Chatham News

Chatham University breaks ground on next-generation sustainable campus; receives $7.5 million gift from Richard King Mellon Foundation

PITTSBURGH (October 11, 2012) … On Thursday, October 11 at 4:30 PM, Chatham University breaks ground on the $40 million initial phase of its new Eden Hall Campus, the first academic community in the world built from the ground up for sustainable development, living, and learning.

As part of the groundbreaking ceremony, Chatham is also announcing receipt of a $7.5 million gift from Richard King Mellon Foundation for Eden Hall, the largest contribution to date since the original land gift by the Eden Hall Foundation. Since 2008, ~ $28.6 million has been raised for the comprehensive sustainability project consisting of ~ $14.1 million for construction and ~ $14.5 million for planning, academic development, and programming.

Chatham University, a recognized leader in sustainability, is a charter signatory of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, has been named to the Princeton Review’s 2013 Green Honor Roll as one of the most environmentally responsible universities in the U.S. and Canada, was recognized as a top green power purchaser by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and is the alma mater of environmental icon and Silent Spring author, Rachel Carson (class of ’29).

Eden Hall Campus
Designed to ultimately serve more than 1,000 students in a carbon and water resources neutral, zero-net energy integrated facility, Eden Hall will feature high performance green buildings and the latest in sustainable land, energy, and water management techniques. By protecting valuable watersheds, incorporating surrounding land and agricultural resources, and rehabilitating existing farm structures alongside developing new, green buildings, Eden Hall will be a one-of-a-kind venue for education, conferences, community outreach, and ecotourism.

“Eden Hall is a campus like no other—a next generation living laboratory where students will not only study sustainability, but be immersed in it,” says Chatham President Esther L. Barazzone, Ph.D. “This remarkable campus will be a model of advanced sustainability, a place of stunning beauty, and strengthen Pittsburgh’s continued leadership in green innovation and buildings.”

The initial stage of construction consists of the development of field labs, classrooms, a café, an amphitheater, a mosaic garden, and infrastructure development to be complete by fall 2013. A dining hall and two residence halls supporting 150 beds are scheduled for completion in 2015. Costs for these stages of the project are estimated at $40 million.

To realize its ambitious vision for Eden Hall, Chatham hired world-renowned leaders in sustainable planning, architecture and design including Andropogon and BNIM to develop the campus master plan and the architecture firm Mithun for building design.

Eden Hall is located on 400 acres in Richland, Pa., north of Pittsburgh.  Eden Hall will be only the second residential college campus in the North Hills of Pittsburgh and the first university in Northern Allegheny County. In addition to sustainability research and education, a range of online, low-residency and continuing education programs across a variety of topics and majors will be offered at Eden Hall beginning in 2013.

Eden Hall and Chatham’s School of Sustainability and the Environment
Eden Hall will be home to Chatham’s School of Sustainability and the Environment (SSE). A new model in sustainability education, SSE uses a transdiscplinary and systems-based approach to environmental concerns in which graduate and undergraduate students are equipped to solve complex, real-world challenges through immersion in a range of topics including food studies, sustainable agriculture, ecology, energy and water management, social and economic issues, and the business of sustainability. Students, faculty, and other researchers will develop and model sustainable design, technologies, and practices to replicate in communities everywhere. Students also have opportunities to take what they learn and apply it on a global scale through study-abroad opportunities and partnerships with international universities.

“Chatham University’s School of Sustainability and Eden Hall Campus will have worldwide relevance to the field of sustainability,” says Costa Rica’s EARTH University president Jose Zaghlul, Ph.D. “We are looking forward to a significant collaboration between EARTH University’s programs—serving students from 29 countries—and Chatham University.”

SSE currently offers a Master of Sustainability degree, a two-year, full-time cohort program that focuses on identifying and finding solutions to real-world sustainability challenges and developing an academically sound, yet professionally oriented understanding of how to simultaneously improve economic development, social justice, and the biophysical environment. Also offered, is a Master of Arts in Food Studies (MAFS) degree that attracts students from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds seeking experience and training in intellectual and practical skills related to all stages of the food system. Additional degree and certificate programs for undergraduate and graduate students will be offered starting in 2013.

About Chatham University
Chatham University, founded in 1869, is located in the vibrant Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pa. Preparing students from around the world, Chatham’s enrollment throughout the past decade was the fastest growing in the Pittsburgh region. With enrollment of over 2,300 students and consisting of an undergraduate women’s college and co-educational graduate and online programs, Chatham has consistently been ranked among the top master’s level institutions in the Northeast by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Offering challenging academics and innovative programming in the fields of sustainability and the environment, health and lab sciences, creative and liberal arts, and business and entrepreneurship, a Chatham education is designed to meet the needs of tomorrow’s economy, today.

For more information, call 412-365-1139 or visit