Senior’s Love Song to the Cathedral of Learning Strikes a Chord

Rajamani on a stage with blue lights shining on him

Move over, “Sweet Caroline”: graduating senior Dhyan Rajamani has written a new anthem for the Pitt community called “Cathy.” 

“Anywhere you go in the city, you can see the Cathedral of Learning,” said Rajamani, a biology major in the College of General Studies. He said he was drawn to Pitt in part because of the iconic structure, which is the largest educational building in the western hemisphere.

One day last year, after admiring “Cathy,” as students affectionately call the Cathedral, he was inspired to write the eponymous song. “It’s an homage to our north star,” he said.

The lyrics are laced with references to campus and the Oakland neighborhood. They also allude to another favorite song of the Pitt community:

Yo I just wanna meet some pretty girls
But yo this one, she was outta this world
Everyone said Cathy was her name
She's a Pittsburgh dime
One of a kind
Baby she sweeter than Caroline

“I wanted to make a song for Pitt that was more personalized” than “Sweet Caroline,” said Rajamani. “As much as I love that song, other schools and sports teams sing it. It’s not really ours.”

“Cathy” got buzz on social media after Rajamani uploaded it to Spotify and Apple Music in November 2019. At first, just friends shared it, but the catchy, horn-backed beat gained traction with alumni, too. Rajamani said a few have reached out with praise.

Gillian Schriever, a Pitt alum and friend, said the song carries even more weight now, in the time of social distancing and COVID-19.

“This kind of media is what we need right now to keep the fire going,” said Schriever, a tech consultant for Deloitte who earned a degree in chemical engineering from the Swanson School in 2019.

Schriever in her cap and gown in front of a Panther statue on campus“I travel a lot for work, though not so much anymore,” she said. “Whenever I travel, I run into Pitt alum and the song will just come up in conversation. It’s really catchy. I can hear it in my head as I’m thinking about it. It’s such a unifying thing, another point of connection. We already have Cathy (the building) to rally around, and this builds on that.”

Rajamani grew up in a musical family in Maryland. He always sang, he said, and played a few different instruments, but only started releasing music two years ago.

“Pitt inspired it all,” he said.

“Cathy” is his most played song, but his music in general has garnered around 35,000 streams.

“The more you listen, the more you realize how it speaks to our traditions,” said Schriever. “He’s talking about Posvar Hall, walking down Fifth Avenue. I have so much pride for Pitt and I was just over the moon when I first heard it. It really hit me, like, ‘Wow that’s really talking about us.’”

Though he isn’t sure what comes next, Schriever said she could see endless possibilities for Rajamani. She first met him as a dedicated biology student who was dating Schriever’s friend, Annaika Khoday, who appears on the album cover and is also graduating this spring. “When I learned he made music too I was like, ‘What else can you do, fly?’”

“He’s smart, he could apply himself. I could see him juggling a career in science and being a successful artist.” More importantly, he’s a good person, she said.

Rajamani said he plans to take a gap year at home in Maryland to work on his music and apply to public health graduate schools.

For Pitt students and alumni alike who are missing campus right now, “Cathy” provides a way to unite during a time of separation.

“What better way to share something?” said Schriever.

Missing the city?

Whether your time this term was cut short or you’ve been gone a while and miss the city, we’ve got a Pittsburgh-inspired playlist that includes “Cathy” and other favorite songs by local artists, curated by the Office of University Communications and Marketing in partnership with the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. Take a listen.

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