Widener Law dean receives multicultural leadership award
Public Relations - Published: October 16, 2013
Widener Law Dean Linda L. Ammons has been recognized with a 2013 Pennsylvania Multicultural Leadership Award.

The honor was presented Wednesday, Oct. 16 by the Pennsylvania Diversity Council at a luncheon during the Philadelphia Diversity & Leadership Conference. The luncheon was held in the George D. Behrakis Grand Hall at Drexel University’s Creese Student Center.

The award recognizes people of color who have made a difference through their achievements and who exemplify the ability to excel in their fields. Ammons was one of nine to receive it.

“I am delighted by this recognition,” said Ammons, who is the nation’s senior African American female dean. “It speaks not only to my work, but to the accomplishments of the Widener community. Our school is a leader in diversity initiatives because we recognize the value and the necessity of having all kinds of people engaged in higher education.”

Starla J. Williams, multicultural affairs officer and director of the Public Interest Initiative on Widener’s Harrisburg campus, nominated Ammons for the honor. She noted that, under Ammons’ leadership, Widener has developed diversity pipeline programs to advance law school admission of members of traditionally underrepresented groups, particularly ethnic minorities. Known as the Jurist Academy, Williams directs the program on the Harrisburg campus – now in its third year. The Delaware campus Jurist Academy program began in 2008.

The dean also has established the first administrative offices devoted to multicultural affairs and inclusion, created a Dean’s Minority Student Scholarship Fund, and established a Dean’s Minority Advisory Board to further the school’s commitment to diversity.

Ammons also founded the Dean’s Leadership Forum on Diversity for the Harrisburg campus. The forum involves a daylong conference each year, which promotes a rich discourse on topics that have included diversity in education, government, athletics, private industry, the legal profession, access to justice and society at large.

“Dean Ammons has been a trailblazer for diversity efforts at Widener Law,” Williams said. “She has endorsed faculty appointments of numerous minority candidates and has worked diligently to increase minority law student admissions. She is a bold leader who is making a difference for Widener Law and the legal profession.”

Ammons came to Widener in 2006 from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio, where she was associate dean and professor of law. Prior to joining the faculty in Ohio she served as executive assistant to former Ohio Gov. Richard F. Celeste, advising him on legal and policy matters in the criminal justice, regulatory and administrative areas. She began her professional career before law school working as a television journalist in Huntsville, Ala.

The dean is on the faculty of the National Judicial College, the premier continuing education provider for the nation’s judges, and she is a fellow of the prestigious American Bar Foundation. Delaware Today magazine named her one of the “14 Most Influential People in Delaware” in 2009 and last year she was named one of “The Power 100” African American attorneys in the United States.