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President Dougherty Receives Statewide Recognition

Duquesne President Charles Dougherty and other members of the President’s Committee of the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education (PCHE) received the annual Benjamin Franklin Medal for Distinguished Achievement from the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania during the association’s annual meeting on March 22.

The honor is reserved for individuals who have made an extraordinary contribution to the ongoing vitality and effectiveness of Pennsylvania’s colleges and universities.

The AICUP Board of Directors this year broke with the tradition of presenting the award to an elected official, instead recognizing the critical work of a group of college and university leaders who resolved a potentially explosive proposal from Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to impose a one percent tuition tax on students. With the national press watching and with implications for students attending all post-secondary institutions of higher education, the PCHE presidents were united and worked closely together to find an appropriate resolution to this unacceptable proposal. After weeks of public hearings, student rallies and negotiations, the PCHE presidents, Ravenstahl and members of City Council managed to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion that did not impose a first-in-the-nation tuition tax on students. Ravenstahl instead has invited representatives of PCHE to work with him to find a long-term solution to the structural fiscal problems confronting the city.

While AICUP is composed of private college and university presidents, the Association’s Board recognized that the tuition tax proposal would harm students attending all sectors of higher education—including community colleges, public universities, theological seminaries, and for-profit trade schools as well as private colleges and universities.

Besides being active with PCHE and AICUP, Dougherty is a member of the board of directors of UPMC Mercy Hospital, where he chairs the Ethics Committee; the Senator John Heinz History Center, The Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh.

In 2009, he received the Tree of Life Award from the Pittsburgh Jewish National Fund. In 2008, Dougherty was honored with the Pacesetter Award from Smart Business Pittsburgh in recognition of his contributions as an outstanding business and community leader and was named Humanitarian of the Year by the Jerome Bettis Foundation for his work to establish a partnership between Duquesne University and The Bus Stops Here Foundation.

Dougherty, who was elected president of Duquesne University in May 2001, is a nationally recognized scholar and expert in health care ethics, and has served on numerous health care advisory commissions and projects, working with the Not-for-Profit Hospital Trustees Project at the Hastings Center and the New York Academy of Medicine, as well as the National Coalition on Catholic Health Care. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the Catholic Health Association and the Board of Editors at both Creighton University Press and Health Progress. Dougherty has also served as a Commissioner for the State of Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission, a government ethics panel.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.