University of Pittsburgh
August 27, 2015

95th Annual Lantern Night Ceremony

Pitt’s incoming women will participate in the University’s oldest and most beloved tradition on Aug. 30
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—More than 800 incoming University of Pittsburgh freshman and transfer women—carrying decorative lanterns and in their finest formal attire—will take part in the University’s oldest annual tradition.

Pitt’s 95th annual Lantern Night Ceremony will be held at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 30 in Heinz Memorial Chapel, Fifth and Bellefield avenues, Oakland. The ceremony symbolizes the passing of knowledge from one generation of Pitt women to the next.

Participants will gather at 7 p.m. in the Cathedral of Learning’s Commons Room. With unlit lanterns, the women will proceed on parallel sidewalks to Heinz Chapel for the ceremony. Each student receives a lantern lit by an alumna, or “flame bearer”—including the mothers and grandmothers of some incoming women—to signify the “light of learning.” Following the ceremony, students and alumni will return to the Commons Room for a reception.

Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher will offer the ceremony’s welcome address. Valerie Thomas-Njie, Pitt alumna and executive director and senior vice president for the Bidwell Training Center, will deliver the Lantern Night Ceremony keynote address.

Thomas-Njie oversees business operations for the Bidwell Training Center, a Pittsburgh-based adult career-training institute. Under her leadership, the organization has been recognized with national awards, including the 2012 School of Excellence Award from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.

Thomas-Njie has been an active alumni leader and volunteer, serving as an affiliate president for Pitt’s African American Alumni Council and secretary of the Pitt Alumni Association’s Board of Directors. Earlier this year, she was honored with Pitt’s Volunteer Excellence Award, which annually recognizes alumni who have enriched the lives of others through extraordinary efforts in the community. Thomas-Njie earned a Bachelor of Science degree in elementary education at Pitt’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences in 1971.

The 2015 Lantern Night Ceremony is sponsored by Pitt’s Alumni Association, in collaboration with the Alumnae Council and the Division of Student Affairs. For more information about Pitt’s Lantern Night Ceremony, call 412-624-8229.