On Tuesday, February 28th, the Delaware Campus Black Law Students Association
celebrated Black History Month by honoring nine distinguished African-American alumni at its 2nd annual “Trailblazers and Pioneers” banquet. The honorees were chosen for their achievements in the private sector, the public interest sector, or for community service.
“This is a marvelous institution. It has potential that is absolutely limitless and untapped. We have only begun to do what we will do, and it is because of you that we are able to do what we have done and what we will do,” said Dean Linda L. Ammons
in her welcome remarks, before concluding, “I’m including in that the trailblazers who have plowed the course before us. So I thank you again on behalf of everyone for being here this evening.”
Following, dinner, BLSA vice president Ebony Foster and Aleyshia Flood, who co-chaired the event, and other BLSA members alternated the award presentations beginning with the honorees who graduated in the 1980s. Each honoree delivered a few remarks reflecting on their time at Widener Law and their careers, as well as the legacy of the Black Law Students Association.
“It’s my pleasure to be here with you this evening. Let me first offer my sincere congratulations to my colleagues – those who are being honored this evening for their achievements and their contributions to the legal profession. I am proud and privileged to stand with you on this occasion. Your professional achievements and accomplishments bring esteem to the law school and certainly serve as a role model to the students who are currently matriculating,” said Romona Fullman ’84, Director of the Office of the Delaware Commission for Women and Director of Delaware’s Division of Human Relations.
Attorney, Civic Activist and former Wilmington, Delaware City Council member Samuel Guy ’88 spoke about the importance of giving back, saying, “My life has been devoted to making opportunities for the people who come behind me, because I got to drink from the cup . . . and I’ve helped refill the cup.”
“What Widener did for me – it did so much on keeping me humble, because law school can do that,” said Michael Brown ’91, a Washington, D.C. councilman and partner with the Madison Group. “I am so proud to be a graduate of this wonderful university,” he said before reminding the audience of the importance of giving back, observing, “I think it’s important for us to keep the connection with the place that gives you your professional start.”
Scott Reid ’02, an attorney in the commercial litigation group at Cozen O’Connor in Philadelphia who sits on the Widener Law Minority Alumni Advisory Board and the law school’s Board of Overseers, remarked of his own time as a President of BLSA, “It’s not about the individual self, it’s about being a part of something greater than yourself, and so if I was to leave you with some advice, or something that I think would be helpful, or some sort of nugget – what I’ll say is BLSA really taught me that the profession – the entire profession – belongs to me.”
Reid told a story about being a summer associate at Cozen O’Connor and going through introductions in which the summer associates indicated where they went to law school. “It was a moment, and I don’t know what it was but it just hit me before they got to me, and I started to smile, cause I said you know what – I go to Widener, and I’m sitting here with all of you and I’m not only just as good as all of you, but I know that I’m better than all of you, and so I’m the first one in that class to make partner at my firm,” he said. He concluded the story by saying, “I’m proud of that because it wasn’t me that did it. It was Widener that did that.”
The evening’s other honorees included Judge James DeLeon ’76 of the Philadelphia Municipal Court, Howard Brown ’78 of Howard H. Brown & Associates, Judge George Overton ’86 of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Damien Jackson ’96 of Reilly, Janiczek & McDevitt, P.C., and Monte Squire ’05 of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP.
Additional video from the event will be available on Widener Law's Youtube channel
over the course of the week.