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$2.1M Raised For Minority Scholarships At Pitt

 PITTSBURGH—Distinguished University of Pittsburgh MD alumni Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew (NURS ’76, MED ’94, GSPIA ‘10) and Vaughn Clagette (A&S ’89, MED ’93) have put the $3 million African American Alumni Council (AAAC) student financial assistance fundraising campaign beyond the $2 million mark in pledges and gifts just one year after the campaign’s public phase began. The announcement was made today during the AAAC’s Sankofa Homecoming Weekend Fellowship Brunch in the Pittsburgh Grand Hotel, Downtown. 

The AAAC’s $3 million fundraising drive—its first major gifts campaign—has been designed to provide financial assistance to undergraduate and graduate students of diverse backgrounds throughout the University. [For information on two Pitt students who have already benefited from the campaign, see the story that accompanies this release.] The AAAC launched its $3 million diversity fundraising initiative during Pitt’s 2009 Homecoming. The AAAC’s efforts have attracted support from more than 1,000 donors, whose contributions to the more than 120 diversity funds Universitywide have made possible the campaign’s swift and steady progress. 

Larkins-Pettigrew and Clagette have made pledges to establish a new fund in honor of Larkins-Pettigrew’s husband, Chenits Pettigrew Jr., who earned the Master of Education degree from Pitt in 1976 and a PhD in education from Pepperdine University in 1984; he received his undergraduate degree, in political science, from Westminster College in 1969. The new endowment will supply funding for the Office of Diversity Affairs in the School of Medicine to provide need-based scholarships and program support. 

Pettigrew, who is an instructor in the School of Medicine, has served as assistant dean for student affairs and director of diversity programs in the Pitt medical school since 2006. In that role, he has been a dedicated advocate for underrepresented students in the School of Medicine, helping many of them find resources they need to pursue their medical education. The endowment created in his name will provide ongoing financial support to the outstanding dedication he has shown to the many students he serves. 

“For 41 years, Chenits has dedicated his career to changing the world, one life at a time,” said Larkins-Pettigrew. “When given the responsibility of recruiting students who traditionally had been underrepresented in the University community, Chenits understood how important the responsibility was. His life is intertwined with the lives of the students he has known. He has stood watch and guided many who have realized their dreams. This gift is a testament to Chenits’ belief in possibilities and a guarantee that someone will always be there to stand watch.” 

Larkins-Pettigrew is currently an assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University, where she serves as program director for global health and reproductive science. Throughout her career, she has served in many medical positions, including program director for global health and reproductive science in Pitt’s School of Medicine; assistant director of student health at Tuskegee University; and critical care instructor at Brotman Medical Center. She volunteers with several not-for-profit organizations worldwide and has received numerous awards and honors. In 2009, during her years as a faculty member at Pitt, she was a nominee for the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award. 

Larkins-Pettigrew and Louis Kelly (EDUC ’77, ’78G) are cochairs of the AAAC Scholarship Campaign Steering Committee. She attributes the campaign’s early success to a number of factors: “We have been very well supported by Pitt’s development team. We have a dedicated committee that meets regularly and is made up of people from many different professions and backgrounds. The challenge is to make sure we maintain momentum and continue to educate, so the people really know the good that the donations bring.” 

Clagette is founder, clinical codirector, and practicing hospitalist of Tanner Intensive Medical Services in Carrollton, Ga., where he specializes in the overall medical care of hospitalized patients. Tanner Health System has consistently been named “hospital of choice” in the region by its patients and has been recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as a Best Place to Work. Clagette is also founder and chief operating officer of HGA Hospitalist Consultants in Atlanta. In addition, he is a member of the Society of Hospital Medicine. Clagette and Larkins-Pettigrew first became friends as students in the Pitt medical school. 

The AAAC campaign is part of the University’s $2 billion Building Our Future Together capital campaign, which has raised more than $1.5 billion to date. The University’s capital campaign is the largest and most successful in the history of both Pitt and Southwestern Pennsylvania. 

 

 


STORY TAGS: BLACK , AFRICAN AMERICAN , MINORITY , CIVIL RIGHTS , DISCRIMINATION , RACISM , NAACP , URBAN LEAGUE , RACIAL EQUALITY , BIAS , EQUALITY



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