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The University of Pittsburgh, a state research university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is one of the oldest continuously-chartered institutions of higher education in the nation. One of the few universities and colleges established in the US in the 18th century, the university began its life as a preparatory school 1770. A charter for the school was passed by the Pennsylvania legislature just 10 weeks before the opening of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Originally called the University of Western Pennsylvania, the school was a private institution for most of its existence until it became part of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education in 1966 and became known as the University of Pittsburgh.
The University of Pittsburgh is ranked among US News and World Report’s top public universities, including ranking as a “best value.” The university and its medical school are closely affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers.
The university is associated with one of the most significant scientific and medical achievements in history. As the polio epidemic began to spread in the United States in the early 20th century, Dr. Jonas Salk set up the University of Pittsburgh’s Virus Research Lab in the basement of what is now Salk Hall. By 1951, Dr. Salk and his team had begun immunization experiments, and by 1962, Salk’s vaccine had reduced the incidence of polio in the United States by 95 percent.
During its more than 100 years of competitive football, the University of Pittsburgh has been associated with some of college football’s all-time greatest coaches and players including Pop Warner, Marshall Goldberg, Mike Ditka, Tony Dorsett, Dan Marino, Bill Fralic, Curtis Martin, Russ Grimm and Larry Fitzgerald. The school boasts 86 players who have been chosen as first-team All-Americans.