- Jul 5, 2001
Really hasn't been more of a commuter school since the 1950s when Pitt acquired Schenley Quad and what is now the William Pitt Union and used them all as dorms, but the urban setting probably doesn't lend itself to the feel of a closed, gated campus that may cultivate those sorts of ties as well.
In general, though, private schools are always better at alumni donations than public.
I think when Pitt became state-related in the 1960s, it became a more of a budget, 13th grade option for area high school students in those first years. Enrollment took off, but out-of-state students dropped from around 35% to something more like 5% in the early 70s. Perhaps this was indicative that many locals viewed it more of a school of financial necessity, not of premium choice, and thus maybe some of these alumni felt less of a personal tie to their choice of university. I don't know. Pitt's reputation has soared in the last 20 years and is bringing many more out-of-state students (40% of this past year's freshman class at the Pitt campus) indicative of its growing reputation and destination school status. So things might turn around, however, general trends of philanthropic giving to universities in general is trending down. But Pitt should be doing better than it is.