Presidential Medal


Harvey L. Pitt has had an illustrious thirty-year career as an activist in corporate and securities law. He has long been considered one of the nation's top securities attorneys.

   Pitt graduated from Brooklyn College in 1965 with a bachelor's degree in political science and urban studies. He received his law degree from St. John's University in 1968 and joined the Securities and Exchange Commission's Office of the General Counsel as a staff attorney. In 1972 he was appointed chief counsel of the commission's newly created Division of Market Regulation. He then served as executive assistant to Chairman Ray Garrett, Jr. and became the youngest general counsel in the commission's history.
Pitt left the SEC for private practice in 1978 and for the next quarter century was one of the most influential and sought-after securities lawyers on Wall Street. As a partner in Fried Frank Harris Shriver and Jacobson, he was valued for his drive and dedication to his clients and for his legendary negotiating skills.

    Nominated by President George W. Bush, Pitt was sworn in as the twenty-sixth chairman of the SEC on August 3, 2001. When the terrorist attacks of 9/11 forced an unprecedented six-day closing of the securities markets, Pitt directed joint government and private-sector cooperation that restored the markets to record trading. Soon afterward, Pitt responded to he turmoil of a series of corporate and accounting scandals that had been brewing for nearly a decade by overseeing far-reaching reform in the agency's regulation of executive accountability, corporate disclosure, and accounting practices. His resignation became effective on February 17, 2003.

    Pitt has participated in a wide variety of bar and legal education activities to further public awareness of current issues in securities law. He has taught law at Georgetown and George Washington Universities and at the University of Pennsylvania.

    For his long career at the top of the legal profession and his dedication to securities law reform, Brooklyn College honors Harvey L. Pitt with the Presidential Medal.