Educational Excellence

The University and its faculty and students continued to win national and international honors and recognition. And Pitt became a founding member of a coalition that aims to boost access, affordability, and classroom success among students in academically underserved communities.


August 9, 2016
Advancing Scholarship in Digital Humanities

David J. Birnbaum, professor in and chair of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, wins grant support from the National Endowment for the Humanities to advance digital humanities. He is a world leader in the use of digital technologies to make essential cultural texts accessible for scholarly research.

August 16, 2016
Scholar's Work Wins Polish Culture Award

Oscar E. Swan receives the Distinguished Service Award from the American Council for Polish Culture for significant contributions to the knowledge and appreciation of Polish culture. Swan is a professor of Slavic languages and literatures.

September 7, 2016
Poet Wins National Prize

English Professor Lynn Emanuel receives the 2016 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets for The Nerve of It: Poems New and Selected (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015). The annual honor recognizes the most outstanding book of poetry published in the United States and carries a $25,000 award.

October 3, 2016
Boosting Access, Affordability, and Academic Success

Pitt became a founding member of the Coalition on Access, Affordability, and Success as part of a concerted, strategic effort to connect with students in academically underserved communities. The goal is not just to help students start a Pitt education, but also to succeed in their studies throughout their careers here. For the first time, the University also joined 10 other institutions in offering a “Common Application,” geared to ease and consolidate the application process.

October 4, 2016
Distinguished Work Wins Early Career Research Awards

Two Pitt faculty members win prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) awards for early career investigators: William R. Stauffer, left, who focuses on neurobiology, receives an NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, and Matthew Neal, in surgery and critical care medicine, receives the Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award.

October 28, 2016
#1 Public University in the Northeast

The University of Pittsburgh is the best public university in the Northeast and among the best in the world, according to the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education college rankings.

November 3, 2016
Lifetime Achievement in Social Work

Larry E. Davis, School of Social Work dean and Donald M. Henderson Professor, is awarded the Significant Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Education Award by the Council on Social Work Education.

November 16, 2016
Alumnus Wins Prestigious Poetry Award

Daniel Borzutzky (A&S ’97) wins the 2016 National Book Award for Poetry for his work, The Performance of Becoming Human. Widely considered the nation’s highest literary honor, the National Book Award recognizes outstanding literary work by U.S. citizens.

December 6, 2016
Prestigious U.S Science Honor

Two University of Pittsburgh professors are elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the nation’s most prestigious scientific society. They are David Waldeck, left, a chemist noted for his work with electron transfer in solvents, and Hrvoje Petek, a physicist studying the physical properties of condensed matter.

December 15, 2016
Bioengineer Honored by National Academy of Inventors

Professor William Wagner, a bioengineer and director of the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, is named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, a professional distinction awarded to academic inventors who have demonstrated “a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.” He holds 17 patents and more than 40 invention disclosures.

December 19, 2016
Faculty Member Wins NEA Fellowship

English Research Assistant Professor Lauren Russell (A&S ’14G) is awarded a 2017 Creative Writing Fellowship and $25,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The award will enable her to further develop a book-length work, tentatively titled Descent, a hybrid of poems, lyrical essays, images, and documents based on the diary of her great-great-grandfather, Robert Wallace Hubert, a captain in the Confederate Army who had children with three of his former slaves, who also were sisters. One of those children was Russell’s great-grandmother.

January 31, 2017
Students Get Positive Payback

Pitt is featured in the Princeton Review’s Colleges That Pay You Back: The 200 Schools That Give You the Best Bang for Your Tuition Buck, a guide to the nation’s academically best and most affordable colleges that also have excellent records of alumni employment.

February 24, 2017
Honoring Student and Faculty Achievements

The Pitt community gathers to recognize some of the University’s finest current scholars and achievers at the 41st annual Honors Convocation. Among them are two undergraduates who received top student awards. Abigail Loneker, a bioengineering major, receives the Emma W. Locke Award for a senior of high scholarship, character, and devotion to the ideals of the University. Marcus Robinson, below left, a neuroscience and anthropology double major, wins the Omicron Delta Kappa Senior of the Year Award, which recognizes a student who has attained a high standard of leadership in collegiate activities.

March 28, 2017
Student Scholarships, For the Ages

The Reverend Charles Avery was one of the earliest donors to endow a scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh through a bequest in his will. More than 150 years after his death, the generosity of this Pittsburgh entrepreneur, abolitionist, and philanthropist continues to provide scholarship support for Pitt students. The inaugural Charles Avery Scholarships Dinner, held March 28, celebrates the generosity of donors who make a lasting impact by endowing scholarships for Pitt students. Many of these donors attend the dinner along with students who currently receive support from endowed scholarships.

April 8, 2017
Top Programs Nationally in Nursing

The School of Nursing’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program and Master of Science in Nursing program ranks 7th and ties for 8th, respectively, in the latest edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Graduate Schools.” The nursing school ranks fourth in the administration specialty, third in the clinical nurse leader specialty, and sixth in the adult gerontology/acute care specialty for nurse practitioners.

April 28, 2017
Undergraduate Chosen as a National Beinecke Scholar

Margaret Farrell is named one of 20 national Beinecke scholars for 2017. The scholarship supports graduate education in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. She is a junior studying the history and philosophy of science. The gift will support her pursuit of a master’s degree in evolutionary biology and a PhD in the philosophy of science.

April 29, 2017
Congratulations, Graduates!

Beginning a new tradition, Pitt holds both graduate and undergraduate commencement ceremonies, creating a more personal and engaging graduation experience. The name of each of the more than 5,300 graduate, undergraduate, and professional degree recipients is read aloud during the diploma procession.

May 3, 2017
Creating the Future

Pitt is among a select group of 50 institutions profiled in Colleges That Create Futures: 50 Schools That Launch Careers By Going Beyond the Classroom, published by the Princeton Review. The book profiles about 2 percent of America’s approximately 3,000 four-year colleges.

June 20, 2017
Geri Allen, Passionate Educator and Musician

Members of the Pitt community joined jazz fans the world over in mourning the death of acclaimed pianist and composer Geri Allen (A&S ‘82), director of Pitt’s Jazz Studies program and an associate professor of music. An influential jazz pianist, she led the program beginning in 2014, after organizing Pitt’s fall 2013 Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert.

June 28, 2017
Physician-Professor Wins Biomedical Ethics Prize

Robert M. Arnold, a professor in the Center for Bioethics and Health Law, receives the Patricia Price Browne Prize in Biomedical Ethics. This award was established in honor of the Oklahoma City, Okla., community leader to be given to an individual who “demonstrates the highest standards in the medical or professional ethics fields.”