University of Pittsburgh
August 18, 1999


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, August 19 -- Tradition continues at the University of Pittsburgh as freshman women once again receive the "Gift of Light" during the 79th annual Lantern Night Ceremony and freshman men receive the "Gift of Strength" at the fifth Night of the Panther Ceremony Sunday, August 29.

The freshman women will gather in the Cathedral of Learning Commons Room at 7:30 p.m. and process to the Heinz Memorial Chapel for the ceremony at 8 p.m. Meanwhile, the freshman men will assemble at 7:45 p.m. in the William Pitt Union Ballroom for a procession to their ceremony in the Commons Room at 8:15 p.m.

The freshman women who carry unlit lanterns to their ceremony in the chapel will return with lighted lanterns to the Commons Room for a joint reception with the Night of the Panther participants. The men receive a symbolic panther pin during their ceremony.

The lanterns symbolize the freshman women's quest for knowledge and truth, and lanterns serve as an inspiration for the "light of learning." They are replicas of the lanterns used at the time of the University's founding in 1787 and are the gifts to the freshman women from the Pitt alumnae interested in preserving this proud tradition.

The Night of the Panther Ceremony is intended to convey to freshman men what Lantern Night has represented to the freshman women. Since the late 1700s, the panther has stood for the strength and beauty of the Pitt community, its buildings, and its traditions.

State Senator Melissa Hart, 1999 distinguished alumna award winner will give the Lantern Night address and Ben Howland, Pitt men's basketball coach, is the Night of the Panther speaker.

The Night of the Panther ceremony is sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs and the Pitt Alumni Association. Lantern Night is sponsored by the Alumnae Council of the Pitt Alumni Association and the Office of Student Activities.

The media are invited to attend both ceremonies and the reception in the Commons Room in the Cathedral of Learning. For more information please call 412-624-8229.