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Franco Harris to Serve as the Pittsburgh FIRST Robotics Advisory Board Chairman
By Robotics Trends Staff - Filed Dec 06, 2004
More Design and Development stories
Pittsburgh, Pa. – December 1, 2004 – FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) and The Heinz Endowments today announced that former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Hall of Famer and philanthropist, Franco Harris, has been appointed Chairman of the Pittsburgh FIRST Robotics Competition Advisory Board.

Founded by Dean Kamen, who introduced the Segway(TM) Human Transporter, FIRST was created to inspire an appreciation of applied science and technology in young people. Currently in its fifteenth year, the FIRST Robotics Competition anticipates its largest season ever with more than 900 teams from Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada and nearly every state in the United States competing in 26 different regional competitions. All students who participate in FIRST’s Robotics competitions are eligible for over $4.9M currently available in college scholarship funding.

The Pittsburgh Regional FIRST Robotics Competition will take place at the University of Pittsburgh’s Petersen Events Center on March 11-12, 2005. This regional competition will host 30 to 40 teams from the tri-state area and beyond. The event is currently being organized by the Pittsburgh FIRST Robotics Planning Committee, co-chaired by Keith M. Moore from the Robotics Foundry, and Anne M. Moore from Management Science Associates, Inc.

“FIRST offers high school students the opportunity to apply concepts of science, math, engineering, and invention in a competitive and fun environment,” states Franco Harris. “Students learn sportsmanship, leadership and teamwork skills. All the traits emphasized by FIRST are vital to reaching success in the business world and in life. My support of this great organization is just the first step in increasing regional support and participation for FIRST.”

The Committee, made up of local business leaders and educators, and the Advisory Board, are currently seeking sponsors to provide funding and volunteers for the 2005 event. Funding will be used to sponsor local teams and to underwrite the overall event. Complete details regarding how local businesses and community organizations can provide support can be found on the local event web site at

Accomplished Inventor, Dean Kamen, founded FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, NH, FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology and engineering. With the support of many of the world’s most well-known companies, the non-profit organization hosts the FIRST Robotics Competition for high school students and the FIRST LEGO League for children 9-14 years old. To learn more about FIRST and the FIRST Robotics Competition, visit

About Franco Harris

Franco Harris is well known for his outstanding career in the National Football League, one so productive that it earned him a 1990 induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. Throughout his careers Harris has been very involved in community service and received numerous honors, including the following: recognition as a distinguished alumnus of Penn State University, the Whizzer White Humanitarian Award, The New York Association of the Blind Humanitarian Award, The American Academy of Achievement, “Golden Plate Award”, the New Vectors’ David L. Lawrence Award, and the National Urban League’s Whitney M. Young Award. He was also named NFL “Man of the Year” in 1976.

About The Heinz Endowments
The Heinz Endowments comprise two separate private foundations, the Howard Heinz Endowment and the Vira I. Heinz Endowment. With combined assets of approximately $1.5 billion, The Heinz Endowments organization is considered one of the nation’s most innovative philanthropies. The Heinz Endowments share a commitment to supporting the efforts of non-profit organizations, primarily in southwestern Pennsylvania, in the areas of arts & culture, children, youth & families, economic opportunity, education and the environment.

Jessica Jordan Pedersen
Vice President, re2, Inc.
10 Fortieth Street, Ste. 222
Pittsburgh, PA 15201

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