The Pitt Alumni Association is the keeper of Pitt traditions. We strive to enrich the student experience on campus by providing opportunities to participate in traditions such as Lantern Night, Homecoming, and many more. As students become alumni, these memories are shared through generations.

Alma Mater

The University of Pittsburgh's alma mater was adopted in 1908 directly after the University changed its name from the Western University of Pennsylvania to the University of Pittsburgh. The lyrics were written by a student, George M. P. Baird, class of  1909.  The tune is what was then the Austrian National Anthem.  Listen to the Pitt Men's Glee Club perform the Alma Mater here.

Victory Lights

The golden Victory Lights at the top of the Cathedral of Learningshine throughout the Oakland skyline and beyond after an athletics win. The golden glow can be seen after football victories as well as other major athletic accomplishments like conference and national championships.


Each year, alumni, students, and friends of Pitt gather together for the University of Pittsburgh's Homecoming weekend. The Pitt Alumni Association is a proud sponsor of many of the events that take place during the weekend. The Blue and Gold Society is involved in organizing the tradition of electing a Homecoming King and Queen as the Alumni Association offers various opportunities for alumni to connect.

For more information visit our Homecoming page.

ODK Walkway

Omicron Delta Kappa Walk is a stone walkway between the Cathedral of Learning and Heinz Memorial Chapel that contains the engraved names of Pitt's Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Senior of the Year award winners. ODK, founded in 1914, is a national leadership honor society. The society recognizes achievement in the five areas of scholarship; athletics; campus/community service, social/religious activities, and campus government; journalism, speech and the mass media; and creative and performing arts. The walk is the only one of its kind in the country.

The Varsity Walkway

On the University of Pittsburgh campus, between the Cathedral of Learning and Heinz Chapel, is a sidewalk known as the Varsity Walk. There, engraved in the stones, are the names of former Pitt athletes who have promoted the University through their athletic or academic achievements. 

Pitt Networking Day

The Pitt Alumni Association's annual Pitt Networking Day event(s) represent a great opportunity to get new Pitt graduates, and all alumni, engaged in our alumni groups and foster new personal and professional connections within the Pitt community. Each year, this event continues to grow across the country and beyond. We invite you to become involved and meet other alumns and encourage them to attend these event.

View our Pitt Networking Day photo galleries here.

Lantern Night

Lantern Night is the oldest University of Pittsburgh tradition. During this special evening, Pitt alumnae pass on the "Light of Learning" to Pitt's newest students in an elegant ceremony at Heinz Memorial Chapel in August before the start of the fall semester. Each of the participating woman receives a lantern that is lit by one of the Pitt alumnae symbolizing the “light of learning”. 

If you would like to see this tradition continue to grow, we welcome your online donations to ensure that this wonderful event continues for generations to come.

To donate, please visit Pitt Giving and on page 2, enter or select Lantern Night Endowed Fund.

Thank you.

Graduation Central

The Pitt Alumni Association cosponsors Graduation Central with the Book Center and the Office of Special Events. This annual event is held in April and is a one-stop shop for commencement information, graduation regalia, class rings, diploma cases, and much more.

Dinner with 12 Panthers

Dinner with 12 Panthers or “DW12” as it is affectionately called, is offered to current Pitt students giving them the chance to enjoy a meal and intriguing conversation with Pitt’s outstanding alumni. The basic premise of the dinners is simple: Pitt alumni volunteer their time to host a meal, whether at their nearby home or a nearby restaurant, for up to 12 students. View information about this year's dinners here.

Cathedral Ball

The Cathedral Ball is an annual semi-formal event sponsored by the Pitt Alumni Association for Student Alumni Association members.  Held in early December, it provides an opportunity for the SAA members to dress up and enjoy an evening of dining and dancing.

Arrival Survival

Each year, in a span of over two days, over 3,000 incoming freshman move into the dorms on the Pitt Oakland campus. This event, better known as Arrival Survival, is a co-sponsored effort by the Pitt Alumni Association, the Office of Student Affairs, and the Parking and Transportation office. More than 500 staff members and volunteers are dedicated to helping the new students arrival on campus go as smoothly as possible. Read more about Arrival Survival!

Stop by the Pitt Alumni Association tent during Arrival Survival to learn more about the Student Alumni Association and how you can get your very own the Panther Pack.

Rub the Panther's Nose

A tradition has grown up regarding the panther statue outside the William Pitt Union.  Students rub the panther's nose for luck before exams.  Rub the panther's nose outside the Student Union every Friday before the Pitt Panther's football game to bring our team good luck. Help bring back this long known tradition every Friday!

Heinz Chapel Steps

Legend has it that if a couple kisses on the steps of Heinz Memorial Chapel, they are destined to wed there.

Class Ring Ceremony

The Class Ring Ceremony is held in the spring to celebrate the traditions and ceremonial importance of the University of Pittsburgh class ring for students and their friends and families.

The evening prior to the ceremony, the rings are stored at the pinnacle of this great University, atop the Cathedral of Learning, to symbolize the heights each of its wearers will reach upon graduating from Pitt.

Students wear the class ring facing inward, towards the heart, as a motivator. Upon graduation, the ring is turned outward to show that the new Pitt grad is ready to meet opportunity and face any obstacle.