Cathedral of Learning
The Cathedral of Learning, a Pittsburgh landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is the centerpiece of the University of Pittsburgh
University of Pittsburgh
The University of Pittsburgh, commonly referred to as Pitt, is a state-related research university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. Founded as Pittsburgh Academy in 1787 on what was then the American frontier, Pitt is one of the oldest continuously chartered institutions of...

's main campus in the Oakland
Oakland (Pittsburgh)
Oakland is the academic, cultural, and healthcare center of Pittsburgh and is Pennsylvania's third largest "Downtown". Only Center City Philadelphia and Downtown Pittsburgh can claim more economic and social activity than Oakland...

 neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Standing at 535 feet (>163 m), the 42-story Late Gothic Revival
Gothic Revival architecture
The Gothic Revival is an architectural movement that began in the 1740s in England...

 Cathedral is the tallest educational building in the Western hemisphere
Western Hemisphere
The Western Hemisphere or western hemisphere is mainly used as a geographical term for the half of the Earth that lies west of the Prime Meridian and east of the Antimeridian , the other half being called the Eastern Hemisphere.In this sense, the western hemisphere consists of the western portions...

 and the second tallest university building (fourth tallest educationally-purposed building) in the world. The Cathedral of Learning was commissioned in 1921 and ground was broken in 1926. The first class was held in the building in 1931 and its exterior finished in October 1934, prior to its formal dedication in June, 1937. The Cathedral is a steel frame structure overlaid with Indiana limestone
Indiana Limestone
Indiana Limestone, also known as Bedford Limestone is a common regional term for Salem limestone, a geological formation primarily quarried in south central Indiana between Bloomington and Bedford....

 and contains more than 2,000 rooms and windows. The building is often used by the University in photographs, postcards, and other advertisements.


The basement through floor forty are used for educational purposes, although most floors above 36 house the building's mechanical equipment. These floors include theaters, computer laboratories, classrooms, and departmental offices. The basement contains a black box theater
Black box theater
The black box theater is a relatively recent innovation, consisting of a simple, somewhat unadorned performance space, usually a large square room with black walls and a flat floor.-History:...

 and the ground floor contains computer labs, classrooms, and the Cathedral Café food court. The "lobby" comprising the first through third floors contains a massive gothic "Commons Room" that is used as a general study area and for special events and is ringed by three floors of classrooms including, on the first and third floors, the 27 Nationality Rooms
Nationality Rooms
The Nationality Rooms are a collection of 27 classrooms in the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning depicting and donated by the ethnic groups that helped build the city of Pittsburgh...

 designed by members of the Pittsburgh community in the styles of different nations and ethnic groups. 25 of these serve as functional classrooms while more conventional classrooms are located on the second floor and elsewhere throughout the building. The first floor also serves as the home to the offices of the Chancellor, Executive Vice Chancellor, and other administration offices, as well as the Nationality Rooms Gift Shop. The fourth floor, previously home to the main stacks of the University's Library
Hillman Library
Hillman Library is the largest library and the center of administration for the University Library System of the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States...

, is now occupied by the McCarl Center for Nontraditional Student Success. The Darlington Memorial Library on the sixth floor houses a special collection on American history and literature as well as rare documents. Additionally, the University Honors College is located on the 35th and 36th floors.

The Cathedral of Learning houses the Department of Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, considered one of the top five in the United States, and the Department of History and Philosophy of Science
History and philosophy of science
The history and philosophy of science is an academic discipline that encompasses the philosophy of science and the history of science. Although many scholars in the field are trained primarily as either historians or as philosophers, there are degree-granting departments of HPS at several...

, consistently ranked at the top of the field. Other departments in the Cathedral include English, Religious Studies, and the School of Social Work which maintains the highest classrooms in the building located on the 23rd floor.Although there are no classrooms higher than the 23rd floor, classes occasionally meet in rooms on higher floors, either temporarily due to unavoidable circumstances (e.g., if a normal classroom is temporarily unavailable) or permanently by a consensus of the students and instructor (if a class is small enough to meet in a professor's personal office or a student lounge). Floors 37–40 are closed to the general public, as they contain electrical wiring for the building, as well as the Babcock Room, a large conference room on the 40th floor utilized for meetings, seminars, and special events and which provides a panoramic view of downtown Pittsburgh
Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Downtown Pittsburgh, colloquially referred to as the Golden Triangle and officially the Central Business District, is the urban Downtown center of Pittsburgh. It is located at the confluence of the Allegheny River and the Monongahela River whose joining forms the Ohio River. The "triangle" is...

, the rest of the University, and Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University
Carnegie Mellon University is a private research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States....

. The 40th floor balcony also houses a nesting pair of Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon
The Peregrine Falcon , also known as the Peregrine, and historically as the Duck Hawk in North America, is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. A large, crow-sized falcon, it has a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and "moustache"...

s. A view from the top is available via a webcam
A webcam is a video camera that feeds its images in real time to a computer or computer network, often via USB, ethernet, or Wi-Fi.Their most popular use is the establishment of video links, permitting computers to act as videophones or videoconference stations. This common use as a video camera...

. Golden lights, dubbed "victory lights," surround the outside of the highest floors and are lit following Pitt football wins and other notable victories, giving the upper part of the Cathedral an amber glow.

The top of the building serves as the site for the transmitter of the student-run radio station WPTS-FM
WPTS-FM is a non-commercial radio station owned by the University of Pittsburgh, and offers a mix of student-run programming, ranging from music programming to news and sports coverage. The station operates at 92.1 MHz with an ERP of 17 watts, and is licensed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania...

 as well as the amateur radio repeater W3YJ which is run by the Panther Amateur Radio club on a frequency of 443.45 MHz.

The building is also one of the host buildings of Pennsylvania's Mock Trial Competition.


In 1921, John Gabbert Bowman
John Gabbert Bowman
John Gabbert Bowman was the tenth Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh and the ninth President of the University of Iowa....

 became the tenth chancellor
Chancellor is the title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the Cancellarii of Roman courts of justice—ushers who sat at the cancelli or lattice work screens of a basilica or law court, which separated the judge and counsel from the...

 of the University. At that time, the school consisted of a series of buildings constructed along Henry Hornbostel's
Henry Hornbostel
Henry Hornbostel was an American architect.He designed more than 225 buildings, bridges, and monuments in the United States; currently 22 are listed on the National Register of Historic Places....

 plan for the campus and included "temporary" wooden structures built during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. He then began to envision a "tall building", that would be later termed the Cathedral of Learning, to provide a dramatic symbol of education for the city and alleviate overcrowding by adding much needed space in order to meet present and future needs of the University.

His reasoning is summarized in this quote:
Bowman looked at a 14-acre
The acre is a unit of area in a number of different systems, including the imperial and U.S. customary systems. The most commonly used acres today are the international acre and, in the United States, the survey acre. The most common use of the acre is to measure tracts of land.The acre is related...

 (57,000 m²) plot of land named Frick Acres. In November 1921, with aid from the Mellon family, the University bought the plot, and began plans for a proper university building on the site.

One of the foremost Gothic architect
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

s of the time, Philadelphian Charles Klauder
Charles Klauder
Charles Zeller Klauder was an American architect best known for his work on university buildings and campus designs, especially his Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, the first educational skyscraper.-Biography:...

, was hired to design the tower. The design took two years to finish, with the final plan attempting to fuse the idea of a modern skyscraper
A skyscraper is a tall, continuously habitable building of many stories, often designed for office and commercial use. There is no official definition or height above which a building may be classified as a skyscraper...

 with the tradition and ideals of Gothic architecture. The plans received strong resistance from the community and from some University officials, who felt it was too tall for the city.

Local legend states that to counteract this resistance Bowman ordered that the construction of the walls would start at the top floor and work its way down, so the project could not be canceled. This has been traced to an account in the November 21, 1943 issue of At Ease, a tabloid related to local military personnel on campus, which stated that "the masonry was started from the top downward." Construction photographs show that this was not the case, and that some stonework was done on the first floor before any other stonework was begun. One engineer with the company working on the Cathedral explained that the exterior walls of the Cathedral are not load-bearing. Because of this, many similar buildings would start construction at the third or fourth floors. Practically, this makes sense, as it allows easy movement of building materials and equipment into and out of the building. Instead, in the Cathedral's case, the issue was one of the stone that would be used in lower stories. In fact, the quarry was not prepared to deliver the stone on schedule, so construction was delayed, and work begun on the higher stories.
When construction started on the Cathedral of Learning in 1926, it was the tallest building in Pittsburgh, although the Gulf Tower
Gulf Tower
Gulf Tower is one of the major distinctive and recognizable features of downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The tower is named for the Gulf Oil Corporation, which was one of the leading multinational oil companies of its time, consistently ranking among the largest 10 corporations in the country...

 (1932) was completed and surpassed it by the time the Cathedral of Learning was official dedicated in June 1937. Today, it remains the tallest educational building in the Western hemisphere, the second tallest university building in the world behind the 36 story, 240 m (including a 57 m spire) Moscow State University
Moscow State University
Lomonosov Moscow State University , previously known as Lomonosov University or MSU , is the largest university in Russia. Founded in 1755, it also claims to be one of the oldest university in Russia and to have the tallest educational building in the world. Its current rector is Viktor Sadovnichiy...

 main building completed in 1953, and the fourth tallest educational building in the world behind the Moscow State University and Mode Gakuen Cocoon
Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower
is a 204-metre , 50-story educational facility located in the Nishi-Shinjuku district in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan. The building is home to three educational institutions: Tokyo Mode Gakuen , HAL Tokyo , and Shuto Ikō...

 (204 m) and Spiral Towers
Mode Gakuen Spiral Towers
is a 170-metre , 36-story educational facility located Nakamura-ku, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. The building is home to three vocational schools: Nagoya Mode Gakuen, HAL Nagoya and Nagoya Isen.- External links :...

 (170 m), both completed in 2008 and located in Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...



Fundraising for this project came in many forms, including donations from industries, corporations, individuals and foreign governments. To raise public views of the Cathedral, and at the same time finance the construction, Bowman started a fundraising campaign in 1925.

An important part of this campaign was a project reaching out to the child
Biologically, a child is generally a human between the stages of birth and puberty. Some vernacular definitions of a child include the fetus, as being an unborn child. The legal definition of "child" generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority...

ren of the city entitled "Buy a Brick for Pitt". Each schoolchild sent a dime
Dime (United States coin)
The dime is a coin 10 cents, one tenth of a United States dollar, labeled formally as "one dime". The denomination was first authorized by the Coinage Act of 1792. The dime is the smallest in diameter and is the thinnest of all U.S...

United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

0.10) and a letter to the University, explaining how they earned the dime for the building. In exchange, the child received a certificate for one brick
A brick is a block of ceramic material used in masonry construction, usually laid using various kinds of mortar. It has been regarded as one of the longest lasting and strongest building materials used throughout history.-History:...

 contained in the Cathedral. A total of 97,000 certificates were issued to children.

Commons Room

The main part of the Cathedral's first floor is the Commons Room, called one of the "great architectural fantasies of the twentieth century", is a fifteenth-century English perpendicular Gothic-style hall that covers half an acre (2,000 m²) and extends upwards four stories, reaching 52 ft (16 m) tall. The room was a gift of Andrew Mellon. It is a piece of true Gothic architecture; no steel supports were used in the construction of its arch
An arch is a structure that spans a space and supports a load. Arches appeared as early as the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamian brick architecture and their systematic use started with the Ancient Romans who were the first to apply the technique to a wide range of structures.-Technical aspects:The...

es. Each arch is a true arch, and they support their own weight. Each base for the arches weighs five tons, and it is said that they are so firmly placed that each could hold a large truck. The large central piers act only as screens for the structural steel that holds up the upper floors of the building. Despite its heavy use, the Commons Room is kept quiet by the use of Guastavino
Guastavino tile
Guastavino tile is the "Tile Arch System" patented in the US in 1885 by Valencian architect and builder Rafael Guastavino...

 acoustical tiles as the stones between the ribs of vaulting.

This perfection was insisted upon by Chancellor Bowman. The architect, Klauder, objected due to the increased costs of this construction method. Bowman responded with the comment: "You cannot build a great University with fraud in it."

Joseph Gattoni designed the stonework, much of which depicts western Pennsylvania plant
Plants are living organisms belonging to the kingdom Plantae. Precise definitions of the kingdom vary, but as the term is used here, plants include familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, bushes, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. The group is also called green plants or...

 life. The walls are made of Indiana limestone
Indiana Limestone
Indiana Limestone, also known as Bedford Limestone is a common regional term for Salem limestone, a geological formation primarily quarried in south central Indiana between Bloomington and Bedford....

 and the floor is green Vermont
Vermont is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. The state ranks 43rd in land area, , and 45th in total area. Its population according to the 2010 census, 630,337, is the second smallest in the country, larger only than Wyoming. It is the only New England...

Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low-grade regional metamorphism. The result is a foliated rock in which the foliation may not correspond to the original sedimentary layering...


The wrought iron in the room, including the large gates leading to the elevators, were a gift from George Hubbard Clapp, and were designed by the ironworker Samuel Yellin
Samuel Yellin
Samuel Yellin , American master blacksmith, was born in Galicia Poland where at the age of eleven he was apprenticed to an iron master. By the age of sixteen he had completed his apprenticeship. During that period he gained the nickname of "Devil," both for his work habits and his sense of humor...

. Over the gates are two lines from an untitled poem by Robert Bridges
Robert Bridges
Robert Seymour Bridges, OM, was a British poet, and poet laureate from 1913 to 1930.-Personal and professional life:...

"Here is eternal spring; for you the very stars of heaven are new."

Also located in the corridors surrounding the Commons Room are plaques featuring calligraphy designed and hand-cut in slate by Edward Catich
Edward Catich
Father Edward M. Catich was an American Roman Catholic priest, teacher, and calligrapher. He is noted for the fullest development of the thesis that the inscribed Imperial Roman capitals of the Augustan age and after owed their form wholly to the use of the flat brush, rather than to the...

, including one featuring a poem by Lawrence Lee entitled "The Cathedral", as well as stained glass windows by Charles Connick
Charles Connick
Charles Jay Connick was a prominent American painter, muralist, and designer best known for his work in stained glass in the Gothic Revival style. Born in Springboro, Pennsylvania, Connick eventually settled in the Boston area where he opened his studio in 1913...


During finals in the winter, fires in the enormous fireplace are lit, to promote a comforting and pleasant atmosphere for the dozens of students typically found studying into the late hours.

Nationality Rooms

The Cathedral is home to 27 Nationality Rooms, twenty-five working classrooms and two display rooms, on the first and third floors. Each nationality room is designed to celebrate a different culture that had an influence on Pittsburgh's growth, depicting an era prior to (or in the singular case of the French Classroom, just after) 1787, which is year of the University's founding and the signing of the US Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...


The Nationality Room programs began in 1926 when Bowman decided that he wanted to involve the community as much as he could in constructing the Cathedral, so he proposed that each nationality that had a significant number of people in Pittsburgh would be allowed to design their nationality's room for the Cathedral. Each group had to form a Room Committee, which would be responsible for all fundraising, designing, and acquisition. The University provided only the room and, upon completion, upkeep for perpetuity. All other materials, labor, and design were provided by the individual committees. These were sometimes aided by foreign governments and the rooms contain many authentic artifacts and materials from the country represented. A typical room on the 1st floor (those built between 1938 and the 1957) took between three and ten years to complete, and cost the equivalent of $300,000 USD in 2006 dollars. More recent rooms have cost in the range of $500,000 and up.


  • African Heritage
  • Armenian
  • Austrian
  • Chinese
  • Czechoslovak
  • Early American (Display)
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Hungarian
  • Indian
  • Irish
  • Israel Heritage
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Lithuanian
  • Norwegian
  • Polish
  • Romanian
  • Russian
  • Scottish
  • Swedish
  • Syrian-Lebanon (Display)
  • Ukrainian
  • Welsh
  • Yugoslav

  • Proposed rooms

    There are nine nationality rooms currently being planned to add to the current 27.
    • Danish
    • Finnish
    • Iranian
    • Korean
    • Latin American & Caribbean
  • Filipino
  • Swiss (under construction)
  • Thai
  • Turkish (under construction)

  • Other notable spaces

    There are several other notable facilities and rooms within the Cathedral of Learning. In addition, these spaces do not fall under the auspices of the Nationality Rooms program.

    Babcock Room

    The Edward V. Babcock
    Edward V. Babcock
    Edward V. Babcock was a lumber industrialist who served as Mayor of Pittsburgh from 1918 to 1922.-Early life:Edward Vose Babcock entered the lumber business from an early age...

     Memorial Room is a plush, carpeted, wood-paneled conference room constructed on the fortieth floor for use as the University trustees'
    Trustee is a legal term which, in its broadest sense, can refer to any person who holds property, authority, or a position of trust or responsibility for the benefit of another...

     boardroom. Funded by a Babcock family grant of $327,000 ($ in dollars) and dedicated in November 1958, all of the room’s features are original, except for the lighting, furniture and carpeting. The room's square shape is modified by four alcoves, in one of which is a portrait of Babcock by Malcolm Stevens Parcell
    Malcolm Stevens Parcell
    Malcolm Stevens Parcell was an American artist who won the 1925 Carnegie Prize.-Biography:He was born on January 1, 1896 in Claysville, Pennsylvania to a Baptist minister and later attended Carnegie Institute of Technology. In 1937 he married Helen Louise Gallagher . His brother, Evans Parcell,...

    . The walls, featuring intricate geometric patterns, are paneled in Appalachian white oak with burled walnut
    Juglans is a plant genus of the family Juglandaceae, the seeds of which are known as walnuts. They are deciduous trees, 10–40 meters tall , with pinnate leaves 200–900 millimetres long , with 5–25 leaflets; the shoots have chambered pith, a character shared with the wingnuts , but not the hickories...

     inlays and touches of rosewood
    Rosewood refers to any of a number of richly hued timbers, often brownish with darker veining, but found in many different hues. All rosewoods are strong and heavy, taking an excellent polish, being suitable for guitars, marimbas, turnery , handles, furniture, luxury flooring, etc.In general,...

    . The windows, adorned by leaf-patterned curtains, boast a spectacular panoramic view of the surrounding area. The room is also adjoined by a kitchen. Access to the room is limited to a spiral staircase and an elevator, both requiring a key, that originate on the 36th floor. During the early 1970s at the height of student activism
    Student activism
    Student activism is work done by students to effect political, environmental, economic, or social change. It has often focused on making changes in schools, such as increasing student influence over curriculum or improving educational funding...

    , a group of protesting students attempted to barricade the room during a trustees meeting. Today, the trustees have outgrown the room and generally meet in the Assembly Room of the William Pitt Union
    William Pitt Union
    The William Pitt Union is the student union building of the University of Pittsburgh main campus and is a Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation Historic Landmark...

    . The Babcock room now serves as a seminar and meeting room and is also used for special events. A pair of endangered peregrine falcons nests on the balcony outside the room.

    Braun Room

    Following the opening of the Cathedral of Learning, the offices of the Dean of Women moved to the twelfth floor of the Cathedral in 1938. The interior was unfinished but Dean Amos envisioned a dignified and beautiful space for women to meet.

    When Dean Amos died in 1941, the new quarters were still unfinished. The Alumnae Association created the Thyrsa W. Amos Fund to plaster the walls and to furnish Room 1217 in her name. Room 1217 was never finished, but after World War II the other rooms on the twelfth floor were completed. Mrs. A. E. Braun donated the furnishings and floral carved mahogany
    The name mahogany is used when referring to numerous varieties of dark-colored hardwood. It is a native American word originally used for the wood of the species Swietenia mahagoni, known as West Indian or Cuban mahogany....

     wood paneling which she had purchased in 1941 from the library of the home of Grant McCargo in the East End of Pittsburgh. The Braun Room was dedicated in 1946 and serves, along with its furniture, as an example of a modern reproduction of Louis XV
    Louis XV of France
    Louis XV was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and of Navarre from 1 September 1715 until his death. He succeeded his great-grandfather at the age of five, his first cousin Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, served as Regent of the kingdom until Louis's majority in 1723...

     design. Original blue carpeting was replaced in 1955 with an oriental rug, named "The Iron Rug of Persia", that was donated by the daughter and son-in-law of A. E. Braun. Other features of the room include a low bookcase, bordered and topped with classic carving, that was crafted by university carpenters to replace the original fireplace whose inclusion was impractical on the 12th floor, along with two crystal drop chandeliers.

    Dean Helen Pool Rush and her successor, Dean Savina Skewis, carried on the traditions of Dean Amos until the Dean of Women's Office was closed in 1969, and its functions and quarters were assumed by other departments. The Braun Room is used for meetings and study abroad scholarship selection panels.

    Croghan-Schenley Ballroom

    The Croghan-Schenley room, situated on the first floor of the Cathedral in room 156, is actually two adjoining Greek Revival rooms, the Ballroom and the Oval Room, connected by a hidden passageway in the Ballroom's fireplace. The rooms were originally part of William Croghan Jr.'s mansion, known as the Picnic House, built in 1830 in the Stanton Heights
    Stanton Heights
    Stanton Heights is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's east city area. It has zip codes of both 15201 and 15206, and has representation on Pittsburgh City Council by the council member for District 7 . Stanton Heights is the home of the Pittsburgh bureau of Fire's 7 engine...

     area of Pittsburgh. The rooms themselves were created in 1835 by the Philadelphia carver Mordecai Van Horn, and they have been regarded as being among the most lavish examples of Greek Revival designs in America.

    His daughter, Mary Elizabeth
    Mary Schenley
    Mary Elizabeth Croghan Schenley is best remembered as a major philanthropist to the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States.-Early life and scandal:...

    , went to boarding school in New York, but in 1842 at the age of fifteen she eloped with 43-year-old Edward Wyndham Harrington Schenley, a captain in the British military. The elopement caused a family schism. Mary would not visit often, and in an effort to convince her to move back to Pittsburgh, the new rooms were commissioned. Following the death of William Croghan in 1850, the mansion was run by caretakers with no permanent residents for some 60 years. William S. Miller, then president of Steelwood Corp., purchased the Croghan mansion following World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

     and it was soon leveled for a new housing development, but the Croghan-Schenley rooms were spared.

    In 1955, the rooms, donated by Miller, were dismantled and rebuilt in the Cathedral, except that the original ceilings had to be lowered about 8 inches to accommodate the available space.

    In 1982, the rooms were refurbished to their 19th century glory. Highlighting the ballroom are the hand-cut glass chandelier and four wooden, hand-carved Greek columns, surviving examples of western Pennsylvania’s Greek classical revival period popular with those of means in the 1830s.

    The Croghan-Schenley rooms are the last extant vestiges of the estate of Mary Schenley
    Mary Schenley
    Mary Elizabeth Croghan Schenley is best remembered as a major philanthropist to the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States.-Early life and scandal:...

    , who before she died gave much of her holdings and property to the city of Pittsburgh — including Schenley farms, where the Cathedral sits, and Schenley Park
    Schenley Park
    Schenley Park is a large municipal park located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, between the neighborhoods of Oakland, Greenfield, and Squirrel Hill. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district...


    Stories tell of a ghost, speculated to that of Mary Schenley, that is said to roam the Ballroom and Nationality Rooms. The doors to the rooms are locked every night, but furniture is sometimes said to found rearranged by daylight staff. The swinging of the chandelier has been said to indicate her presence.

    Frick Auditorium

    The Frick Auditorium is a lecture hall in room 324 of the Cathedral of Learning. It features stone mullions, chambranle
    In architecture and joinery, the chambranle is the border, frame, or ornament, made of stone or wood, that is a component of the three sides round chamber doors, large windows, and chimneys....

    , and other trim as well as wooden lecture seating and a coffer
    A coffer in architecture, is a sunken panel in the shape of a square, rectangle, or octagon in a ceiling, soffit or vault...

    ed ceiling. A centerpiece element in the room is a Nicholas Lochoff reproduction of The Resurrection
    Resurrection (Piero della Francesca)
    The Resurrection is a fresco by the Italian Renaissance master Piero della Francesca, painted around 1463-65. Though documentation is lacking, the gothic Residenza, the communal meeting hall in which it was painted, was returned by Florentine authorities to the citizens of Sansepolcro, Tuscany, 1...

    by Piero della Francesca
    Piero della Francesca
    Piero della Francesca was a painter of the Early Renaissance. As testified by Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists, to contemporaries he was also known as a mathematician and geometer. Nowadays Piero della Francesca is chiefly appreciated for his art. His painting was characterized by its...

     that was purchased for the lecture hall by Helen Clay Frick
    Helen Clay Frick
    Helen Clay Frick was an American philanthropist.She was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania the third child of the coke and steel magnate Henry Clay Frick and Adelaide Howard Childs . She grew up at the family's Pittsburgh estate, Clayton, although the family later moved to New York City in 1905...

    . Frick would later donate a large collection of Lochoff reproductions to the university which are on display in the Nicholas Lochoff Cloisture in the university's Frick Fine Arts Building
    Frick Fine Arts Building
    The Henry Clay Frick Fine Arts Building is a landmark Renaissance villa and a contributing property to the Schenley Farms-Oakland Civic Historic District on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States...


    Humanities Center

    The University of Pittsburgh's Humanities Center, part of School of Arts and Sciences
    University of Pittsburgh School of Arts and Sciences
    The Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences is one of the 17 schools and colleges of University of Pittsburgh located in Pittsburgh, PA...

    , is housed in room 602 of the Cathedral of Learning which was a sixth-floor space formerly occupied by the Darlington Memorial Library. Following digitization and protective storage of the libraries materials, its space was renovated by architect Rob Pfaffmann in 2009 in order to house the center which now includes office space for staff and visiting fellows. The Humanities Center space retains much of the original character and many of the antique furnishings originally bequeathed to the university by the Darlington family, and features moldings and green walls that are duplicated from the 18th mansion Graeme Park
    Graeme Park
    Graeme Park is an historic site in Horsham, Montgomery County. It is owned by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and operated by the non-profit group, The Friends of Graeme Park. It is the only surviving residence of a colonial-era Pennsylvania governor...

    , a Pennsylvania colonial-era
    Province of Pennsylvania
    The Province of Pennsylvania, also known as Pennsylvania Colony, was founded in British America by William Penn on March 4, 1681 as dictated in a royal charter granted by King Charles II...

     governor’s residence. The Center for Humanities was finished in time for an open house that was part a conference hosted by the center on November 14–15, 2009.

    The space served as the home of The Darlington Memorial Library from 1936 until its recent conversion to the Humanities Center. The library was entered through a memorial vestibule and consisted of a central room with eight alcoves and contained, among other notable furnishings, a wrought iron entrance gate by Samuel Yellin
    Samuel Yellin
    Samuel Yellin , American master blacksmith, was born in Galicia Poland where at the age of eleven he was apprenticed to an iron master. By the age of sixteen he had completed his apprenticeship. During that period he gained the nickname of "Devil," both for his work habits and his sense of humor...

    . The library had been given to the University of Pittsburgh by the daughters of William McCullough Darlington and Mary Carson Darlington. The initial gift of eleven thousand volumes was made in 1918 by Mary O'Hara Darlington and Edith Darlington Ammon. This was followed by Mary O'Hara Darlington's bequest in 1925 of the remainder of the family's library and a large part of the family estate. The Darlington family's tremendous interest in historical research was the force behind the creation of what was said to be the largest private library west of the Alleghenies. The library collection is particularly rich in material pertaining to the French and Indian War
    French and Indian War
    The French and Indian War is the common American name for the war between Great Britain and France in North America from 1754 to 1763. In 1756, the war erupted into the world-wide conflict known as the Seven Years' War and thus came to be regarded as the North American theater of that war...

     and to the history of Western Pennsylvania
    Western Pennsylvania
    Western Pennsylvania consists of the western third of the state of Pennsylvania in the United States. Pittsburgh is the largest city in the region, with a metropolitan area population of about 2.4 million people, and serves as its economic and cultural center. Erie, Altoona, and Johnstown are its...

     and the Ohio Valley
    Ohio River
    The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

     as both William and Mary Darlington researched and published in these areas. While the main focus of the collection is American history and literature, other highlights of the collection include rare maps and atlases, works on ornithology
    Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds. Several aspects of ornithology differ from related disciplines, due partly to the high visibility and the aesthetic appeal of birds...

     and natural history, and early travel narratives. The Darlington's son, O'Hara Darlington, also amassed a collections of Victorian literature
    Victorian literature
    Victorian literature is the literature produced during the reign of Queen Victoria . It forms a link and transition between the writers of the romantic period and the very different literature of the 20th century....

    , sporting books and works of illustrators and caricaturists. The collection has been additionally enriched over the years by the donations of other individuals and organizations, particularly enhancing its content on the history of the Western Pennsylvania region. Prior to the renovation of the original library space, these materials were digitized and placed on-line at The Darlington Digital Library. The original, sometimes fragile, materials of the library were placed in storage for availability to researchers upon request. A virtual tour of the Darlington Memorial Library as it existed previously in the Cathedral of Learning is available for the main entrance and the main room.

    McCarl Center for Nontraditional Student Success

    Located on the fourth floor of the Cathedral of Learning, the 2500 square feet (232.3 m²) $537,000 McCarl Center was opened in 2002 and occupies space that once housed two levels of the main stacks of the University's library. Made possible by a gift from F. James and Foster J.J. McCarl, it serves as resource center for non-traditional students and hosts seminars and events. The space was designed by Alan J. Cueri and his architectural firm Strada, LLC, and includes wood finishes, double-height spaces with high ceilings and windows, a main corridor conceived as an interior street, and many elements that refer to the Cathedral of Learning's Gothic architecture including decorative painted metal columns with contemporary buttress-style arches. The center includes a resource library, meeting rooms, and a student lounge, and is staffed with academic advisors and contains a reception area for the College of General Studies
    University of Pittsburgh College of General Studies
    The College of General Studies is one of the 17 schools within the University of Pittsburgh located in Pittsburgh, PA. The College of General Studies offers programs of special interest to adults and non-traditional students, including baccalaureate degrees and post-baccalaureate certificates...

    . Three unsigned and undated 7 feet (2.1 m) by 3 foot (0.9144 m) glass-encased murals that depict Renaissance
    The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

     painting styles and which have long belonged to the University but are of unknown origin hang in a hallway outside the Center.

    Mulert Memorial Room

    Located in room 204, the wood paneled Mulert Memorial classroom features wood floors and ionic columns. Provided for in the will of the late Mt. Lebanon
    Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania
    Mt. Lebanon is a home rule municipality, formerly a township, in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 33,137 at the 2010 census....

     resident Justus Mulert, the room was dedicated on December 21, 1942 and serves as a memorial to the Mulert's wife, Louise and his son Ferdinand Max, who died in 1912 during his senior year at Washington and Jefferson College.

    Studio Theater

    The Studio Theatre, a facility utilized by the Department of Theater Arts
    University of Pittsburgh Repertory Theatre
    The University of Pittsburgh Repertory Theatre, or Pitt Rep, is the flagship theatre company for the University of Pittsburgh Department of Theatre Arts. Pitt Rep features students on stage with professional actors and teaching artists staging public performances of classic masterpieces,...

    , is located in the basement of the Cathedral. The Studio Theatre is a black box space
    Black box theater
    The black box theater is a relatively recent innovation, consisting of a simple, somewhat unadorned performance space, usually a large square room with black walls and a flat floor.-History:...

     that can be configured for almost any set requirements. It is home to student-directed laboratory productions, play readings, Dark Night Cabaret, and plays host to Pittsburgh's longest-running theater show, Friday Nite Improvs
    Friday Nite Improvs
    Friday Nite Improvs, or Friday Night Improvs , is a long-running weekly improvisational comedy show staged on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The show functions as an improv jam, performed by improv actors who don't normally work together...

    , started in 1989 by graduate theatre students.

    University Honors College

    The University Honors College
    University of Pittsburgh Honors College
    The University of Pittsburgh Honors College is an undergraduate college providing a program of advanced study at the Oakland campus of the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States...

    , dedicated in 1986, is housed in a 2002-2003 renovated space on the 35th and 36th floors of the Cathedral. The Honors College provides support and enriched opportunities for scholarship among the University's undergraduates and offers a Bachelor of Philosophy (BPhil) degree.

    The 2002-2003 renovation, by Rothschild Doyno Collaborative of Pittsburgh's Strip District, showcased an existing two-story arched window that is visible at night for miles around. The four-leaf medieval quatrefoil
    The word quatrefoil etymologically means "four leaves", and applies to general four-lobed shapes in various contexts.-In heraldry:In heraldic terminology, a quatrefoil is a representation of a flower with four petals, or a leaf with four leaflets . It is sometimes shown "slipped", i.e. with an...

     medallion at the top of the Cathedral is a central motif in the design of the Honors College. Stained glass behind the reception desk at the center of the space was designed by Glenn Greene Glass of Regent Square and centers on a design representing the four seasons, done in polished agate. Wrought ironwork was produced by Vic Reynaud of Technique Manufacturing in the spirit of Samuel Yellin
    Samuel Yellin
    Samuel Yellin , American master blacksmith, was born in Galicia Poland where at the age of eleven he was apprenticed to an iron master. By the age of sixteen he had completed his apprenticeship. During that period he gained the nickname of "Devil," both for his work habits and his sense of humor...

     who did the Commons Room ironwork.

    Recent proposed changes to the Cathedral

    In the early 2000s, there was some controversy over whether University funds should be used to illuminate the Cathedral at night, or to clean the building's façade. The cleaning was abandoned because it was too costly. Some Oakland residents spoke out against the cleaning, stating that the years of soot should stay as an homage to Pittsburgh's industrial past. However, the University approved nearly $5 million for cleaning and restoration of stonework on February 28, 2007. The work was completed at the end of 2007, restoring the exterior of the building to its original condition.

    In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the Cathedral was deemed "at risk" because no obstacles were in place to prevent a vehicle from driving into the entrances of the building. To address this concern, the University installed bollard
    A bollard is a short vertical post. Originally it meant a post used on a ship or a quay, principally for mooring. The word now also describes a variety of structures to control or direct road traffic, such as posts arranged in a line to obstruct the passage of motor vehicles...

    s that rise out of the sidewalk.

    As of 2001, around 200 window air conditioners operated in the building. During the 2000s, the University focused upon providing air-conditioning the first four floors, which contain many classrooms. The plan called for the complete central cooling of the entire Cathedral of Learning by the end of the decade.

    External links


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