Office of the Provost


September 22, 2011

Dear Colleagues:

Dr. Betsy Porter has provided more than 33 years of exceptional service to the University of Pittsburgh, so it is with regret, and with deep appreciation for her loyalty and dedication to Pitt, that I have accepted her wish to retire at the end of this fiscal year.

Since each of us has worked closely with Betsy and observed her impact directly, I am certain that you will join me in commending her accomplishments and unwavering commitment during her more than three decades of service to the University of Pittsburgh.  In her tenure as Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, the University of Pittsburgh has emerged as the university of choice for some of the country’s most talented and high-achieving students.

It is difficult to think of a single individual who has done more than Betsy to shape the profile of the undergraduate student population on this campus, thereby elevating the University’s reputation across the state and the nation.  Over the past 33 years, she has built one of the most successful admissions and financial aid operations in the country.  She and her dedicated staff have successfully implemented a strategic plan that has resulted in the recruitment of increasingly strong, well-prepared, and diverse freshman classes whose achievements have garnered national and international recognition.

The statistics are staggering.  Over the past 16 years alone, the number of applications for admission to the Pittsburgh campus has increased threefold, average SAT scores have increased by 170 points, the percent of freshmen ranked in the top ten percent of their high school class has almost tripled, and the student body has become much more widely diverse.  And, in a recent period of economic turmoil that left college admissions offices across the nation struggling, Pitt’s incoming freshman classes continued to improve. Under her stewardship, the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid has awarded and disbursed more than $290 million in financial aid including federal, state, institutional, and private sources for the 2010-11 year alone, while maintaining compliance with ever-changing federal, state, and institutional regulations and policies. 

Dr. Porter’s contributions go well beyond admissions and financial aid. As an active member of the Council of Deans and as a member of the Enrollment Management Committee, she has helped shape the development of the University’s undergraduate programs more broadly by improving services and programming for undergraduate students, increasing student satisfaction and retention and graduation rates as a result.

Even as we continue to work with Betsy during the remainder of this fiscal year, I believe I can speak for all of us when I say we owe our gratitude to her, we thank her for 33 years of exemplary service, and we congratulate her for her singular contributions to the University of Pittsburgh.



Patricia E. Beeson

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