Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Doctor of Divinity Honorus Causa: LeAnna M. Washington

LeAnna M. Washington was elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate in 2005, representing the 4th Senatorial District, after having served six consecutive terms representing the 200th Legislative District in the State House of Representatives. For more than two decades she has been a pivotal political force in the community, working tirelessly for communities throughout the region. The Brossman Center,  William Allen Square, and the renewal of the Wadsworth and Germantown Avenue business corridors would not have been completed without her effective leadership and support.  In the Senate she serves on numerous committees, including Aging and Youth and Public Health and Welfare.  Committed to the well-being of Pennsylvania's children and families, she serves on the Pennsylvania's Children's Trust Fund Board of Directors, the Children's Health Advisory Council, and the Governor's Health Care Advisory Panel.  She leads the Senate effort to end illegal handgun trafficking and has co-sponsored community forums on violence prevention.  Other legislative interests include dedicated funding for mass transit, improved services and conditions in nursing facilities, kinship programs for children in foster care, education reform, and development of the local economy. 

Senator Washington has triumphed over many personal challenges in her life. A high school dropout, teen parent, and victim of domestic violence early in her marriage, she went on to earn a Master's degree in Human Services from Lincoln University. She earned a Certificate from the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at Harvard.  She is the first woman elected to serve as Chair of the PA Legislative Black Caucus (PLBC) and the first woman Chair of Black Elected Officials of Philadelphia. She serves on a number of boards, including those of Arcadia University, the Greater Philadelphia NAACP, and the Sedgwick Cultural Center.  Her numerous community and civic awards include Outstanding Community Leader (Philadelphia Tribune, 2008), Civic Leaders Award (Women Against Abuse, 2007), Distinguished Leadership Award (Community College of Philadelphia, 2004), and Sojourner Truth Award (Women's Institute and Network, 1999).

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