Chatham is officially a university
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Chatham College announced yesterday that it has officially become Pennsylvania's newest university.
Its new name effective immediately is Chatham University.
"We've been acting like a university for a long time," said S. Murray Rust III, chairman of the board of trustees. "We felt it was time to call ourselves what we already are."
Achieving university status is a crowning event for Chatham, one of the country's oldest women's colleges. Its new university system will split the institution into three separate colleges: Chatham College for Women, the College for Graduate Studies and the College for Continuing and Professional Studies.
Chatham University will be coeducational, with a women's undergraduate college serving as the heart of its campus life.
"As we move into the university stage, we want people to better understand who Chatham is and what we're up to," said Dr. Esther L. Barazzone, president, who added that the university will launch a marketing campaign starting today on television and radio and in print.
The state Department of Education approved Chatham's request for university status April 23 following a two-year application process. But school administrators waited until the first day of May to make the formal public announcement because of the tradition of celebrating May Day on campus, Dr. Barazzone said.
Chatham has an annual budget of about $30 million. It will cost an additional $700,000 to $1 million each year to staff the three separate colleges with their own administrators.
The institution has hired Red House Communications of Pittsburgh to introduce Chatham University to the Tri-State region and prospective students around the world through a marketing campaign called "We Are You."
"Throughout our research we heard the passion and commitment to Chatham resonate throughout its campus community," said Gloria Blint, Red House president and chief executive officer.
A college can't just declare itself a university.
The process includes providing information to the state Department of Education on everything from finances to academics to student life. It also includes a site visit by a review team.
State law requires a university to be divided into three units -- including the study of arts and sciences -- at the undergraduate level and at least five professional programs at the graduate level.
Also required are advanced degree programs to the doctoral level.
Chatham University offers 23 master's degree programs and four doctoral degree programs. It reaches 1,700 students across the country and around the world through classes on its Shadyside campus and its online and hybrid degree program.
About 600 of those students are degree-seeking undergraduate students, 800 are graduate students and 300 are nursing students who train at UPMC Shadyside School of Nursing and St. Margaret School of Nursing.
While 50 percent of its undergraduate students come from the Pittsburgh area, the other half hail from 28 states and 17 countries. All segments of the student population are growing by about 15 percent a year, Dr. Barazzone said.
Located on a 35-acre campus on Woodland Road between Wilkins and Fifth avenues, Chatham University was founded in 1869, and played a significant role as the first women's college in Western Pennsylvania.
First Published May 1, 2007 11:40 pm