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Promise names executive director

| Thursday, June 5, 2008

Saleem Ghubril, a long-time youth advocate in the North Side, has been named executive director of The Pittsburgh Promise, officials of the $250 million scholarship program announced this afternoon.

"Saleem is an extraordinary and talented individual who has achieved great things in his work with children and the disadvantaged in Pittsburgh's North Side communities," said Franco Harris, chariman of The Promise's seven-member board.

Funded through a $100 million gift by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the program gives scholarships of as much as $5,000 a year and eventually up to $10,000 a year to graduates of Pittsburgh Public Schools and its charter schools.

Ghubril has led the The Pittsburgh Project since 1985. During that period, the nonprofit group has overseen more than 25,000 young people in repairing more than 1,400 homes and mentoring more than 1,500 children.

Ghubril immigrated at age 16 with his family to Iowa City, Iowa, from war-torn Beirut, Lebanon. He received a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Iowa and a Master of Divinity degree from Dubuque Theological Seminary in Iowa.

An ordained Presbyterian minister, Ghubril and his wife Patti moved to Pittsburgh in 1984 and live in the North Side. They have two children.

Ghubril was among nearly 40 applicants for the position.

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