Chatham News

Henry Reese and Diane Samuels, co-founders of City of Asylum/Pittsburgh; and Barbara Luderowski and Michael Olijnyk, co-directors of The Mattress Factory named keynote speakers for 2011 Commencement Exercises

By: Paul A. Kovach, Chief Communications Officer
April 20, 2011

PITTSBURGH (April 20, 2011) … Chatham University will graduate its 139th class of undergraduate women and its 17th class of graduate women and men during its first combined commencement on Sunday, May 22 at 10:00 a.m. in Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland. Trustee Louise Brown (Class of 1967), President Esther L. Barazzone, Ph.D. and Vice President for Academic Affairs Laura S. Armesto, Ph.D. will preside over the ceremonies.

Four of Pittsburgh’s most distinguished arts leaders will be honored with honorary doctorates of humane letters: Henry Reese and Diane Samuels, co-founders of City of Asylum/Pittsburgh; and Barbara Luderowski andMichael Olijnyk, co-directors of The Mattress Factory. Commencement exercises will include graduates from each of the University’s three colleges: Chatham College for Women (undergraduate), the College for Graduate Studies, and the College for Continuing and Professional Studies.

City of Asylum/Pittsburgh provides sanctuary to writers exiled under threat of death, imprisonment, or persecution in their home countries. City of Asylum/Pittsburgh provides writers with a stipend, medical benefits, assistance in transitioning to a life in the U.S., and a house in which to live in Pittsburgh’s North Side community. Since the program’s inception in 2004, three exiled writers have participated in the residency program: Huang Xiang from China; Horacio Castellanos Moya from El Salvador; and Khet Mar from Burma. More than 100 other writers, poets and musicians from 20 countries have been involved with City of Asylum/Pittsburgh community programs and fundraisers. City of Asylum/Pittsburgh also publishes Sampsonia Way, an online magazine which extends the mission of the program into the global community and bring the world to the local community. The magazine features writers in the program and their peers around the country, as well as writers from around the world. Its intent is to gain exposure for endangered writers on a global and local scale.

Pittsburgh’s Mattress Factory is one of the preeminent contemporary art exhibition spaces in the world. Since its founding in 1977 by sculptor Barbara Luderowski, the museum has championed installation art and has showcased some of the most interesting and site-specific works in the United States, including works by John Cage, Damien Hirst and Anne Hamilton. The museum’s permanent collection includes works by internationally acclaimed artists James Turrell, Bill Woodrow, Jene Highstein, Rolf Julius, Yayoi Kusama, and an archaeological and environmental garden by Winifred Lutz. Mattress Factory also runs an artist-in-residence program for artists from around the world. Like its neighbor City of Asylum/Pittsburgh, the Mattress Factory has been a catalyst for transformation of Pittsburgh’s North Side community.

About Chatham University
Chatham University prepares students from around the world to help develop solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. Consistently ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review, Chatham University is also ranked in the top five percent of graduate-intensive institutions nationally and experienced the fastest-growing enrollment in the Pittsburgh region over the past decade. Founded in 1869, Chatham University includes the Shadyside Campus, with the historic 39-acre Woodland Road arboretum and Chatham Eastside facility; and the 388-acre Eden Hall Campus north of Pittsburgh. For more information call 800-837-1290 or visit