The Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law & Public Policy will continue its mission of fostering public education and civic action on important public policy issues under the stewardship of Chancellor Emeritus Mark Nordenberg and the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Politics. Nordenberg, who chairs the Institute of Politics (IOP), succeeds Ed McCord, formerly the associate dean of the Honors College, who retired this past summer after serving as the Forum’s director since 2010.
Over the course of his long career in public service, Dick Thornburgh built an extraordinary and inspiring record of leadership from a number of extremely important positions: U.S. Attorney for Western Pennsylvania; Assistant U.S. Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice; two-term Governor of Pennsylvania; U.S. Attorney General under both President Ronald Reagan and President George Herbert Walker Bush; and Under-Secretary General of the United Nations. He is widely admired for delivering strong leadership under pressure and for his commitment to respectful, values-based professionalism and for exemplifying integrity and effectiveness in all that he does.
“Dick and Ginny Thornburgh’s commitment to the University of Pittsburgh supports values and opportunities that are increasingly needed in society today,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “From celebrating students who make a difference in the lives of those with disabilities to creating a space for the deep and difficult conversations that underpin our democratic system — their support plays an invaluable role in advancing Pitt’s mission of leveraging knowledge for society’s gain. Moving these programs to the Institute of Politics — and under Mark Nordenberg’s leadership — helps to ensure that this profound role will endure for years to come.”
Established in 2007 by Thornburgh — a graduate of Pitt’s School of Law who serves as an emeritus trustee — and his wife, Ginny, the mission of the Forum builds upon Thornburgh’s legacy to advance his vision of creating effective and principled governance. Its programs include the American Experience Lecture Series, which is sponsored in partnership with the University Honors College; the Thornburgh Family Lectures on Disability Law & Policy; and the Thornburgh Lectures on Governance.
The Forum also sponsors a number of student awards and supports both faculty and student research projects involving the Thornburgh Archives, which were transferred to the University in 1998 and contain a rich collection of original materials of relevance to contemporary issues.
“Both Ginny and I have been very pleased with the home that has been created at the University of Pittsburgh, both for the Thornburgh Forum and for the Thornburgh Archives,” Thornburgh said. “Credit for the record of impact that has been built should be shared by many people. Mark Nordenberg certainly is one of them. He has been actively involved at every step along the way — beginning during his years as dean of our School of Law, extending through his tenure as chancellor, and also as chair of the IOP. I am confident that the momentum built during Ed McCord’s years as director will be maintained under Mark Nordenberg’s leadership. In fact, I do not know of anyone better positioned to weave the Forum’s work into both the academic programs of the University and the life of the broader community.”
Over the course of the past 30 years, the IOP has earned widespread recognition as a distinctive regional asset by serving as a neutral, non-partisan forum for elected officials and other civic leaders to advance Western Pennsylvania by developing policies that are effectively responsive to important regional issues. Three years ago, the IOP also launched the Elsie Hillman Civic Forum, which supports programs designed to nurture a strong sense of commitment to civic engagement among Pitt students.
“The addition of the Thornburgh Forum leaves the IOP with a highly complementary array of strong programs,” said Nordenberg. “The Institute’s traditional programs are focused on our home region and the Elsie Hillman Civic Forum is focused on our student body, while the Thornburgh Forum is focused principally on national and international issues. Speaking more personally, I have had the chance to work closely with Dick Thornburgh on a number of matters over the course of the past three decades. Those experiences have left me with boundless admiration, for what he has accomplished and also for the values he has advanced over the course of his extraordinary public life. Becoming the director of the Forum that bears his name, then, is a special privilege.”