He had been Vice Chancellor of Finance and was appointed Acting Chancellor after the sudden death of Stanton Crawford. Crawford died of a heart attack January 26, 1966. Kurtzman's administration negotiated the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's bailout of Pitt's fiscal woes. The university became a state-related institution on August 23, 1966.
On January 13, 1967 the Board of Trustees announced its selection of Wesley Posvar as its new Chancellor, effective June 1. Kurtzman, that same day, was promoted to the full rank of Chancellor until the Chancellor-elect was installed.
A ballroom in the university's William Pitt Union is named in his honor.
Kurtzman was born near Odessa, Ukraine, in then-czarist Russia, and survived pogroms as a boy, eventually immigrating to the United States in 1921. He earned his undergraduate degree from Temple University and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He worked for many years at the Pennsylvania Economy League. There he served as a key aide to David L. Lawrence, mayor of Pittsburgh, and Richard King Mellon, financier, in their effort to build the city's first renaissance after World War II. Kurtzman joined the newly elected Governor Lawrence in 1959 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as his secretary of administration.
He was the defendant in the landmark Supreme Court decision Lemon v. Kurtzman.
|University of Pittsburgh Chancellor
1966 – 1967
- Alberts, Robert C. (1987). Pitt: The Story of the University of Pittsburgh 1787-1987. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-1150-7.
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