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How Point Park University Plans To Meet Changing Demands

Point Park University
Point Park University President Paul Hennigan pauses to talk to students during his annual bike ride with incoming freshmen.

Point Park University President Paul Hennigan said he felt disbelief, shock and honor at finding himself among the most powerful people in Pittsburgh in the latest issue of Pittsburgh Magazine.

Declining high school graduation rates pressure the university, but Hennigan, representing No. 36 among a high-powered field of 50, said he believes Point Park University warrants a serious look from top graduates given the campus’ “dynamic urban environment.”

The university eliminated 32 full- and part-time positions this summer in a move Hennigan described as “strategic realignment.” He said unionization efforts had nothing to do with the swap, and the plan later created 19 full-time faculty jobs and five staff positions elsewhere.

“We aspire to be one of the most dynamic private urban universities in America and I think we’re heading down that path,” Hennigan said.

His work under former mayor Tom Murphy had a huge influence on his life, he said, especially Murphy’s vision to see Downtown Pittsburgh become a major residential neighborhood, something Hennigan described as unheard of 20 years ago.

“If you draw a circle around the Golden Triangle, you’ll see all the seeds that Tom planted,” Hennigan said.

But Hennigan’s view extends beyond the grounds of Point Park. He enjoys riding bikes around both the Steel City and those he visits abroad. Every year, he takes students from Point Park on an annual 17-mile ride to historic sites around the city.

Hennigan said he has other plans to make Pittsburgh more livable. The Pittsburgh Playhouse will move from Oakland to Downtown across from the new PNC headquarters on Fifth Avenue. Hennigan said he’s worked closely with PNC and the Cultural Trust to rejuvenate the area around Woods Street.

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