Pitt vs. Penn State: Trinity students recap the rivalry


Trinity Senior, Elliott Salvatori, is looking forward to attending Penn State next fall.

Trinity Senior, Ann Kozak, is excited to attend Pitt and participate in their six-year pharmacy program.

The University of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania State University have been considered interstate rivals since the turn of the twentieth century. With both colleges within 160 miles of Trinity High School, many Hillers look to Pitt and Penn State to continue their education after graduation. Trinity students Elliott Salvatori and Ann Kozak offered their college-search experiences and expert opinions surrounding the famous Pitt vs. Penn State rivalry to help students understand more about each college. 

Before the start of his senior year, Salvatori was drawn to Penn State due to its athletics, large campus, and esteemed academic programs. Salvatori quickly realized that Penn State not only had these admirable qualities, but also was one of the only schools that had a respected engineering program – without an extremely high tuition price. 

Salvatori explained, “For me, Penn State provided the best combination of reputation and price.”

Therefore, by the time that Salvatori needed to apply, Penn State was the only school that he was interested in. He officially accepted his admission in January.

Similarly, Kozak was drawn to Pitt before the start of her senior year. After attending a week-long pharmacy camp at Pitt in the summer of 2019, she fell in love with the campus and the type of students who attend Pitt. 

Kozak commented, “Everyone I met was extremely passionate about their field.”

Kozak eventually came to find that, for her, Pitt offered the best of both worlds; the campus had an isolated feel while still being within a five minute trip to the city. She was drawn to the campus buildings, especially the towering Cathedral of Learning, which is lovingly called “Cathy” by Pitt students. Kozak also saw the advantage of the inner-city location that could provide her with opportunities to attend concerts, explore museums, enjoy Broadway shows, eat at the Milkshake Factory, and, of course, catch the Eagles playing the Steelers at Heinz Field. Overall, Kozak believes that the city environment makes Pitt more appealing than Penn State. 

Plus, Kozak added with some rivalry spirit, “Pitt’s average SAT scores are much higher than Penn State’s. And, there’s a rumor that they don’t put their names on the back of their football jerseys because they’re not sure all of their players can spell them correctly.”

Salvatori disagrees, saying that Penn State’s quality academics, great athletics, immediately recognizable name, incredibly successful alumni, beautiful campus, and massive alumni network make it a significantly better college than Pitt.

Slavitori added his own rivalry comment, stating that, “‘Hail to Pitt’ is actually Latin for ‘I got rejected from Penn State.’”

Both students, however, agree that they chose their school partly due to what career they want to pursue. Salvatori is considering both biomedical engineering and computer engineering as majors, making Penn State’s renowned engineering program ideal. Kozak, on the other hand, will be majoring in Pharmacy on a six year path to earn a doctorate of pharmacy degree. Therefore, Pitt was a perfect match for her because they have a top-ten ranked pharmacy school with connections to a vast hub of hospitals that are located on campus.

While Kozak is excited for this next step, she reflected on her time at Trinity by saying,  “I will always cherish and never forget all of the memories that I made with my friends over the years at football games, dances, and everything in between. I love you guys, even the ones attending Penn State!”

The Hiller wishes the best of luck to Kozak and Salvatori, and to all students continuing their education at Pitt and Penn State. Trinity is proud of all of their future Panthers and Nittany Lions!