Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy Announces Inaugural Grant Winners

Issue Date: 
March 1, 2010
Dick ThornburghDick Thornburgh

The University of Pittsburgh’s Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy has announced the inaugural recipients of the Dick Thornburgh Academic Support Grant. The grant has been designed to support inclusion of the Dick Thornburgh Archive Collection, a rich resource of information on many significant public events in Pennsylvania and U.S. history, into course instruction across Pitt’s campus.

The Dick Thornburgh Archive Collection, donated to Pitt in 1998, provides a comprehensive record of Thornburgh’s life, from his community participation in the early 1960s to his extraordinary career that included service as governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (1979-87), attorney general of the United States (1988-91), and under-secretary-general at the United Nations (1992-93).

Each of the four recipients is a Pitt faculty member who will be awarded a $2,500 grant to incorporate archival material into new or existing curricula or to develop significant case studies of historic events in which the archives serve as a resource. Information about the recipients and the grants follows.

Richard Cox, professor in the School of Information Sciences, will incorporate research from the archives into the course Archival Access, Advocacy, and Ethics. Graduate students will use the Thornburgh collection to develop information packets for use by college students to highlight the value of archival records in understanding legal, public policy, and other high-profile cases.

Rosemary Hoffman, assistant professor in the School of Nursing’s Department of Acute and Tertiary Care, will incorporate research from the archives into the course Leadership, Healthcare Policy, and Finance. Hoffman and a graduate student will develop a multimedia case study analyzing the impact of Three Mile Island on health care policy development, potential health effects, and changes in the nuclear industry—especially emergency response planning.

Mark Magalotti, senior lecturer in the School of Engineering’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and coordinator for the Graduate Program in Transportation Engineering, will incorporate research from the archives into the course Urban Transportation Planning. A graduate student will research and write a case study on the short- and long-term impact of the Three Mile Island crisis on public policy for transportation planning for nuclear plant disasters. The case study will then be used in the course as a real-world example of how case studies are structured and completed.

Aníbal Pérez-Liñán, associate professor in the School of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Political Science, will incorporate research from the archives into the course Comparative Politics. Thornburgh’s visit to the Soviet Union in 1989 will be used as the basis for class discussion on the contradiction between totalitarianism and the rule of law. Students will be required to write an essay using papers and video from the archives on the contradiction between totalitarianism and the rule of law in today’s post-totalitarian China.

Collectively, these grants will allow approximately 300 additional students per year to utilize the Dick Thornburgh Papers.

Housed at the Pitt Archives Service Center, 7500 Thomas Blvd., Point Breeze, the collection comprises 1,007 boxes of documents, thousands of photographs, and many hours of video and audio. It includes Thornburgh’s personal scorecard from the 1960 World Series, the textbooks he used while a student in Pitt’s School of Law, and his well-documented experience as governor during the historic nuclear accident at Three Mile Island. Pitt’s Digital Research Library has encoded and scanned selected materials, which are available worldwide at www.library.pitt.edu/thornburgh/index.html.

Established in 2007, Pitt’s Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy provides a unique opportunity to foster public education and civic action on important public policy issues, building on Thornburgh’s legacy by creating a framework for advancing his vision of creating effective and principled governance. The forum engages in a variety of activities that enhance the accountability and integrity of governmental institutions at the local, state, and national levels. Internationally, it seeks to advance those values as well as the commitment to rule of law for all levels of government.

A native of Pittsburgh, Thornburgh received the Bachelor of Engineering degree from Yale University and the LLB degree from Pitt’s School of Law, where he served as an editor of the University of Pittsburgh Law Review. An emeritus member of the University’s Board of Trustees, he is of counsel to the international law firm of K&L Gates LLP, resident in its Washington, D.C., office.

For more information about the Thornburgh Academic Support Grant or the Thornburgh Papers, contact David Miller at 412-648-7655 or dymiller@pitt.edu or Jennifer Kush at 412-624-1514 or jak49@pitt.edu.