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The Cathedral of Learning, a Pittsburgh landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places,
is the centerpiece of the University of Pittsburgh's main campus in the Oakland
neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. Standing at 535 feet, the 42-story Late
Gothic Revival Cathedral is the tallest educational building in the Western hemisphere and the second
tallest university building in the world. It is also the second tallest gothic-styled building in the world.
The Cathedral of Learning was commissioned in 1921 and ground was broken in 1926. The first class
was held in the building in 1931 and its exterior finished in October 1934, prior to its formal dedication in June 1937.
In 1921, John Gabbert Bowman became the tenth chancellor of the university. At that time, the school consisted
of a series of buildings constructed along Henry Hornbostel's plan for the campus and included
"temporary" wooden structures built during World War I. He then began to envision a "tall building", that
would be later termed the Cathedral of Learning, to provide a dramatic symbol of education for the city
and alleviate overcrowding by adding much needed space in order to meet present and future needs
of the university.
His reasoning is summarized in this quote:
"The building was to be more than a schoolhouse; it was to be a symbol of the life that Pittsburgh through

the years had wanted to live. It was to make visible something of the spirit that was in the hearts of pioneers as,
long ago, they sat in their log cabins and thought by candlelight of the great city that would sometime
spread out beyond their three rivers and that even they were starting to build."
Colloquially referred to as "Cathy" by Pitt students, the Cathedral of Learning is a steel frame structure
overlaid with Indiana limestone and contains more than 2,000 rooms and windows. It functions as a
primary classroom and administrative center of the university, and is home to the Dietrich School of Arts
and Sciences and many of its departments, as well as the University Honors College. It served as home
of the university's College of General Studies until its relocation to Posvar Hall in 2014. It houses many
specialty spaces, including a studio theater, food court, study lounges, offices, computer and language labs,
30 Nationality Rooms, and a 1⁄2-acre, 4-story-high, vaulted, gothic study and event hall. The building
contains noted examples of stained glass, stone, wood, and iron work and is often used by the
university in photographs, postcards, and other advertisements.