Dean’s Leadership Forum shines spotlight on diversity in state government
Public Relations - Published: March 27, 2008
diversity 1 From left, Lisette M. McCormick, Esq., Superior Court Judge Maureen Lally-Green, Franklin Miles, Esq. of Hershey Entertainment & Resorts, Pennsylvania Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, and Pennsylvania Chief Diversity Officer Trent Hargrove.
diversity 2
From left, Widener law Associate Professor Katharine F. Nelson, Widener Law Professor Robert L. Hayman Jr. and Duke Law Professor Trina Jones.
diversity 3

From left, Former Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, Widener Law Dean Linda L. Ammons and former Philadelphia Mayor John Street.

diversity 4

From left, Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Pedro Cortes, former Philadelphia Mayor John Street, Widener Law Dean Linda L. Ammons, Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell and Widener Law Professor John L. Gedid, vice dean of the school's Harrisburg campus.
diversity 5
Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell
diversity 6
Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell speaks to the crowd.
diversity 7
Peter Speaks, special advisor to the Pennsylvania governor for minority, women-owned and disadvantaged business development, left, speaks with Pennsylvania Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus.

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell lauded Widener Law and Dean Linda L. Ammons for the school’s commitment to promoting diversity and the leadership role the school demonstrated by hosting the second-annual Dean’s Leadership Forum on Diversity.

“It’s extraordinarily impressive,” Rendell said, looking out at a forum audience of nearly 200 people, “and I congratulate you.”

Rendell was one of a host of political, legal, business and educational leaders to speak at the event, held Monday, March 17 on the Harrisburg campus. Ammons founded the diversity forum in 2007 with a daylong examination of diversity in higher education. This year’s event focused on state government. Other speakers included Pennsylvania Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus; former Philadelphia Mayor John Street; former Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams; and Pennsylvania Treasurer Robin L. Wiessmann.

Ammons introduced Rendell as the first speaker of the day. The governor talked about the importance of state government supporting minority- and women-owned businesses, his appointment of the Commonwealth’s first chief diversity officer – who also spoke at the forum – and his belief that Pennsylvania is fighting an important battle over the viability of the economy.

“We need to take advantage of all the gene pool,” Rendell said. “We can’t let one genius, one entrepeneur, one Bill Gates, be left behind because they didn’t get the opportunity to come in and grow their idea.”

Ammons told the crowd that Widener Law takes great pride in being civically engaged, and the school would continue to be a community leader on the important issue of diversity. Ammons took over the deanship at Widener in July 2006. She is one of only three African-American women currently serving as dean of a U.S. law school.

Widener is grateful to event sponsors Dilworth Paxon; the Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Co.; and McNees, Wallace & Nurick; for their generosity.