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A gift from David C. Frederick will benefit students at the University of Pittsburgh and University College at Oxford University

Frederick, Sophia Lynn, Baroness Valerie Amos and Chancellor Gallagher

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher today announced a multi-million-dollar gift to establish the David C. Frederick Honors College at the University of Pittsburgh.

The commitment from Frederick — a renowned attorney who has often argued before the Supreme Court of the United States — takes the form of an innovative agreement supporting Pitt’s Honors College and also University College at Oxford University in England.

“David has filled his life, personally and professionally, with moments of impact. Now, his name is inextricably linked to a college at the University of Pittsburgh that is devoted to doing the same,” Gallagher said. “Pitt Honors students are exceptionally gifted and eager to make a difference — just like David. I am grateful for both his and Sophie’s support, friendship and continued investment in our students, their academic careers and their lifelong success.”

Frederick (A&S ’83) is one of the country’s most successful lawyers focusing on appellate litigation, having argued more than 100 appeals, including dozens that have risen to the U.S. Supreme Court.  An alumnus of the Honors College, he was Pitt’s first Rhodes Scholar, studying at Oxford from 1983-1986, and now he becomes the first donor to construct a gift supporting both the University of Pittsburgh and Oxford University.

“Sophie and I are delighted to participate in an innovative philanthropic model that benefits two important institutions where I spent many happy years as a student,” Frederick said. “The University of Pittsburgh Honors College will derive substantial and enduring benefits from this arrangement, which also will ensure modern, multi-purpose facilities for University College, Oxford, where students can flourish and deepen their sense of community with the college and city of Oxford. Our hope is that the project will enrich the educational experience in an inclusive way at both institutions for many decades to come.”

At the Honors College, the gift will focus on students and fund high-impact learning experiences including study abroad and study away scholarships, stipends for internships and research experiences, and participation in academic and professional conferences. It also will support recruitment partnerships and mentorship programs for students from first-generation and historically under-represented backgrounds including scholarships for students who graduate from honors programs at community colleges in Pennsylvania. The gift enables the Honors College to build partnerships with Oxford to create a new set of educational opportunities for students.

Frederick in a suit

Frederick’s gift will help Oxford’s University College, known as Univ, create a landscape-driven multigenerational community with up to 150 en suite study bedrooms, a cafe, gym, study, meeting and lecture spaces. The site also will support a nursery with outdoor space for up to 54 children and an existing residential home for seniors. The enhanced collegiate community in North Oxford will benefit from the development, to be known as Univ North, with its gardens, rejuvenated heritage orchards and an environment focused on well-being, sustainability and shared purpose.

“We are enormously grateful to David Frederick for his exceptional support and longstanding commitment to our college,” said Baroness Valerie Amos, master of University College, Oxford. “Univ North will be transformational for Univ, enabling us to further realize our vision through our commitment to academic excellence, diversity and inclusion.”

The gift agreement includes $35 million to help pay for Univ North, with Oxford’s University College making a 50-year commitment to distribute some of the income generated from the completed development to the University of Pittsburgh for the Honors College. The gift to Pitt, which also includes $5 million outright, is expected to create a permanent endowment valued at more than $65 million, benefitting the University and its students for generations.

As a political science major, Frederick quickly made a name for himself on Pitt’s campus by earning induction into the Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa honor societies, competing with Pitt’s nationally ranked debate team, and being selected as a Harry S. Truman Scholar and a Rotary International Scholar. He received the Emma W. Locke Award in 1983. 

This most recent gift to Pitt follows years of support from Frederick. He established the William Stanton Award in the Department of History in honor of his former professor, created the G. Alec Stewart Endowed Student Research Fund in the University Honors College to support undergraduate research projects and established the William J. Keefe Congressional Fellowships. Through his generous gifts to the Frederick Fund, he has supported scholarships and public service internships for more than 60 students.

“This gift will be absolutely transformative,” Honors College Dean Nicola Foote said. “It will significantly expand the range of learning opportunities available to honors students, allowing us to support a diverse body of intellectually ambitious students in an expansive range of unique enrichment experiences. The naming of the college is especially significant, as David Frederick in his own life story truly represents the embodiment of what an honors education can and should mean. I am honored, humbled and delighted to lead the newly named Frederick Honors College.”

Frederick’s gift and the naming of the Frederick Honors College will be celebrated with a Sept. 1 event at Pitt.

Photographed at top from left to right: David C. Frederick, Sophia Lynn, Baroness Valerie Amos and Chancellor Patrick Gallagher.