Chatham's acres: A gift of land spells opportunity for the university
Share with others:
With the graduation of the class of 2008 on Saturday, Chatham completed its first academic year as a university. Recently, the 139-year-old institution has seen its enrollment and academic status grow dramatically.
With the gift of the Eden Hall Foundation of Eden Hall Farm in Richland to Chatham University last week, the school added 388 acres to the 39 it occupies on Pittsburgh's East End. Once one of Allegheny County's smallest schools in terms of acreage, Chatham is now the largest.
Acquiring the undeveloped land that H.J. Heinz executive Sebastian Mueller set aside as a recreational retreat for women in 1938 was a major coup for the university and its president, Esther Barazzone.
Next year, Chatham will unveil plans for use of the land that include dormitories and new buildings. Having run out of room in Shadyside -- especially after a recent spate of renovation and construction -- Chatham now has the space it needs to continue its ambitious expansion plans.
Because of the university's strong ties to the environmental philosophy of Rachel Carson, the addition to Chatham's portfolio of so much unspoiled land is particularly fitting. Dr. Barazzone said, "Eden Hall Farm campus will be a living laboratory, where students will engage in a broad range of studies including programs aimed at improving the lives of women and addressing issues of environmental sustainability that will impact our lives."
At a time when many colleges and universities are retrenching or playing it safe, Chatham is boldly stepping forward to embrace the future. The region's academic climate is all the richer for it.
First Published May 5, 2008 12:00 am