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Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit is a private Catholic university in Pittsburghmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, USAmarker. Founded by members of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, Duquesne ( , locally ) first opened its doors as the Pittsburgh Catholic College of the Holy Ghost in October 1878 with an enrollment of 40 students and a faculty of six. In 1911, the college became a university, the first Catholic institution of higher learning in Pennsylvania to achieve such a distinction. It is the only Spiritan institution of higher education in the world.

Duquesne has since expanded to over 10,000 graduate and undergraduate students within a self-contained 49 acre (19.8 ha) hilltop campus in Pittsburgh's Bluffmarker neighborhood. The school maintains associate campuses in Harrisburgmarker and Romemarker and encompasses ten schools of study. The university hosts international students from more than eighty different countries although most students are from Pennsylvania—about 80%—or the surrounding region. U.S. News and World Report's annual college rankings place Duquesne in the top tier among national universities, with the school ranking 128th among national universities. Duquesne's MBA program is ranked 8th in the world by the Aspen Institute.

Duquesne University can count more than 79,000 living alumni, notably including General Michael V. Hayden (Director of the CIA), two cardinals, and the current bishop of Pittsburgh. The Duquesne Dukes compete in NCAA Division I. Duquesne football has won or shared 11 conference titles, including nine in a row and 11 of the past 13. Duquesne men's basketball appeared twice in national championship games in the 1950s and won the NIT championship in 1955.


The Duquesne University chapel adjoins the "Old Main" administration building.

Early history

The Pittsburgh Catholic College of the Holy Ghost was founded on 1 October 1878 by Fr. Joseph Strub and the Holy Ghost Fathers, who had been expelled from Germany during Bismarck's Kulturkampf six years earlier. When the college was founded, it had six faculty members and 40 students. The college obtained its state charter in 1882. Students attended classes in a rented space above a bakery on Wylie Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh. Duquesne established itself at its current location on the Bluff and built the original five-story red brick "Old Main" in 1885. At the time, it was the highest point on the Pittsburgh skyline.

On 27 May 1911, the College became the first Catholic institution of higher learning in Pennsylvania to become a university. It was subsequently renamed "Duquesne University of the Holy Ghost," after Ange Duquesne de Menneville, Marquis du Quesne, the French governor of New France who first brought Catholic observances to the Pittsburgh area. In 1914, the graduate school was established.

Recent history

Since the 1950s, Duquesne University has continued to expand its holdings in the area. Father Vernon Gallagher, President of the University, proposed a "Master Plan" for the campus redevelopment in 1952. Assumption Hall, the first student dormitory, was opened in 1954, and Rockwell Hall was dedicated in November 1958, housing the schools of business and law. Between 1959 and 1980, the University has renovated or constructed various buildings to form the academic infrastructure of the campus. Among these are College Hall, the music school and the library, as well as a new Student Union and Mellon Hall, along with four more dormitories. The 1980s saw construction begin on the A.marker J.marker Palumbo Centermarker (dedicated 1988), as well as an expansion of the law school. Between 1988 and 2001, the University opened its first new schools in 50 years, including the Rangos School of Health Sciences, the Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, and the School of Leadership and Professional Advancement. Duquesne University continues to expand with its completion of a mixed-use development project on Forbes Avenue.

Insignia and tradition

Duquesne University's coat of arms is carved in high relief above Canevin Hall.
The Duquesne University class ring is noted for its distinctive design.

Seal and coat of arms

The Duquesne University coat of arms was adapted from that of the family of the Marquis du Quesne. However, a red book was added to adapt the arms of a French governor to that of a university. The coat of arms was designed by a Spiritan father and alumnus, Rev. John F. Malloy, C.S.Sp. They were then examined and partly revised by Pierre de Chaignon la Rose, a prominent ecclesiastical heraldic artist at the time. The design was adopted early in 1923 and used for the first time carved in high relief above Canevin Hall, then under construction. The first time the arms were incorporated into the seal of the university was for the commencement program of 1926.

The formal heraldic blazon of the arms is as follows: Argent, a lion Sable armed and langued Gules holding a book of the same edged Or; on a chief party per pale Azure and of the third, a dove displayed of the first, areoled of the fourth; motto, "Spiritus est qui vivificat."

Alma mater

Alumnus Joseph Carl Breil, class of 1888, notable as being the first person to compose a score specifically for a motion picture, also composed the music for Duquesne University’s alma mater. Father John F. Malloy, who also designed the university coat of arms, wrote the lyrics. The first performance of the song was in October 1920.

Alma Mater, old Duquesne, guide and friend of our youthful days.
We, thy sons and daughters all, our loyal voices raise.
The hours we spent at thy Mother knee and drank of wisdom's store
Shall e'er in mem'ry treasured be, tho' we roam the whole world o'er.
Then forward ever, dear Alma Mater, o'er our hearts unrivaled reign.
Onward ever, old Alma Mater! All hail to thee, Duquesne!

Class ring

The Duquesne University class ring was first adopted in the 1920s, the same decade as the seal and alma mater. The first incarnation was approved by a 1925 student committee, and was an "octagonal deep blue stone held in place by four corner prongs." Two years later, another student committee replaced the blue stone with a synthetic ruby. The ring's design continued to evolve until 1936, as the prongs were replaced with a continuous metal bezel. The words "Duquesne," "University," and "Pittsburgh," accompanied the graduation year around the four sides of the bezel, and the shank on both sides was decorated with a motif adapted from the university’s coat of arms. Originally an option, the embossed gold Gothic initial "D" became standard in the late 1930s. The Duquesne alumni website notes, "The golden initial, oversized stone and octagonal shape make the Duquesne ring stand out from those of other colleges and universities."


An old postcard image of Duquesne's campus shows the Old Main building, the university chapel, and Canevin Hall.

Duquesne University has more than tripled in size from its early 12.5 acres (51,000 m²) on Boyd's Hill to its present 49 acre (198,296 m²) main campus in Pittsburgh's Uptown neighborhoodmarker. Of the 31 buildings that make up the Bluff campus, several are recent constructions or renovations, including a health sciences facility, two recording studios, two parking garages, a multipurpose recreation center, and a theater-classroom complex.

The "Old Main" Administration Building was the first structure to be constructed on campus. The Victorian Gothic structure is still used to house the administrative offices of the University. Canevin Hall, named after bishop of Pittsburgh Regis Canevin, was constructed in 1922 and is the oldest classroom building on campus (it was renovated in 1968). These two buildings, as well the Bayer Learning Center, the Richard King Mellon Hall of Science (designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe), and the Victorian Laval House, are at the west end of Academic Walk, a thoroughfare that provides pedestrian-only access to most of the campus, including the Student Union. The Union, which houses meeting rooms, four dining facilities, a PNC branch, a recreation center, and an art gallery, is the center of campus life and student activities. Located on the northern side of campus is the Gumberg Librarymarker, a five-story structure opened in 1978 and holding extensive print and electronic collections.

Forbes Avenue expansion

Construction was recently completed on the Power Center, named in honor of Father William Patrick Power, the University's first president. The new multipurpose recreation facility on Forbes Avenue between Chatham Square and Magee Street, across from the University's Forbes Avenue entrance, adds to the student fitness facilities on campus. Other spaces include a Barnes and Noble bookstore containing a Starbucks cafe, Jamba Juice, Red Ring Restaurant, and a conference center and ballroom. The building was completed in early January 2008, and is the first stage of a development that aims to serve both the campus community and the surrounding neighborhoodmarker.

Capital region campus

Duquesne University has a campus for adult students, an extension of the School of Leadership and Professional Advancement. The Capital Region campus is across the river from Harrisburgmarker in Wormleysburgmarker. The programs at this campus are designed with flexibility and convenience in mind. Classes are also available at Fort Indiantown Gapmarker.

Italian campus

Since 2001, Duquesne has offered an Italian campus program. The facility, part of extensive grounds owned and managed by the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, is west of downtown Romemarker and just beyond Vatican Citymarker. University materials describe the campus as "a walled property enclosing beautiful gardens and walkways, [with] classrooms, computer facilities (including Internet), a small library, dining hall, recreational areas, and modernized living quarters complete with bathrooms in each double room."

The curriculum at the Italian campus includes history, art history, Italian language, philosophy, theology, sociology and economics, appropriate to the historical and cultural setting of Rome. The faculty of the program, largely constituted by visiting professors and resident scholars, is supplemented by a few distinguished professors from the home campus.


Duquesne has a total student enrollment of 10,368 undergraduate and graduate students. The University has grown to comprise ten schools and other institutions, offering degree programs at the baccalaureate, professional, masters and doctoral levels in 189 academic programs. It is the only Spiritan institution of higher education in the world, and hosts international students from more than eighty different countries. The following institutions, along with their dates of founding, comprise Duquesne University:

Student life

Residential life

The Duquesne Towers building houses 1,200 students

More than 3,600 students live at Duquesne University in five residence halls and one apartment complex. Assumption Hall, built in the 1950s, was the first residential hall on Duquesne's campus, and can accommodate 300 residents. Freshman dormitories include St. Ann's Hall, and St. Martin's Hall, which were opened in the 1960s. The largest dormitory facility is Duquesne Towers, which houses 1,200 students, including Greek organizations. Other facilities include Vickroy Hall, built in 1997, and Brottier Hall, which was formerly an apartment complex before its purchase by the university in 2004.

Student groups

Duquesne University hosts more than 150 student organizations, including 19 fraternities and sororities. Media organizations include a student radio station, WDSR (Duquesne Student Radio). Founded in 1984, it broadcasts solely through the Internet streaming audio. Other student media organizations include The Duquesne Duke campus newspaper and L'Esprit Du Duc, the University's yearbook. Duquesne also hosts a Student Government Association, a student-run Program Council, a Commuter Council, a representative Residence Hall Association, an Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic Council, the Knights of Columbus, and numerous departmental Honor Societies. In addition, public radio station WDUQ was founded in 1949 on campus, and broadcasts from the university.

Greek life

Fraternities on campus include Alpha Delta, Alpha Phi Delta, Alpha Tau Omega, Delta Chi, Gamma Phi (a local fraternity formed at Duquesne in 1916), Omega Psi Phi, Phi Kappa Theta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Nu, Sigma Tau Gamma, and Tau Kappa Epsilon. Sororities include Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Alpha Phi, Alpha Sigma Tau, Delta Sigma Theta, Delta Zeta, Gamma Phi Beta, Gamma Sigma Sigma, Sigma Kappa, and Zeta Tau Alpha. Most Duquesne chapters have suites or wings on campus, in the Duquesne Towers building, although there are some chapters on campus which are not housed.

Performance art

Duquesne is the home of the Tamburitzans, the longest-running multicultural song and dance company in the United States. Their shows feature an ensemble of talented young folk artists dedicated to the performance and preservation of the music, songs, and dances of Eastern Europe and neighboring folk cultures. The performers are full-time students who receive substantial scholarship awards from the university, with additional financial aid provided by Tamburitzans Scholarship Endowment Funds.

The University also maintains three theater groups: the Red Masquers, Spotlight Musical Theatre Company, and the Renaissance and Medieval Players. The Masquers annually perform three main-stage plays, generally one classical, one modern, and one contemporary. In addition, the group performs two sets of one-act plays. "Premieres," which are student-written, are performed in the winter, while in the spring "One Acts for Charity" are selected from the works of professional playwrights. In recent years, the company has also participated in the Pittsburgh Monologue Project. Spotlight is a musical theatre company that produces cabaret performances and full-scale musicals. The Renaissance and Medieval Players offer audiences a historical Medieval experience, performing religious plays, morality plays, and farces from the English Medieval and Early Renaissance periods, sometimes working in conjunction with the Red Masquers.


The Duquesne Dukes play varsity men's and women's basketball, baseball, men's and women's cross country, men's golf, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's swimming, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's outdoor track and field, women's indoor track and field, women's lacrosse, women's rowing, and women's volleyball at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I level and in the Atlantic 10 Conference. In 2008, the Dukes began playing varsity football in the NCAA Division I Northeast Conference. In recent years, Duquesne football was a member of the NCAA Division I Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Wrestling is offered at Duquesne as an Independent NCAA Division I sport. Duquesne has an ACHA Division I ice hockey program.

Fight Song

The fight song for Duquesne is Victory Song (Red and Blue). The lyrics are:

We’ll sing hooray for the Red and Blue,

A big hooray for the Red and Blue;

For the flag we love on to victory,

And when the foe is down,

We will raise a mighty shout

And sing hooray for the Red and Blue;

We’re all your sons and daughters true.

Now with all your might,

Give them fight, fight, fight

For the grand old Red and Blue.

Notable alumni

Duquesne University's Institutional Research and Planning records list over 79,000 living alumni, and the School of Law reports that almost 30 percent of the practicing lawyers in western Pennsylvania are graduates of Duquesne.

John Clayton, a writer and reporter for ESPN, Terry McGovern, television actor, radio personality, voice-over specialist, and acting instructor, Jesse Joyce, a comedian and writer, World Championship Wrestling commentator and writer Mark Madden, and German filmmaker Werner Herzog, who attended Duquesne, but did not graduate. Sports personalities Leigh Bodden, Chip Ganassi, Mike James, baseball hall-of-famer Cumberland Posey, and Chuck Cooper, possibly the first African-American basketball player in the NBA, are all alumni of Duquesne, as are both the founder and current owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Art and Dan Rooney. Singer Bobby Vinton, MLB pitcher Joe Beimel, and big-band composer Sammy Nestico are also alumni.

Norm Nixon, who holds the all-time assist record for the Duquesne Dukes, is perhaps the most successful alumnus to have played in the NBA. A former All-Star, he also played for the Los Angeles Lakers championship teams of 1980 and 1982. He ranks among the franchise's top ten in assist, points, steals and games played.

In addition, Duquesne has graduated at least two bishops and two cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church, including Bishops Vincent Leonard, the current ordinary of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, David Zubik, and Cardinals Daniel DiNardo and Adam Maida. Figures in politics include Donald A. Bailey, Father James Cox, Director of the CIA Michael Hayden, former Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania Catherine Baker Knoll, Pennsylvania Representative Bud Shuster, and United States ambassador Thomas Patrick Melady.


  2. View the Capital Region campus on Google Maps.
  3. View the Italian campus on Google Maps.

External links

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