Summary of Major Accomplishments

During the past 15 years, the University of Pittsburgh’s progress and reputation as a world-class public research university have been steadily advancing. The ranking of Pitt among public research universities in U.S. News & World Report increased from the second tier (51st–115th) in 1995 to 19th tied with three others in the most recent ranking in 2011. For four consecutive recent years, Pitt ranked in the very top cluster of U.S. public research universities in the assessment independently produced each year by the Center for Measuring University Performance. In international rankings in 2012, Pitt ranked 35th among U.S. universities (16th among public universities in the United States) and 59th worldwide, according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

The University of Pittsburgh enhanced its position as the institution of choice for many students during this period, drawing from an increasingly talented and accomplished applicant pool and thereby profoundly changing the profile of undergraduate students enrolling on all campuses. On the Pittsburgh campus, for example, the midpoint of freshman SAT scores rose from 1100 in 1995 to 1280 in 2011, and the freshmenin the top 10 percent of their high school graduating class increased from 22 percent to 54 percent in that same period.

Pitt’s educational programs have regularly produced students earning the very highest forms of national and international recognition in this period, including four Rhodes Scholarships, a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, a Churchill Scholarship, five Udall Scholarships, six Marshall Scholarships, five Truman Scholarships, and 34 Goldwater Scholarships. On the alumni side, Pitt graduates have been recognized with such prestigious awards as the Nobel Peace Prize, the Nobel Prize in Medicine, the National Medal of Science, and the Pulitzer Prize.

Pitt’s reputation for offering excellent undergraduate experiences that keep students at the University has been growing as well. While graduation rates fell for one-third of U.S. four year colleges over a five-year period from 2003to 2008, Pitt had the fifth highest increase, according to a 2010 ranking in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Pitt’s research expenditures totaled $5.33 billion in the past 10 years, a level of funding that not only drives pioneering research but also serves as a sign of institutional stature. Pitt now ranks among the top five universities in funding that its faculty attracts from the National Institutes of Health—in 2008 joining Harvard University; Johns Hopkins University; the University of Pennsylvania; and the University of California, San Francisco—and is among the nation’s top 10 universities in total federal science and engineering research and development obligations, joining such others on the list as the University of Michigan; the University of California, Los Angeles;  Duke University; Penn; and Harvard.

The University consistently ranks in the top 20 among research universities in the number of national awards and honors bestowed on its faculty, according to the Center for Measuring University Performance, referenced earlier. In the most recent rankings of the National Research Council, Pitt had a number of programs that had substantially advanced from where they were in 1995, including molecular pharmacology, microbiology, nursing, bioengineering, biostatistics, neuroscience, epidemiology, psychology, computer science, mathematics, and political science. These, among others, are developing in the tradition of historically leading programs, such as philosophy and the history and philosophy of science.

Construction, renovation, and restoration on all five campuses have elevated the Pitt environment in instruction, research, recreation, student life, campus living, and virtually every other area in which people of the University are engaged. Working from a long-term facilities plan (see Facilities section in Institutional Effectiveness), the University made capital investments in many areas of critical importance. Deferred maintenance was dramatically reduced, existing facilities were significantly renovated to support new programs, campus utility and network infrastructures were modernized, much-needed new facilities were constructed, and additional student housing and recreational facilities were added to all campuses.