Mary Ellen Callahan Nominated to Serve on Pitt's Board of Trustees

Issue Date: 
October 19, 2009
Mary Ellen CallahanMary Ellen Callahan

At its Oct. 15 fall meeting, the Nominating Committee of the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees recommended for election to membership on the board Pitt alumnus Mary Ellen Callahan (A&S ’90), chief privacy officer and chief Freedom of Information Act officer in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The full board is expected to act on the nomination at its next meeting, at 10:15 a.m. Oct. 30.

Prior to being named to her positions in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in March of this year, Callahan specialized in privacy, data security, and consumer protection law as a partner at Hogan & Hartson LLP, where she worked for more than 10 years.

Callahan graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Philosophy degree in political science from the University of Pittsburgh School of Arts and Sciences and University Honors College, with a certificate in Russian and East European Studies from Pitt’s University Center for International Studies. While at Pitt, she was a Chancellor’s Scholar and was named a Truman Scholarship winner. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Chicago Law School, where she had Barack Obama as one of her professors. Prior to law school, Callahan worked at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress as part of the Special Task Force on the Development of the Parliamentary Institutions in Eastern Europe.

“The national academic honors that Mary Ellen Callahan earned as a University of Pittsburgh undergraduate helped establish a pattern that continues today—with Pitt widely recognized as one of the country’s leading producers of high-achieving students,” commented Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “She has gone on to craft a distinguished professional career and has maintained strong connections to her alma mater through the Pitt Alumni Association. I look forward to welcoming her to our board and know that she will be an outstanding trustee.”

Callahan has served as the cochair of Online Privacy Alliance, a self-regulatory group of corporations and associations established to create an environment of trust and foster the protection of individuals’ privacy online. She also has served as vice chair of the American Bar Association’s Privacy and Information Security Committee of the Antitrust Division. At Hogan & Hartson, she represented, among others, clients before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and State Attorneys General on antitrust issues and cases regarding possible violations of the FTC Act.

A frequent author and speaker on privacy issues, Callahan was selected in 2008 as a “Band 1” (top-ranked) privacy and data security lawyer in the United States by Chambers and Partners. She has been admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Callahan was awarded the Slovak Republic Presidential Medal and Citation in 2002 by then-Slovak President Rudolf Schuster for her work in strengthening U.S.-Slovak ties.

Callahan is a life member of the Pitt Alumni Association and is actively involved in the work of its board of directors. She currently serves as treasurer of the association and previously was the association’s vice president, treasurer, and secretary. She is a Pitt Building Our Future Together capital campaign volunteer and a Pitt Career Network volunteer, and she has hosted alumni events in the Washington, D.C., area. She also has established the Mary Ellen Callahan Undergraduate Student Research Fund and the Mary Ellen Callahan Medallion Fund in Pitt’s University Honors College.