Alumni Network ensures Pitt experience doesn’t end with graduation


Hannah Wilson | Assistant Visual Editor

An Alumni Association sign at the Homecoming kick-off event held at the William Pitt Union on Sept. 21, 2021.

By Trinity Foster, Staff Writer

Pitt’s traditions and special events are hallmarks of a great college experience, but this connection to the University doesn’t have to end with graduation. It’s commonly known among Pitt students that Lantern Night and Homecoming welcome alumni back to campus, but the Pitt Alumni Network offers many more annual trips and events to keep the Pitt spirit alive long after graduation.

Alumni Trip: The Northern Lights of Finland

Alumni spent a week in Finland exploring the country’s culture, cuisine and sights in February 2020. The trip concluded with a three-day experience in Lapland, the northernmost region of Finland famous for aurora borealis, or the Northern Lights. In Helsinki, alumni toured Finland’s capital city with an expert and explored its local sites for four nights.

Helsinki offers cafes, bistros and a vibrant nightlife in its Kallio district, while the nearby Karhupuisto Park offers blooming flowers and summertime events. In wintertime, the Northern Lights are visible almost every night in Lapland. The light display is actually caused by activity on the surface of the sun, and Finland is one of the top locations to view the breathtaking display. Lapland reaches temperatures as low as negative 22 degrees Fahrenheit and has heavy snowfall in the winter months, making it the perfect destination for skiing and snow activities. 

Alumni Trip: Morocco

Centered in the cities of Marrakesh and Casablanca, this eight-night trip allowed alumni to explore the historic country in January 2020. Marrakech boasts the Menara, a popular garden filled with fruit trees and vegetation, and features a pool, pavilion and tower. The cities offer architectural treasures such as traditional medinas, or walled historical areas, with markets, fountains and mosques. 

Casablanca houses one of the country’s only mosques open to the public, Hassan II Mosque. The lavish mosque features marble floors, mosaic tiles and hand-carved wood and stone, built on the water. Alumni traveled to the High Atlas Mountains, North Africa’s highest mountain range, for tea with a local Berber family preserving tradition and ritual.

Young Alumni Ski Trip

Coming up on Feb. 19, Pitt alumni will gather on the slopes at Seven Springs Mountain Resort for their annual ski day. This popular event through the Young Alumni Network welcomes back more than 80,000 alumni who have graduated in the past decade. The ski resort is only an hour outside of Pittsburgh, an easy trip for the 52% of Pitt graduates that stay in the Pittsburgh area, and a great way for recently graduated individuals to spend a day with old friends.

Cathedral Ball

Each year, Pitt Alumni Association hosts a themed dance in the Cathedral of Learning, exclusive to members of the Pitt Alumni Student Network. The semi-formal event celebrates the conclusion of the fall semester, and attendees dress up to dance, enjoy food and drinks, and reconnect with the University. Students in Pitt’s Blue and Gold Society hosted this school year’s ball, “Harry Potter: A Yule Ball Celebration,” on Dec. 2.

Pitt in Dubai and India: Admitted Student and Alumni Celebration

Pitt Alumni Association hosts international events connecting admitted international students with alumni, Pitt leaders and the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. Pitt in Dubai and Pitt in India will take place on Feb. 20 and Feb. 24, respectively, and feature discussions with Ariel Armony, the vice chancellor for Global Affairs. Armony will discuss Pitt’s local projects and aid admitted students in the next steps of enrollment. Mumbai will welcome Dean Gene Anderson of the Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration to present two international Distinguished Alumni Awards. 

Official Pitt Alumni Association Tailgate

Passion for Pitt sports transcends graduation. Local Pitt alumni gather before Pitt football, soccer, basketball and more to prepare to cheer on the Panthers at the Official Pitt Alumni Association Tailgate. For $35, alumni receive a full meal and two complimentary drinks, plus the opportunity to pre-game like they’re in college again. If they’re lucky, Pitt’s cheer and dance teams, as well as Roc the Panther, will visit guests.

Dinner with 12 Panthers

Each year, 12 members of the Student Alumni Association attend a small dinner with Pitt alumni through the annual Dinner with 12 Panthers. The event provides an intimate setting for students and their selected alumni to network and discuss the Pitt experience. In addition to sharing academic and professional interests with attending students, alumni fund the meal and share valuable experience and expertise with their fellow Panthers.