Sen. Washington To Be Awarded Honorary Doctor of Laws

By Purnell T. Cropper | May 18, 2010

State Sen. LeAnna M. Washington will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws at the Arcadia University Undergraduate Commencement at 10:15 a.m. on Friday, May 21.

Washington is a Pennsylvania State Senator serving the 4th Senatorial District, which covers parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. She was elected to the Pennsylvania State Senate in May of 2005 in a special election.

Her entry into politics came in 1993, when she was elected to the State House of Representatives from the 200th Legislative District—a seat she held for six consecutive terms. Prior to serving in elected office, Washington was a manager for the Philadelphia Parking Authority Employee Assistance Program and a District Office Manager for former State Sen. Joseph Rocks.

Among the Senator’s most important legislative accomplishments is her sponsorship, in 2008, of Public Law 33, which has brought greater transparency and accountability by establishing child death review teams to investigate all child deaths in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She also has led efforts to support passage of Public Law 73, which provides greater safety and protection for children as it requires FBI clearance for prospective foster and adoptive families prior to child placement. Both pieces of legislation were enacted into law by Gov. Rendell.

Washington’s leadership ensures the well-being of Pennsylvania’s children and seniors. Her service and appointments include the Pennsylvania Children’s Trust Fund Board of Directors, the Children’s Health Advisory Council, the Governor’s Health Care Advisory Panel, and the Intra-Governmental Council on Long-Term Care. She is the first woman elected to serve as Chair of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus (PLBC), a position she held both in 2001 and 2003.

She has received numerous honors and awards, including Woman of Distinction by the Philadelphia Business Journal (2005), Civic Leaders Award from the Women Against Abuse (2007), and Outstanding Community Leader by the Philadelphia Tribune Newspaper (2008). As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October of 2008, Sen. Washington served as the Honorary Co-Chair, along with Lisa Nutter, for Philadelphia’s first annual Walk to End Domestic Violence.

Washington earned a master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University in 1989 and is an alumna of the Harvard JFK School of Government’s Flemming Fellows Leadership Institute. She was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree from Lutheran Theological Seminary in May of 2009. She has three adult children, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. She resides in Northwest Philadelphia.