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Thomas J. Ridge Collection

Identifier: RA-2016-01


  • Majority of material found within 1994-2001

Biographical / Historical

Thomas J. Ridge was born in 1945 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and grew up primarily in Erie, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Harvard University in 1967. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, Governor Ridge received his law degree from Penn State University’s Dickinson School of Law. He then went on to serve in the Erie County Public Defender’s Office, eventually becoming the Erie County Assistant District Attorney. In 1982, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for Pennsylvania’s 21st District, becoming the first enlisted Vietnam combat veteran to serve in the House. He held his Congressional seat until 1994, when he was elected as the Governor of Pennsylvania. Ridge was reelected as Governor in 1998, but stepped down in October of 2001 after being appointed as the head of the Office of Homeland Security by President George W. Bush. The Office evolved into the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, and Governor Ridge was appointed as the country's first Secretary of Homeland Security. Ridge stepped down from the position in 2004, and went on to be the founder and CEO of Ridge Global, an advisory firm.


200 Linear Feet

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Repository Details

Part of the Thomas J. & Michele Ridge Collection at Mercyhurst University Repository

Mercyhurst University
Hammermill Library
501 East 38th Street
Erie PA 16504 United States