10 Fun Facts About Pitt University

Whether you’re checking out campus as a student or possible faculty member, extended-stay housing near Pitt University can make you feel at home.


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What distinguishes University of Pittsburgh from other colleges? Lots! Once you're settled into your extended-stay housing near Pitt University, venture over to campus to learn more about the storied university's past, present and future.

To get you geared up for your trip, here's a quick crash course on Pitt University:

- University of Pittsburgh was not the school's original name. It was previously called Pittsburgh Academy and Western University of Pittsburgh.

- The university was founded by Hugh Henry Brackenridge in 1787, making it one of the oldest colleges in the nation.

- The school began in a modest log cabin and, as its reach expanded over the years, so did the campus. It moved throughout the Pittsburgh region several times, growing in size each time, from a two-story building to a three-story structure and then to a campus with multiple buildings. It moved to its current location in 1907.

- Fire hit the university hard. The campus was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1845; the new location that was build was also razed by a fire only four years later.

- The university saw its first female graduates, sisters Margaret and Stella Stein, in 1898.

- The school's 535-foot Cathedral on Learning, which is nearly 100 years old, is the second-tallest university building in the world.

- One of the world's most significant medical breakthroughs took place at Pitt University. It was here, in the university's research lab, that Dr. Jonas Salk studied polio immunizations, starting with monkeys and later moving to human trials. Salk is credited with largely ending the polio epidemic of the early 20th century.

- Three Pitt alumni have gone on to win the Nobel Peace Prize: Paul Lauterbur, who invented the modern MRI; environmental conservationist Wangari Maathai; and Philip Showalter Hench, who discovered cortisone.

- The school is home to many notable American names, such as actor Gene Kelly, a 1933 grad; U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, who graduated in 1962; and 1983 graduate and National Football League icon Dan Marino.

- Today, the campus encompasses 132 acres. It has won numerous awards for architecture and grounds management.

You can see many of these facts for yourself as you traverse the grounds of the campus. If you’re considering attending the school, visiting a student or settling into a temporary teaching position, extended-stay housing near Pitt University can help you feel right at home in the campus community.