Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University is a private research university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was formed in 1967 by the union of the Carnegie Institute of Technology (which was "Carnegie Technical Schools" until 1912), founded in 1900 by Andrew Carnegie, and the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research, founded in 1917 by Richard Beatty Mellon. The school is often referred to as CMU. CMU houses the first computer science school and the first drama school in the nation. It also houses one of the best engineering schools, and its public policy and business schools are consistently ranked among the best in the nation. CMU is famous for its unique interdisciplinary environment and as an innovative leader in education. CMU is affiliated with 12 Nobel Laureates across multiple disciplines.

Carnegie Mellon University

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Carnegie Mellon University Seal

Motto"My heart is in the work" (Andrew Carnegie)
Established 1900
School type Private University
President Jared Cohon
Location Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Enrollment 5,200 undergraduate,
3,200 graduate
Faculty 1254
Endowment US$756 million
Campus Urban, 103 acres (0.4 km²)
Sports teams
Mascot Tartans

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Carnegie Mellon's 103 acre (0.4 km²) main campus is five miles (8 km) from downtown Pittsburgh, in the Squirrel Hill/Oakland part of the city. A large grassy area known as the Cut forms the backbone of the campus, with a separate grassy area known as the Mall running perpendicular to it. The Campus was the first educational institution in the world to be completely covered by a wireless network. The campus computer network, Andrew, is considered one of the most advanced networks on any campus in the world today.

In addition to its main Pittsburgh campus, Carnegie Mellon University also has smaller campuses in the West Coast and Qatar.


The institution was founded in 1900 in Pittsburgh by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who wrote the time-honored words, "My heart is in the work," when he donated the funds to create Carnegie Technical Schools. Carnegie's vision was to open a vocational training school for the sons and daughters of working-class Pittsburghers. The name was changed to the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1912. In 1967 it merged with the Mellon Institute to become Carnegie Mellon University.

A view down the Cut, with the Purnell Center on the left, the University Center on the right
A view down the Cut, with the Purnell Center on the left, the University Center on the right


The university today consists of seven colleges and schools:

The university has two smaller additional campuses, offering business and technology-related degrees, one in California's San Francisco Bay Area, another in Qatar's Education City.

The university houses famous research centers such as the Robotics Institute, which is the first of its kind in the world and considered a leader in the field of robotics, and the Software Engineering Institute which undertakes projects relating to software security, code re-use, and development models and is largely funded by the United States Department of Defense. The Software Engineering Institute's Capability Maturity Model is used widely.


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Hamerschlag Hall

The university has 5,200 undergraduate students, 3,200 graduate students, 1,048 full-time faculty, and 206 part-time faculty. The male-to-female ratio is 3:2. The student body is comprised of students from 48 different states and 91 countries. CMU is consistently ranked by surveys as one of the toughest schools in the nation. Social life and political activity take a back seat to academics on campus, despite the efforts of motivated student organizations.

Sports and organizations

Carnegie Mellon's sports teams are called the Tartans. They participate in the University Athletic Association in NCAA Division III. Carnegie Mellon's marching and concert band is the Kiltie Band.

The weekly student newspaper is The Tartan, published since 1906.

There are many organizations on-campus:

  • Undergraduate Student Senate

The goal of Student Senate ( is to represent the interests of the student body. Senate allocates a budget of about $30,000 each semester to student organizations and events that benefit the whole student body. Student Senate also sets policy, and must ratify some administration policies. Any undergraduate student can join Student Senate by either running for a seat, filling a vacancy, or becoming a Member-at-Large. Student Senate, along with the Graduate Student Assembly ( also provides annual subsidies to student groups through the Joint Funding Committee (JFC) process.

  • Activities Board

One of the largest is the Activities Board (, which organizes a number of student activities on campus. The Films Committee of the Activities Board is notable for showing films (often recent) in the on-campus McConomy Auditorium 3-4 nights a week, with 2-4 showings per night.

  • All University Orchestra

Students of all ability levels play in the All University Orchestra (, performing once each semester.

  • Carnegie Mellon University Emergency Medical Services

Carnegie Mellon University Emergency Medical Services ( (CMU EMS) is a student-run Basic Life Support Quick Response Service that provides emergency medical services to the CMU community 24/7, as well as providing standby medical support for both on and off-campus events, such as hockey games,concerts, and Spring Carnival. CMU EMS also provides CPR and First Aid training to the CMU community, as well as cosponsoring an EMT course. CMU EMS is certified by the state of Pennsylvania and is 100% volunteer.

  • International Relations Organization/Model UN Club

The IRO/Model UN club ( allows students to participate in Model UN conferences and other events to further awareness of the global community.

  • KGB

Another notable organization on campus is the KGB ( (not related to the Russian KGB), which holds bizarre weekly meetings and hosts events such as the Underground Tour, Build a Giant Robot, and Capture the Flag with Stuff [1] (

  • Kiltie Band

The marching and concert band of Carnegie Mellon is the Kiltie Band. Yes, they do wear kilts.

  • Mock Trial

Though Carnegie Mellon does not have a law school, members of CMU Mock Trial ( compete in mock trial against other universities such as the University of Pennsylvania, Penn State University, and Cornell University.

  • Robotics Club

The Robotics Club ( is a undergraduate student run organization that facilitates the building of robots and related projects. The Robotics Club provides resources to undergraduates interested in building various types of robots.

  • Scotch'n'Soda

Scotch 'n' Soda ( (S'n'S) Student Theatre has been allowing any interested student of any majors to write, direct, tech, and perform in theatrical productions for over 60 years. SnS puts on about between 4 and 6 shows a year including everything from musicals to classics to modern plays. They also have an improv troupe called The No Parking Players ( who offer free workshops twice a week and a Playwright Troupe ( who workshops original plays a few times each semester.

  • Singapore Students' Association

The Singapore Students' Association (SSA) serves the small but active & growing Singaporean student community at Carnegie-Mellon, though its membership is open to all. Malaysian & Indonesian students are other nationalities that join the SSA. The SSA organises cultural events that seek to promote understanding of Singapore and South-East Asia. Since the SSA's augural participation in the Spring Carnival, they have won an award every year.

  • Student Dormitory Council

The Student Dormitory Council ( is a hodgepodge of different committees. They run the film in McConomy Auditorium on Saturday nights, program campus events, and act as liasons from the resident body to Housing, Dining and Student Life. The university puts the students in charge of all the dormitory recreational equipment through SDC including purchasing, installing and repairing.

  • Vermillion

Vermillion ( is one of two Anime clubs that holds weekly meetings at CMU. On Saturday evenings from 7 PM till whenever they finish, the club shows episodes of several pre-determined series, as well as movies and music videos, in Breed Hall in Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall. While paid dues are not required to take part in the viewing festivities, only paying members are allowed to cast votes for what will be shown. The club also appears in the online comic Tsunami Channel (, which even goes so far as to include Vermillion members as characters.

  • WRCT

WRCT ( is the student-run campus FM radio station, broadcasting at 88.3 MHz. It is a freeform college radio station, producing music, sports and public affairs programming for the campus community. WRCT staff members are all volunteers from among the university student body, staff and faculty. Since upgrading its power output to 1750 Watts in 1994, WRCT's listening area covers the city of Pittsburgh and surrounding areas, no longer just limited to areas near the university campus.

Despite a widely-held belief that the school is largely apathetic, Carnegie Mellon Activism has spanned decades. There continues to be a small yet visible progressive activist presence today, as well as libertarians and groups of many different political persuasions.


The Fence

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The Fence painted with the Indian tri-color on India's independence day

In the middle of the Cut lies the Fence, the most painted object on campus. It frequently displays witty or poignant messages, but is just as often used to advertise upcoming events or recent accomplishments. Because of its highly visible location on campus, it is an ideal place to proclaim one's message to as much of the student body as possible. The original wooden fence was torn down in the early 1990s after the weight of the many layers of paint threatened to cause the structure to collapse. A more stable concrete replacement stands in its place today.

Tradition dictates that the Fence only be painted after midnight and before sunrise, and only in its entirety. A group wishing to paint the Fence must station two representatives on the small gravel region surrounding it; so long as two guards remain within the boundary, no other group may "take" the Fence. This sometimes leads to fraternities or other groups setting up a tent or campsite just inside the boundary so that they may keep control of the Fence for extended periods of time.

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Delta Upsilon's "Peter Pan" booth from Spring Carnival 2004

Spring Carnival

Usually held in April, Spring Carnival is the biggest event of the CMU school year. Many students work hard all year to make it a success, and the Pittsburgh community is invited to attend. Alumni often return for the festivities, and Reunion coincides with the weekend. Spring Carnival features "Midway", with all the standard carnival attractions, and a Buggy race which is run over the course of the weekend. Many organizations across campus construct both a booth for Midway and a buggy for Sweepstakes. Judges decide on winners in several different categories.

See also: Official Carnival Site (

Buggy races

Buggy, officially called Sweepstakes, is a race around Schenley Park. Entrants submit a small, usually torpedo-shaped, vehicle that is pushed uphill and then driven downhill. The driver (who must be a CMU student) sits inside the vehicle with the steering and brake controls. Brakes are used only as a last resort (to prevent a crash, for instance), but drivers who are forced to use them are allowed to roll in another heat with no penalty. The second-to-last corner of the race, a sharp 90-degree right turn, is affectionately called "The Chute" and is lined with hay bales to prevent spectator injury.

See also: Official Buggy Site (

A mobot approaches the end of the course, with Hamerschlag Hall in the background
A mobot approaches the end of the course, with Hamerschlag Hall in the background


"Mobot," a general term resulting from shortening "mobile robot", is an annual competition at Carnegie Mellon that made its debut in 1994. In this event, robots try (autonomously) to pass through gates, in order, and reach the finish line. There is a white line on the pavement connecting the gates, and the line is normally used to find the gates, though it is not mandated by the rules that the robots follow the line. Towards the end of the course, the lines split and merge randomly, and knowledge of which line leads to the next gate is needed to consistently finish the course. This information is provided by the judges shortly before the actual competition begins. The current undergraduate mobot course record is held by winners in the year 2001, Alok Ladsariya and Anthony Rowe, whose mobot used the CMUCam for capturing images of the racetrack. Their second robot, "Barney," is the only finishing mobot on record to call into question whether each gate must be passed in the forward direction in order to count.

See also: Official Mobot Site (


For Carnival Weekend, the Morewood parking lot is turned into "Midway." Booths are constructed by campus organizations, featuring (usually) free games and cheap giveaway prizes. Some of the booths are intricate, multi-level affairs, showing off the creativity and energy of the students who construct them. Portable carnival rides are brought in and set up, along with standard carnival concession food (including funnel cake). Various musical acts, improv comedy troupes, and other performances are staged in a nearby tent, running throughout the weekend and providing a backdrop to the entire spectacle.

Fiesta de Primavera

End of the year event is the Fiesta de Primavera, held on the last day of classes. The Special Events Committee of Activities Board gets a bunch of inflatable bounce equipment and other soft fun toys and sets it up outside (weather permitting). Equipment varies from year to year, but typically includes: bouncy volleyball, jousting, sumo outfits, slides, flypaper, big punching gloves, etc...

Calling this a "tradition" is a bit of a stretch, since unlike many of the other CMU traditions, it only began sometime in the 1990s.


The sound of bagpipes is a common presence at Carnegie Mellon. The university is the only one in the United States to offer bagpiping as a major. Carnegie Mellon's Pipe Band plays at major university events, such as convocation and commencement.

The internal bulletin board newsgroup, known to most CMU students simply as "," was originally established as a forum in which students could buy and sell items; hence the name. While this is still its nominal purpose, it has simultaneously evolved into a forum for the unfettered exchange of ideas. Students from diverse backgrounds use to take part in debates and flame wars on subjects ranging from politics to the uses of their student activity fee. has also become the default electronic clearinghouse for information about the campus community and Pittsburgh entertainment, since it is read by a large fraction of the campus community. The newsgroup's regular posters, known as "misc.marketers," run the gamut from first-years to grad students, and even include some former CMU students who have since graduated but kept their newsgroup access privileges.

Notable Carnegie Mellon students, alumni, and professors

Carnegie Mellon in fiction

In the manga Maico 2010, the main character, an android named Maico, was created in the university.

Wonder Boys, a movie based on the same titled novel by Michael Chabon, was filmed on the CMU campus.

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Panoramic view of the CMU Cut

External links

Template:University Athletic Associationde:Carnegie Mellon University es:Universidad Carnegie Mellon ja:カーネギーメロン大学 no:Carnegie Mellon University



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