J. Evans Rose Jr. Prize for Public Service Established at Pitt

Issue Date: 
April 15, 2013

The University of Pittsburgh and its Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy and School of Law have announced the creation of the J. Evans Rose Jr. Prize for Public Service. The prize—named for the late Pitt alumnus and trustee J. Evans Rose Jr. (LAW ’59)—will be presented annually, beginning in May 2013, to a graduating Pitt law student aspiring to a career in public service.

“Seldom has a trustee served our University over the course of so many years, and with such energy and devotion, as did Ev Rose,” said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “He was a man cherished as a loyal friend and wise counselor who possessed consummate practical sense. Ev believed that everyone should play an active part in the political system, and his lifetime of service as political advisor was legendary. Through his many professional and volunteer commitments, Ev made time for matters large and small. His life served as an inspiration to all who knew and benefited from his generosity of spirit.”

Rose, who passed away on July 20, 2012, was one of Pennsylvania’s most esteemed leaders in legal, political, and civic affairs at all levels. He also was a longtime advisor to Pitt alumnus and emeritus trustee Dick Thornburgh (LAW ’57)—former governor of Pennsylvania, former U.S. Attorney General, and currently counsel to the international law firm K&L Gates LLP in its Washington, D.C., office.

Rose was managing partner and chair of the Rose, Schmidt, Hasley and Disalle law firm, where he worked for more than three decades. From 1990 to 2009, he served as a director and a member of the executive committee of Cohen and Grigsby, the Pittsburgh-based law firm that made the lead gift to support the J. Evans Rose Jr. Prize for Public Service.

According to his widow, Patricia Rose, “Evie was a man of honor, wisdom, and great devotion to his family, his community, and his country. He worked tirelessly on behalf of others, always believing it was his responsibility to do what is best and what is right. No task was too formidable. He just always seemed to get things done. Evie was valued by his friends and respected by his colleagues. I was proud to be his wife.”

Beyond garnering respect for his tireless service in the legal community, Rose was immensely valued for his political advice. He was a mentor and counselor to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett and to former Pennsylvania Governor and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, as well as to Thornburgh, who was his classmate at both Yale University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

“Few political figures in our state were as admired and respected as Ev was,” said Thornburgh. “Beyond possessing remarkable skills in fundraising, he had superior political instincts and a well-developed sense of ethics and propriety in the sometimes rough-and-tumble world of politics. When I first ran for governor in 1978, Ev was among the first to offer his support, and he thereafter became a close advisor throughout my public career. I cannot think of a tribute that he would have appreciated more than this prize honoring aspirations for public service on the part of Pitt’s law school graduates.”

Rose was a member of Pitt’s Board of Trustees for 26 years and served on the executive, audit, budget, compensation, health sciences, institutional advancement, and nominating committees. He also served on the boards of visitors of Pitt’s School of Law, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, and Learning Research and Development Center. In addition to receiving the Trustee Medallion for his service on the Pitt board, Rose was awarded the University of Pittsburgh Bicentennial Medallion of Distinction.

“Although I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Rose, I am very aware of his impact and his legacy,” said Pitt School of Law Dean William M. Carter Jr. “Like Governor Thornburgh, Mr. Rose was one of our most distinguished alumni. This award in his honor will extend his legacy of public service to the Pitt law students whose devotion to the ideals of public service justifies the award of this high honor. Those students will know that they are furthering Pitt Law’s mission to produce lawyers like Mr. Rose, whose commitment and service to the public good form the foundation of the rule of law.”

The inaugural J. Evans Rose Jr. Prize for Public Service will be awarded to a May 2013 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law whose goal is to pursue a career in public service.

Visit https://www.thornburghforum.pitt.edu/node/255 to view the eligibility criteria for the prize, which includes a financial award of $4,000 per student. The prize selection process will be determined by Pitt’s School of Law dean in consultation with Thornburgh. 

Those wishing to contribute to the J. Evans Rose Jr. Prize for Public Service should contact Kimberly Carson, the program administrator at Pitt’s Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy, at kac15@pitt.edu or 412-624-1514.

Established in 2007, the Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy at the University of Pittsburgh fosters public education and civic action on important public policy issues, building on the legacy of Thornburgh. Among the forum’s goals are to promote able and principled governance at all levels, to advance the rule of law at home and abroad, and to assist the government’s response to the special needs of persons with disabilities, many of them wounded in service to their country.