Governor Tom Ridge

Born in Pittsburgh’s Steel Valley and raised in Erie, PA, Governor Tom Ridge is well known as one of our nation’s most respected public servants. From his decorated service in Vietnam to Congress, from the Governor’s Office to serving as our nation’s first Homeland Security Secretary, he is well respected across the nation and overseas. A strong and visionary leader, he has gained a deserved reputation as an innovator, not an ideologue and is esteemed by individuals on both sides of the aisle.

Public Service:

  • Following the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, became the first Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, marking the largest reorganization of government since the Truman administration
  • Served as the 43rd Governor of Pennsylvania, where his aggressive technology strategy helped fuel the state’s advances in economic development, education, health care, and the environment
  • Elected to U.S. House of Representatives in 1982 and overwhelmingly re-elected by Pennsylvania voters five times

Boards, Activities, and Honors:

  • Chairman, National Organization on Disability
  • Cochair, Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense
  • The Tom Ridge Environmental Center and the Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences at Mercyhurst University are named in his honor
  • Bronze Star for Valor, the Combat Infantry Badge, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry for his time in the U.S. Army


  • Harvard University, B.A., with honors
  • Dickinson School of Law, J.D.


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