Eva Tansky Blum, John P. Gismondi Named Distinguished Pitt Law Alumni

Issue Date: 
November 10, 2008


The University of Pittsburgh School of Law Alumni Association honored Pitt Trustee Eva Tansky Blum (A&S ’70, LAW ’73) and John P. Gismondi (A&S ’75, LAW ’78) with Distinguished Alumni Awards during an Oct. 24 reception in the Pittsburgh Athletic Association’s Pennsylvania Room. Each year, the association honors two alumni with the award. The event was part of the law school’s Alumni Reunion Weekend, which occurred during Pitt’s Oct. 24-26 Homecoming weekend.

After graduation from Pitt’s law school, Blum began her career as an attorney in the Economic Development Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C., returning to Pittsburgh in 1977 to take a position within PNC Bank’s legal division. She became a vice president in 1986 and was elected senior vice president and chief compliance counsel in 1990. Blum also has served as senior vice president and deputy general counsel/director of regulatory affairs and as senior vice president and director of comprehensive risk management and compliance for PNC.

In July 2002, she became PNC’s senior vice president and director of community affairs and chair of the PNC Foundation. In this role, Blum directs the company’s philanthropic programs, including PNC Grow Up Great, a 10-year, $100 million program that was launched in 2004 to support quality early childhood education.

Actively involved in her alma mater, Blum is a member of the Pitt Board of Trustees’ Executive and Institutional Advancement committees and chairs the board’s Student Affairs Committee. In addition, she cochairs Pitt’s $2 billion Building Our Future Together capital campaign. She also serves on the law school’s board of visitors and is past president and a life member of the Pitt Alumni Association. Additional community work includes service as a member of the Honor Board of WQED Multimedia and the advisory board of the Carnegie Science Center. She also is an active member of both the Pennsylvania and Allegheny County bar associations and serves on the board of directors of the Business Civic Leadership Center.

In 2001, Blum was honored as a Carlow College Woman of Spirit; in 1999, she was named one of Pennsylvania’s Best 50 Women in Business by former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge; in 1998, she received the YWCA’s Tribute to Women Award; and in 2007, she received the Distinguished Alumna Award from the Pitt Alumni Association’s Alumnae Council. She—together with her sister, Shirley Gordon, and brother, Pitt alumnus, trustee, and capital campaign cochair Burton Marvin Tansky—made a donation in June 2006 to name the Tansky Family Lounge in the William Pitt Union.

Gismondi graduated magna cum laude from the University with a BA degree in political science. While in law school, he was a member of the Pitt Law Review, where his legal writing was selected for national publication.

Upon graduation from law school, Gismondi served a three-year-term as a law clerk in federal district court. He then entered private practice in Pittsburgh, limiting his practice to helping victims and their families in personal injury litigation, including injuries resulting from medical malpractice, auto accidents, airplane accidents, consumer products, on-the-job incidents, and a variety of other circumstances.

Gismondi has served as president of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, Western Pennsylvania Chapter, and was elected president of the Allegheny County Bar Association in 1995. He is former chair of the Trial Advocacy Foundation of Pennsylvania and currently serves as the chair of the Medical Malpractice Section of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. As a speaker, he is very much in demand at conferences and seminars designed to teach other lawyers about personal injury law.

Through a generous gift from Gismondi, the University’s School of Law established the John P. Gismondi Civil Litigation Certificate Program, a unique curriculum that provides special training to law students who wish to become courtroom attorneys. Since the program’s inception in 2002, 76 students have benefited from this practical and important training. Gismondi continues to support this program by serving as an adjunct professor, teaching a weekly course in trail advocacy.

Gismondi frequently appears on local television, and his cases also have been featured nationally on the ABC Evening News, Good Morning America, 20/20, CNN, and in People magazine, among other outlets.