Background

In 2003, at the age of 23, Luke Ravenstahl became the youngest person ever elected to the Pittsburgh City Council. In 2005, he became City Council president, and ten months later, after the untimely death of then-mayor Bob O’Connor, Ravenstahl was sworn in as Pittsburgh’s 58th mayor. He was 26 years old, and Pittsburgh was on the brink of bankruptcy.

Now 31, Ravenstahl has worked to shepherd Pittsburgh through a challenging economic climate made worse by a declining population and a shrinking tax base. He has pursued funds for economic development, streamlined city services and made cuts to the city’s work force. Through 2010, Pittsburgh posted a year-end surplus in each of the four consecutive years after Ravenstahl took office, and the city has improved its bond rating several times since his election.

Ravenstahl has championed the transformation and modernization of Pittsburgh’s economy from one dominated by the struggling steel industry to one anchored by education, health care, and “green” industries. In 2010, he announced plans to increase the city’s sustainability and encouraged residents to follow “green” practices outlined in a city-provided guidebook.

Ravenstahl has supported key reforms in Pittsburgh’s public schools, including a landmark $40 million grant from the Gates Foundation aimed at maximizing teacher effectiveness. He also co-founded the Pittsburgh Promise, a scholarship fund launched in 2008 and supported by corporate and philanthropic pledges. The fund promises Pittsburgh public school students up to $40,000 to pursue higher education.

Luke Ravenstahl received his B.A. in Business Administration from Washington and Jefferson College in 2002.