Join afternoon tea to hear about Nationality Rooms founder

The Women’s International Club of the Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Programs will commemorate the birthday of Ruth Crawford Mitchell, founder and director emerita of the Nationality Rooms program, with an afternoon tea and conversation on June 2.

Pitt graduate Emily Wilk — who was a member of Quo Vadis, the student club devoted to providing in-person tours of the Nationality Rooms — will share her research on Mitchell’s life.

The in-person event will be from noon to 2 p.m. in the Braun Room on the 12th floor of the Cathedral of Learning. A Zoom meeting format will be made available for participants who can’t attend in person. RSVP at this link for in-person or remote participation. 

Mitchell (June 2, 1890–Feb. 7, 1984) joined the University of Pittsburgh in 1922 and became a lecturer in 1924 on the history of immigration in the economics department.

In 1926, Chancellor John G. Bowman asked Mitchell to coordinate work on the interior of the Cathedral of Learning, which eventually led to the creation of the Nationality Rooms Program. She organized committees representing Pittsburgh ethnic communities to raise funds for each of rooms and worked with architects at the University and abroad until 16 Nationality Rooms were completed by 1943.

She served as director of the Nationality Rooms until her retirement in 1956, and then as director emerita and a consultant to the Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Programs at the University of Pittsburgh. Between 1969 and 1978, she conceived and planned the Tercentenary Celebration to honor the first woman in history to receive a university degree — Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia, 1678, University of Padua, Italy.