University of Pittsburgh
September 20, 2004

Inaugural Thornburgh Family Lecture Series In Disability Law and Policy to be Held Oct. 14

Peter Blanck, nationally recognized author of more than 100 articles and books on the ADA, will deliver the lecture
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—The inaugural Thornburgh Family Lecture Series in Disability Law and Policy will feature a keynote address by Peter Blanck, the Charles M. and Marion Kiersct Professor of Law and professor of psychology and public health at the University of Iowa. The lecture, to be followed by a panel discussion, will begin at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 14 in the Barco Law Building's Teplitz Memorial Moot Courtroom, 3900 Forbes Ave., Oakland.

"Americans with Disabilities and their Civil Rights for Employment" is the title of Blanck's free public lecture sponsored by the law school and Pitt's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS). Blanck also is the director of the Law, Health Policy, and Disability Center at the Iowa College of Law. He received the Ph.D. degree in psychology from Harvard University and the J.D. degree from Stanford Law School. He has written more than 100 articles and books on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). His work has received national and international attention.

Katherine D. Seelman, associate dean and professor of rehabilitation sciences and technology in SHRS, will moderate the panel discussion. Panelists are Gregory Babe, president and CEO of Bayer Material Science LLC; Joyce Bender, CEO and founder of Bender Consulting Services and CEO of Bender and Associates International; Heidi Feldman, the Ronald L. and Patricia M. Violi Professor of Pediatrics and Child Development in Pitt's School of Medicine and director of The UCLID Center at the University of Pittsburgh; Joseph S. (Jay) Hornack, of the law firm Healey and Hornack and an adjunct professor in disabilities law at Pitt's law school; and Kelvin Ross, customer service representative at the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

The lecture series was created by a generous 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's Religion and Disability Program.

Recipients of the 2003 Henry B. Betts Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), 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 SHRS. The fund has been supplemented by grants from the Office of the Chancellor, the law school, and SHRS.

The AAPD administers the Henry B. Betts Award, created in 1989 by the Prince Charitable Trusts and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. It is named in honor of Henry B. Betts, a pioneer in the field of rehabilitation medicine who started his career with the institute in 1964, making it the base for his career as an advocate for people with physical disabilities and as a leader in the field of rehabilitation medicine.

Thornburgh is a 1957 graduate of the University's law school. Together the Thornburghs have dedicated themselves as advocates for the rights of people with disabilities, working to maximize opportunities for them in their communities, jobs, schools, and congregations. Their son, Peter, was brain injured as a result of a 1960 car accident. He inspired and grounded their advocacy efforts.

While attorney general, Thornburgh played a major role in the 1990 enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). He is a recipient of the George Bush Medal in 2001 for his service to people with disabilities. Ginny Thornburgh has spent more than 15 years focusing on making congregations and seminaries more welcoming to people with disabilities.

This program has been approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board for two-and-one-half hours of substantive credits. A $25 fee is payable at the door.

For more information on the event, call 412-648-7796 or visit