HC Chatham's Letter to Exeter

Dear HC Exeter,

Everyone at HC Chatham is thrilled to have you as our Sister Chapter! We’re really looking forward to working with your president, Lauren Hudson, and learning from all of you!

Chatham University is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: a big city with a small town vibe.

Chatham is spread out across three campuses: Chatham College for Women (our college) is in Shadyside in the city's East End, a mostly residential neighborhood with historic homes and a shopping and restaurant district. The College for Continuing and Professional Studies is headquartered in a converted building just down the street, and the School for Sustainability and the Environment is about forty minutes away at Eden Hall – a working farm in Pittsburgh's northern suburbs!

Chatham College for Women was founded in 1869 as one of the few schools in the country offering an undergraduate education to female students; now, it is one of fewer than one hundred women’s colleges in the United States. The college has a little over 900 students, a close-knit sisterhood that promotes lifelong friendships.

We are committed to innovation, but we take every opportunity to honor our history. The Shadyside campus is a designated arboretum, a quiet oasis surrounded on all sides by the city. Many of the campus buildings were donated by families who lived on the property: most students live in 19th / early 20th century mansions outfitted with grand pianos, dining rooms and libraries. Ghost stories are passed down from decade to decade, and traditions are an extraordinarily important part of campus life. Students sing their alma mater outside the president’s house as first years, decorate “tutorial hats” for Closing Convocation as seniors, and stand shoulder to shoulder in the Chapel during the holiday Candlelight celebration every winter. Students even greet the portrait of Mr. Andrew Mellon (U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from 1921 to 1932) when they enter his mansion or risk failing their next exam!

Only a few minutes away from our woodland campus are all of the facets of a major city: Fortune 500 companies, a thriving cultural district (the busiest between New York and Chicago), and a number of museums (from the Andy Warhol Museum – Warhol was born here – to the Toonseum). Though we take classes with women, our social lives are happily co-ed: there are 36 colleges and universities in the metro area, with three of them located a short bike ride from our campus. When not on a campus, students are usually off exploring one of Pittsburgh’s 88 distinct neighborhoods: from the street markets in the Strip District along the Allegheny River to the nightlife on the South Side along the Monongahela River to the extraordinary view of the skyline and three rivers from Mount Washington. There’s the obligatory Pittsburgh bucket list, too: everyone has to try the famous Primanti’s sandwich (topped with coleslaw and French fries). Pittsburghers are sports fans like it’s their job, cheering on one of our three professional teams (Steelers football, Pirates baseball and Penguins hockey). And it’s almost impossible to leave without picking up a bit of Pittsburghese, from yinz (you all) to redd up (clean up). For as fast as the city is growing, it still feels like one big family.

We are beyond excited to be working with you this year, and we’re looking forward to learning more about life at HC Exeter!


Mara Flanagan