After celebrating Pitt-Johnstown’s 85th anniversary Feb. 24, administrators may now have to consider the campus’ possible closing.
On Feb. 29, Pitt Chancellor Mark Nordenberg said to the state Senate Appropriations Committee that Pitt may have to become a private university if its state funding is cut, which may lead to the closing of Pitt’s four regional campuses in Johnstown, Bradford, Greensburg and Titusville.
Nordenberg said that, with state cuts, tuition for in-state students would triple, and regional campuses would face cuts or closure.
Pitt, Penn State and Temple universities last budget year received $604 million in state funds and would receive $514 million if the current governor-proposed budget passes – a 14.7 percent cut, added to a 5 percent midyear state freeze in funds.
Since UPJ’s first day of classes on September 24, 1927, when 109 students paid $150 a semester, the university has grown to include about 3,000 students, 500 employees and 19,500 alumni.
UPJ has offered low student-to-faculty ratios and a rural setting since its opening.
Nordenberg also said that Pitt’s branch campuses play large economic roles in their areas.
“There isn’t much in Titusville other than the University of Pittsburgh,” he said.
Professor Ola Johansson, UPJ Faculty Senate president, said that it is too early to discuss a UPJ closing.
“I feel that it is very much premature to speculate what could happen under such a long-term scenario,” Johansson said.
Former UPJ professor Robert Hunter said in his book “The Evolution of a College” that UPJ has thrived against harsh odds.
“One of the amazing features about this college is not only that it survived against all odds, but blossomed in the face of adversity,” said Hunter.