University of Pittsburgh
August 13, 1998


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, August 14 -- Freshman women at the University of Pittsburgh will receive the "Gift of Light" during the 78th annual Lantern Night Ceremony on Sunday, August 30. On the same night freshman men will receive the "Gift of Strength" at the fourth Night of the Panther Ceremony.

The freshman women will gather at the Commons Room in the Cathedral of Learning 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 the William Pitt Union Ballroom for a procession to the ceremony in the Commons Room, also at 8 p.m.

The freshman women will process to Heinz Chapel with unlit lanterns and will return with lighted lanterns to the Commons Room for a joint reception with the Night of the Panther participants.

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.

Chancellor Mark Nordenberg will welcome the freshman women. Judge Cheryl Allen Craig, a 1973 Pitt Law School graduate will give the keynote address. Cindi Roth, Pitt's Alumni Association President; Mary Francis Archey, president of Alumnae Council; and Melissa Chordock, president of the Panhellenic Association, will also speak at the event.

Mary Robb Jackson, KDKA-TV reporter, is among the 12 Pitt alumnae chosen this year to be flamebearers, who will light the lanterns.

The Night of the Panther Ceremony is intended to convey to freshman men what Lantern Night has represented to the freshman women for the past 77 years. Since the late 1700s, the panther has stood for the strength and beauty of the Pitt community, its buildings, and its traditions. Each man will be presented with a symbolic panther pin to wear proudly throughout their days at Pitt.

Robert Gallagher, interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Thomas Bigley, an alumni trustee, and Michael Vozniak, president of the Blue and Gold Society will address the freshman men.

The Night of the Panther ceremony is sponsored by the Division of Student and Public 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.