January 18, 2022
I am delighted to announce the creation of the University Educational Outreach Center and the appointment of Daren Ellerbee as its director. The center, a unit housed within the Office of the Provost, will be dedicated to building more equitable pathways for all students to gain the potential to enroll at the University of Pittsburgh or other selective colleges and universities.
Reporting to Joe McCarthy, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, the center contributes to the overall mission of the academic team within the Office of the Provost, including the work of the Interprofessional Center on Health Careers and the Academic Innovation team.
The University Educational Outreach Center will manage, coordinate, implement, and evaluate University-wide academic outreach programs, including the STEM-focused flagship INVESTING NOW program, while also supporting discipline-focused programs and collaborating with University stakeholders on the development of future programs.
Under Daren’s inspiring leadership, I know that the center will both effectively grow and strengthen the University's network among high school teachers; craft strategies to reach constituents that are currently underrepresented at the University locally, regionally, and nationally; and help to advance Pitt's mission of building a larger community of diverse scholars for the 21st Century.
You may already know Daren through her outstanding work as the inaugural director of Pitt’s first Community Engagement Center in Homewood. A Pitt alum, she brings stellar community-building and leadership experience to this new assignment. In her role as Director of the CEC in Homewood, she was described as the architect behind the University’s engagements in the community, charged with being “boots on the ground” representing Pitt, and acting as a bridge furthering connections between the community and the University. Prior to her work at the CEC, she was a Community Affairs & Equity Strategist for the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh.
Daren holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication & Rhetoric and Africana Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Science degree in Communications and Information Systems from Robert Morris University. Currently, she is pursuing a doctorate in Urban Education in Pitt’s School of Education. In addition to being a member of Alpha Iota Mu, the national information systems honors society, she is a founding member of the Robert Morris University Black Alumni Council. She also serves on the regional advisory board for WHAM global, is an advisory board member for The Black Urban Gardeners of Pittsburgh, and continues to be a dedicated mentor for at-risk youth.
Daren’s many accomplishments have been recognized by Pittsburgh Magazine and PUMP as one of their 40 Under 40 in 2018. She was a 2013 recipient of the New Pittsburgh Courier’s FAB 40 Award and a recipient of the Mayor of Pittsburgh’s Citizen Service Award in which May 18, 2012, was named “Daren Ellerbee Day” in the City of Pittsburgh.
I am grateful for the partners who shared the vision for the University Center for Academic Outreach and whose support has made it possible. Working together with the School of Medicine, the Swanson School of Engineering, and the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, we have made the center a reality.
Please join me in welcoming Daren as she begins her new assignment on January 18, 2022.
Ann E. Cudd
Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor
Professor of Philosophy
University of Pittsburgh
Note: At the time this memo was written, the center was known as the Academic Outreach Center. It has been updated to reflect the center's name change to University Educational Outreach Center.