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Message from the Director

The Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy supports a wide variety of programs that reflect the aspirations for public service of Governor Thornburgh in an extraordinary life of leadership.  It is not an instrument of a single administrative unit but a versatile association of programs anchored throughout the campus.  Among its goals are to promote able and principled governance at all levels, to advance the rule of law at home and abroad, and to assist the government’s response to the special needs of persons with disabilities, many of them wounded in service to our country. 

The Forum’s work in the past few years involves particularly strong collaborations with the School of Law, the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, the Swanson School of Engineering, the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business and College of Business Administration, and the University Honors College.  The Schools of Law and Health and Rehabilitation Sciences co-sponsor the Thornburgh Family Lecture Series in Disability Law and Policy, funded in part by the donation by Governor Thornburgh and his wife, Ginny, of the Henry B. Betts Award they received from the American Association of People with Disabilities for their lifelong service to its cause.  Annually, the School of Law presents the The J. Evans Rose, Jr. Prize for Public Service award to an outstanding graduating law student planning a career in public service and the Dick Thornburgh Prize for Legal Service to a graduating Law School student who has provided legal assistance to low-income individuals through a legal services organization while in law school and intends to continue in such service.  Enhancing the quality of teaching across campus, the Dick Thornburgh Faculty Academic Support Grant has been awarded to faculty in information science, nursing, political science, civil and environmental engineering, and law to work with students to develop courses involving the Thornburgh Archive Collection.  And now, in collaboration with the Swanson School of Engineering, the Forum is organizing a symposium on the future of nuclear power for the anniversary of Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi disaster last spring and Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island accident thirty-three years ago when Dick Thornburgh was Governor.  Serving all of these endeavors are close advisory relationships with the Institute of Politics, the University Center for International Studies, the Katz Graduate School of Business, and the University Library System.


Most prominent among the recent partners is the University Honors College, where I am principally based.  The Honors College has joined to bring a wide range of contributions to the undergraduate community.  The Thornburgh Forum and the Honors College now cosponsor the American Experience Distinguished Lecture Program, one of the oldest and most prominent lecture series in the city of Pittsburgh, created by the late Robert Hazo more than forty years ago.  The American Experience Program brings to campus every year visitors of national prominence for a public address and student discussions of political, social, and economic issues of current interest.  And last spring, the Honors College combined with the Forum to inaugurate the Dick Thornburgh Summer Fellowship Program.  This superb initiative enhances the renowned Brackenridge Summer Fellowship Program of the Honors College with stipends for undergraduates to examine real-life policy challenges in depth through research in the Dick Thornburgh Archive Collection


Through the promise of these many offerings, the Dick Thornburgh Forum has become a catalyst for scholarship and public service with which everyone can identify.  We welcome suggestions from all quarters as we choose among the many opportunities that are ripe for the Forum’s attention.

Edward L. McCord, PhD, JD  Biography

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