The Pitt News

Pa. residents respect PSU over Pitt, CMU, UPenn

By Raechelle Landers / Staff Writer

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Pennsylvania residents have something to say — Pitt isn’t all that great. Not compared to Penn State, at least.

This summer, a Harper Polling survey found Pennsylvanians respect Penn State University the most when compared to other Pennsylvania universities. The survey asked participants of an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) automated telephone survey which university they respect the most in the state. Participants chose from Bucknell, Carnegie Mellon, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Penn State, Temple, University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh and Villanova. Pitt ranked fifth out of the eight universities. 

“The purpose of the poll is purely for the interest of our Pennsylvania readers,” the company’s President Brock McCleary said in an email. 

Of the 568 people surveyed statewide, 24 percent said Penn State was the most respected university, while only 7 percent selected Pitt. This puts Pitt behind the University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon University, both with 17 percent, and Temple University with 14 percent.

Despite the school’s recent scandals, PSU still persevered by a significant margin as the most respected Pennsylvania university, according to state residents. 

Aakash Sudhakar, a freshman at Pitt majoring in bioengineering, said he can empathize with Penn State supporters.

“I get what people are thinking [regarding] the Sandusky incident. The pressure of the situation helps people inherently sympathize with the school,” Sudhakar said.

Dora Holliday, a 1992 PSU alumna, said loyalty plays a major role in Penn State’s respectability. 

“I think as a whole, PSU alumni love the campus, the education and the town and, yes, Joe Paterno and PSU football,” Holliday said in an email. “[But] there was far more to PSU than Joe Paterno football.”

According to Pitt’s 2009 Economic Impact report, nearly 151,000 Pitt graduates live and work in Pennsylvania, while Penn State’s 2009 Economic Impact report states that there are more than 250,000 PSU alumni living in the state. Alexandra Szczupak, a senior at Pitt majoring in political science, said the large number of Penn State students and alumni likely played a role in the survey. 

According to Penn State’s admissions website, the university has roughly 35,000 undergraduate students, while Pitt’s website reports about 17,000 undergraduate students, roughly half of Penn State’s enrollment.

Because of this gap, Szczupak said, there are likely to be more networking opportunities at Penn State, along with a high sense of pride and enduring traditions. 

“People are die hard fans when they are Penn State fans,” Szczupak said.

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Pa. residents respect PSU over Pitt, CMU, UPenn