Pitt-Greensburg names SOC Building in honor of past president
Today (2/24/12), the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees approved a resolution naming a new building, currently under construction at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, in honor of Frank A. Cassell, third president of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.
The Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation, donor of the largest gift in the history of the Greensburg campus that is being used in part to fund the construction of the Sustainable Office and Classroom (SOC) Building, suggested that the building be named the “Frank A. Cassell Hall.”
“We are pleased to be able to recognize the contributions of both Dr. Cassell and the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation in this manner,” said Sharon P. Smith, PhD, president of the Greensburg campus. “During the 10 years the campus was under Frank’s leadership, enrollment grew, buildings were renovated or newly built, classrooms were modernized, and the Academic Villages were developed. By honoring the suggestion of the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation, the Pitt-Greensburg community hopes to demonstrate its appreciation for the Foundation’s steadfast and ongoing support; the joint commitment of the Foundation and the University of Pittsburgh to embrace future programs for students while preserving the beauty of the Greensburg campus and the larger Laurel Highlands community; and the valuable contributions Frank A. Cassell made to both.”
Cassell served as president of the Greensburg campus from June 1997 until his retirement in June 2007. Cassell shared the same interests as Katherine Mabis McKenna, founder of the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation, relating to civic, cultural, and educational issues.
Through his appreciation for the rich history of the region and personal commitment to preserving its beauty, he built strong ties between the Greensburg Campus and the community. He also was the founder of the Smart Growth Partnership of Westmoreland County and Westmoreland Heritage. Cassell served on many boards and civic organizations, including the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce, the Greensburg YMCA, the Greensburg Rotary Club, The Greensburg Community Development Corporation, and the Westmoreland County Historical Society.
The Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation has supported a wide range of important initiatives at the Greensburg campus, including building McKenna Hall; upgrading and improving technology resources in Smith Hall and in residence halls across the Greensburg campus; and helping to address economic growth and revitalization through the Smart Growth Partnership. Linda McKenna Boxx, chairman of the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation, is a past recipient of the President’s Distinguished Medal from the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg for her distinguished service to the campus.
Previously referred to as the Sustainable Office and Classroom (SOC) Building, “The Frank A. Cassell Hall” will be completed this summer and in use by the start of the Fall 2012 term. This two-story, 16,837 square-foot building will be used to house a new computer center, faculty and staff offices, space for computer support and media and instructional technological services, two large classrooms, and a student lounge. It has been designed to realize 30 percent annual energy savings, reduce water usage by 50 percent, and provide an extension of the natural sloping site along the south bank of the Greensburg campus. A silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) designation for this building is anticipated and would be the first such LEED certification on campus. A ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony is planned for the summer of 2012.
Other major funding received for the construction of this building came from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and the Timken Foundation. Federal funds were also provided through the support of Congressman Tim Murphy.