Carnegie Mellon University

History & Traditions

Carnegie Mellon Through the Years

Since its founding in 1900 by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, Carnegie Mellon University has focused on finding real solutions to the problems facing society.

Whether they attended Carnegie Technical Schools (1900-1912), Carnegie Institute of Technology (1912-1967) or Carnegie Mellon University (1967-present), our alumni became the innovators of their generation who made a difference in the world.

Learn more about Carnegie Mellon by reading about the values and mission of the university, and the advancements made under each administration.

Beyond the Tartan

Spring Carnival

Many Carnegie Mellon traditions have a Scottish flavor, reflecting the heritage of our founder, philanthropist and steel magnate Andrew Carnegie.

Others have formed in the way traditions often do, from a unique experience in a special place — one that seems to capture the moment as well as the hearts of those who pass through Carnegie Mellon.

Spring Carnival. Carnegie Mellon's oldest tradition, it's also a favorite of students, alumni, faculty and staff. Held annually, the weekend's events include entertainment and competition, carnival rides and food, and an event not to be missed: Buggy Sweepstakes. Experience Carnival through the eyes of Scotty, the university's Scottish terrier mascot.

Buggy Sweepstakes. Buggy, the highlight of Spring Carnival, began in 1920 as the"pushmobile races" of Campus Week. Buggies — aerodynamic cylinders designed and built by student groups during the year — are pushed and driven through campus over a course measuring more than 4,400 feet and often reach speeds of up to 35 miles per hour.

The Fence. The Fence is the university’s billboard for student groups. Located on the Cut (the grassy area of campus between Forbes Avenue and Hunt Library), the Fence must be painted in its entirety, between midnight and sunrise. Students complete their painted work and guard the fence through the night to make sure no one paints over it.

Bagpipers. Carnegie Mellon's Pipe Band features the sounds of Scottish bagpipes and performs at formal university events. The university is one of the few in the U.S. to offer a degree in bagpipes.

The Fence

Traying. Carnegie Mellon students often use cafeteria trays as sleds during snowy winter nights. Common spots for "traying" include the tiered hillside next to the tennis courts and Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park.

The Kiltie Band. Carnegie Mellon's Kiltie Band, dressed in full Scottish regalia including kilts and knee socks, performs during every home football game. Making its first public appearance on Nov. 25, 1922, the birthday of Andrew Carnegie, the band performed at a game on old Forbes Field between Carnegie Tech and the University of Notre Dame.

Autographing the Green Room. It has been a tradition at the College of Fine Arts for senior "dramats" (drama students) to sign the Green Room's walls and ceilings before leaving the university. The Green Room is behind the stage of Kresge Theatre, the quaint site of many past drama productions. Oscar-winning actress Holly Hunter broke university tradition by signing the Green Room during her freshman year.