Diversity & Inclusion

As it celebrated the Year of Diversity at Pitt, the University launched new programs and partnerships championing access to higher education, hired its first woman athletic director, and continued to pioneer technology for people with disabilities and to expand opportunities for female and underrepresented construction and contractor professionals.


July 1, 2016
Year of Diversity Promotes an Enduring Pitt Value

The University highlights sustained commitment to inclusion and diversity by engaging throughout this academic year in ideas, activities, and discussions that illuminate our differences while also providing new perspectives and understanding.

August 28, 2016
Freshman Class Tops High Expectations

The freshman class starting in fall 2016 is the most accomplished and diverse in Pitt’s history. The new students hail from 44 states and 28 countries, and have an average GPA of 4.01. Among them are the Ravi triplets, who were drawn here by “research opportunities galore,” says Sreyas, right, the brother of Samhita and Sanjay. All three also are interested in athletics, music, and urban life.

December 12, 2016
Constructing the Future

More than 30 local female and underrepresented construction and contractor professionals participate in on-campus sessions to successfully complete the inaugural Construction Management Building Blocks Program, a partnership involving Pitt and regional construction leaders aimed at expanding business practices and partners.

December 14, 2016
New Partnership Helps Public School Students to Pursue Higher Education

Pitt joins the Pittsburgh Admissions Collaboration in partnership with the Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC). The goal of the program is to improve educational attainment by increasing the number of students in the public schools’ We Promise program attending CCAC with the intention of transferring to Pitt. The We Promise program serves African American male students on the cusp of eligibility for the Pittsburgh Promise. The collaboration begins with Pitt Pathfinders working with seventh and eighth graders to promote college enrollment when they graduate from high school.

February 28, 2017
Celebrating Black History Month at Pitt

Along with many other events celebrated during Pitt’s Year of Diversity, the Pittsburgh campus held its annual K. Leroy Irvis Black History Month Program which, in 2017, features the event Faith: The African American Church Through American History. This year’s honorees are Jeannette South-Paul (MED ’79), the Andrew W. Mathieson professor in and chair of the Department of Family Medicine in the School of Medicine, and James J. Robinson (A&S ’51), civil rights leader, educator, and the first Black athlete to play varsity football at Pitt.

March 29, 2017
New Athletics Director Makes History

Heather Lyke, whose leadership of athletics at Eastern Michigan University earned national praise, is named athletic director at the University of Pittsburgh, making her the first woman in Pitt’s history to hold the full-time post.

April 1, 2017
African American Alumni Council Honors Distinguished Alumni

Five alumni are honored with Distinguished Alumnus Awards by the African American Alumni Council. The awards are given to outstanding African American Pitt alumni for their professional accomplishments and community stature. The 2017 awardees are: Elayne Arrington (ENGR ’61), Martha R. Conley (LAW ’71), Robert “Bobby” Grier (BUS ’57), Vivian Hewitt (SIS ’44), and Cecile M. Springer (GSPIA ’71).

April 1, 2017
Alumnus Shares African American Masterworks with Pittsburgh

Masterworks of African American art are on display at Pittsburgh’s August Wilson Center thanks to Pitt alumnus Vivian Davidson Hewitt (SIS ’44). Over decades, she and her late husband, John, amassed this premier collection of art. On loan from the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture in Charlotte, N.C., this collection has traveled to more than 25 cities nationwide.

April 7, 2017
A PneuChair for Those with Disabilities

A waterproof wheelchair—designed, developed, and constructed at Pitt’s Human Engineering Research Laboratories—is now available to patrons at Morgan’s Wonderland, a 25-acre theme park in San Antonio, Texas, built specifically for individuals with disabilities. The patent-pending PneuChair pneumatic wheelchair uses high-pressured air as an energy source instead of heavy batteries and electronics.