On a cold and gray November afternoon following the mass shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, the Pitt community came together in the spirit of compassion, inclusion, and service. Thousands attended the tribute on the lawn of the Cathedral of Learning, which honored the tragedy’s victims and reaffirmed a longstanding University commitment to the fight against hatred.
“How do we go about the task, after such deep, grievous loss, of healing our bodies, of healing our spirits?” asked Daniel Schiff, a rabbi and Foundation Scholar at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and one of the event’s speakers. “If you want to feel that the world might yet again be put back together, then be the support for another. Ask not, ‘What shall I do for myself?’ Ask rather, ‘What can I do for my neighbor?’”
Similar sentiments were echoed throughout the ceremony by student, administrator, faculty, and alumni speakers and across campus in the days and weeks following the act of violence that took the lives of 11 people and injured six others.
“Pittsburgh is a city both immense in its ambitions and intimate in its connections,” Chancellor Patrick Gallagher wrote in a message. “It is hardly surprising that this tragedy has impacted members across our University of Pittsburgh community in innumerable ways. We have lost family members, colleagues, volunteers, teachers, and friends. . . . We will continue to come together, support one another, and collectively reject hatred. And Pittsburgh—a city forged from an alloy that is equal parts collaboration and intrepid resiliency—will grow stronger as a result.”
This special section appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of Pitt Magazine.