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Forging our Future Together: 
Addressing Rural and Urban Needs 
to Build a Stronger Region


Thursday, September 19, 2019

12:00 – 1:00 pm


General Registration and Lunch

1:00 – 1:10


Welcome by Patrick Gallagher, Chancellor, University of Pittsburgh

1:10 – 1:20


Program Overview and Introductions by Mark Nordenberg, Chancellor Emeritus and Chair, Institute of Politics, University of Pittsburgh

1:20 – 2:05


Pennsylvania: Current Outlook & Disruptive Demographic Trends by James H. Johnson Jr., William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Director, Urban Investment Strategies Center, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina

2:05 – 2:20


Q & A: Open Discussion

2:20 – 3:05


Panel Discussion: Urban Perspectives in Pennsylvania moderated by Lisa Schroeder, President and CEO, The Pittsburgh Foundation 


  • Diana Bucco, President, The Buhl Foundation
  • The Honorable Jay Costa, Minority Leader, Pennsylvania Senate
  • Presley Gillespie, President, Neighborhood Allies
  • Majestic Lane, Deputy Chief of Staff and Chief Equity Officer, Office of Mayor William Peduto, City of Pittsburgh

3:05 – 3:25


Q & A: Open Discussion

    3:25 – 3:40



      3:40 – 4:25


      Panel Discussion: Rural Perspectives in Pennsylvania moderated by Jen Giovannitti, President, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation


      • Jem Spectar, President, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
      • The Honorable Joe Scarnati, President Pro Tempore, Pennsylvania Senate 
      • The Honorable Chip Abramovic, Commissioner, Venango County 
      • The Honorable Camera Bartolotta, Member, Pennsylvania Senate 

        4:25– 4:45


        Q & A: Open Discussion

        4:45 – 5:30


        Place-Based Policies for Shared Economic Growth by Jay Shambaugh, Director, The Hamilton Project; Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution; and Professor of Economics and International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University

        5:30 – 5:50


        Q & A: Open Discussion

        5:50 – 6:00


        Closing Remarks by Mark Nordenberg

        6:00 – 6:30





        The Coleman Award Dinner honoring Frederick W. Thieman, Henry Buhl, Jr. Chair for Civic Leadership, The Buhl Foundation, and former U.S. Attorney

        Friday, September 20, 2019

        8:00 – 8:30 am


        Check-In and Breakfast

        8:30 – 8:45


        Opening Remarks by Samantha Balbier, Director, Institute of Politics

        8:45 – 9:30


        Understanding Economic and Social Mobility by John Friedman, Professor of Economics and International and Political Affairs, Brown University and Co-Founder, Opportunity Insights

        9:30 – 9:50


        Q & A: Open Discussion

        9:50 – 10:35


        Panel Discussion: Investing in the People and Neighborhoods of SWPA moderated by Kenya Boswell, President, BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania


        • The Honorable Jake Corman, Majority Leader, Pennsylvania Senate
        • Michael Kane, President and Executive Director, Community Foundation for the Alleghenies
        • Stefani Pashman, CEO, Allegheny Conference on Community Development
        • Dave Reed, Regional President, First Commonwealth Bank
        • The Honorable Jake Wheatley, Finance Committee, Democratic Chair, Pennsylvania House of Representatives Finance

        10:35 – 11:00


        Q & A: Open Discussion

        11:00 – 11:15



        11:15 – 11:55


        Building Connections to Reinvigorate Civil Discourse moderated by Samantha Balbier


        • Savannah Barrett, Program Director, The Art of the Rural, and Co-founder, Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange
        • Purvi Patel, Director, Civic and Campus Engagement, University of Chicago
        • Ada Smith, Institutional Development Director, Appalshop, and Co-facilitator, Kentucky Rural-Urban Exchange

        11:55 – 12:10pm


        Q & A: Open Discussion

        12:10 – 12:20


        Closing Remarks by Mark Nordenberg