University of Pittsburgh
June 24, 2003

Pitt to Add Finnish Nationality Room

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The Finnish Nationality Room committee received approval for the construction of a Finnish Nationality Room in the University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning. Committee members will raise funds for the project, estimated to cost approximately $250,000.

There are now 26 Nationality Rooms, all active classrooms, in the Cathedral of Learning with seven more to be constructed within the next few years. Rooms in the planning and fundraising phase include the Danish, Latin American, Swiss, Turkish, Welsh, Philippine, and now Finnish rooms. The Cathedral of Learning is the tallest university building in the United States, with 42 stories. The original Nationality Rooms are located on the first floor off the dramatic Commons Room, and the newer rooms are located on the third floor corridors overlooking the Commons Room.

All the Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral are gifts to the University from the ethnic groups of Pittsburgh. Architects from abroad designed many of the rooms for authenticity, with styles including Classical, Byzantine, Romanesque, Baroque, Renaissance, Tudor, Empire, and Folk. The architects recreate cultural periods prior to 1787, the founding date of the University.

Existing rooms represent Africa, Armenia, Austria, China, Czechoslovakia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, Syria-Lebanon, Ukraine, Yugoslavia, and Early America. People from around the world come to visit them to connect with their own heritage and to appreciate those of other ethnic groups. The visitors experience a mini-tour that ranges from a palace hall in Beijing's Forbidden City to Athens in the time of Pericles to an Asante temple courtyard in Ghana to London's House of Commons.

An online tour of the Nationality Rooms is available at