Tribune Staff Report
Widener University has been selected as a Presidential award finalist for the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
Widener, which has been named to the honor roll every year since its inception in 2006, was one of only 14 institutions nationwide to be named a Presidential award finalist, and one of only 113 institutions to make the honor roll “With Distinction.”
"To be named a Presidential award finalist is a tribute to the students, faculty and staff of Widener University and their dedication to our civic engagement mission," said Widener University President James T. Harris III. "It is also a testament to the willingness and enthusiasm of the community organizations we partner with in Chester, Delaware and Harrisburg. These initiatives are successful because we all work together as one."
This year, Widener was honored for three exemplary civic engagement initiatives:
The Widener Partnership Charter School (WPCS): The first university-based charter school in Pennsylvania, WPCS currently serves about 400 students in grades K-7. The school, which takes a holistic approach to education, serves the children and families of Chester. The WPCS aims to achieve three specific goals: to increase the number of STEM-prepared, college-eligible high school graduates; to strengthen students' preparation for STEM-focused high school education; and to enhance parents' capacity to support their child's academic success.
The Widener University Child Development Center: Created in 1981 to provide quality early childhood education for children ages 3 to 6, the center strives to be a model early childhood program for families, future teacher candidates, university students, faculty members, and the community. Fifty percent of the children represent low-income families, and about 25 percent live in the city of Chester.
The College Access Center of Delaware County: An initiative of the Chester Higher Education Council, a consortium of six area colleges and universities, the College Access Center of Delaware County provides county residents with college and career awareness, study skills development, tutoring, mentoring, and assistance with their college application and financial aid process.
In recent years, Newsweek ranked Widener among the top service-minded colleges and universities in the nation. The university has also ranked among the top institutions in the annual Washington Monthly rankings since the magazine's inaugural college issue in 2005. In addition, Widener was among the first universities in the nation to be categorized as a "community engagement" institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2006.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which administers the Honor Roll, admitted a total of 690 colleges and universities.
Of that total, 572 were named to the Honor Roll, 113 received the recognition of Honor Roll with distinction, 14 were identified as Presidential Award Finalists, and five received the Presidential Award.
"We congratulate the awardees and the students for their dedication to service," said Wendy Spencer, chief executive officer of CNCS. "These institutions have inspired students and faculty alike to roll up their sleeves and work alongside members of the community to solve problems and improve their neighbors' lives."
"Communities are strengthened when we all come together, and we are encouraged that these institutions and their students have made service a priority," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "Civic engagement should be a key component of every student's education experience. Through reaching out to meet the needs of their neighbors, these students are deepening their impact, strengthening our democracy and ultimately preparing themselves to be successful citizens."
Efforts to market Philadelphia as a tourism destination will be bolstered by U.S. Airways plan to launch direct flight service between Philadelphia International Airport and Brazil in October 2014.
In efforts to expand the global message of Philadelphia as a modern renaissance city, the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB) has delved into key emerging markets to capture market share of increased travel to the United States from countries with expanding economic growth such as China, India, and Brazil.
“Philadelphia’s finest days are ahead of us,” says Jack Ferguson, PHLCVB president and CEO.
“We are a city of innovation that will continue to grow and flourish in a global arena. The direct service between PHL and Sao Paulo by U.S. Airways is a testament to that. We are proud to have U.S. Airways and Philadelphia International Airport as partners promoting the growth of PHL and creating a direct gateway between Brazil and Philadelphia.”
According to PHLCVB, travel to the U.S. from Brazil has seen double-digit growth for eight consecutive years. In 2011, visitors from Brazil spent a record-breaking $8.5 billion on U.S. travel and tourism-related activities.
According to the Office of Tourism and Travel Industries (OTTI), Philadelphia drew 16,000 travelers from Brazil in 2010. That number grew to 27,000 in 2011. PHLCVB officials say Brazil is a key emerging market for Philadelphia and will remain a focus for 2013 and beyond.
In Brazil, the PHLCVB has focused on several key tactics to build destination awareness and strengthen relations with tour operators, planners and key media that promote consumer overnight packages and extend market reach.
The PHLCVB contracts and partners with Interamerican Network, a travel and tourism marketing and public relations firm located in Sao Paulo, Brazil to serve as the PHL in-market representative. As a PHL partner, Interamerican identifies sales leads, marketing opportunities and media outlets to promote the destination.
In April, Ferguson, and international tourism sales manager Natalia Gamarra, will represent Philadelphia during Gov. Tom Corbett’s trade mission to Brazil. As part of the trip, the PHLCVB will hold destination presentations at tourism events; as well as face-to-face meetings with tour operators, travel agents and corporate meeting planners in Brazil and Chile; attend VIP events with high-level officials from both regions and network with university executives and high-level government officials.
In September 2012 the PHLCVB attended Braztoa, a leading travel meeting held in Sao Paulo, which attracts more than 3,500 travel agents and tourism professionals from across Brazil and the globe. While in attendance, the PHLCVB met with 22 top tour operators to promote travel from Brazil to Philadelphia. Currently the PHLCVB is working with many of these operators including Monark, Soft, Designer and MMT, to create and promote Philadelphia travel packages.
As a result of Philadelphia’s presence at Braztoa, a seven-page Philadelphia itinerary was published in Folha, the second largest newspaper in Brazil. Furthermore, the PHLCVB welcomed the chief editor of ViagensGerais, travel magazine, in November, leading to the production of several radio programs as well as on-line and print destination pieces on Philadelphia.
Freddy Adu’s troubled time with the Philadelphia Union could be drawing to a close, and it could well present him with a unique career opportunity.
According to a report from Soccer By Ives, Adu is on the verge of sealing a move to Brazilian top-flight outfit Bahia. A transfer would give the embattled Designated Player a fresh start in a league renowned for its technical level and growing financial clout.
For the Union, the move would allow the team to avoid the unwanted possibility of having Adu occupy a DP slot and having his salary count against the cap while not playing for the club. The now 23-year-old signed with the Union in 2011, but struggled to find consistency despite the occasional flashes of brilliance, leading Union head coach John Hackworth to leave him out of the team’s plans for 2013.
A report out of Brazil Saturday claimed that the deal could actually be a trade of sorts, with former Brazilian international attacking midfielder Kléberson joining the Union in exchange for Adu. Kléberson, 33, has played for Atlético Paranaense, Manchester United, Besiktas and Flamengo in his career, and joined Bahia in 2012. However, he has found playing time difficult with the Tricolor recently, making only 12 since signing in July.
Bahia, based in the northern metropolis of Salvador, finished 15th out of 20 in the 2012 Brazilian Série A and are the dominant team in the Bahia state, having won the state championship on 44 occasions. Brazilian soccer is currently in the middle of its state championship, with the national league set to kick off on May 26 and run until December.
The Philadelphia Union did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.
Services were held March 9 for Gregory L. Scott.
Scott died Wednesday, Feb, 27, 2013. He was 54.
Scott was born July 16, 1958. He was a longtime resident of West Philadelphia
Scott was a community activist, mentor and drill instructor for the Gold Coast Buccaneers Drill Team in West Philadelphia. He was known for working with, and for, the children.
He is survived by his wife, Alfrida; mother, Pauline; children, Susan Johnson, Sharletta Johnson, Gregory Johnson; brothers, Terry Scott and Dlano Scott; sisters, Veronica Jackson and Dawn Jackson and five grandchildren.
Services were held at First Corinthian Baptist Church at 5101 Pine St.
J.E. Williams Funeral Home handled the arrangements.
Kelvin Jeremiah takes helm at troubled housing agency
The Philadelphia Housing Authority has a new director – Kelvin Jeremiah, the agency’s interim director for nearly a year – has been selected by federal officials to occupy the post on a more permanent basis.
“I am thrilled to be remaining at PHA and working with Mayor [Michael] Nutter, the City Council, the board, residents and the resilient staff of PHA in meeting the needs of the nearly 80,000 Philadelphians we serve,” Jeremiah said in a statement.
His appointment was announced Thursday afternoon.
Jeremiah replaces Michael Kelly, who headed the agency in the aftermath of the scandal surrounding former director Carl Greene, who was fired in 2011 amid allegations of sexual and financial misconduct. Greene recently settled a wrongful termination suit against PHA winning a $625,000 settlement. Kelly, too, left under a cloud, departing after an extramarital affair with a staffer was revealed.
Jeremiah said it’s time for PHA to put those incidents behind it.
“I am excited about PHA’s future and the important work that lies ahead in rebuilding public confidence in PHA and helping the agency to meet its mission of providing decent, safe and well-maintained housing for residents of this great city,” he said.
His appointment was first step toward returning PHA from federal to local control. A newly appointed board is expected to meet next month. It will take authority from a one-person board, led by a federal housing official, which has led the agency since late 2011.
Jeremiah will also serve as the federal Administrative Receiver until the new nine-member board takes over.
“Kelvin’s passion, integrity and commitment make him the best person to continue to move PHA forward,” said Estelle Richman, PHA’s Board of Commissioner. “I am confident that this decision is not just good for the agency, but also for the City of Philadelphia. We believe this is a major step for PHA to return to local control.”
Mayor Michael A. Nutter agreed.
“In the short time that Kelvin Jeremiah has been with PHA, he has been an outstanding leader for the authority. He helped restore ethics, integrity and pride in working at PHA,” Nutter said. “With his staff, he’s developed a plan to build 6,000 affordable housing units over the next five years and he’s working to create good relations with other city agencies involved in coordinating affordable housing policy. I am very pleased with his selection as President and CEO and I look forward to working with him.”
Jeremiah joined PHA in 2011 and previously held the position of director for the Office of Audit and Compliance (formerly the Office of the Inspector General).
Prior to joining PHA, Jeremiah was the Inspector General for the New York City Housing Authority, the nation’s largest public housing authority, with a portfolio of 178,000 units housing over 450,000 residents, and a Housing Choice Voucher program with nearly 100,000 participating families.
Born in Grenada, Jeremiah immigrated to the United States as a teenager and lived with his family in New York City, attending New York City Public Schools. He received a bachelor’s degree in history/business administration from Pace University, a master of arts in American social history from Rutgers University, and a master of public administration from American International College.