University of Pittsburgh
August 18, 1999


Contact:  412-624-4147

The opening of the University of Pittsburgh's residence halls Wednesday, August 25 signals the return to campus of Pitt students for the 1999-2000 school year. And, yes, there will probably be traffic congestion in Oakland that day, despite every effort by the university to prevent it.

But even though Pittsburghers enjoy few things more than a good snarled traffic story, if you look beyond that line of cars you will find a lot more of interest about the students' arrival than the temporary closing of Bigelow Boulevard. For a change of pace, why not:

• Check out the University's brand new residence halls, which incorporate the latest in what students are looking for in housing. While you're there, find out what the students consider to be the "essential" survival stuff they bring with them to college. (Contact: Ken Service, 412-624-4238)

• Join us at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, August 28, for the Freshman Convocation and picnic on the lawn of the Cathedral of Learning, an event that combines the full pageantry of an academic ceremony with the informality of a backyard barbecue. Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, Provost James Maher, and other administrators and faculty will be there to greet new students and their families. And with 20 percent of the new students coming from other states, it's a chance to learn their first impressions of Pittsburgh. (Contact: Ken Service, 412-624-4238)

• See how to navigate a 14-library system. Pitt's University Library System (ULS) holds classes for incoming freshmen, international students and new faculty on how to use Pitt's library resources. Library instruction coordinator Amy Knapp would be happy to discuss these classes, the on-site computer consultants in the dorms, the needs of international students and the ULS "virtual reference desk." (Contact: Sharon Blake, 412-624-4364)

• Learn what's on the mind of today's younger generation by talking to some of the bright young people who make up the freshman class. For the fourth straight year, their academic credentials have once again increased, with 29 percent of this fall's freshman in the top 10 percent of their high school graduating classes. Average SAT scores have also increased, and 618 students -- a full 20 percent of the freshman class – qualify for the Honors College. (Contact: Ken Service, 412-624-4238)

• Take in some of the orientation activities that will help the new students adjust to college life. As part of orientation, incoming freshmen can donate blood, tour Pittsburgh, play kickball, hear presentations on safety and responsible partying, and attend a Pitt theater production, volleyball tournament, and pep rally, while discovering all that the University has to offer. Orientation runs from August 26 through 28. (Contact: Trish White, 412-624-9101)

• Look beyond the traditional-age students to the older adults who are heading back to college. College of General Studies Dean Susan Kinsey is available to discuss trends in adult education, the "mix" of formats that attracts today's adult learners, how adult learners enhance a classroom and a campus, and the challenges they present to the instructor. (Contact: Sharon Blake, 412-624-4364)

• Discover what's new with the first of the "Three Rs." Pitt is developing an early reading success program for K though 3 students with the help of 20 teachers from across the state. Education professors Rita M. Bean and Gregory A. Morris have received a Dwight D. Eisenhower Professional Development Program grant to support the program, which encompasses solid research practices, and targets poverty schools or those with low achievement. The statewide effort will provide in-service training to enable reading teachers to improve reading teaching and student achievement. (Contact: Trish White, 412-624-49101)

• Get some back-to-school advice for the parents of future generations of college students. Sherry Cleary, director of Pitt's Child Development Center, can discuss a range of topics relating to three to twelve-year-olds including preparing a child for the first day of school, advising a child on peer pressure, and how involved parents should get with their children's homework. (Contact: Sharon Blake, 412-624-4364)