The son of the late Judge Edward R. Becker, a respected federal jurist, said his father would have been “just tickled” to know that homeless advocate Sister Mary Scullion was receiving an award from the College in his name.
“My dad cared deeply about making the world a better place,” said Charles “Chip” Becker, Esq., referring to one of the signature qualities of his father and Scullion, as he introduced the 2009 Judge Edward R. Becker Citizenship Award recipient at the “A Decade of Dedication: Law and Society 10th Anniversary Week’s Luncheon.” The luncheon was held at the College’s Center for Business and Industry on March 3.
One of many activities held during the College’s annual Law and Society Week, the luncheon also recognized 15 other individuals for their contributions to Law and Society Week and for their service to Philadelphia.
Scullion praised Judge Becker. “He was a man of profound intellectual and moral integrity who used his extensive gifts to uphold the highest standards of the law while maintaining a down-to-earth humility and common touch,” she said.
For more than 30 years, Scullion has used her own extensive gifts as a leader in the fight to end homelessness in Philadelphia. Through Project H.O.M.E. (Housing, Opportunities for Employment, Medical Care, Education), she has found shelter for thousands of people. Project H.O.M.E. provides a continuum of care, including residential and rehabilitative services.
She also has been a powerful voice on political issues affecting homeless and mentally ill persons. Her advocacy efforts resulted in the right of homeless persons to vote, as well as a landmark federal court decision that affected the fair housing rights of persons with disabilities.
Scullion said the College plays an important role in ending homelessness. “Potential is equally spread across our society, but opportunity is not,” Scullion said. “Community College of Philadelphia is the great equalizer. For the countless residents of Project H.O.M.E., pursuing an education at the College is a critical step in getting their lives back on track.”
Scullion is the third recipient of the award named in honor of Judge Becker, who died in May 2006, and was known as a brilliant scholar and one of America’s most respected judges. A Philadelphia native, Judge Becker served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit from December 1981 to May 2006. He was chief judge for the court from 1998 to 2003 and senior judge until 2006.
U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter received the Becker award in 2007. William T. Coleman, Jr., a well-known civil rights attorney and former U.S. Transportation Secretary, received the award in 2008.
The College’s Center for Law and Society also presented 10 Gavel Awards. Recipients included George Anastasia, staff writer, The Philadelphia Inquirer; Paul Bechtel, Esq., retired partner, Marshall, Dennehey, Warner, Coleman & Goggin; William Colarulo, chief inspector, Special Investigations Bureau, Philadelphia Police Department; the Hon. Holly Ford, judge, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas; retired Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson; David Keller Trevaskis, Esq., executive director, Law, Education and Peace for Kids; Lynn Marks, executive director, Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts; Kal Rudman, show business pioneer, co-founder of the Kal and Lucille Rudman Foundation and generous donor to the College’s Justice curriculum; William Whiteside, Jr., retired partner, Fox Rothschild LLP; and Beverly Williams, a College alumna and paralegal at Community Legal Services.
Five other individuals were given service awards: Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Lloyd Ayers; Lee Diamondstein, Esq., vice president, DecisionQuest, Philadelphia; Tanya M. Evans-Walls, Esq., assistant professor of Law at Widener University; James Gorman, vice president of AlliedBarton Security Services; and alumna Christine Flynn, a paralegal at Swartz Campbell LLC.