The University of Pittsburgh, commonly referred to as Pitt, is a state-related research university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. Chartered in 1787, Pitt is highly regarded in academic fields ranging from philosophy to medicine, and is well known for the development of the first Polio vaccine as well as its landmark centerpiece building, the Cathedral of Learning.
Founded as Pittsburgh Academy in 1787 on what was then the American frontier, Pitt is one of the oldest continuously chartered institutions of higher education in the United States. Pitt evolved into the Western University of Pennsylvania with an alteration to its charter in 1819, and upon relocating to its current campus in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh in 1908, the school received its current moniker, the University of Pittsburgh. For most of its history, Pitt was a private institution until it became part of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education in 1966.
Pitt's rise from its humble frontier beginnings to its current stature is due in part to its ability to withstand early pressures to abandon its commitment to liberal education. Along the way Pitt has achieved strong reputations in a variety of academic disciplines including philosophy, physics, astronomy, history of science, English literature, creative writing, chemistry, business, biological sciences, information sciences, jazz, engineering, education, international studies, and a variety of medical and health sciences. Pitt regularly produces internationally recognized scholarship and fellowship award winners.
Pitt is popularly recognized for its National Landmark centerpiece building, the Cathedral of Learning at 535 feet (163 m), the tallest educational building in the Western Hemisphere.