Pittsburgh: Center of Education
Few areas in the world boast the number of world-class colleges and universities than Southwestern Pennsylvania. According to the 2007 edition of America’s Most Literate Cities, prepared by the University of Central Connecticut, Pittsburgh ranked 9th out of 69 U.S. cities studied, ahead of erudite centers like Boston and yes, ahead of Cincinnati and Cleveland. Not surprising, considering that Pittsburgh has ranked in the top ten in virtually every literacy survey taken. This excellence in literacy, from pre-school to the graduate level, parallels our thirst for education.
Oakland: Pittsburgh’s Educational Hub
The University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and Carlow University make their home in Oakland a few miles east of downtown. And they’re all within walking distance of each other.
With more than 27,000 students – nearly 34,000 if you include the enrollments of its four regional campuses in Johnstown, Greensburg, Titusville, and Bradford – Pitt, as locals refer to the University of Pittsburgh, is the largest university in Southwestern Pennsylvania. In 2007, Pitt attracted the strongest freshman class in its history, and was one of only 12 institutions to simultaneously claim a 2007 Rhodes Scholar and a 2007 Marshall Scholar. Pitt was the only public university among these
Pitt’s buildings on 132 acres dominate Oakland’s hilly terrain – and none more so than the 42-story Cathedral of Learning. At a height of 535 feet, this gothic cathedral is the second tallest academic building in the world, and provides a point of reference for visitors in the area. One reason to visit the Cathedral of Learning are its 26 nationality rooms, each furnished in the tradition of the country it represents. If you can’t take a tour, be sure to catch a glimpse of the spectacular interiors by peeking through the peepholes located on the door of each room. The Syrian-Lebanon Room, a showpiece on the first floor, is especially impressive.
Pitt is renowned as one of the elite research universities in the country. Bolstered by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pitt is now 6th in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a ranking that serves as a barometer for leading research universities. Only five other public or private schools in the country rank higher than Pitt. NIH funding enables Pitt researchers to create new medical devices like artificial lungs and heart pumps and to help discover anti-cancer drugs.
Based on Pitt’s performance across nine objective measures, the Center for Measuring University Performance placed the university in the top cluster of America’s public research universities. Only six other universities found a place in this group — the University of California at Berkeley, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, UCLA, and Wisconsin.
In 2006, when The Wall Street Journal /Harris Interactive last released its report on the top MBA programs, Pitt shared the spotlight with next-door neighbor, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Pitt’s MBA program ranked 20th among public institutions worldwide, and CMU, a private school, took the third overall position, making this the sixth year in a row that it cracked the top ten.
Pitt and Carnegie Mellon excelled as two of seven major research universities included on a list of “best neighbor” urban universities — those that had “dramatically strengthened the economy and quality of life of their neighboring communities”— compiled by the president of the New England Board of Education.
In 2007, both universities continued to garner attention in U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” issue and achieved higher places in the national rankings. The University of Pittsburgh moved up to 21st place among top public universities, and CMU was named 21st best college overall.
Carnegie Mellon University has expanded its degree-granting programs outside the United States from one, degree-granting program in 1997 to 12 such programs in
10 countries. Newsweek rated CMU as one of the Top 100 Global Universities. The university has nearly doubled the number of undergraduate applications received in 2007 compared to 1997.
U.S. News and World Report ranked CMU 22nd overall in its 2008 undergraduate rankings. In November 2007, Sierra Magazine named the university to its “Top 10 That Get It” list honoring colleges and universities that have made environmental initiatives a priority. CMU also ranked 20th worldwide and 12th among U.S. colleges and universities in The New York Times Higher Education Supplement’s World University rankings.
CMU enjoys an outstanding reputation for its achievements in life sciences. In 2007, the university received two of the largest private foundation grants in its history from Pittsburgh-based foundations. The Richard King Mellon Foundation awarded CMU $25 million, which the university will use to create a Life Sciences Competitiveness Fund, including hiring faculty, constructing new labs, and establishing the Presidential Scholars Fund. This fund will support the best and brightest graduate students focusing on life sciences fields, such as computational biology, medical robotics, and biomedical engineering.
The Heinz Endowments provided Carnegie Mellon with more than $22 million to strengthen the H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, expand teaching and research in green chemistry and sustainability, and encourage further innovations in robotics and computer science.
As this magazine goes to print, CMU’s roboticist William “Red” Whittaker is recruiting a team to land and operate a robot on the moon by 2012 and to capture the
$20-million challenge sponsored by the X Prize Foundation and Google Inc. To win the grand prize, a team must drive a robot for at least 500 meters on the lunar surface and transmit images to Earth. This will be the first private, off-planet exploration.
On a lighter note, think of CMU the next time you use the smiley emoticon, : - ). On September 19, 2007, the university celebrated the 25th anniversary of this emoticon created in 1982 by CMU Computer Science Research Professor Scott E. Fuhrman.
The Pittsburgh Sisters of Mercy founded Carlow University in 1929 as a college for women. Its name then was Mount Mercy College. Carlow was the first Catholic, women-centered liberal arts university in Pennsylvania. The university began admitting men after World War II. In 1969, the name was changed to Carlow College to honor the town where the Pittsburgh Sisters of Mercy founders originated. The name was changed to Carlow University in 2004 to reflect its new, university status.
At the university’s main campus, located on 15 acres in Oakland, you’ll find, in addition to the university, the Campus School of Carlow University – an independent,
coeducational Catholic day school for Pre-Kindergarten through grade eight – and a Montessori preschool program.
Carlow University enrolls 2,300 students, features a 12:1 student-teacher ratio, and offers more than 50 undergraduate academic programs within six divisions. The College of Arts and Sciences comprises Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Mathematics. The College of Professional Studies includes the School of Education, the School of Management, and the School of Nursing. With roots in the Catholic intellectual tradition, Carlow provides students with a strong grounding in justice and social responsibility. Nowhere is this better reflected than in the School for Social Change.
The Graduate School of Carlow University offers 16 programs that award degrees from the School of Education, Humanities, the School of Management, the School of Nursing, and the School for Social Change, which offered Carlow’s first doctorate program, a PsyD degree in counseling psychology in 2007.
Adult students take classes at the university’s Cranberry Education Center located at the Regional Learning Alliance in Cranberry Township in Butler County; the Greensburg Education Center in Hempfield Township in Westmoreland County; and in Downtown Pittsburgh.
Just north of Pittsburgh, La Roche College, a private, Catholic, co-educational college welcomes students of all religions, ethnic origins, and talents. Undergraduates choose from more than 50 majors, including the top 10 most popular majors among today’s college students. La Roche combines educational experience with clubs, athletics, social outings, community-volunteer activities, and the spiritual well-being of its students.
Point Park University, a private school in Downtown Pittsburgh, has doubled the size of its campus in recent years. Alumni of its nationally recognized Conservatory of Performing Arts, who include Melina Kanakaredes of CSI: New York, can be seen on Broadway, in television, and in movies. To further nurture the arts, Point Park has opened a $14-million dance building. Other growing degree programs include sport, arts and entertainment management, and intelligence and national security.
Robert Morris University (RMU) is a private school situated on a 230-acre campus about 20 minutes from Downtown Pittsburgh. RMU offers MBA and adult-education programs at its facility in the Golden Triangle of Pittsburgh as well. The university is home to 23 Division I athletic teams. Since 2005, RMU has increased full-time enrollment by 6.5 percent and has recently added degrees in nuclear medicine, photography, and human-resource management, among others. The university
emphasizes a hands-on, professionally based education that is reflected in its 93-percent job-placement rate.
Duquesne University, in Downtown Pittsburgh, boasts a legacy of providing education to enrich the mind, heart, and spirit. This Catholic educational institution comprises 10 schools of study, 29 buildings, and 48 secluded acres overlooking Downtown Pittsburgh. In 2007, Duquesne opened the Power Center, a new five-level retail and recreational complex that creates a stronger presence on Forbes Avenue and helps to revitalize the Uptown community.
Duquesne remains the world’s only Spiritan university and enjoys a national and international reputation for excellence in liberal and professional education. According to Duquesne, being a Spiritan university places it under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and gives the university links to the worldwide efforts of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit.
Small classes offer a 15-to-1 faculty ratio and provide 10,000-plus students opportunities to work closely with expert faculty across more than 90 undergraduate majors and 150 graduate programs.
Chatham University, near Oakland, was granted university status by Pennsylvania in April 2007. Enrollment at Chatham now comprises approximately 1,900 undergraduate and graduate students. In 2007, The Atlantic Monthly named Chatham’s MFA in Creative Writing program as one of Five Innovative/Unique Programs. Chatham was the only Pennsylvania institution named to any category. Later that year, Poets & Writers named the program one of nine Distinctive Programs in the U.S.
Chatham College for Women is the undergraduate women’s college and the historic heart of the University. The College for Graduate Studies offers women and men masters and doctoral programs. Programs within the College for Graduate Studies include concentrations in art and architecture, business, counseling psychology, health sciences and nursing, teaching, and writing. The College for Continuing and Professional Studies provides online and hybrid undergraduate and graduate degree programs for women and men, certificate programs, and community programming. The university now has more than 800 students enrolled on campus and online in its master and doctoral degree programs.
The university’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship provides support for women entrepreneurs in the Pittsburgh region. And the Pennsylvania Center for Women, Politics, and Public Policy Center remains the first to focus specifically on women’s political involvement in Pennsylvania. The Pittsburgh Teachers Institute, in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools, is modeled after the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute in which university professors lead seminars for high school teachers who prepare new and innovative curriculum programs for teachers throughout the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
The Rachel Carson Institute continues the legacy of Rachel Carson, Chatham’s most distinguished alumna, by promoting the awareness and understanding of
significant environmental issues through national and regional conferences, debates, lecture series, seminars, panel discussions and other educational programs.
Surrounding counties are equally blessed with outstanding, post-secondary institutions of higher learning. Founded in 1781, Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) is a co-ed, four-year, private, liberal arts college located in Washington County, about 30 miles south of Pittsburgh. In 2007, Consumer’s Digest named W&J the seventh-best value in the private liberal arts school’s category. W&J was one of only two from Pennsylvania in the top ten. And The Princeton Review recognized W&J as one
of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education.
W&J’s pre-law and pre-health programs are internationally known. More than 80 percent of its students who apply to law or health-related schools are accepted. And more than 75 percent of W&J’s seniors find work in their fields or attend graduate school.
Classes are taught by master teachers who are caring mentors and advisors, and opportunities abound for internships, study-abroad programs, student activities, athletics, and volunteer service. Seton Hill University, located in Westmoreland County, about 35 miles east of Pittsburgh in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, is a leading Catholic, coeducational, liberal arts institution. This university offers more than 35 undergraduate programs, an adult degree program, online offerings and nine graduate programs, including the MBA. Seton Hill’s small student body — currently 1,900 — and a low 16-to-1 faculty ratio assure that every student receives a first-class education in a challenging and stimulating environment. Recognized three times by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the nation¹s Top 100 Entrepreneurial Universities, the university has been named one of America’s Best Baccalaureate Colleges in the North by U.S. News & World Report and a Best Northeastern College by the Princeton Review.
Saint Vincent College has been offering nearly 50 educational programs of the highest quality in the Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts tradition for more than 161 years. More than 1,900 undergraduate and graduate students from 25 states and ten foreign countries enjoy a safe and scenic campus in the Laurel Highlands of southwestern Pennsylvania near Latrobe in Westmoreland County. Opportunities for participation in Campus Ministry, Service Learning, Cooperative Education and Internships provide additional opportunities for a well-rounded educational experience. Visitors come to Saint Vincent throughout the year for
concerts, lectures, plays, athletic and other special events including the Pittsburgh Steelers Summer Training Camp, The Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve and the opening of the $14 million Fred M. Rogers Center.
Waynesburg University is a private, comprehensive Christian university offering doctoral, graduate and undergraduate programs in more than 70 academic concentrations. Founded in 1849, Waynesburg University is located in southwestern Pennsylvania, with three adult centers located in the Pittsburgh region. The University is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU).
The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, established in 1921, stands as one of the largest design colleges in the United States, and is accredited by The Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). The Art Institute offers bachelor’s degree programs ranging from Advertising, Culinary Management, and Digital Media Production to Entertainment, Visual Effects & Motion Graphics, and Web Design & Interactive Media. Associate’s degree programs are also offered in Culinary Arts, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interactive Media Design, Photography and Video Production. Through its Online Division, The Art Institute also offers 12-month diploma programs and online programs.
For students seeking high-quality, affordable alternatives to four-year college and university programs, Greater Pittsburgh offers a number of community college options as well.
Community College of Allegheny County is the largest, two-year college in Pennsylvania, and serves nearly 30,000 credit students through 170 degree and certificate programs. The college offers thousands of noncredit, lifelong learning and workforce development courses to more than 35,000 students annually. With four campuses, six centers and online learning courses serving Allegheny County and surrounding communities, CCAC provides affordable access to higher education. The college’s dynamic, diverse, and supportive learning environment prepares the region’s residents for academic, professional, and personal success in our changing global society.
For more than 40 years, the Community College of Beaver County (CCBC), a two-year associate-degree-granting public institution, has provided programs and services that offer value without sacrificing quality. Through an open-door admissions policy, CCBC provides individuals willing to learn a variety of majors to choose from, including the arts and sciences, aviation, business, healthcare, human service, and technologies. Non-credit courses and customized job training for businesses are also available.
A $26-million renovation project is currently underway at the Monaca, Pennsylvania campus. For more than four decades, Butler County Community College (BC3) has been “The Smart Place to Start” for more than 100,000 students. BC3 offers 63 associate degree, career, and transfer programs in liberal arts, business, nursing and allied health and technology. The College serves students in Butler, Lawrence, and Mercer counties. As a student-centered institution, BC3 provides affordable and accessible education, training, and cultural enrichment opportunities. Now more than ever, students are discovering the advantages of obtaining an associate’s degree at BC3 before entering the workforce or moving to a four-year college or university.
Westmoreland County Community College (WCCC) currently has 6,237 full-time and part-time students. The school comprises an 80-acre, main campus and six,
off-campus education centers that serve Westmoreland, Greene, and Indiana counties and parts of Allegheny, Fayette, and Washington Counties.
For an extended picture of post-high school educational resources, please consult the lists that follow this article. There, you’ll find specific information about all area
colleges, universities, and career schools such as enrollment levels, in-state tuition costs, and types of degrees offered by each school.
For additional information, check out The College City Pittsburgh, at www.thecollegecity.com. This site offers profiles of 13 Pittsburgh area schools, including directions, housing information, and courses of study. You can also find maps showing where schools are in relation to each other and the distances among them.
Choosing a Primary Or Secondary School
Parents new to the Greater Pittsburgh area will likely want to know about primary and secondary schools in the area. To help you find one that’s right for your family, our Metroguide has made it easy by listing all the area schools by county. Within each county, we’ve designated our list of schools by public, private, and parochial (Catholic) with subdivisions of these categories into primary and secondary schools. You’ll find this information at the end of each county profile.
For assistance, you can turn to a wealth of places online. The Pittsburgh Public School System contains information about its schools, including some of its outstanding magnet programs. Find the information you need at http://www.pghboe.net/pps/site/default.asp. And the Pennsylvania Department of Education website at www.pde.state.pa.us enables you to pinpoint information about specific schools in the state.
With such a large Catholic population in our region, you’ll find many parochial schools to choose from, whatever your faith. Besides the information you’ll find in each county section, you can find even more details at the Carnegie Library website, www.carnegielibrary.org/resources.
You can also research Catholic schools in the area when you visit the website of the Diocese of Pittsburgh at www.diopitt.org. The diocese serves the large Catholic
population in the Greater Pittsburgh area through a high-quality group of more than 100 schools, the first of which was founded in 1828. The diocesan school system forms the fourth largest school district in the state and offers programs from Pre-Kindergarten through high school, and serves all faiths.
The Pittsburgh Consortium of Independent Schools (PCIS) is a nonprofit organization composed of nine independent schools in Greater Pittsburgh dedicated to promoting the benefits of an independent-school education. These include the Community Day School, The Ellis School, Fox Chapel Country Day School, The Kiski School, Sewickley Academy, Shady Side Academy, St. Edmund’s Academy, The Valley School of Ligonier and Winchester Thurston School. Visit www.pittsburghindependentschools.org for further information.
The Community Day School nurtures Jewish children from kindergarten through eighth grade as they discover who they are and who they yearn to be. Community Day’s academic program is aligned with today’s best practices in education. Students set high standards for themselves and are encouraged and guided to achieve their goals. Hebrew language and Judaic studies provide a rich context for learning in all subject areas.
The Ellis School is Pittsburgh’s only Pre-Kindergarten-12 all-girls independent school. The core of its educational philosophy is that girls learn best when their
education is unequivocally and uncompromisingly valued. Ellis students come from geographically, economically, and ethnically diverse backgrounds. The Ellis experience provides them with the wisdom and confidence to shape their futures.
Children have been discovering the learning experience at Fox Chapel Country Day School for more than 50 years. The environment is distinguished by the
challenge of the curriculum, program flexibility, opportunities for creativity, and the excellence, enthusiasm, and personal attention of the school’s faculty. The school continues to find ways to create excitement about learning.
Located in Saltsburg, Pennsylvania, The Kiski School is a residential college preparatory school that excels in educating boys. The school challenges them, offers them support, respects tradition while embracing technology, fosters community, and encourages self-development.
Sewickley Academy is Pittsburgh’s oldest co-educational, college-preparatory, independent day school with students in Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade. The school’s exceptional programs, small classes, and talented faculty help its students to become conscientious leaders, critical thinkers, and responsible members of a global community.
Established in 1883, Shady Side Academy is the largest, independent private school in the Pittsburgh region, and is located on three campuses. The school serves students in grades Pre-kindergarten through 12, including a 5-Day boarding program for students in grades 9-12.
St. Edmund’s Academy is a nonprofit, independent, coeducational, nonsectarian day school for children from 3 years of age to the 8th grade that provides an
exceptional, independent-school experience for students. St. Edmund’s combines a rigorous academic curriculum with enduring core values and rich tradition in a nurturing environment. An extended day and summer camp is also available at the academy.
The Valley School of Ligonier provides a balanced and strong program of study for a diverse group of children in an environment that is safe, nurturing, and disciplined. The school’s goal is to stimulate in its students lifelong habits of moral behavior, seeking knowledge and understanding, and doing good works for others.
The Winchester Thurston School was created in 1935 through the merger of the Winchester School, founded in 1902, and Thurston School, founded in 1887. The school is an independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school with two campuses. The North Hills campus in Allison Park serves students in Pre-Kindergarten through grade five. The city campus in the Shadyside section of Pittsburgh serves students in Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12.
Given the totality of all its elementary, high school, and secondary educational resources, you can see why Greater Pittsburgh enjoys the reputation as one of the most literate cities in the United States.mg