Respondent
Kurtzman, David H.
Interview Date
1975
Abstract
David Kurtzman, PhD, elected the 14th and first Jewish Chancellor and Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh and served in state government as secretary of Administration in Governor Lawrence's cabinet and as secretary of Education during the Shafer administration; birth year, 1904;
[T1S1] birth and early life in Odessa, Russia; father's grocery business; number of siblings; early education at the gymnasium; religious instruction at home; immigration to United States in 1921 with sister and her husband; execution of family members during Nazi era; immigration of other family members and their history; his stay in Romania during immigration; discussion of life under the Bolsheviks; receives financial aid from brother in America, travels to Philadelphia; various jobs held in Philadelphia; learning English; education, Northeast High School, Wharton School and Temple University on scholarship from Wharton; employment teaching a political science course at Temple; employment with the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce; joins the Pennsylvania Economic League in Philadelphia (PEL) in 1933; discussion of the PEL and its function; becomes the director of Research of PEL in Pittsburgh in 1936; moves to Pittsburgh in 1938;
[T1S2] comparison of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia; accomplishments of PEL; examples of specific problems and their solutions; views of Governor David Lawrence; discussion of the Smoke Control Program and his role in this project; the organization of the Allegheny Conference and people involved; discussion of his role in the Lawrence administration; problems facing Governor Lawrence; financial problems with the school boards; his role in the second Lawrence administration; declines a position with the Leader administration; his original reluctance to become involved with politics; employment in a research and teaching position at the University of Pennsylvania Institute for two years; financial difficulties at the University of Pittsburgh; takes position as vice Chancellor of Financial Affairs for the University of Pittsburgh;
[T2S3] meeting with the House Appropriations Committee to discuss financial state of University of Pittsburgh; takes position as Acting Chancellor after the death of previous Acting Chancellor; faculty reaction to his appointment; discussion of his speech presented to the faculty; his election as 14th Chancellor of University of Pittsburgh; becomes Chancellor Emeritus; the "David Kurtzman Room"; relationship with students; an incident of campus unrest; issues surrounding expansion of University of Pittsburgh;
[T2S4] opinion of Chancellor Litchfield; takes position as superintendent of Public Instruction under Governor Schafer; reasons for returning to state government; change in title from superintendent of Public Instruction to secretary of Education; his term as secretary of Education from 1967 to 1971; returns to University of Pittsburgh to serve as professor of higher education and Public Administration and as Dean, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs; article in <i>Pitt Magazine</i> entitled "From Odessa to Emeritus with Love", 1975; discussion of home life; religious background; his wife's educational background; their children and grandchildren; his educational beliefs; involvement with Jewish Family and Children's Services, United Jewish Federation; discussion of the Jewish community's expectations of him while he was chancellor of University of Pittsburgh; his two achievements in the state educational system, special education and vocational training; his role in strengthening the community college system; his achievements in basic education;
[T3S5] the movement to separate educational institutions; the gratification of his chancellorship at University of Pittsburgh; his retirement luncheon when he left the secretary of Education position; Jewish value of education; relationship with Blacks in his career; personal opinions about Judaism, keeping religion in its place; Jewish colleagues in his career; job responsibilities versus family responsibilities; his work as president of Jewish Family and Children's Service Agency.
Subjects
Education; Pennsylvania Economy League; Politics; University of Pittsburgh; University of Pittsburgh. Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
Length (hours)
4
Interviewer1
Alpern, Betty
Interviewer2
Sussman
Indexer
Reynolds, Jacqueline
Collateral Materials
Box 103 FF 13
Identifier
ais196440.249
Rights
All rights reserved. University of Pittsburgh