Co-Chair of Education
Cornerstone Capital Management
Donald was educated in the Tucson public school system and graduated from the U of A College of Law in 1955. Following his tour as an officer in the U.S. Army, he returned to Tucson in 1957 and formed the law firm of Merchant, Parkman, Miller and Pitt, known today as Haralson, Miller, Pitt, Feldman & McAnally. He retired from the practice of law in 1987. During and after Donald’s law career, he has been actively engaged in the development field as a developer/owner of over 3,000,000 sq. ft. of office building, hotel, apartment, shopping center and subdivision properties throughout the U.S. and Canada. Among these properties is the Transamerica Title building in downtown Tucson; the former Hyatt Hotel at LAX, the Gulf and Western Building in NYC; several IBM and Allstate Insurance Company office buildings in five western states; the Social Security Administration Building in Albuquerque; Sunrise Village Center and Toys R Us Plaza in Tucson; and apartment complexes in New Mexico, Arizona, California and Texas. Donald was a principal shareholder in Texana, owner and manager of distribution facilities, condos, apartments, office buildings, land and shopping centers in Dallas, Texas. He and a partner were instrumental in merging Texana into Columbus Realty Trust which merged with Post Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (NYSE), one of this country’s preeminent urban apartment developers and operators. He is involved in the development of Pima Canyon in Tucson, an office building in Vancouver, British Columbia, and a Resort Hotel/residential lots project in Seaside, California being developed around two existing 18-hole golf courses.
Another facet of Donald’s career has been in the athletic and entertainment fields, including founding the Phoenix Suns and serving as president until 1986, owning KVOA TV, Tucson’s NBC affiliate, and serving on the Board of Directors of Orion Pictures, formerly known as Filmways. He also is a principal owner of Old Tucson. Prior to becoming a member of the Arizona Board of Regents in 1987, he served as vice chairman of Tucson Unified School District’s Committee to Desegregate Tucson Schools and as chairman of the Fenster School Board. While a member of the Arizona Board of Regents (1983 to 1994), he served as president for two terms, co-chaired the Commission for the Status of Women, served as chairman of the Finance Committee, was instrumental in formulating a strategic planning process for the growth and development of higher education in Arizona and was instrumental in the development of the Student Aid Fund Trust. As a former board member of the University of Arizona Hospital, he was instrumental in converting the hospital from a state operated facility to a non-profit corporation, thereby enabling the University’s medical mission to continue profitably at a time many hospitals were facing severe financial crises. Donald’s concern for the creation of new jobs in Arizona and his recognition of the research mission of the University of Arizona joined his visionary talent in developing new concepts to engineer the acquisition by the University of Arizona of 1,345 acres and two million square feet of buildings developed by IBM in Tucson. Through his leadership and ability to compile the necessary team to get the job done, the acquisition of IBM’s property, at negligible cost to the U of A, was completed in 1994. He now serves as president of Campus Research Corporation, a non-profit company, which assists the U of A in developing and operating the U of A’s Science and Technology Park and its Biosciences Park.
In 2000, ABOR’s Commission on the Status of Women honored Donald with its Vision 2000 award. Previously he received the President’s Medallion from the U of A, an honorary degree from NAU and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the U of A. The Tucson Citizen named him as one of Tucson’s five most influential leaders. In September 2003, the International Economic Development Council presented its Citizen Leadership Award to Donald Pitt. The Award is presented annually to “a private citizen whose personal leadership and dedication to the betterment of its community through quality, sustainable, economic development has improved his community’s quality of life.”