Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Doctor of Divinity Honorus Causa: Cherelle Lesley Parker

Cherelle Lesley Parker is the Pennsylvania State Representative for the 200th Legislative District, which includes the seminary. Elected in 2005, she was the youngest African American woman ever elected to the Pennsylvania State House, where she serves on a number of committees, including Appropriations and Labor Relations. Having overcome adversity in her youth that, according to one mentor, "would make a pirate cry," Rep. Parker has earned a reputation for being one of the most results-oriented, politically savvy, and proactive legislators in the tri-state region, recognized for her strong analytical, strategic planning, and organizational skills. Rep. Parker has actively supported local and state economic development legislative initiatives and local projects, including renewal of the Germantown Avenue business corridor, The Brossman Center, and William Allen Square. She is leading the fight in the House for hand gun control, the special needs of children whose parents are incarcerated, and energy conservation. Committed to the ideals of community involvement, political empowerment and progressive social change, she regularly holds town hall meetings in her district, workshops for her constituents, the "Boys to Real Men Summit," and an annual NW Community Appreciation Awards dinner.

A graduate of Lincoln University, Rep. Parker is an active member of many boards, including that of her alma mater, and service-oriented organizations, including the National Congress of Black Women. She earned a Certificate from the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at Harvard in 2008 and participated in the University of Virginia Emerging Political Leaders Program in 2006. Among her numerous awards are Outstanding Alumna (Lincoln University Alumni Association, 2007); one of the Most Influential African Americans in Philadelphia (Philadelphia Tribune, 2007), and one of the area's 101 Connectors (Leadership Philadelphia Connector Project, 2006).

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