Campus Currents

Law and Society Week Draws Thousands to the College

Law and Society Week Draws Thousands to the College

An estimated 3,500 students, faculty, community members and professionals in the fields of law and justice attended panels, lec­tures and films held Feb. 22–29 during the College’s Ninth Annual Law and Society Week. The Main Campus and Regional Centers hosted 39 events about a variety of topics, including vio­lence, women in legal professions, political processes around the world, immigration and the election process.

High School Day on Feb. 22 brought together police officers,lawyers and other professionals to help high school students understand the law and the duties of some legal careers. Guest speakers interacted with high school students through a mock car accident and explained each of their roles in this situation.

The Center works with LEAP-Kids, a statewide and regional pro­moter of the civic mission of our schools and communities.
“The goal of high school day is to educate high school stu­dents about options in legal careers and to showcase what we have to offer,” said Kathy Smith, head of the Social Sciences depart­ment, coordinator of the Paralegal Studies program and associate professor of Paralegal Studies. She is also the director of the Center for Law and Society.

During the week, many faculty, staff and students visited the TRANSFORMaNATION exhibit (see photos at right), which featured art created by inmates in the Pennsylvania prison system.

The event co-sponsor, Art for Justice, supports and exhibits inmate art to promote dialogue on ways to prevent crime, reduce levels of incarceration and improve the criminal justice system.

The second annual Judge Edward R. Becker Citizenship Award Presentation and Lecture on Feb. 26 honored William T. Coleman, Jr., a civil rights law pioneer and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. Coleman, a native Philadelphian, is a senior partner and the senior counselor at O’Melveny & Myers LLP in Washington, D.C. He served as Secretary of Transportation from March of 1975 to January of 1977 and was one of the authors of the legal briefs presented in Brown v. Board of Education that per­suaded the Supreme Court to outlaw racial segregation in 1954. Recipients of the award display integrity and an exceptional dedi­cation to civic responsibility through their extraordinary profes­sional achievements. Professionals in the legal field and members of the College constitute the selection committee.
Judge Edward R. Becker was a brilliant scholar and one of America’s most respected judges. He was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in 1981 and served as chief judge from 1998 to 2003 and as senior judge until 2006. Judge Becker died in May 2006 from cancer. The award was created to honor his dedication to his work, his community service activities and his compassion for others.