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In a recent Editorial Board meeting with new Robert Morris University President Christopher Howard I was very impressed with the young man’s intelligence and overall determination to place his school in the same berth as Pitt, Duquesne and Carnegie Mellon.

Most of us who have been in Pittsburgh all our lives are over 30 years have a tendency to look at Robert Morris as a college not a growing university, because we are still thinking of the small school located in downtown Pittsburgh, but Howard is determined to change all that.

Schools in the Pittsburgh area: the University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University, Carnegie Mellon, Carlow University, Point Park, LaRoche College, Community College of Allegheny County, Chatham University all inside Allegheny County, but there’s also Slippery Rock University, Indiana University of Pa. just outside. Those are the ones I can think of, I’m pretty sure there are others, which gives Pittsburgh students a wide selection to pick from, while putting a lot of pressure on the local schools of higher learning to be able to keep the best and brightest students in Pittsburgh but to attract them to their school.

He first thanked those who came before him for moving Robert Morris from a small business school to a nationally recognized school not only for business but post-graduate programs. But one thing he made clear and I’m glad he understands, and that if colleges and universities are going to continue to grow, continue to compete, they must focus on diversity. They can no longer focus on just White males. These schools must go after the best and brightest females, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, as well as White males.

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