Widener Law announces 2009 Dean’s Leadership Forum on Diversity: Diversity and Sports
Published: March 13, 2009

DiversitySportsForumPromo2In recognition of the integral role athletics plays in American culture, Widener Law will devote its 2009 Dean’s Leadership Forum on Diversity to the topic of diversity and sports. The daylong event founded by Dean Linda L. Ammons and now in its third year will be held on the school’s Harrisburg campus Monday, March 16 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. [ download the PDF brochure ]

The program, titled “Diversity and Sports: The History, The Challenges and The Future,” will feature four panel discussions in room A180 of the administration building. Discussion topics include:

  • Sports, minorities and the press: People of color, females and the disabled as members of the media and as athletes subject to media coverage (10 a.m.)
  • Disability and sport: Understanding and accommodating disabled athletes. (11:30 a.m.)
  • The influence of Jackie Robinson on the Negro Leagues of baseball: How baseball and diversity would have been affected by a merger between the major leagues and select Negro League franchises. (2 p.m.)
  • Domestic violence, athletes and the role that sports organizations should play in counseling athletes and responding to their misconduct. (3:30 p.m.)

Participants will hear a luncheon keynote address at 12:45 p.m. from University of New Mexico School of Law Professor Alfred Dennis Mathewson, titled “Sports and the African-American Female: The Often Overlooked Minority.” His address will be preceded by introductory remarks from Widener Law Assistant Professor Tonya Evans-Walls, an African-American woman who once competed on the women’s professional tennis circuit, and Harrisburg campus Vice Dean John L. Gedid, director of the school’s Law & Government Institute.

Ammons, one of only four African-American female deans currently running a U.S. law school, began the Dean’s Leadership Forum on Diversity in 2007 with a program on diversity in higher education. Last year’s event focused on diversity in state government. The sports theme was selected for 2009 in recognition of the place the industry occupies in the national consciousness.

For assistance in organizing the event, Ammons turned to Widener Law Professor Michael Cozzillio, who teaches on the Harrisburg campus and writes in subject areas that include race, gender and sports. Cozzillio, co-author of three books, including “Sports and Inequality,” has assembled an impressive array of speakers including nationally recognized legal scholars, historians and social scientists. These individuals represent some of the country’s most outstanding law schools and universities, as well as prestigious organizations such as Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society and Penn State University’s John Curley Center for Sports Journalism.

“I salute Professor Cozzillio for his help in putting together what promises to be a terrific program,” Ammons said. “The agenda for the day covers such a wide range of diversity issues within the field of athletics that the conversation will be stimulating and cover a lot of ground.”

The day will begin with continental breakfast and registration at 9 a.m. Ammons will start the program at 9:45 a.m. It has been approved for 5.5 continuing legal education credits for attorneys in Pennsylvania and Delaware. The cost to attend for credits is $75 and includes lunch. The program is open to the general public at a cost of $35 and also includes lunch. Students may attend for free, without receiving lunch or conference materials. To register, or for more information, contact Sandra L. Graeff at 717.541.3965 or slgraeff@widener.edu.

Widener Law is grateful to Michael J. Aiello ’94; Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader of New Jersey; and Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC of Harrisburg and for their sponsorship of this event.