Callahan handing the board gavel to Browning
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Pitt’s Board of Trustees named a new chair and added five members

  • University News
  • Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

The University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees has elected Doug Browning (A&S ’72) as its next chair.

The vote, held on June 24, sees Browning immediately succeed Vice Chairs Mary Ellen Callahan and Louis R. Cestello at the helm of the governing body that oversees all charitable, scientific and academic activities at Pitt. The change also cements Browning’s status as the first African American leader to chair the board of one of America’s oldest institutions of higher education.

“I could not think of a more qualified, collaborative and passionate leader to take on this role,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “I have had the honor of serving alongside Doug for years, and his easygoing nature belies an unflagging work ethic and dedication to getting every detail right. He is a powerful force for good, and I look forward to watching him shape the University of Pittsburgh’s next exciting chapter.”    

Browning was first elected to the University’s board as a trustee in 2013 and has served on or chaired a number of committees. He began serving Pitt in the early 2000s when he joined the Pitt Alumni Association board, the Alumni Leadership Council, the African American Alumni Council, the Board of Visitors for the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and, most notably, the Board of Trustees.

“It is with a full heart that I accept the responsibility of chair of the Board of Trustees at my alma mater — one of the greatest institutions of higher learning in America and the world. I am a proud Pitt graduate, and I am honored to have this opportunity to serve my alma mater,” said Browning, principal in the independent consulting company DM Browning & Associates LLC.

Browning said “front and center” on the board’s agenda is launching the search for a successor to Gallagher, who announced in April that he planned to step down as chancellor in summer 2023 to transition to the faculty as a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

“We face an important year ahead, a year with important milestones. By academic year 2023-24, we will install a new chancellor to follow the excellent leadership of Patrick Gallagher. My fellow board members and I are excited and eager to start this journey together with Pitt students, faculty, staff, administration, alumni and community,” Browning said.

Browning, who earned a law degree from Hofstra University, has received several Pitt honors over the years, such as Legacy Laureate and the Baierl Distinguished Alumni Service Award. He worked for nearly three decades at what is now the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency, concluding as deputy commissioner and CEO. He then worked for General Motors, Sandler Travis Trade Advisory Services and Science Applications International Corp. until forming DM Browning & Associates, which consults on moving goods and services across international borders.

Also elected to the Pitt board were five members — two of whom are term trustees returning to service: Dawne Hickton (LAW ’83) and Eva Blum (A&S ’70, LAW ’73), the latter who served as the first female chair of the board between 2015 and 2020 with the maximum of five elected one-year terms.

The newly installed (or returning after hiatus) Pitt board members are:

  • Blum, former PNC Bank executive vice president and director of community affairs
  • Hickton, Critical Mission Solutions executive vice president and COO
  • Valerie Njie (EDUC ’71), former Bidwell Training Center senior vice president and executive director, and outgoing Pitt Alumni Association president (alumni trustee)
  • David C. Frederick (A&S ’83), Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick partner (special trustee)
  • Jeffrey D. Martchek (A&S ’87), former Homebuilding Operations, NVR, Inc., president (special trustee)

Several members of the board ended their terms:

  • Mary Ellen Callahan
  • Herb S. Shear
  • Marna C. Whittington
  • Keith E. Schaefer
  • Jane B. Allred
  • Wen-Ta Chiu