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Nordenberg to chair Pitt's Institute of Politics

| Monday, June 16, 2014, 2:22 p.m.

Outgoing University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg won't be going far when he steps aside as chancellor on Aug. 1.

University officials on Monday announced Nordenberg will assume a newly established post as chair of Pitt's Institute of Politics on Jan. 1.

The institute, an independent nonprofit that has operated within Pitt for more than two decades, provides a neutral forum for the study of complex policy issues. It has provided input to policymakers on issues ranging from Marcellus shale development to municipal pensions and public health care literacy.Nordenberg, 65, who came to Pitt as a law professor in 1977 and has led the university for the past 19 years, announced last summer he would step aside as chancellor this year.

“When I announced my decision to step down as chancellor, I stated that my heart would remain in Western Pennsylvania and that my future would be at Pitt. Those feelings, particularly when combined with the exceptional quality and impact of the Institute of Politics, made this opportunity uniquely appealing,” Nordenberg said in a prepared statement.

Stephen Tritch, chair of Pitt's board of trustees, said Nordenberg's work at Pitt and on various regional initiatives throughout Western Pennsylvania make him exceptionally qualified for his post.

“From this new position of leadership within the Institute of Politics, he will be able to invest even more of his time in this important work, which will be good for Pitt, for our home communities and for the commonwealth,” Tritch said in announcing the appointment.

Terry Miller, a longtime institute staffer, whom Nordenberg appointed director of the organization in 2005, said he is well-suited to her organization's work.

“While there are hundreds of institutes of politics across the nation, as far as I can tell, we are the only one that does what we do: We serve as a neutral convener of public policy dialogue. It is not about advocating; it is about bringing people together in a neutral setting to study these issues and then putting what we've learned out there for policymakers. Other universities are trying to replicate what we do,” Miller said.

The announcement occurs a month after the institute received its largest gift, a $5 million grant from the Henry L. Hillman Foundation. Pitt officials announced that part of the grant will underwrite the Elise H. Hillman Civic forum, a program designed to prepare the next generation of civic leaders.

Debra Erdley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7996 or derdley@tribweb.com.

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