Gallagher Becomes 8th Benedictine Alum to Head a College | Benedictine College

Gallagher Becomes 8th Benedictine Alum to Head a College

Alumnus Named Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

The University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees has unanimously elected Patrick D. Gallagher, Ph.D., the 18th Chancellor and chief executive officer of the University of Pittsburgh.  Gallagher becomes the 8th Benedictine College graduate to be named as the top executive at a college.

“We’re excited about Patrick Gallagher’s new position,” said Stephen D. Minnis, president of Benedictine College and one of those on the list. “Benedictine College has been called a ‘cradle of university presidents.’ He is living proof that our mission of community, faith and scholarship leaves our graduates uniquely qualified to succeed in many walks of life. He has succeeded as a leader in Washington, D.C., and we look forward to his success in academia.”

Gallagher graduated from Benedictine College in 1985 with bachelor’s degrees in physics and philosophy.  Even as a student, he showed an aptitude for leadership, serving on the executive board of the Student Government Association his senior year.  He currently serves as Acting Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce and Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  He will succeed Mark A. Nordenberg, who is stepping down as Pittsburgh’s Chancellor on August 1, 2014, after leading the college for 19 years.

"I am deeply honored to have been chosen to lead the University of Pittsburgh," Gallagher said. "Public service has been an underlying value throughout my career, and I can think of no higher form of public service than leading this great university."

Gallagher is the eighth Benedictine College graduate to serve as a college president since the year 2000. The list of 21st century Raven presidents includes:

  • Daniel Carey, ’68, was president of Benedictine College and then Edgewood College (Madison, Wisc.)
  • Patrick Gallagher, ’85, Chancellor and chief executive officer, University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania)
  • Don Kassing, ’63, served as the president of San Jose State University (San Jose, Cal.)
  • Thomas Keefe, ’74, University of Dallas (Dallas, Texas)
  • Michael King, ’83, Fisher More College (Fort Worth, Texas)
  • Robert Kustra ’65, Boise State University (Boise, Idaho)
  • Carolyn Ray Mahoney ’68, Lincoln University (Jefferson City, Mo.)
  • Stephen Minnis, ’82, Benedictine College (Atchison, Kan.)

Gallagher was appointed Acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Commerce by President Barack Obama on June 1, 2013. In that capacity, he serves as the chief operating officer for the Department, with overall responsibility for budget, planning, and operations. The mission of the Department, which has a total operating budget of over $10 billion and has 40,000 federal employees, is to help make American businesses more innovative at home and more competitive abroad.  As Director of NIST, a position he has held since 2009, Gallagher provides high-level direction for the agency, which promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology.

Prior to assuming the directorship of NIST, Gallagher served in a number of capacities with that agency, including deputy director, director of the NIST Center for Neutron Research, and leader of the Research Facilities Operation Group in the Center for Neutron Research as well as a NIST agency representative at the National Science and Technology Council. He is a member of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Sigma Xi Honor Society, and the Sigma Pi Sigma Honor Society.

Gallagher worked as a research assistant at the University of Pittsburgh and received his Ph.D. in physics from Pitt in 1991. Prior to joining NIST in 1993, he worked as a research associate at Boston University.  Before pursuing his graduate studies, he taught science and math at a high school in St. Joseph, Mo., where he also served as head coach for the cross-country team.  He currently lives in Brookeville, Md., with his wife, Karen, and their three sons.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas.  The school is proud to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report as well as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide.  It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging.  It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.