Thornburgh Lecturer Is Disabilities Law Scholar Ruth Colker

Issue Date: 
September 24, 2007


    Ruth Colker 

Ruth Colker, the Heck Faust Memorial Chair in Constitutional Law at Ohio State University’s Michael E. Moritz College of Law, will be the featured speaker at Pitt School of Law’s Thornburgh Family Lecture Series in Disability Law and Policy for 2007.

She will give her free talk titled “Why I Only Give Take-Home Exams: A Disability Perspective,” from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Sept. 27 in the Barco Law Building’s Teplitz Memorial Courtroom. A reception will follow.

A former Pitt professor and one of the leading scholars in the country in constitutional law and disability discrimination, Colker also has taught at the University of Toronto and George Washington and Tulane universities. She also spent four years as a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where she received two awards for outstanding performance.

Colker is a frequent guest on National Public Radio and is the author of several books, including The Disability Pendulum: The First Decade of the Americans with Disabilities Act (New York University Press, 2005) and Everyday Law for Individuals with Disabilities (Paradigm Publishers, 2006). She has published more than 50 articles in such law journals as the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, Columbia Law Journal, and Pennsylvania Law Review. Her honors include Ohio State University’s Distinguished Lecturer Award (2001), Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award (2002), and Distinguished Scholar Award (2003).

The Thornburgh Family Lecture Series was created by a gift from former Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh and his wife, Ginny, vice president and director of the National Organization on Disability, Religion, and Disability Program.

A Pitt trustee, Dick Thornburgh is a 1957 graduate of the University’s law school.

Recipients of the 2003 Henry B. Betts Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities, the Thornburghs donated the $50,000 Betts Award funds to the University to establish The Thornburgh Family Lecture Series in Disability Law and Policy through Pitt’s School of Law and School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS). The fund has been supplemented by grants from the Office of the Chancellor, the law school, and SHRS.

This lecture has been approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Board for 1.5 hours of CLE credit. Register at the door. For details, visit

For more information on the lecture series, call 412-648-1373.