RMU Board of Trustees Elects New Chair, Richard Harshman

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pittsburgh, Pa. -- The Robert Morris University Board of Trustees has elected as its new chair Richard J. Harshman, a 1978 RMU graduate and the chairman, president, and CEO of Allegheny Technologies Incorporated.

Harshman succeeds Gary Claus, who has completed two 3-year terms as chairman. Claus is a 1974 RMU graduate and a retired partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers, and is currently the managing director of the Jade Group, an executive search firm. Harshman’s election is effective as of Feb. 19, 2016.

“I am very humbled and proud to succeed Gary Claus. He set the bar very high. His passion, commitment, capabilities, and leadership have been outstanding,” said Harshman.

The first in his family to graduate from college, Harshman earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Robert Morris in 1978 and went to work as an auditor for Teledyne, a Fortune 100 company and predecessor to ATI. He has been with the firm for 38 years, rising to CFO in 2000, president in 2010, and the consolidated top job in 2011. ATI is manufacturer of specialty metals for civilian and military jet engines and airframes and the oil and gas industries, with 9,300 worldwide employees and annual revenues in excess of $3 billion. Harshman also is the chair of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

Long an active supporter of Robert Morris University, Harshman has served on the board of trustees since 1999, including the last six years as vice-chair. Recently he headed the board's selection committee that conducted a national search to find a new president after Greg Dell'Omo announced he would leave RMU to become president of Rider University in New Jersey.

The committee chose Dr. Christopher Howard, the former president of Hampden-Sydney College. Howard began his tenure at RMU on Feb 1, 2016.

“I couldn’t be prouder to start as chair at the same time that Dr. Howard is starting as president of Robert Morris University,” said Harshman.

Said Howard, “Rich Harshman is one of those great RMU stories, and his professional success and civic leadership inspire the entire Robert Morris family. He has been incredibly generous in his support of RMU, and I look forward to working with him and the rest of the Board of Trustees.”

During the Feb. 19 Board of Trustees meeting, the board honored Claus for his tenure as chairman, which included the successful conclusion of RMU’s first comprehensive capital campaign, the completion of three new academic facilities, and sustained growth in full-time undergraduate enrollment. He also guided the board through its search for the new president. Claus will continue as a member of the Board of Trustees, which he first joined in 1996. He has served continuously on the board for the past 12 years.

“Everyone I meet at RMU believes that this can be a better place — not just this university, but this community, this nation, and this world. I will always be a proud Robert Morris alumnus,” said Claus.

The board also has elected as its vice-chair Carrie Coghill, a 2008 RMU graduate and president and CEO of Coghill Investment Strategies. She has been a member of the Board of Trustees since 2009 and she is the co-chair of the university’s Women’s Leadership Advisory Council.

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