Dean's Blog

Discussing William Howard Day in celebration of MLK Day in Harrisburg

Penn Manor High School history teacher Todd Mealy drew parallels recently to Martin Luther King and Harrisburg civil rights leader William Howard Day in a speech to the Harrisburg campus community for its annual remembrance of Martin Luther King.

Mealy, the author of “Aliened American: A Biography of William Howard Day,” spoke Thursday Jan. 19 about Day’s contributions to early civil rights efforts, but he also used the occasion to provide inspired thoughts about leadership.

“Life seems to have a persistent theme of good and bad, or life and death,” Mealy said. “I think there’s an infinite trend of struggles and successes. Because of that, we’ll always be in need of leaders.”

King was the symbol and leader of a movement who spoke for those who couldn’t, and who took a bullet at the age of 39 for everyone who wanted equality, Mealy said. Day, who Mealy called one of the most “significant but marginalized” figures in history, lived a much longer life and collaborated with civil rights activists like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. Day served six terms on the Harrisburg city school board and was the first African American school board president in the nation.

Day, who was adopted by a white family at the age of 12, was educated at Oberlin College in Ohio. He died in 1900, 29 years before King was born. A Harrisburg-area cemetery and housing development bear Day’s name.

With a photo display of the new Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C. rolling on a loop behind him, Mealy suggested students commit themselves to service even in a small way. Leaders are born, grow and die, and problems are always with us.

“Celebrate this holiday by finding ways to contribute to your community,” Mealy said. “A community is always looking for someone to lead.”

Dean of Students Keith Sealing organized the event. He took the photos of the King memorial that were on display.

My Visit to Taiwan University and Taipei University in December of 2011

On December 17th through December 24th , I had the great privilege to be an invited guest and lecturer at both Taiwan University and Taipei University.

I was invited by these two distinguished Taiwanese universities to lecture about a Law School Dean’s perspective on American legal education. Among others, I met members of the Corporate Counsel regarding Widener Law’s involvement in corporate law training for Taiwanese attorneys. I also met with the Justices of the Taiwanese Administrative Supreme Court and brought with me copies of Justice Randy Holland’s book to give as a token of my appreciation for their hospitality.

Press Conference announcing completion of independent review into matter of Lewes pediatrician Dr. Earl Bradley

Please find the press release, final report, executive summary, and video/photos of the press conference on our Law School site.

Law Dean Linda L. Ammons completes her independent review into the matter of Lewes pediatrician Dr. Earl Bradley
Public Relations – Published: May 11, 2010

Excerpt: “Law Dean Linda L. Ammons today presented a list of 68 recommendations, ranging from proposed changes in state law to more public accountability for the people who investigate misconduct claims against physicians, as she shared the findings of her independent review.. more.”

Widener Law Environmental Center Spotlighted on WHYY PBS television program

First, the new news magazine show produced by WHYY in Delaware, aired a story Friday , February 2010about our new environmental law center. You can watch it online at WHYY’s First news page. The story is introduced at  24:56 into the broadcast.

Also, additional footage, including interviews with clinic students and an alumna, can be watched separately.

  1. Former NCCo Council President Stephanie Hansen describes one area she sees DENIN and the Widener Environmental Law Center working together.
  2. The Widener Environmental Law Center has a law clinic – learn about it and meet some students who work there.

Delaware governor names Dean Linda L. Ammons to lead independent review of state policies and procedures for sexual assault cases

The original video file can be found on the News Journals pages:

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has named Widener University School of Law Associate Provost and Dean Linda L. Ammons to lead an independent review into the state’s policies and procedures relating to sexual assault cases, in the wake of a southern Delaware pediatrician being accused of sexually assaulting his patients.

The governor made his announcement Wednesday, Jan. 13 at a press conference in the public-service wing of the Delaware campus. He was joined by state Sen. Brian Bushweller, chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee and Delaware Rep. Larry Mitchell, chair of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee in calling for the review to examine where critical improvements are necessary.

“The bottom line is that the system failed these children. I am asking Dean Ammons to take an independent look at why this systemic failure occurred, and asking that she make recommendations that will foster a child protection community of collaboration and accountability, so that we can make the necessary improvements to protect our children from predators,” the governor said. “This situation demands tough questions and real answers. Together, we intend to get them.”

The dean is expected to consult with recognized experts in criminal justice, sexual assault and child protection to assist her in her review, as well as look at best practices in formulating her recommendations, which will be put into a final report for the governor and the legislature. The volunteer post will not change her status as dean.

AmmonsMarkellPressConf“I have agreed to undertake this review at Gov. Markell’s request because it presents an opportunity to help improve a system that cannot leave its children – its most vulnerable citizens – without adequate protections,” Dean Ammons said. “This call to public service is in keeping with our core values at Widener, where students are encouraged to use their educations and talents in ways that contribute to the communities we serve, in order to make them better places. I appreciate the confidence Gov. Markell has shown by asking me to lead this review and I welcome the chance to help make the First State safer, particularly for children.”

Markell thanked the dean for her willingness to serve. “And I want to thank all the people at Widener Law School for sharing your dean with us,” he said.

Nee Hao again from Chongqing!

Nee Hao (Hello)

4193125532_d9d89c57d9_mAfter a 12 hour flight from the United States, I arrived at the Beijing airport, a large, bustling, international hub for Asia.  It is cold here, Clear, and mid-west cold, but no snow.  The 45 minute cab ride to the hotel was uneventful.  On the way in I was impressed with the hundreds of high rise residences and other commercial real estate.

My hotel, the Hilton, is located in the downtown Wangfujing area.  This is their (Chicago-like) magnificent mile. The fact that it is Christmas time is not lost at all on the Chinese.  Decorations and holiday music are everywhere.  All of the high fashion, brands can be found within steps of my hotel.  Shopping is brisk.  Beijing is second to no American or European city in this commercial zone.

After a good night’s rest, I spent the next day, visiting the Ming tombs, the Sacred Way (Shendao) way and the great wall.  Fortunately, because of the season and the cold, it was easy to get access.
I visited the Forbidden City, the morning before leaving for Chongqing.  It was an overwhelming experience and I really did not have enough time to see it all. I am told it can take three days.  Just before heading to the airport I made my pilgrimage to

Tianamen square, touted to be the largest city square anywhere.   It is just across the street to the entrance to the pathway to the Forbidden City.  Getting across the street with all the traffic was a formidable feat, until I figured out that there is an underground crossway.  I am in several photos of strangers there.  They just came up to me and wanted me to take photos with them.  Not sure why.  Perhaps they had never been close to an African-American woman before.  They seem to be thrilled for me to pose with them, so I did.  Hope I do not have an unknown fate on Youtube.

Then on to Chongqing.  Almost 3 hours away from the capital city by plane (by the way, someone was smoking while we flew).  A city of 30 million people divided into 14 districts.

4193124112_8e036862d3_mChongqing is a big college town. There are approximately 30 institutions of higher learning here. Our host University, The Southwest University of Political Science and Law (SUPL),  has two campuses, 20 miles apart, with over 19,000 students.  Five thousand of them are in law graduate programs.  The conference site is in the Shapinba district, one of 14 such districts in this large metropolitan area.  This is the graduate campus, an older site established in the 1950’s.  A newer campus for undergraduates is in the Yubei district which is closer to the airport, and the region of new development.

The weather was  a bit warmer than Beijing, but reminded  me a lot of Seattle in the winter, damp, cloudy, but very green. Where the two rivers (Yangzi and Jialing) met the area looks like Vancouver or San Francisco. On our city tour, the sun finally came out.

The night of my arrival the Vice-President of the university, Liu Jun, and several members of his staff, including Juliya (the coordinator of our student exchange program) treated us to a lavish welcoming dinner, at a restaurant with multiple floors.  They have welcomed Professors Pope, Forzley and me with outstanding hospitality.  I can not eat another thing.  While I had heard about a lot of exotic food (by American standards) a vegetarian will have plenty to eat.

Vice-President Liu Jun is a well-connected and respected member of the legal community.  He also serves as Vice-Chairman of the China Society of Social Laws, Vice-Chairman of the China Society of Rural Economic Law and Legal Counsel for the Chongqing Municipal Government.  At the end of the conference, he expressed his appreciation to ‘Widener for participating and told all attending that we were a premier law school in America, particularly because of our work in corporate and business law and health law.  Many of the other medical schools present want to have continuing relationships with Widener. SUPL is ranked number 6 out of 600 or more law schools in China.  Many of their graduates hold very prestigious appointments on the bench and in government.  For example, the last President of SUPL is now a member of  China’s Supreme Court.

The participants in this conference were impressive.  They were from all over China and represented academia, the medical and legal professions. Students were also involved and they were impressive and a delight to be with.  A woman by the name of Yan Zhou has spent some time in the U.S. at American University Law School, as a visiting Fellow.  She has just completed her PhD and is hoping to start a health law specialty at Southwest. She was our guide, interpreter and just made sure we were well taken care of.   The presentations by Professor Pope on end of life practices and Professor Forzley on right and regulation of medicines were well received.  We made the evening news here.  We have all had to use translators for our presentations, and they are superb.  Professor Pope’s blog will have an update of his remarks.    Thanks to our excellent translators, Nairu Liu, Lin Sun and Qinglan Bai.  We all could follow the discussions.  Yesterday afternoon during the unstructured discussion time, the subject of organ donations and transplants provided a robust exchange among the participants.  Many questioned whether the law could properly protect all the interest parties.  It was a robust exchange.
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When the conference ended there was much more eating, and toasting.  Dining here is a communal experience and a lot of fun.

In this short visit, I have been become overwhelmed with the size of this country, and its rapidly developing status.  Tomorrow I take a day off to visit the Terra Cotta Soldiers at Xian, before moving on the Shanghai and East China University School of Political Science and the Law.

Dsai-Jian (Good Bye)

Representing Widener Law at the International Health Law Conference in Chongqing, China

4188323926_d86988b3eeI am in Chongqing, China along with Professors Thaddeus Pope and Michelle Forzley. We are presenting at the International Health Law Conference being held at the Southwest University of Political Science and Law.

Professor Forzley lectured on essential medicines and the rule of law.  Professor Pope spoke on End of Life Health Care:  Comparing Challenges in the United States and China.  This is a two-day conference at the Southwest University of Political Science and Law.  In attendance here are students, professors and medical professionals from across China.  In one of these photos, I am standing with Sun Chang Yong, the Vice President of the school, and Professor Zhang Guolin, Secretary of the Party of Committee of Southwest University of Political Science and Law as well as the Chairman of the University Council. I will be posting more updates soon!
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Maasai Memories from my Kenya Trip


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This video was taken at the Kichwa Tembo camp which is located at the north edge of the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya at the base of the Oloololo Escarpment. The video was taken by some guests at the camp. I approached the guests and noticed they had   a video camera and asked if they could share their video with us. They were kind enough to share this video with the Law School.

The dancers in the video are Maasai warriors from a nearby village. The Maasai are very patriarchal, semi-nomadic, cattle-herding society, many of whom still live in traditional villages. Maasai warriors are known for their bravery. The red-checked blankets (shuka’s) are traditional warrior costumes.

One of the dances they performed was their famous “jump” dance. In this dance, the warriors form a circle and compete to see who can jump the highest.

Award given to Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor at this morning’s firm representative breakfast

4095353647_796fc24d20This morning, I was thrilled to present an award to  Jennifer Noel and Timothy Snyder of Young Conaway Stargatt &  Taylor at the Widener Law Fund firm representative breakfast.  The award honors a 100% participation rate among alumni in their firm for gifts to the Widener Law Fund.  This is the eighth consecutive year that Widener alumni at Young Conaway have achieved this 100% goal. Thank you for your continued dedication to and support of Widener Law!

Bring your game face, former Delaware governor says

[this originally appeared on our Law School Site] Law students looking for advice about leadership were given a lot to think about when former Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner visited the Delaware campus recently for an informal talk in the student lounge.
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Minner, who was widowed at 32 with three young children and only a 10th-grade education, said success is tied to confidence. If you lack it, don’t let it show.

“Perception is what I call 85 percent of the job,” she said. “If you show confidence they’ll think, ‘She knows what she’s doing, she’ll handle this problem.’’’

Her ability to stay cool under pressure has been tested repeatedly. Minner explained how she had to find work to support her children after her husband died, but she couldn’t secure a car loan without a man’s co-signature. She eventually managed with the help of an acquaintance in the auto business, but the roadblocks were enough to inspire a political career that led to Woodburn. She earned her general equivalency diploma, began work as a secretary in Legislative Hall and eventually ran for House of Representatives. Twenty six years and 11 successful campaigns later, she became Delaware’s first female governor in 2000.

To underscore her theme about confidence, Minner told the story of hosting a dinner party for 32 guests at Woodburn not long after the Sept. 11 tragedy. An airplane carrying 258 passengers became lost over Delaware, but without knowing the full extent of the problem public safety officials were quickly suspicious. The plane ultimately landed safely at Dover Air Force Base, but not before she was involved in some difficult briefings about the public-safety threat the situation presented, and even how the plane might have to be forcibly brought down. She maintained her composure with her guests, while also handling 11 phone briefings.

“On the inside you may be turning upside down but on the outside you can’t let it show,” she said.