The Hillel Jewish University Center will again showcase some of the most talented young performers from area colleges and universities at its annual Campus Superstar event.
Campus Superstar, which is modeled after the national TV program, “American Idol,” has become the leading fundraiser for Hillel JUC and attracts local and a national celebrities with Pittsburgh roots to serve as judges for the competition.
This year, though, the program will include something extra: recognition of retiring University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg.
Nordenberg, who will step down this August after 19 years as chancellor, will be honored for his work with Jewish students at Pitt and the Hillel JUC during the April 6 Campus Superstar event at Carnegie Music Hall.
During his tenure, Nordenberg has earned a reputation for championing Jewish campus life as well as creating a diverse and welcoming environment for all students.
According to Hillel JUC, under Nordenberg’s administration at Pitt:
• More than 1,000 Pitt students participate in Hillel activities;
• Support for Pitt’s 11 undergraduate and three graduate Jewish or Israel-related student organizations has increased;
• The 12,500-square-foot Mildred and Joseph Stern Building for Pittsburgh students was built; and
• Hillel established the position of director of Jewish Student Life for students attending Pitt.
More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the Campus Superstar finale where Nordenberg will be honored.
That same night, 10 finalists will take the stage, vying for the top prize of the competition and performing the songs of their choice.
Although more than 100 hopefuls auditioned in November, only 27 students qualified for the semifinals to be held Sunday, Feb. 23. This round will serve as the last chance for students to impress the judges and earn a coveted spot in the $5,000 competition.
The semifinal judges — volunteers — are Jill Machen, Joyce Levenson and Deb Docherty.
The judges for the final event are KDKA anchor Ken Rice, Jewish Pittsburgh philanthropist Richard Rauh, singer Etta Cox and online talk show host Lynne Cullen.
Now in its eighth season, Campus Superstar has grown in scale and scope since the inaugural show in 2007.
The Hillel JUC is a nonprofit organization that serves to enrich the lives of 5,000 area Jewish students and young professionals by providing intellectual, spiritual and social opportunities.