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What Pittsburgh Promised

David Werner, Interim President

Message from the President

Even IUP Magazine readers in far-flung places may have heard of the Pittsburgh Promise, which justifiably describes itself as “a visionary scholarship program to help students graduating from the Pittsburgh Public Schools to pursue further education after high school, and to enhance the growth, stability, and economic development of the Pittsburgh region.”

It was launched three years ago with a $100-million commitment by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. This included a $90-million challenge grant, to which a number of local foundations have responded.

One of them, the Heinz Endowments, pledged $6 million over three years. The Heinz Endowments have also formed a partnership with IUP’s College of Education and Communications for the purpose of helping students and parents carry out a key Pittsburgh Promise mandate: “Dream big.”

The Pittsburgh Public Schools recognize that “the work of preparing students for success after graduation must begin early and be reinforced at each grade level.” This includes promoting “aspirations for higher education.”

Hosting daylong visits, the IUP Promise Plus program gives students as young as fourth grade firsthand knowledge of a college campus, allowing them to envision themselves as students there. The program’s faculty members forge a relationship with parents, who arrive for their own tours, helping them become more involved with their children’s academic lives and with their plans for the future. In more than a few cases, the program has made a college education suddenly seem possible.

IUP Promise Plus also brings high school students to campus for a weeklong residential experience. Leaving the city for a small town and learning what life is like for an undergraduate can be an eye-opening experience. Most have little conception of a college campus. A high school visitor wondered, for example, about whether one might be able to find a bathroom between leaving the residence hall in the morning and returning in late afternoon.

The outstanding faculty members who participate in IUP Promise Plus are advisors, role models, tour guides, and teachers, all in one. In their interactions with students on campus and with parents on campus and in sessions in Pittsburgh, they are the conduits through which flows hope for the future.

The work of these faculty members should be a great source of pride and inspiration to all in the IUP community. There are undoubtedly many areas in which the university can and does play a major role in the Pittsburgh region. We need to recognize them and to continue to expand our relationships with philanthropic leaders like the Heinz Endowments. The promises of Pittsburgh should be IUP’s promises, too.

More from the Fall-Winter 2010 Issue of IUP Magazine

A Sense of Hope

A Sense of Hope

IUP’s Promise Plus program brings Pittsburgh students and their parents to campus for an exercise in imagination.

Double Vision

Double Vision

IUP’s University Museum hosted Paint & Pixels, an exhibition of identical twins Ron Donoughe’s oil paintings and Don Donoughe’s graphic design.

Above the Caption

Stephenson Hall, Pratt Plaza, Heritage Garden, and a view from the sky


Highlights about IUP faculty members, past and present


Athletic Hall of Fame inductions, sports update, and the Coal Bowl Trophy

IUP Magazine Web Exclusives

Pittsburgh’s Funny Guy

Pittsburgh’s Funny Guy

October 15, 2010
Jim Krenn ’83 talks about how he came to sit behind the microphone at WDVE.

Honoring, Remembering Our Own

Honoring, Remembering Our Own

August 21, 2010
IUP honors those lost in service to their country.

Professor Shari Robertson and her daughter Brianna Robertson ’09

Diphthongs and Dahntahn

June 30, 2010
What distinguishes our Western Pennsylvania dialect?