Thomas L. VanKirk Joins Pitt’s Board of Trustees as a Commonwealth Trustee

Issue Date: 
March 15, 2010
Thomas L. VanKirkThomas L. VanKirk

Thomas L. VanKirk, chair of Pittsburgh-based Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, one of the nation’s oldest and largest law firms, has been appointed by Pennsylvania House of Representatives Speaker Keith R. McCall to be a Commonwealth trustee on the University of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees. VanKirk’s appointment was announced by Pitt Board Chair Stephen R. Tritch at the board’s winter meeting on Feb. 26.

“Tom VanKirk is an outstanding leader and one of the most dedicated citizens of this community,” said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “It has been my privilege to work with him on a number of regional initiatives, and I have been consistently impressed with his extraordinarily high levels of commitment, competence, and creativity. Tom not only knows how to get things done but has such a special human touch that people always feel good about their associations with him. Pitt already has benefited from Tom’s leadership in advancing efforts on behalf of both our cancer institute and our law school, and he is a very welcome addition to our board of trustees.”

As chair and immediate past CEO of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, VanKirk provides strategic leadership to the firm in numerous areas, including client relationship development and the recruiting of attorneys and groups of attorneys to the firm. He served as the firm’s chief executive officer from 2003 to 2009, and for more than 18 years prior to that as its chief operating officer.

Founded in 1850, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney has more than 450 attorneys and government relations professionals practicing throughout the United States, with offices in San Diego and Temecula, Calif.; Wilmington, Del.; Washington, D.C.; Aventura, Miami, and Tampa, Fla.; Newark and Princeton, N.J.; Buffalo and New York, N.Y.; Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh, Pa.; and Alexandria, Va.

In addition to pursuing his responsibilities as his firm’s chair, VanKirk is a practicing litigator and corporate advisor to many Fortune 1,000 organizations. His litigation practice focuses on corporate takeovers as well as antitrust counseling and litigation. As head of the firm’s Litigation Section from 1999 to 2001, he developed the structure for the section’s implementation of innovative courtroom technology. He also has provided government relations services to many of the firm’s clients.

VanKirk represents Buchanan in a variety of high-profile civic and community leadership roles. He is, for instance, a board member of the Allegheny Conference, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Executive Committee, the United Way of Allegheny County, and the Women and Girls Foundation; a council member of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute; and cohead of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture’s Capital Fundraising Campaign.

VanKirk earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Bucknell University in 1967 and his JD degree at Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law in 1970. A member of the Pennsylvania Bar who has been admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, VanKirk has been selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 editions of The Best Lawyers in America.