the campus started,” Cleland said.

Hartburg concurred that the community, including faculty and staff, have helped in the campus’s success.

“Without the community, Pitt-Bradford doesn’t exist,” he said.

Hartburg pointed to an economic impact study that was released in 2012 that cited PittBradford generated $67.5 million in the regional economy in 2011.

The study said that Pitt-Bradford supported a total of 740 jobs in the region in 2011, attributable to activities of the university and spending of its students. This included 555 direct jobs plus an additional 184 positions produced by the indirect effects of the university’s expenditures in the region and the induced effects of consumer spending for goods and services.   

While the community is vital for campus, the same can be said for how important the campus is to the community – and not just financially. Cleland pointed to all the campus has to offer – sports, arts, cultural, intellectual, educational and spiritual, to name a few.

“It is a major source for economic and community development in helping to improve the quality of life in the region and, as the institution moves into its second half century, it will continue to expand its impacts in the region,” according to the economic impact study.   

This, in turn, brings stability to the campus.   

“We don’t have to worry about whether it will be here in 50 years,” Cleland said.