Mark Nordenberg

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Mark Nordenberg
Mark A. Nordenberg
Born (1948-07-12) July 12, 1948 (age 74)
Duluth, Minnesota, U.S.
Alma materThiel College (BA '70)
University of Wisconsin Law School (JD '73)
Nikki Pirillo Nordenberg
(m. 1970)
ChildrenErin, Carl, and Michael
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Pittsburgh, Chancellor

Mark A. Nordenberg (born July 12, 1948) is the chancellor emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh and chair of the university's Institute of Politics. A professor of law and university administrator, Nordenberg served as the seventeenth Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh from 1996 to 2014.[1] Nordenberg served as the Dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law between 1985 and 1993 and other various administrative positions before becoming interim Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh in 1995, a position which became permanent the following year. He became known as Nordy to many Pitt students, who voted to name a recreation center and arcade in the William Pitt Union as Nordy's Place, and is also the namesake of the university's endowed Nordenberg Scholarships and the Nordenberg Hall dormitory on the university's campus.[2]

Early life[edit]

Nordenberg was born in Duluth, Minnesota. Nordenberg's family moved to suburban Pittsburgh when his father was relocated with U.S. Steel. He graduated with honors from North Allegheny High School.[1] He was then educated at Thiel College (BA 1970) and the University of Wisconsin Law School (JD 1973).[3]

At Pitt[edit]

In 1977, Nordenberg joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law as a visiting professor.[4] He served as Dean of the School of Law from 1985 until 1993 and as Interim Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs from 1993 to 1994. The Pitt Board of Trustees elected him Interim Chancellor in 1995 and a year later, after completing a national search, Chancellor.

On June 28, 2013, Nordenberg announced his retirement, to be effective August 2014,[5] but with the intent to stay in Pittsburgh and continue to work at the University of Pittsburgh:

My short-term goal is clear. I intend to work as hard as I can during my final year as Chancellor to make certain that it is another great year for Pitt. My clear intention is to remain in Pittsburgh and at Pitt once that next year has concluded, and I have agreed to make myself available, as requested, to assist my successor, particularly in matters involving external relations. Beyond that, I would expect to teach and to remain engaged in public service projects focused on the advancement of the region.[6]

— Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg, Pitt Chronicle

Institutional accomplishments[edit]

Chancellor Nordenberg (fourth from left) in full academic regalia during Pitt's graduation commencement exercises in 2007

Nordenberg is credited with initiatives that have improved the university's academic, research and athletic standing, and contributed to the renovation and expansion of the university's physical plant.

Between 1995 and 2013, student enrollment at Pitt grew 21%, from 27,002 to 32,781 with over 137,000 degrees conferred, and the average SAT score of the applicants grew 185 points.[7] This change is reflective in the student's accomplishments, as after 1995, Pitt undergraduate students have received four Rhodes Scholarships, five Truman Scholarships, six Marshall Scholarships, seven Udall Scholarships, and 41 Goldwater Scholarships. At the same period, Pitt faculty members have been recognized multiple times as Fulbright Scholars, Boren Scholars, Whitaker International Fellows, National Science Foundation Fellows, Critical Language Scholars, and Humanity in Action Scholars; they received prestigious awards such as the National Medal of Science, the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, the MacArthur Foundation's "genius award," the Charles S. Mott Prize in cancer research, and the Andrew Mellon Foundation Distinguished Achievement Award for exemplary contributions to humanistic studies[7]

During Nordenberg's tenure, Pitt re-established its reputation as a national and world class research university,[7] and its yearly research allocations grew from $230 million in 1995 to $800 million currently.[8] University of Pittsburgh is a member of the Association of American Universities, that consist of the 62 top North American research universities. Pitt is prominent in physical, life and social sciences: along with Johns Hopkins, Washington, Michigan, and Pennsylvania universities it is one of the top five largest recipients of the federal science and engineering research and development support; in comparison, in 1995 Pitt was ranked the 24th in the same list.[7] The federal government also designated the Center for Latin American Studies, the Center for Russian and East European Studies, and the Global Studies Center as National Resource Centers.[8]

Despite the Great Recession of 2008 and continuous cuts to the state contribution to the university's budget, Pitt under Nordeberg maintains an AA/positive long-term ratings from Standard & Poor. Its endowment grew from $463 million in 1995 to $2.99 billion in 2013.[7]

Physical plant renovation[edit]

The university residence hall opened in 2013 was named in Nordenberg's honor

Nordenberg oversaw the renovation of several major Pitt buildings including Alumni Hall and Benedum Hall; the demolition of Pitt Stadium, the original Pennsylvania Hall, and the Mineral Industries Building; the acquisition and repurposing of the University Club and the Concordia Club; and the construction of Bouquet Gardens, the McGowen Institute Laboratory building, the Petersen Events Center, Sennott Square, Biomedical Science Tower 3, the Carrillo Street Steam Plant, the new Pennsylvania Hall, Panther Hall, the Public Safety Building, the Life Science Annex, Darragh Street Apartments, the Petersen Sports Complex, and replacement of the University Place Office Building with Nordenberg Hall. He also oversaw the initiation and completion of a $2 billion capital campaign entitled "Building Our Future Together".[9]


In 1984, Nordenberg received Excellence-in-Teaching Award and in 1985 Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Pittsburgh.[10] He was named Distinguished Service Professor of Law in 1994.[1]

Pitt's Staff Association Council and the University Senate honored Mark Nordenberg and his wife Nikki for their service to the university by installing commemorative bench plaza outside of the Cathedral of Learning[11]

In 1997, he was honored as Person of the Year in Education by Vectors, a community service organization in Pittsburgh. He was named Pittsburgher of the Year and Co-Pittsburgher of the Year by Pittsburgh Magazine in 1999 and 2001, respectively. in June 2005, the university's board of trustees announced the establishment of the endowed Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg University Chair position to honor the Chancellor's 10 years of leadership. In December 2007, by resolution of the Pitt Student Government Board, the recreation room on the ground floor of the William Pitt Union was named Nordy's Place in honor of the Chancellor whom the board deemed a student favorite and worthy of the honor.[6]

In 2009, Nordenberg was honored with the 2009 Presidential Leadership Award by The Gordie Foundation and Outside the Classroom Award for his role in overseeing Pitt's mission to combat binge drinking.[12] He also serves on the board of directors of UPMC[13] and The Bank of New York Mellon.[14]

On October 26, 2012, the Pitt Board of Trustees announced a $10 million scholarship fund and the naming of a new campus residence hall, Nordenberg Hall, in honor Nordenberg, citing his role in transforming Pitt in 17 years leading the school.[15]

On February 6, 2014, Nordenberg was presented with the Louis and Barbara Thiel Distinguished Service Award by his alma mater, Thiel College as part of their annual Founders' Day Convocation ceremonies.[16]

On February 6, 2014, Nordenberg was awarded the Dapper Dan Dr. Freddie Fu Leadership Award in athletics.[17]

On April 8, 2014, Nordenberg, along with former Carnegie Mellon University president Jared Cohon, were named recipients of the Elsie Hilliard HIllman Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Public Service.[18]

On May 9, 2014, Nordenberg and Cohon were awarded the Chairman's award by the Carnegie Science Center of Pittsburgh for leadership in science, technology, and education.[19]

On May 12, 2014, the university's Staff Association Council and the University Senate announced it was honoring Nordenberg and his wife Nikki with a pair of commemorative benches that were placed outside the windows of the Chancellor's office in the Cathedral of Learning.[20]


Nordenberg led a search for his successor in 2014, and the university announced on February 8, 2014, that Patrick D. Gallagher would take over for Nordenberg in August 2014.[21] At the close of his service as chancellor, Nordenberg was appointed as the chair the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics[22] and was named chancellor emeritus.[23]

Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission Chair[edit]

On 3 May 2021, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania named Nordenberg Chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Reapportionment Commission, tasked with redrawing PA legislative districts following the 2020 Census.[24]


Nordenberg married Nikki Pirillo in 1970, and they have three adult children and three grandchildren.[1][8]


  1. ^ a b c d "Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg: A Career Filled With Accomplishments, Community Involvement". Pitt Chronicle, Newspaper of the University of Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh. July 2, 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  2. ^ Fraser, Jeffrey (Spring 2009). "All the comforts of home — and then some". Pittsburgh Quarterly. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  3. ^ 2007-08 Pitt Basketball Guide, pp. 198-99.
  4. ^ Barlow, Kimberly K. "Nordenberg reflects on 18 years". University Times, Volume 45, Issue 22. University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  5. ^ Nootbaar, Mark (28 June 2013). "Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg to Leave in 2014". Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg To Leave Position in 2014 but Will Remain at Pitt". Pitt Chronicle. University of Pittsburgh. July 2, 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  7. ^ a b c d e "The Nordenberg Years to Date: 1995-2013". Pitt Chronicle, Newspaper of the University of Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh. July 2, 2013. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  8. ^ a b c Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg: Profile, University of Pittsburgh, accessed 2009-02-11.
  9. ^ Niederberger, Mary (2012-10-12). "Pitt reaches $2 billion fundraising goal". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2012-10-26.
  10. ^ "Awards and Honors Received by Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg". University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  11. ^ "Nordenberg benches in place". University Times. Vol. 47, no. 1. University of Pittsburgh. August 28, 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  12. ^ Bauknecht, Sara (2009-11-03). "Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg honored for anti-drinking efforts". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh, PA. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
  13. ^ "About UPMC: UPMC Leadership". UPMC. 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
  14. ^ "Governance: Board of Directors". The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation. 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
  15. ^ Erdley, Debra (2012-10-26). "Pitt trustees honor Chancellor Nordenberg with scholarship fund". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2012-10-26.
  16. ^ "Thiel College bestows service award". The Vindicator. Youngstown, Ohio. February 18, 2014. Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  17. ^ Werner, Sam (December 7, 2013). "Pitt's Nordenberg wins Dapper Dan leadership honor". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  18. ^ "Pitt's Nordenberg, CMU's Cohon to receive public service award". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. March 24, 2014. Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  19. ^ "2014 Carnegie Science Awards Recognize Leaders in Science, Technology, and Education" (PDF) (Press release). Carnegie Science Center. April 18, 2014. Retrieved May 10, 2014.
  20. ^ "Reception Honors Chancellor Nordenberg". University of Pittsburgh Staff Association Council. May 12, 2014. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  21. ^ "Pitt elects Gallagher as its 18th chancellor".
  22. ^ Erdley, Debra (June 16, 2014). "Nordenberg to chair Pitt's Institute of Politics". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  23. ^ Barlow, Kimberly K. (June 26, 2014). "Nordenberg named chancellor emeritus". University Times. Vol. 46, no. 21. Retrieved June 27, 2014.
  24. ^ "Nordenberg to Chair PA Reapportionment Commission" (PDF). Retrieved May 4, 2021.

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Richard J. Pierce, Jr.
Dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Succeeded by
Richard H. Seeburger
Preceded by Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh
Succeeded by