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The Hon. Thomas I. Vanaskie ’78 to deliver Law School’s commencement address

The Honorable Thomas I. Vanaskie, a 1978 graduate of The Dickinson School of Law, will be the featured speaker at this spring’s commencement ceremonies for the Penn State University Dickinson School of Law. Vanaskie is a member of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, having been nominated by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the United States Senate on April 21, 2010.

“We are honored that Judge Vanaskie has accepted our invitation to deliver our commencement address. He has been a friend, teacher, mentor, and outstanding example of professional and personal accomplishment to all Dickinson School of Law students and alumni,” said Law School Dean Philip McConnaughay.

Prior to his appointment to the United States Court of Appeals, Vanaskie had sat on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania since 1994 and served as chief judge from 1996 to 2006. He previously was a partner in the Scranton offices of Elliott, Vanaskie & Riley and Dilworth, Paxson, Kalish, & Kauffman. After graduating from The Dickinson School of Law in 1978, Vanaskie began his legal career as a law clerk to the Honorable William J. Nealon of the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Vanaskie has served on the Boards of Directors of the Lackawanna Bar Association, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association, the Scranton Community Medical Center, and the Federal Judges Association. He currently serves on the Law School’s adjunct faculty and as a member of its Board of Counselors. Vanaskie is a former chair of the Continuing Legal Education Committee of the Lackawanna Bar Association, a member of the Lawyers' Advisory Committee for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and a member of the Civil Justice Reform Act Group for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. He is the chair of the Information Technology Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, the policy-making body for the United States Courts, having been appointed to that position by the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist.

Commencement ceremonies will be held on Saturday, May 12, at 10:30 a.m. in University Park and Carlisle, Pa. simultaneously. The two locations will be inter-connected by high definition audiovisual telecommunications to enable audiences at each campus to see and hear the entire event in “real time.”

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