Duquesne Creates Endowed Medical Dean Position Thanks to New Dietrich Foundation Gift

Updated on June 12, 2023

The Dietrich Foundation has made a new gift to provide key support for the leadership of Duquesne University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. The gift is the latest to be made by the Pittsburgh foundation in its ongoing philanthropic support to Duquesne. 

In gratitude for this funding, the University is creating an endowment to support the William S. Dietrich II Dean of Medicine in the University’s new College of Osteopathic Medicine. Once fully established, the named endowment will have a value of $10 million and will support the position and activities of the College’s dean.

“The Dietrich Foundation’s latest gift to Duquesne comes at a time when the University is taking its boldest steps forward in decades,” says Duquesne President Ken Gormley. “Supporting the academic leader of our College of Osteopathic Medicine, which will be an enormous asset to our city and region, perfectly reflects the Dietrich Foundation’s commitment to learning and community that has helped propel Pittsburgh to its position as a national leader in education and medicine. We are honored by this show of faith from a foundation that has led this region with such vision.”  

Based in Pittsburgh, the Dietrich Foundation is a Pennsylvania charitable trust created through the extraordinary philanthropic vision and generosity of William (Bill) S. Dietrich II, whose enormous success in the steel industry and personal commitment to philanthropy has resulted in support of higher education, arts and cultural institutions, the Boy Scouts, and more, primarily in Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania.

“Bill Dietrich believed deeply in the power of education. In his view, the future of Western Pennsylvania and its residents will always be rooted in strong and vibrant institutions like Duquesne University. Bill would have been delighted to support Duquesne’s new College of Osteopathic Medicine, which will quickly become very important to our region,” says Ed Grefenstette, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of the Dietrich Foundation. 

The endowment for the Dietrich Dean of Medicine will immediately support the person leading the College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. John Kauffman, who was named founding dean in 2019. Kauffman has overseen the development of the college from concept to construction and is steering it through the process of accreditation. The college received “pre-accreditation status” from the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA) in April 2023. The status means the University can now begin recruiting students to the medical college and it is presently processing applications.

The move to pre-accreditation status marks an important step, as it demonstrates the college has made significant progress toward its goals, having first earned candidate status in January 2022. Construction of its building is well underway, with a projected opening in late fall 2023. The college’s curriculum has met COCA guidelines and senior leadership is in place.

“We are so grateful for this show of support from the Dietrich Foundation and that it signals how important this initiative is for Pittsburgh and our region,” says Kauffman. “Knowing this endowment supports my work and the work of future deans is very meaningful. I intend to work with our faculty and leadership to make the most of this show of trust as we educate excellent future physicians.”

With its expertise in nursing, pharmacy, allied health care and the sciences, Duquesne is perfectly positioned to launch a medical college. With its focus on integrative and community health, the University has provided thousands of health screenings, flu shots, and COVID vaccines as well as asthma clinics for vulnerable populations in the region.

The launch of the college comes at an important time, as the region and nation are facing a growing shortage of primary care doctors, especially in underserved urban and rural areas. The College of Medicine exemplifies Duquesne’s legacy and commitment to promoting health equity in the region. 

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation’s top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University’s academic programs, community service and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

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