Dec. 8, 2017
Sylvia Hill Fields, executive director of the Eden Hall Foundation, will be the principal speaker and be honored with the conferral of an honorary doctor of humane letters degree at the 13th annual December commencement ceremony of Saint Vincent College at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, in the gymnasium of the Robert S. Carey Student Center.
Fields is widely known as a consistent champion for women leaders in Pittsburgh and as an exemplary and effective administrator whose work is well-respected for the impact it has made on the region and beyond.
As the executive director of the Eden Hall Foundation, she is a veteran grant-maker and administrator who manages the legal and financial business of the Foundation with responsibility for the allocation of more than $10 million annually in support of community and regional programs that address issues in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
The Eden Hall Foundation is a private foundation established by the late Sebastian Mueller, a Pittsburgh philanthropist and vice president and director of the H. J. Heinz Company. During his lifetime, Mueller gave substantial support to improve conditions of the poor and disadvantaged, the promotion of sound education and the support of health facilities and projects. Today, the trustees of Eden Hall Foundation continue his stewardship in the areas of social welfare, health, education and the arts.
During her tenure, Eden Hall Foundation has supported organizations of all sizes including the Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania, Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation, August Wilson Center for African-American Culture, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Hill District Education Council and Chatham University’s School of Sustainability and the Environment. A variety of projects at Saint Vincent College have received support, including the Pathways to Success program from 1998 to 2006.
Fields began her grant-making career at the Duquesne Light Company where she also managed the Employee Involvement Committee, United Way Annual Campaign and the Company School Partnership Program. While at Duquesne Light, she was best known for having established a Pittsburgh chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy.
She initiated the Women in Philanthropy program with Grant-makers of Western Pennsylvania to create a networking mechanism for female grant-makers and to highlight outstanding female philanthropists from our area. Past speakers include Elsie Hillman and Ann McGuinn.
Fields is a founding member of the African-American Funders Group of Southwestern Pennsylvania. She was named one of Pittsburgh’s 50 Most Influential African-American Women by the New Pittsburgh Courier in 2006, 2008 and 2009. A past YWCA Tribute to Women honoree, she has also been honored with Seton Hill University’s Distinguished Alumni Leadership Award, the Governor’s Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania Award and the Greater Pittsburgh Athena Award.
A past director of Grant-makers of Western Pennsylvania, Seton Hill University, YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh Children’s Museum and Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation, she is the current board chair of the YWCA USA, treasurer of the Allegheny Regional Asset District, where she is responsible for the allocation of $93 million in Allegheny County, and vice chair of the World Affairs Council of America.
Fields earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and government from Seton Hill College and a master’s degree in public administration from Carnegie Mellon University.
A native of Trafford, she and husband, Fred, are lifelong residents of Pennsylvania and have two adult children.
One hundred students – 48 undergraduates, 48 graduate students and four doctoral candidates – who completed requirements in August or December will be awarded their degrees.
The Rt. Rev. Douglas R. Nowicki, O.S.B., archabbot of Saint Vincent Archabbey and chancellor of Saint Vincent College, will preside. He and Br. Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., president, will award the degrees. Graduates will be presented by Dr. John J. Smetanka, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean.
The commencement ceremony will be preceded by a Baccalaureate Mass at 9:30 a.m. in the Mary, Mother of Wisdom Student Chapel and followed by a reception in the Robert S. Carey Student Center lounge.
Photos: Sylvia Hill Fields
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