The pineapple is recognized to be a symbol of hospitality and welcome, which is exactly how OIS wants everyone to feel at the University of Pittsburgh – cared for and welcome!
The history of how the pineapple became this symbol varies depending on where you look. The people living in the Caribbean introduced the pineapple to European explorers as a fruit of welcome hundreds of years ago. Some villages are even purported to have left pineapples outside their entrances to let Spaniards know if they were welcome to enter. As the fruit made its way back to Europe, they were seen as a great delicacy due to their rarity and only offered to the most special guests.
During early American colonial days, pineapples were often offered as a decadent dessert for visitors and pineapples were frequently used as decorations on entry doors and furniture in rooms for guests to help them feel welcome. You can still find many home decorations and furniture with pineapples on them today, especially in the south and beach communities in the United States.
According to legend, seafaring captains would also pin a pineapple to their door when they arrived home to announce they had arrived home safely and that anyone was invited to visit and hear his stories from his journeys.
All of this history led OIS to choose the pineapple as a symbol of welcome for our special guests – you!
Welcome to the University of Pittsburgh!