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A guide to Carnegie Mellon’s culture: Carnegie Mellon’s founders, Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon, were both from Scottish families who settled in Pittsburgh. Because of this, Scottish traditions play a prominent role in the culture of Carnegie Mellon University. Below are a few Scottish terms and their meanings:

Bagpipes - Musical instrument played by blowing air into a set of pipes. The bagpipes are always played at ceremonial functions such as convocation and commencement.  Click here to see a video of a CMU bagpiper…the only bagpipe graduate in America in 2009.

Kilt - The kilt is a knee-length garment with pleats at the rear, originating in the traditional dress of men and boys in the Scottish Highlands of the 16th century. The pattern of the skirt identifies which clan or tribe the man is from, much in the same way that different thobe styles identify the various tribes of the Gulf region.

Scottie Dog - The nickname for a dog breed known as the Scottish Terrier. The Scotty Dog is Carnegie Mellon’s official mascot. Click here to watch a video of Scotty strolling the Pittsburgh campus.

Skibo - The name of Andrew Carnegie’s castle in Scotland.  Check out current day pictures of the castle here: www.carnegieclub.co.uk/.

Tartan - The general name which describes the plaid square patterns found on kilts and other Scottish memorabilia. The colors of the Tartan pattern identify specific clans or tribes from ancient Scotland. 

Thistle - The name of a traditional Scottish flower. An image of the thistle is used in the official Carnegie Mellon seal.