Chatham University

Coordinates: 40°26′57″N 79°55′33″W / 40.44917°N 79.92583°W / 40.44917; -79.92583
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Chatham University
Chatham University.png
Former names
Pennsylvania Female College (1869–1890)
Pennsylvania College for Women (1890–1955)
Chatham College (1955–2007)
MottoFiliae Nostrae Sicut Antarii Lapides (Latin)
Motto in English
That our daughters may be as cornerstones, polished after the similitude of a palace.
TypePrivate university
EstablishedDecember 11, 1869; 153 years ago (1869-12-11)
Academic affiliation
Annapolis Group
Endowment$95.4 million (2020)[1]
PresidentDavid Finegold, DPHIL
Students2,300 (approx.)
Location, ,
United States
Campus39 acres (16 ha)
ColorsPurple and Gray[2]    
Sporting affiliations
MascotCarson the Cougar[3]
Chatham University text logo.png
40°26′57″N 79°55′33″W / 40.44917°N 79.92583°W / 40.44917; -79.92583

Chatham University is a private university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Originally founded as a women's college, it began enrolling men in undergraduate programs in 2015. It enrolls about 2,110 students, including 1,002 undergraduate students and 1,108 graduate students.[4] The university grants certificates and degrees including bachelor, master, first-professional, and doctorate degrees in the School of Arts, Science & Business, the School of Health Sciences, and the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment.


Founded as the Pennsylvania Female College on December 11, 1869, by Reverend William Trimble Beatty (the father of renowned operatic contralto Louise Homer), Chatham was initially situated in the Berry mansion on Woodland Road off Fifth Avenue in the neighborhood of Shadyside. Shadyside Campus today is composed of buildings and grounds from a number of former private mansions, including those of Andrew Mellon, Edward Stanton Fickes, George M. Laughlin Jr. and James Rea. It was renamed Pennsylvania College for Women in 1890, and as Chatham College in 1955. The name served to honor William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham and namesake of the City of Pittsburgh.[5] The school gained university status from the Pennsylvania Department of Education on April 23, 2007, and publicly announced its new status on May 1, 2007, changing its name to Chatham University.[6]

With elements designed for the original Andrew Mellon estate by the Olmsted Brothers, the 39-acre (16 ha) Shadyside Campus was designated an arboretum in 1998 by the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta. It features over 115 different varieties of species, including Japanese Flowering Crabapple, River Birch and Kentucky Coffee Tree.

In 2005 the university expanded its programs to include online advanced degree programs (bachelors, masters, doctoral) through the School of Continuing Education, now the School for Continuing and Professional Studies. Two years later, Chatham's MFA in Creative Writing program was named one of the top five Innovative/Unique Programs by The Atlantic Monthly.[7]

Chatham received some national attention in 2014 when it announced that it was engaging in a period of study "considering admitting men for the first time in that college's history,"[8] resulting in "reactions of surprise and anger" from its alumnae.[9] Undergraduate men began attending in 2015.[10]

The current president of Chatham University is David Finegold, DPhil. He became the 19th president in 2016,[11] following the retirement of Dr. Esther Barazzone after a 24-year tenure. On September 7, 2022, Dr. Finegold announced his retirement as president of the university.[12] On April 18, 2023, Chatham announced that Dr. Rhonda Phillips will become Chatham's 20th president. When she starts her term in the summer of 2023, Dr. Phillips will be the 10th woman to serve as the university's president across its 154-year history.[13][14]


Chatham's original Shadyside Campus is part of historic Woodland Road. The Shadyside Campus now also includes the Chatham Eastside building,[15] which serves as the home for the health science and interior architecture programs.

The University's new 388-acre (157 ha) Eden Hall Campus is located north of the city of Pittsburgh in Richland Township, Pennsylvania; it is the home of Chatham's Falk School of Sustainability & Environment. Programs at Eden Hall Campus include a Bachelors in Sustainability, a Masters of Sustainability, an MA in Food Studies, and dual degrees in Masters of Sustainability or MA in Food Studies + Masters in Business Administration. The Eden Hall Campus was donated to Chatham University by the Eden Hall Foundation on May 1, 2008. In 2011, the University engaged the architectural team of Berkebile Nelson Immenschuh McDowell (BNIM) of Kansas City, Mo. and the landscape design firm Andropogon Associates of Philadelphia to lead the master planning process. The first phase of development was designed by the firm Mithun, was completed in 2016, and won an award for sustainable development.[16][17]

In 2013, the Falk Foundation made its largest and final grant to the School of Sustainability & the Environment for the completion of the Eden Hall Campus. The grant was also the largest grant in the history of Chatham University.[18][19] The School of Sustainability & the Environment was renamed the Falk School of Sustainability. The Falk Foundation made its first grant to Chatham in 1952 with the funding of Chatham's Falk Hall, named in honor of Laura Falk, wife of foundation founder Maurice Falk.[19][18]


Chatham University grounds
Campus labyrinth

The university structure includes three distinctive Colleges: Chatham College houses academic and co-curricular programs for undergraduate men and women and embodies the traditions and rituals of the traditional liberal arts college. The College for Graduate Studies offers women and men both masters and doctoral programs. Programs within the College for Graduate Studies include concentrations in art and architecture, business, health sciences, teaching and creative writing. The College for Continuing and Professional Studies, formerly the School of Continuing Education, provides online and hybrid undergraduate and graduate degree programs for women and men, certificate programs, and community programming including the Summer Music and Arts Day Camp.[citation needed]


Chatham University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.[20]

Outreach centers[edit]

  • Center for Women's Entrepreneurship
  • Global Focus/International Programs
  • Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics
  • Pittsburgh Teachers Institute
  • Rachel Carson Institute (honoring Rachel Carson, Class of 1929)
  • Independent Monitoring for Quality (IM4Q)


Chatham University teams, also known as the Cougars, participate as a member of the NCAA Division III. The Cougars are a member of the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC). Women's sports include basketball, cross country, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming & diving, track & field, and volleyball. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, ice hockey, lacrosse, swimming & diving, track & field, and, beginning in fall 2019, soccer. Men's and women's ice hockey play in the United Collegiate Hockey Conference.

The women's ice hockey team was the first NCAA women's ice hockey team in Pennsylvania.

The college mascot was previously Pennsy the Seal. The cougar mascot was adopted in 1992 and was named Carson in honor of alumna Rachel Carson in 2011.[3]

Notable alumni[edit]

Points of interest[edit]


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  2. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-11-24. Retrieved 2018-11-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b "Athletics' mascot gets a new name". March 31, 2011. Archived from the original on September 16, 2014.
  4. ^ "Chatham Quick Facts". Archived from the original on 23 August 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  5. ^ William Pitt Family Papers, 1757-1804, DAR.1925.08, The Darlington Collection, Special Collections Department, University of Pittsburgh
  6. ^ Grant, Tim (2007-05-01). "Chatham gains university status". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
  7. ^ Delaney, Edward J. (2007). "The Best of the Best". The Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
  8. ^ Schackner, Bill (2014-02-18). "Chatham University considers enrolling men as undergraduate students | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Retrieved 2017-03-13.
  9. ^ Schackner, Bill (2014-02-19). "Coed possibility concerns Chatham alumnae | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette". Retrieved 2017-03-13.
  10. ^ Perrine, Shannon (2015-08-26). "First male undergrads arrive at historically all-female Chatham University". Retrieved 2020-07-06.
  11. ^ "President's Bio". Archived from the original on 22 August 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  12. ^ "Chatham University President David Finegold Announces Plan to Leave Post Following 2022-23 Academic Year".
  13. ^ "Chatham University names Rhonda Phillips its new president".
  14. ^ "Chatham University selects economic development and sustainability expert as 10th female president". 18 April 2023.
  15. ^ Archived 2009-04-21 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Chatham University Eden Hall Campus - Mithun". Mithun. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  17. ^ "Eden Hall Campus receives American Institute of Architects Award for Sustainable Design Excellence". Chatham News. 2017-04-20. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  18. ^ a b "Chatham University Receives $15 Million Gift From the Falk Foundation" (Press release). Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Chatham University. 2013-10-11. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  19. ^ a b LaRussa, Tony (2013-10-10). "Chatham gets $15M by Falk Foundation to help build Richland facility". Trib Total Media. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  20. ^ Ltd., Info724. "Middle States Commission on Higher Education". Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  21. ^ DeBonis, Mike; Davis, Aaron C. (January 2, 2015). "Muriel Bowser sworn in as D.C. mayor; pledges to make city healthier, safer". The Washington Post.
  22. ^ "Defender of the faith". Retrieved 2022-12-29.

External links[edit]