Edward McCord Named Director of Pitt's Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy

Issue Date: 
November 1, 2010
Edward McCordEdward McCord

Edward McCord, director of programming and special projects for the University of Pittsburgh Honors College, has been appointed director of Pitt’s Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy, effective Oct. 1.

Established in 2007, the mission of the Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy is 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 across the University that are designed to 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 the rule of law for all levels of government.

“The Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy honors the legacy of achievement and impact of University of Pittsburgh trustee and alumnus Dick Thornburgh, who, through a lifetime of public service, has made extraordinary contributions to the public good,” said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “We are fortunate that Ed McCord, who already has contributed so much to the advancement of our Honors College, now also will provide strong leadership to a variety of programs and activities that will advance Dick Thornburgh’s vision of effective and principled governance and respect for the rule of law.”

Through annual lectures and a University-based archive spanning Thornburgh’s diverse career, the forum is intended to develop program relationships with schools and departments across the University. Over the past several years, recent program offerings were held in partnership with the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, the School of Law, and the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. As director of this broad University forum, McCord will continue to expand and integrate the forum’s offerings in collaboration with the exceptional academic programs of the University Honors College to the larger University academic community by developing programs that reflect the career and interests of Pitt alumnus and trustee Thornburgh (LAW ’57), a former two-term Pennsylvania governor and attorney general of the United States under both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Thornburgh also served as United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Administration and Management and director of the Institute of Politics in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

“Ed McCord’s appointment as director of this program is good news indeed,” said Thornburgh. “His background and experience open important new opportunities for the forum to foster student and faculty interests in law and public policy. In particular, his experience with the Honors College provides an ideal vehicle for increasing the impact of the forum’s programs across a wide range of activities within the University community.”

“I am delighted that Ed has agreed to serve as director of this important forum,” said Patricia E. Beeson, Pitt provost and senior vice chancellor, in announcing McCord’s appointment. “His demonstrated skills in administration and program development are ideally suited to the responsibility of charting and steering the future course of the forum.”

“I look forward to working with Governor Thornburgh in developing innovative uses of his archival materials across the University. The Governor’s career is associated with a broad spectrum of achievement and offers numerous opportunities for teaching and learning, including the exploration of issues surrounding governance,” said McCord.

McCord, an affiliate professor of philosophy and faculty member in the environmental studies program at Pitt, also is director of the American Experience Distinguished Lectures, one of the oldest and most prominent lectures series in the city of Pittsburgh, created by the late Robert Hazo more than 40 years ago. The forum will henceforth cosponsor these lectures with the Honors College. The lectures feature national figures brought to the city and campus for discussions of political, social, and economic issues of great moment. Thornburgh, as governor in 1985, served as an American Experience lecturer.

McCord received his baccalaureate degree cum laude from Princeton University and earned all three of his graduate degrees—an MA in cultural anthropology, a PhD in philosophy, and a JD—from Pitt. He, along with the late Alec Stewart, founding dean of the Honors College, coordinated the donation to the University of the Allen L. Cook Spring Creek Preserve near Laramie, Wyo., a 6,000-acre tract containing pristine dinosaur-bone-bearing beds, Native American archaeology, indigenous prairie ecology, and a section of the original grade of the 1869 transcontinental railroad. McCord oversees the property’s development as an education and research consortium serving Pitt, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and the University of Wyoming.

In addition to serving as Pennsylvania’s top elected official and the nation’s top prosecutor, Thornburgh earlier was U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. He currently is of counsel to the international law firm K&L Gates in its Washington, D.C., office. He presented to the University Library System in 1998 his extensive personal papers, which are fully described on the ULS Web site: www.library.pitt.edu/thornburgh.

Thornburgh and his wife, Ginny, in 2003 received the Henry B. Betts Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities. They donated the $50,000 Betts Award funds to Pitt to establish The Thornburgh Family Lecture Series in Disability Law and Policy in partnership with Pitt’s School of Law and School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.