PITTSBURGH – United States Attorney Scott Brady of the Western District of Pennsylvania has established an annual award to recognize sustained outstanding performance by an Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s office.
“The Dick Thornburgh Award will be presented annually to an outstanding federal prosecutor in the Western District of Pennsylvania who exhibits the commitment to justice and the highest ethical standards that were embodied by General Thornburgh throughout his career,” said U.S. Attorney Brady. “General Thornburgh casts a long shadow, and his impact on the US Attorney’s Office, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Department of Justice and to our great Republic has been profound.”
Mr. Thornburgh is a former Attorney General of the United States, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania Governor.
“General Thornburgh’s legacy has been one not only of fierce intellect and love of justice, but also, like the Pittsburgher he is, an impact infused with his trademark integrity, grace and humility,” U.S. Attorney Brady added. “Because of this great legacy, I thought it was important to honor him with an annual award for our top prosecutor.”
The inaugural award was presented on November 5, 2020, at the Western Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Agency Directors’ (LEAD) 22nd Annual Awards Ceremony at Freedom Farms Event Center, in Valencia, Pennsylvania. Former Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, Tom Corbett, presented the inaugural award to Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan T. Conway, Chief of the Major Crimes division.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr provided a videotaped statement of congratulations to AUSA Conway in which AG Barr recalled his work experiences with Dick Thornburgh, the first Attorney General for whom he worked. AG Barr recalled General Thornburgh as “substantive – a lawyer’s lawyer”, “an outstanding leader” and “a man of unquestioned integrity and courage”.
“Away from the Department, he was a model of personal decency and public service, contributing on issues ranging from international affairs to the rights of the disabled,” AG Barr added. “He remains a generous, good-hearted man, and all those he touched along the way will be forever grateful.
John Thornburgh, a senior partner with WittKieffer, offered brief remarks on behalf of his father. “My father is truly honored by this recognition,” he said. “He has a lifelong passion for the Department of Justice, and is thrilled to have his name associated with this annual award given for outstanding service in the U.S. Attorney’s office where his career began.”
“I am humbled and honored to be named the recipient of the inaugural Dick Thornburgh award. General Thornburgh has a long legacy of integrity and public service that we at the U.S. Attorney’s Office try to emulate,” said AUSA Conway. “This award represents the hard work and dedication of many, including not only professionals in our office, but also our law enforcement partners who investigate the cases we prosecute. I am proud to represent them in accepting this prestigious award.”
Dick Thornburgh was born on July 16, 1932 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Yale University in 1954 and earned his LL.B degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 1957. Mr. Thornburgh also holds honorary degrees from 31 colleges and universities.
Following law school, Mr. Thornburgh worked in private industry until 1959 when he joined the Pittsburgh law firm then known as Kirkpatrick & Lockhart. In 1967, he was elected as a delegate to the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention. From 1969 to 1975, Mr. Thornburgh was the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania and was appointed Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division in 1975, serving two years in Washington, D.C. in that role before returning to private practice as a partner at Kirkpatrick & Lockhart. Pennsylvania elected Mr. Thornburgh governor in 1979 and he served two terms. Mr. Thornburgh also taught courses at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and directed that school’s Institute of Politics from 1987 to 1988.
Appointed by President Reagan, Dick Thornburgh was sworn in as Attorney General on August 12, 1988. President George H.W. Bush reinstated him as Attorney General in 1989 and he served until 1991. In 1992, the American Legion honored Mr. Thornburgh with its highest award, the “Distinguished Services Medal.” He published his autobiography in 2003 entitled, Where the Evidence Leads: The Autobiography of Dick Thornburgh.