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Events & Traditions

Chatham University has a rich history that is steeped in campus traditions. On this page you'll find some of the traditions most beloved by students, faculty, and staff.

Weekend Activities & Getting to Know Pittsburgh

There is something to do every weekend at Chatham! Our Discover Pittsburgh series gives students a chance to visit favorite Pittsburgh restaurants, enjoy outdoor experiences like kayaking at the point, and more. Students can also take advantage of great programs happening on campus including movies, dances, and concerts.


Dozens of Events Every Semester

From opening convocation to senior dinner, every semester at ChathamU is packed with events that you’ll cherish long after graduation. They’re how you make lasting memories of your time at college, feed your mind (and your stomach!) and participate in time-honored traditions.

Photo of Chatham University students posing with a pumpkin, wearing science goggles

Chatham Activities Board

The Chatham Activities Board (CAB) is a committee of students who plan events held on and off campus. Students can get involved as paid coordinators or volunteer to help with select events. This group is responsible for major traditions and hosting late night and weekend events like movie nights, escape rooms, trips off campus, dances, bingo, trivia nights, and more!

Photo of a group of Chatham University students hanging out in the Carriage House lounge

Carriage House & Game Room

The Carriage House features a working fireplace, three flat screen TVs, comfy lounge furniture, and our brand new Game Room! Stop by the Game Room to play pool, ping pong, or darts. You can also play Nintendo Switch or, if old school games are more your thing, you can play on our Pac-Man arcade machine that has over 20 different games. Board game lovers will also find the latest board games available to be checked out.

Photo of Chatham University students at convocation

Opening Convocation

Opening Convocation is a celebration of the opening of the new academic year during which the incoming class is welcomed to campus and our new Global Focus is officially announced.

Photo of a Chatham University student standing in a spotlight on a stage singing into a microphone.

Talent Show

Chatham’s annual Talent Show is held during Family & Friends weekend. Students are encouraged to show off their talents to compete for the top prize of $500! Audience members have the chance to participate in games and trivia to win prizes during the show.

Photo of Chatham University students dressed up for Halloween as the three Heathers from the Winona Ryder movie, Heathers

Halloween Dinner & Mocktails

Halloween Dinner is a celebration of the holiday hosted in the campus dining hall. The event includes a mocktails contest and a costume contest both of which feature great prizes.

Photo of Chatham University students performing on stage

Battle of the Classes & Song Contest

Battle of the Classes is a week-long series of competitions among each class year. This also includes the Song Contest. A tradition that is over 70 years old, the Song Contest a performance competition for which each class choreographs a routine and changes the lyrics to popular songs to lines about Chatham and their class. You won't want to miss these performances!

Photo of Chatham University students at Harvest Dinner holding a plate of turkey and stuffing.

Harvest Dinner

Harvest Dinner is a time for the entire campus to come together in celebration of Thanksgiving. This family-style dinner allows students, alumni, faculty & staff to connect and celebrate over a delicious meal.

Photo of two Chatham University students smiling while holding candles in a candlelit chapel service on campus.

Candlelight, Chatham Eggnog, and Holiday Ball 

Candlelight, Chatham Eggnog, and Holiday Ball is one of the most festive nights of the year. The Choir hosts a beautiful service that incorporates seasonal traditions and songs. Following the service, the entire campus celebrates with a gathering over Chatham Eggnog and other festive treats. Finally, the students end the night with a dance sponsored by Chatham Activities Board.

Photo of Chatham University students at moonlight breakfast

Moonlight Breakfast

Moonlight Breakfast is a chance for students to take a break from studying for finals and let the faculty and staff serve them a late night breakfast.

Photo of Chatham University students dancing at spring formal

Spring Formal

Spring Formal is an off-campus dance held at a different Pittsburgh venue each year. This event allows students to celebrate the end of the semester and dance the night away.

Photo of two Chatham University students on University Day

University Day

University Day featuring Bucket & Blossom commemorates Chatham's transition to a university by asking students, staff, and faculty to spend the morning beautifying the campus. After the hard work is done, everyone comes together for a picnic on the quad.

Photo of a group of Chatham University students wearing black graduation gowns stand under silver Chatham balloons.

Closing Convocation

Closing Convocation celebrates the end of another academic year. This informal ceremony features the presentation of several academic awards and the Moving Up Ceremony during which the campus community wishes the seniors and fond farewell and acknowledges the progression of the remaining classes.

Photo of a group of Chatham University students sitting at a picnic table outside.

140 Things To Do at Chatham Before You Graduate

In 2009, to commemorate Chatham’s 140th birthday, the Office of Student Affairs created a list of 140 activities here and in the surrounding Pittsburgh community that you should take part in before graduation. Many of these activities and opportunities can be accomplished either by yourself or with the friends you make here at Chatham, but all of them will serve to enrich your college experience.

Photo of a staircase inside the Carnegie Museum of Art

Fine Arts with the Finegolds

Fine Arts with the Finegolds is a semester-long series where all students are invited to attend a variety of fine arts programs. Fine Arts events range from the ballet or contemporary dance to musical theatre to touring Carnegie Museum after-hours. Chatham’s very own President, Dr. David Finegold, his wife, Sue, or both, join students at these events when their schedules allow. The series kicks off with an introductory reception hosted by Student Affairs, and concludes with a season finale with Dr. Finegold and Sue at their home.

Photo of a group of Chatham University students wearing purple, cheering in a student section at a sporting event.

Class Colors

Class Colors are an important signifying tradition on campus. Students proudly display University colors and class colors to show school spirit.
University Colors: Purple & Grey  
Undergraduate Class Colors: Each undergraduate class is pinned with their own colors upon their matriculation to the University. Each year, one of the four colors is passed down from graduating seniors to incoming first years.

  • Class of 2019: Rose
  • Class of 2020: Green
  • Class of 2021: Red
  • Class of 2022: Yellow
  • Class of 2023: Rose