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Chatham 150



Take a trip down our digital memory lane and explore the milestone moments that transformed the Pennsylvania Female College of 1869 into the Chatham University of today.



A college is born

Pennsylvania Female College (PFC), chartered December 11, 1869, is founded the same year that the National Association for Women’s Suffrage is established.


Based in Berry

Berry Hall, the original college building, is purchased. It contained a library, dining room, laboratories, offices, a music hall, and dormitory rooms.

Berry Hall


Focused on the Future

The trustees of PFC first proposed a new department to prepare younger students for collegiate work. In 1907, this department became a separate school, known as Dilworth Hall, which ran until 1917.


President Pelletreau

Helen Elizabeth Pelletreau became the PFC's acting president and was elected as the first female president of the college.

Helen Pelletreau


Recording history

The first issue of the Alumnae Recorder was published, making it one of the oldest alumni magazines in the country.


A change for the better

After a signed petition from students and alumni was sent to trustees, the Pennsylvania Female College was renamed the Pennsylvania College for Women (PCW).

PCW Float



Creating new opportunities

The Pelletreau scholarship, given by the college to help those who could not afford tuition, was established.


Chatham out in the world

Chatham first steps into global awareness when the PCW's new president, R. Jennie DeVore, leads a group of students to Europe.

R. Jennie Devore


Singing our praises

The first alma mater was written by PCW alumni Anne C. Meloy to the tune of Auld Lang Syne.


Training to help others

PCW becomes one of the first colleges to offer professional training in social work.


Motivation to celebrate

The first international Women's Day was celebrated on February 28. It is now celebrated annually on March 8.


A welcome visitor

President Taft came to speak to PCW students, saying that he was sure they were preparing themselves to "play an important part in the life of this great Nation."

President Taft's visit to PCW


Preparing to lead

Students form the first PCW student government.

PCW student government


Getting involved

The International Relations Club formed to discuss politics in the United States and around the world. The club also held mock elections.

International Relations Club


A beloved tradition begins

The PCW Song Contest was held for the first time this year - this beloved tradition still continues today!


Mellon makes his mark

Andrew Mellon, a College Trustee for many years, philanthropist, and owner of Mellon Hall before his son donated the home to the University, served as the US Secretary of the Treasury for 11 years until 1932.

Mellon Hall


Giants being built

The 9th Street Bridge was constructed in Pittsburgh, later to be re-named for a current PCW student. On Earth Day in 2006, following a petition led by Chatham staff and students, the bridge would become the Rachel Carson Bridge.


A bird sings its first song

The first issue of Minor Bird was published. A literary magazine printed by undergraduate students, it provides a venue for the voices of students through art and creative writing.


Hot shots

PCW began offering rifle instruction and golfing at Schenley Park as part of the curriculum, until 1944 when it was discontinued.


Approval of a seal

PCW introduced their first mascot – a seal named Pennsy!


A proclamation for all to hear

Pittsburgh mayor David L. Lawrence signs a proclamation designating May 3 PCW Day.

PCW Day Proclamation signing 1947


Chatham stress-es academics

Senior Tutorials were introduced and required for graduation.

Senior Tutorials


A name honoring history

PCW is renamed Chatham College in honor of William Pitt, First Earl of Chatham and namesake of the City of Pittsburgh.

Chatham College cornerstone



A day for a dip

Toe Dabbling Day was first celebrated on campus in May. Chapel bells rang before 7:30 AM to signal that classes were canceled and everyone was to head to the pond for an all-campus picnic.

Toe Dabbling


Parlez-vous Español?

Chatham creates a "Language House" on campus. Students living in the Gateway House could only speak either French or Spanish while in their dormitory.


Birth of a movement

Alumna Rachel Carson's book, Silent Spring, which questioned the long-term use of pesticides and their effect on the environment, was published.

Silent Spring 1962


It takes a village

Cross-registration was introduced between Chatham College, Carlow College, Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh.

cross registration


Putting students' futures to work

The first career counselor position was created on Chatham's campus.


Life-changing experience

Interim semester was added to Chatham’s curriculum. This allowed students to engage in internships, a core part of our curriculum to this day.


Opening doors for a better life

The Gateway program begins, providing resources and assistance to first-year students who are 23 years of age or older.


A league of their own

The Chatham softball team participates in their first intercollegiate game.

Chatham Softball team


A new crop of students

Chatham introduces graduate programs which today have produced over 6,000 Chatham graduates.


From a bark to a roar

Chatham retires Pennsy the Seal and introduces a new Cougar Mascot, who was named Carson in 2011.


Testing the ice

Chatham becomes the first college in Pennsylvania to add an NCAA women's hockey team.


Trees' company

Chatham College was designated as a National Arboretum – a place where trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants are cultivated for scientific and educational purposes. You can find over 115 different plant species on campus!

Shadyside arboretum


The doctor is in

Chatham College awards its first doctoral degree.


We mean business

The Center for Women's Entrepreneurship opened for quality education and training of female entrepreneurs.


Moving on to university

Chatham College was granted University status. Dr. Helen Faison receives the first degree issued by the new Chatham University on August 18, 2007.



Room to grow

Chatham University was gifted the land on which Eden Hall Campus would be built. The University also purchased the building that would be home to the health science graduate and interior architecture programs, Chatham Eastside.

Eden Hall


A new school for a changing world

Chatham established the School of Sustainability and the Environment (SSE).


A generous gift for Chatham's future

Chatham receives its largest gift and renames SSE the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment.


Entrance into full co-education

Chatham University opened its doors for the first time to co-educational undergraduate classes.

coeducation at Chatham University



Chatham University's 150th anniversary!