Legendary Washington Lawyer Dick Thornburg to Deliver Law School’s Commencement Address
On Saturday, May 8, Dick Thornburgh gave the commencement address at the graduation ceremony for the Indiana University School of Law – Indianapolis. The law school’s dean, Gary R. Roberts, said, “We are very honored to have Mr. Thornburgh speak to the graduating class of 2010. His work over the past three decades in both the public and private sectors is an excellent example to our graduates of the many ways in which a legal education can be used to serve our country and society.”
Identified by Washingtonian magazine as one of “ten legendary Washington lawyers who will forever leave their mark on the District’s legal landscape,” Dick Thornburgh is counsel to the international law firm of K&L Gates LLP, resident in its Washington, D.C. office. He previously served as Governor of Pennsylvania, Attorney General of the United States under Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush and Under-Secretary General of the United Nations, during a public career which spanned over 25 years. Elected Governor of Pennsylvania in 1978 and re-elected in 1982, Thornburgh was the first Republican to serve two successive terms in that office. As Governor, Thornburgh balanced state budgets for eight consecutive years, reduced both personal and business tax rates, cut the state’s record-high indebtedness and left a surplus of $350 million.
After his unanimous confirmation by the United States Senate, Thornburgh served three years as Attorney General of the United States (1988-1991) in the cabinets of Presidents Reagan and Bush. He mounted a vigorous attack on white-collar crime as the Department of Justice obtained a record number of convictions of savings and loan and securities officials, defense contractors and corrupt public officials. Thornburgh established strong ties with law enforcement agencies around the world to help combat drug trafficking, money laundering, terrorism and international white-collar crime. During his tenure as Attorney General, he twice argued and won cases before the United States Supreme Court. The Legal Times noted that Thornburgh as Attorney General “built a reputation as one of the most effective champions that prosecutors have ever had.” An honorary Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, he currently chairs a panel of the National Academy of Public Administration examining the FBI’s post-9/11 transformation process and is a member of the FBI Director’s Advisory Board.
As Attorney General, Thornburgh played a leading role in the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2002, he received the Wiley E. Branton Award of The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs in recognition of his “commitment to the civil rights of people with disabilities.” He also took vigorous action against racial, religious and ethnic “hate crimes,” and his office mounted a renewed effort to enforce the nation’s antitrust and environmental laws.
During his service as Under-Secretary General at the United Nations (1992-1993), Thornburgh was in charge of personnel, budget and finance matters. He also has served as a consultant to the United Nations, the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank on efforts to battle fraud and corruption.
In 2006, Thornburgh received a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from The American Lawyer magazine for “important contributions to public life while building an outstanding private practice.” He chairs the Legal Advisory Board of the Washington Legal Foundation and is a member of the American Bar Association’s Task Force on the Attorney-Client Privilege.
A native of Pittsburgh, Thornburgh was educated at Yale University, where he obtained an engineering degree, and at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law where he served as an editor of the Law Review. He has been awarded honorary degrees by thirty-two other colleges and universities.
Thornburgh served as director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government (1987-1988), lectured on more than 125 other campuses, debated at the Oxford Union and has frequently appeared as a guest commentator on network news and talk shows.
Thornburgh is a Life Trustee of the Urban Institute. He serves as Chair of the Board of Visitors at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. He previously served as a member of several boards, including Merrill Lynch Incorporated, Rite-Aid Corporation, ARCO Chemical Corporation and Élan Corporation. He was the founding Chairman of the State Science and Technology Institute and serves as Vice-Chairman of the World Committee on Disability. He also is a member of the American Law Institute and the American Bar Foundation. Thornburgh was an elected delegate to Pennsylvania’s historic Constitutional Convention (1967-1968) where he spearheaded efforts on judicial and local government reform. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives (1966) and the U.S. Senate (1991).
Born July 16, 1932, he is married to Ginny Judson Thornburgh, director of the Interfaith Initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities, based in Washington, D.C. The Thornburghs have four sons and six grandchildren.
The law school’s commencement will take place in the Sagamore Ballroom in the Indiana Convention Center on Saturday, May 8 at 4 p.m.
For more information, contact Elizabeth Allington, Director for External Affairs, at 317-278-3038 or firstname.lastname@example.org.