2015 Commencement Speaker

Judge Thomas I. Vanaskie '75

Judge Thomas I. Vanaskie '75Judge Thomas I. Vanaskie, Class of 1975, Circuit Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, will speak at Lycoming College’s 167th commencement on Saturday, May 9 at 2:00 P.M.

A distinguished jurist, Vanaskie serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which is one step below the Supreme Court.

Born in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, Vanaskie received his bachelor’s degree from Lycoming College in 1975 and his Juris Doctor from Dickinson School of Law in 1978. In 1994, President Bill Clinton nominated him to the United States District Court for the middle district of Pennsylvania, a seat he held from 1994-2006. In 2010, President Barack Obama nominated him to the Court of Appeals. 

He also served seven years on the Information Technology Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, the policy-making body for the United States Courts. In 2005, he was appointed chair of the Judicial Conference Information Technology Committee by the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. He was also a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States, serving as chair of the Conference of the District Judge Representatives to the Judicial Conference in 2005. He was previously a member of the Third Circuit Judicial Council, and currently serves on its Information Technology Committee and Library Committee. 

Vanaskie has also served in two private practices. In 1992, Vanaskie became a principal member of the law firm of Elliott, Vanaskie & Riley, which maintained offices in Blue Bell, Scranton, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, as well as Washington, D.C. Prior to that, in 1980, he joined the Scranton office of the Philadelphia-based law firm of Dilworth, Paxson, Kalish & Kauffman. Immediately following law school, Vanaskie began his career as a law clerk to then Chief Judge William J. Nealon of the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Vanaskie was a member of the Dickinson Law Review Editorial Staff, Appellate Moot Court Board, and International Law Moot Court Team. The Penn State University Alumni Association selected him as an “Alumni Fellow” in 2014. During his time at Lycoming, he was an Academic All-American, Associated Press Little All-American football player, outstanding male student athlete, and received the “Chieftain Award,” the highest honor bestowed by the college on a graduating student.

In 2013, Vanaskie was inducted to the Academic All-America Hall of Fame of the College Sports Information Directors. In 2014, the NCAA Division III featured him as one of forty student-athletes who, during the first forty years of Division III, best exemplified the values that define Division III sports: Proportion, Comprehensive Learning, Passion, Responsibility, Sportsmanship and Citizenship.

He has lectured extensively at judicial and continuing legal education programs, and is an adjunct professor of law at the Dickinson School of Law at Penn State University, teaching a course on Electronic Evidence.

We look forward to his return to Lycoming College.