A Message from the Dean
A Woman's Place is on the Bench
African-Americans Reach Out to One Another in New Alumni Group
Witness to the New Frontier
The World According to Charles Hill
The Brief
The Board of Overseers
Faculty News & Publications
Philanthropy
Alumni Briefs
In Memoriam
Case Closed
 
Common Ground
BY LARRY TEITELBAUM
1 - 2 - 3 - 4

A new day is rising for African-American alumni of Penn Law School. Seventy-eight years ago, in a watershed moment, Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander became the fi rst black woman to graduate from this institution. Now comes another milestone in school history for people of color: the Penn African-American Law Alumni Society (PAALAS).

Formed by a group of enterprising graduates last fall, the organization will provide a bridge to former students who want to connect with the school and with each other. Organizers hope PAALAS will spur charitable giving, create more opportunities for mentoring and, above all, provide a platform from which to endow a professorship in the names of Sadie T.M. and Raymond Pace Alexander, two alumni who went on to become prominent lawyers in Philadelphia.

"The feedback has been phenomenal, because African-American alumni have not had a vehicle to invest themselves in," says Donyale Reavis Lí99, a well-connected political organizer who is one of the prime movers behind PAALAS. "Now they do."

And now that they do, the hard work of membership building begins. PAALAS held a kick-off event last September in Philadelphia, followed by its first official meeting in December.

While Philadelphia is the hub of the organization, PAALAS hopes to recruit members as well from New York and Washington, where they plan to hold receptions. There will also be a coming out party during reunion weekend in May. Initially, the group will target 250 alumni who graduated in the last 25 years, says Reavis, who helped run Philadelphia Mayor John Streetís reelection campaign and was general counsel and Pennsylvania coordinator for Democratic interest group, Americans Coming Together, during the 2004 presidential campaign.

 
  Next Page