David Finegold

This week in NEXT Up, we catch up with Dr. David Finegold — who became the 19th president of Chatham University in 2016. A renowned scholar and educational innovator, Dr. Finegold has more than 30 years of experience in higher education and is the author of seven books. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, and in 2012, was one of four recipients of the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative Award. Originally from New York City, he and his wife, Susan — a native of England — live in Squirrel Hill. They have two children, Sam and Charlotte.

Best part of your job?

The constant variety, and the great people I get to meet every day. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I haven’t been bored a single day since I arrived in July of 2016 to begin as Chatham’s president, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. I have not found any community throughout my career where all of the key actors — government, employers, foundations, nonprofits and other universities — are so open to working together to move the city forward.

Your wish for Pittsburgh?

That we win the Amazon HQ2 competition and are able to use it as a stimulus for a more inclusive and sustainable growth model in the next stage of the city’s renaissance.

Your not-so-secret Pittsburgh spot?

Our nearly 400-acre Eden Hall Campus, located in the North Hills, that is home to our Falk School for Sustainability & Environment. It is one of the most beautiful and unique places you’ll find anywhere — a campus designed from the ground up to be a living-learning laboratory for sustainability. In addition to our degree programs, we also run a great series of summer concerts, theater events and workshops (like bread and chocolate making) that are open to the public there.

David Finegold

What upcoming events are you excited to attend?

A great part of moving to Pittsburgh has been getting immersed in the black-and-gold sports scene, and sampling the best that the Cultural District has to offer. We’re looking forward to getting back to PPG Paints Arena to see the Pens go for the three-peat, and hopefully getting to see another Steelers’ playoff win, as well as the excitement of watching the growing number of Chatham sports teams — we just added men’s ice hockey to go with our women’s team, and we will kick off men’s and women’s lacrosse this spring. And  continuing the “Fine Arts with the Finegolds Series” with our students — next up is Grupo Corpo at the Byham Theater and Bronfman plays Beethoven at Heinz Hall.

What’s your Pittsburgh comfort food?

Love the pumpkin dumplings and Korean BBQ ribs at Soba.

What Pittsburgh museum do you visit the most?

The Frick, just a 20-minute walk from our home in Squirrel Hill. Love the variety of the collections and exhibits.

Best day-trip escape from the city?

We like to take visitors to Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob. Chatham has built a special partnership with Fallingwater to enable our Interior Architecture students to study there, which has also provided some special access to the rooms not normally open to the public.

David Finegold
Dr. David Finegold helping students on move-in day at Chatham University. Photo by Phil Pavely.

If you could expand the T to one neighborhood, where would it go?

To Shadyside and Squirrel Hill; though the Bus Rapid Transitway would be a close second.

Favorite Pittsburgh view?

The Downtown skyline from Highmark Stadium, while watching Chatham’s soccer or lacrosse teams play there.

Where will we find you on a Sunday morning?

Ideally, playing squash doubles at the Pittsburgh Golf Club after having read the Post-Gazette and done the Sunday New York Times crossword.

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Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.