Dr. Patricia Beeson, provost emerita of the University of Pittsburgh, will address graduates of the Bradford campus during commencement exercises April 28.
She will also receive the Presidential Medal of Distinction - Pitt-Bradford's highest honor - from Lawrence Feick, interim president.
Commencement will be held at 2 p.m. in the KOA Arena of the Richard E. and Ruth McDowell Sport and Fitness Center.
“We are delighted to have Dr. Beeson address our graduates this year,” Feick said. “Dr. Beeson has had a long and distinguished career at the University of Pittsburgh. She began her career as a professor of economics, then assumed leadership roles as associate dean in the School of Arts and Sciences, vice provost, and then provost and senior vice chancellor. She will be able to draw on her many achievements when addressing our graduates.”
Beeson served eight years as the chief academic administrator for the Pitt university system before returning to her faculty position in September 2018.
One of her most notable accomplishments as provost was spearheading the creation of Pitt's School of Computing and Information, which opened in 2017 as the first new school at the university since 1995.
She also established Pitt's Innovation Institute, which opened in 2013 and supports startups, patents and inventions.
In 2014, Beeson introduced a popular “Year Of” initiative that funds available university-wide for projects related to an area of emphasis in that year. The first “Year Of” focused on sustainability. Other “Year Of” focuses have been humanities, diversity and Healthy U.
At Pitt-Bradford, her “Year Of” series has supported films, guest musicians, authors and speakers, special classes and new works of art ranging from a general education chemistry class on sustainable energy to a selection of chamber music performances at the Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center.
Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said when she stepped down as provost, “All five of Pitt's campuses have benefitted from her leadership, realizing gains in reputation, graduation and retention rates, student success and support for faculty.”
Beeson first joined Pitt in 1983 as a Department of Economics faculty member in the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Before being elected as provost and senior vice chancellor in 2010 by the Board of Trustees, she held other administrative roles, including associate dean for undergraduate studies in the Dietrich School, vice provost for graduate studies and vice provost for graduate and undergraduate studies.
Beeson received a bachelor's degree in economics from Oregon State University in 1977 and a doctoral degree in economics from the University of Oregon in 1983.
Feick will also present Beeson with Pitt-Bradford's Presidential Medal of Distinction, a distinction also bestowed upon her predecessor, Dr. James V. Maher, in 2010.
Feick said, “During her years as provost, Dr. Beeson has provided steadfast support to her colleagues on the Bradford campus, enabling Pitt-Bradford to make significant progress in its strategic plan. That progress, new majors and minors, new academic partnerships, and new and renovated facilities, are all providing enhanced and transformative experiences for our students. We are awarding her the Presidential Medal of Distinction to show our gratitude for all she has done for the students, faculty and staff of the Bradford campus.”
Beeson is the 30th individual or group of individuals awarded the Presidential Medal. Recent recipients include the Pitt-Bradford Advisory Board; architect Albert Filoni, late president of MacLachlan, Cornelius & Filoni Architects: and Greg Booth, former president and chief executive officer of Zippo Manufacturing Co.