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Honors & Other Things

MLK Community Involvement Awards

On January 18, the eleventh annual Interfaith Commemoration of the Life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., took place in Bodek Lounge, Houston Hall, with a keynote address, musical performances, and the presentation of the Community Involvement Awards.

MLK Awards

Vanessa Lowery Brown develops and facilitates events and activities such as street festivals, seminars and workshops oriented around a variety of topics, from helping residents with first-time home ownership to digital inclusion. Ms. Brown can be credited with anti-crime activities such as helping to develop a Town Watch with over 50 community members in the Mill Creek section of the city. She is passionate about improving the quality of life for senior citizen residents of Mill Creek. Ms. Brown is a volunteer for numerous organizations, serving on the Boards of Directors for the East Africa Resource Center, the Philadelphia Unemployment Project and the Jubilee School. She is also active in politics, as a Committeewoman for the 44th Ward. This holiday season she galvanized the Mill Creek community to host a dinner for 200 homeless families.

Gloria Gay has over 44 years experience working on issues such as organizational development, human relations and equity. Ms. Gay is associate director of the Penn Women’s Center and an adjunct instructor in human sexuality education in the School of Social Policy and Practice. She has served on Penn’s Sexual Harassment Committee for several years and has implemented numerous sexual harassment training programs throughout the University for faculty, staff and students. She is a primary trainer for the team that educates principals, teachers and counselors about sexual harassment in the Philadelphia School System. The program her group developed, Equity in the Era of Diversity, has been implemented annually for the past ten years and has reached hundreds. She is a certified rape crisis counselor through Women Organized Against Rape, and a certified domestic violence counselor through the National Association of Forensic Counselors.

Reverend William Gipson is the University Chaplain and Special Advisor to the President; he serves on numerous boards and committees, including the University Council Committees on Pluralism and on the Quality of Student Life and the advisory board for the Division of Public Safety. He is on the Board of Trustees for Smith College and is a former member of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations. He serves as administrator of religious life on campus and, in that capacity, works closely with the Penn Religious Community Council. He has created several student programs, including the Religious Life Liaison Program, in which a member of each College House creates activities centering on religious dialogue. “Known as a man of profound integrity and empathy, he is sought out for his ability to treat every person with respect and dignity. In that way, he lives Dr. King’s principle that everyone can be somebody because everyone can serve.”

Jonathan Ludmir C ’06 is a senior in the College. During his years at Penn, he has made an important contribution as a volunteer emergency medical technician in the community.  He is the founder of Alianza an organization to unite Latino and Jewish populations, to promote tolerance among cultures.  In addition, Mr. Ludmir is a spokesperson for the Latino coalition and a volunteer at La Casa Latina, the Center for Hispanic Excellence at Penn. He has worked to educate rural communities about HIV, drugs, hygiene and violence prevention.  He has also created health education sessions specifically for children.  Mr. Ludmir has performed this work not only here in Philadelphia but also abroad, in Peru, Nicaragua and Mexico. His commitment to helping the underserved and to promoting cultural awareness exemplify the spirit of service Dr. King championed.

Gregory Lyles is the executive director of the West Philadelphia branch of the YMCA. Mr. Lyles has demonstrated a strong commitment to serve the community by opening the doors of the YMCA to welcome underserved families to participate in programs they cannot afford. This includes after-school programs for children and teens, as well as health and wellness activities for adults and seniors. Over the past two years, the Y has served over 15,000 men, women and children and is truly a resource that enriches the life of all citizens of the West Philadelphia community. Mr. Lyles has collaborated with religious, cultural and educational institutions to garner support and raise awareness of the Y’s mission.

MLK Community Education Award In Honor of Dr. Judith Rodin

For outstanding contributions to the advancement of education and educational opportunities in West Philadelphia

Walter Palmer is a lawyer who has been an activist against racism in Philadelphia for over 30 years. In 1978, he helped to negotiate an end to the confrontation between Philadelphia police and the group MOVE in West Philadelphia. More recently, he has been involved with the Leadership Learning Partners Charter School. Currently a lecturer at the School of Social Policy and Practice, Mr. Palmer conceived the idea for the Institute for the Research and Study of American Racism. One of the Institute’s purposes is to serve as a home for a worldwide online database of information about racism. Members of the Institute will also advocate for the creation of courses about racism, and will train people in how to teach them. Mr. Palmer is in the process of raising $10 million to support the Center’s work. Throughout his career, he has worked towards Dr. King’s ideal of transforming American society so that racism will disappear.

Best Academic Book: Dr. English

James English

Dr. James English, professor of English and chair of the English department, received the Best Academic Book of 2005 from New YorkMagazine’s Culture Awards for his book The Economy of Prestige: Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value. The magazine states that Dr. English “has written a book about the manufacture of cultural prestige that is both intellectually shrewd and consistently entertaining.” The Culture Awards give recognition to the “Culture Elite” in art, books, dance, movies, theatre, and television.

Dr. English is a specialist in 20th-century British literature and culture, and teaches courses in contemporary British cinema. He is currently at work on a study of cultural translation between the U.K. and the U.S.

New Jersey Assembly: Ms. Lampitt

Pamela Lampitt

Pamela Lampitt, general manager of Conference Services, was elected into the New Jersey Assembly for the 6th District. Ms. Lampitt won an open seat to replace assemblywoman Mary Previte, who did not seek reelection. Ms. Lampitt has served on a number of committees at Penn, and is on the Committee for Manufacturer Responsibility. She is a councilwoman in Cherry Hill, the Council liaison to the Cherry Hill Business Partnership; she has served on the Cherry Hill Zoning Board, and serves as a committee member for the South Jersey Chapter of City of Hope, a cancer research institution.



  Almanac, Vol. 52, No. 19, January 24, 2006


January 24, 2006
Volume 52 Number 19


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