The University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees is responsible for advancing the purposes of the University; promoting and protecting its independence, academic freedom, and integrity; and enhancing and preserving its assets for the benefit of future generations of students and society at large. Trusteeship is a public trust, and the Trustees bear responsibility for the financial and academic development of the University, for overseeing the management of its resources, and for ensuring that the University meets its obligations to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and to society generally.
The Board of Trustees delegates general administrative, academic, and management authority to the Chancellor of the University. The Board retains ultimate responsibility for all University affairs, however, and reserves its authority directly in at least three areas: selection of a Chancellor; approval of major institutional policies, particularly those related to the fiduciary responsibilities of the Board; and definition of the mission and goals of the University.
The Board of Trustees is composed of thirty-six voting members consisting of: the Chancellor; seventeen Term Trustees, elected by the Board; six Alumni Trustees, elected by the Board, on nominations by the University Alumni Association Board of Directors; and twelve Commonwealth Trustees, four each appointed by the Governor, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House. There is, in addition, a class of fourteen Special Trustees elected by the Board of Trustees. They may attend all meetings of the Board and are entitled to and exercise all rights, responsibilities, and privileges of Trusteeship, except the right to vote at Board meetings. The Board of Trustees includes the Governor of Pennsylvania, the Secretary of Education, and the Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, all three of whom are non-voting, ex officio members.
Any person who has served as a Trustee of the University and who is considered worthy of special honor by virtue of leadership, long and devoted service, or other exceptional contribution to the progress and welfare of the institution may be elected an Emeritus/Emerita Trustee. Emeritus/Emerita Trustees may attend meetings of the Board but are not entitled to vote.
There are three or more regular meetings of the Board each year, including an annual meeting. Special meetings may be called by the Chairperson or by the Chancellor, or by the Secretary at the written request of five voting members of the Board. Much of the work of the Board is carried out in committees, and many of these committees include faculty, staff, and students as non-voting representatives.