Guinness World Record Attempt

University of Pittsburgh Class of 2017
completes Guinness World Record Attempt

Wednesday, August 21

(PITTSBURGH, Pa.)  -  Today at approximately ­4:30 p.m. the University of Pittsburgh’s Class of 2017 attempted to break the Guinness World Record for the "Largest Animal Image Formed by Humans" outside of Pitt's Petersen Events Center in Oakland.

A total of 3,614 students participated in the event as part of New and Transfer Student Orientation, wearing blue and yellow t-shirts and forming an image of Pitt’s iconic living panther.  It was an amazing sight to see as students held the image for over five minutes.  While the attempt must still be certified by Guinness to become an official Guinness World Record, University staff in the Division of Student Affairs are confident they set a new mark.  

The current record, according to, is 1,311 people who formed the shape of a white stork at a school in Poland in 2010.

The living panther image is a nod to the faculty and students of 1920 who created the original Living Panther at the University. 

Vice Provost and Dean of Students Dr. Kathy Humphrey initiated the annual tradition of incoming classes attempting a world record in 2010. Since the inception, incoming Pitt classes have broken the record for:

  • “The Largest Torch Lit Logo” (2010), spelling out the block PITT
  • “The Largest Glow Stick Design” (2011), forming the Cathedral of Learning image
  • “The Largest Cupid Shuffle Dance” (2012), during a tribute to Gene Kelly

The University’s New and Transfer Student Orientation, held August 19-25, is a variety of programs and events designed to provide students with time and opportunities to acclimate to campus and meet new people. The theme this year is DiscoverPittDiscoverU which will encourage students to discover something new about themselves and their campus. 

"The Guinness World Record attempt will unite the Class of 2017 and give them an immediate bond and connectivity to each other," said Humphrey.  "Research has shown that students who connect to their University and classmates early have an easier adjustment to college and a higher retention rate."

“Orientation is a great opportunity to for students to meet other students, staff, and faculty, and to learn about campus resources, services, and Pitt traditions.” said Mary Utter, Coordinator of Orientation and the Office of First Year Experience. “We have a great week of programs lined up for the students this year. DiscoverPittDiscoverU which will encourage students to discover something new about themselves and their campus."