Attorney General: Richard Lewis Thornburgh

William O. Ewing, III
Richard Lewis Thornburgh

Seventy-Sixth Attorney General 1988-1991

Richard Lewis 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, Richard 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.

Mr. Thornburgh died on December 31, 2020.

Speeches of Attorney General Richard Lewis Thornburgh

About the Artist: William O. Ewing, III (1948-  )

Ewing received his B.A. degree in Fine Arts from the University of Tennessee in 1969 and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Idaho in 1971. Specializing in oil portraiture, Ewing has produced works that are part of the permanent collections of the Brandywine River Museum and the Delaware Art Museum. The portrait of Attorney General Thornburgh was painted in 1993.

Updated January 4, 2021