The Dick Thornburgh Forum for Law and Public Policy and the University Honors College founded the Dick Thornburgh Summer Fellowships in 2011 to support undergraduate research into issues of governance addressed in Governor Dick Thornburgh’s long and eminent service in national and international leadership. Fellows receive a stipend of $4,000 to provide their freedom from employment to perform their independent research and to assure their commitment to seminar responsibilities described below.
In a luminous career of public service, Dick Thornburgh served as United States Attorney for Western Pennsylvania, two terms as Governor of Pennsylvania, Director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Attorney General of the United States for two Presidents, and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations for Administration and Management. He and his wife, Ginny, have been tireless advocates for people with disabilities.
Central to the Thornburgh Fellowship is the Dick Thornburgh Archive Collection in the University’s Archives and Special Collections. The Thornburgh Collection encompasses a comprehensive set of documents, thousands of photographs, and many hours of audio and video from Governor Thornburgh's career. Student research under the fellowship must make substantial use of this archive. An excellent archive website enumerates the documents and issues from each of his public service positions and includes topics such as the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster, multiple Pennsylvania issues from his terms as Governor, and legal topics such as the Savings and Loan crisis from his years as Attorney General.
Students with special interests in the following broad topics may find a worthy and winning project to undertake under this fellowship:
- Pennsylvania history
- US history
- International affairs
- Rule of Law
- State economic development
- Standards of ethics and integrity
- Political science/politics
- Disability law and issues
- Public service
- Law enforcement
- Nuclear power and energy policy
- Three Mile Island and crisis management
- State system of higher education
- Human services and welfare reform
Thornburgh fellows participate in the academic community of the renowned Honors College Brackenridge Summer Research Fellowship Program. The Dick Thornburgh Fellowship is open to undergraduates from any field. Fellows are selected on the basis of their academic record, the originality and promise of their proposed projects, as well as their aspiration to create and participate in an interdisciplinary community of students in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and applied disciplines.