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Insights into Society and Culture

Pitt Tackles Issues Vital to Democracy


Issues vital to preserving democratic systems, as well as the Rule of Law upon which those systems depend, are the focus of Pitt institutes and forums devoted to politics and policy.

The Institute of Politics delivers timely information about the issues affecting Western Pennsylvania to the public, community leaders, and elected officials. It also provides a neutral forum where knowledge and diverse perspectives can be discussed and applied to promoting quality of life and economic vitality in the region.

Pitt’s Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy—in connection with the Dick Thornburgh papers at Pitt’s University Library System—reflects the public-life experiences of Thornburgh (pictured), a Pitt law school alumnus and former Pennsylvania governor and U.S. Attorney General.

The forum’s American Experience Distinguished Lecture Series, cosponsored by the University Honors College (UHC), has presented such distinguished speakers as journalist Judy Woodruff and biologist/educator Paul R. Ehrlich. The Thornburgh Family Lecture Series in Disability Law and Policy helps give a political voice to individuals with disabilities, and Dick Thornburgh Academic Support Grants are awarded to faculty members who use the vast Dick Thornburgh Archive Collection as a resource for research.

Undergraduate summer fellowships are granted to students who research issues addressed under Thornburgh’s leadership. Every year, a Pitt law student is awarded the Dick Thornburgh Prize for Public Service. The forum’s offerings are integrated with UHC academic programs.